AMAZON FIRE TV STICK
Fire TV Stick can stream Amazon Prime Videos and a lot more on the big screen
CORD CUTTERS, TAKE NOTE
ATV without a cable or a DTH connection is unheard of in India. However, with improved internet speeds and a variety of entertainment apps, cord cutting is not a distant dream anymore. But if you still were on the fence about forgoing your DTH connection, the Amazon Fire Stick makes that decision easier. The Fire TV Stick is a new device from Amazon that allows you to play content not only from Prime Video but also from other apps that you regularly use.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a device that competes directly with Google’s Chromecast but the way it allows users to consume content is a bit different. While Chromecast relies on casting or mirroring apps and videos from your smartphone or a tablet, the Fire TV Stick is a standalone device. It is equipped with a remote control, which means having a mobile device to enjoy the content on the big screen is not mandatory. That said, you can download the Fire TV app to transform the smartphone into a Fire TV Stick remote.
The UI is simple and segregates between home, movies, TV shows, apps and settings. Manoeuvring is easy with the remote control and in fact, it plays an important part in the overall Fire TV Stick user experience. It comes with a voice-search button that makes it easy to search for movies and TV shows. In our use, we found it to be good at picking up he Indian accent. You can also search the library based on actors, genre, etc. However, voice search is limited to English and Hindi for the time being and while Amazon claims the voice search can search through its own library and third-party apps, we found it was able to search only on YouTube. In short, searching for Daredevil, which is a Netflix exclusive, will not yield any result. This is, of course, a limitation due to the arrangement between Amazon and third-party apps but it’s cumbersome nonetheless. Another issue with the remote is no volume control.
In terms of streaming, the quality is top-notch, with the ability to stream in Full HD or HD without any issues. Supporting HEVC compression also helps to deliver high-quality videos on slower connections.
For users with limited bandwidth, the device allows monitoring of monthly data usage and stops streaming if it passes a particular threshold.
Fire TV Stick is a nifty little entertainment device that gives access to a lot of videos, audio apps and games. It also comes with a good voice search that makes content discovery faster. Sure, the exclusion of volume control is disappointing but it is certainly not a deal-breaker.