Amazon’s Fire TV Stick has landed in the UK and we’re going hands on at the official launch event.
Like Google Chromecast, the Fire TV Stick is a tiny HDMI dongle that slots into the back of your TV.
This brings a whole host of smart TV services – namely Prime Instant Video – to your TV. It’s an ideal solution if you’ve got a non-smart but otherwise perfectly good Full HD panel and you want to stream The Walking Dead without setting up a NAS drive or buying DVDs.
If you’ve seen the original Fire TV mini streamer in action then you’ll know what the score is here – the user interface and general experience is exactly the same.
You sweep through a slate-grey menu, tapping into services including BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Vimeo, YouTube and Spotify. Thanks to an internal recommendations algorithm that runs in the background – something Amazon calls ASAP – the Fire TV Stick aims to reduce the time you spend waiting for content to buffer.
It does this by keeping tabs on what you watch and then second-guessing what you’ll most likely click on next.
Another feature that’s made the jump over from Fire TV is an IMDb-powered search function that lets you pull up a whole list of films starring or directed by a specific actor or filmmaker.
Using the Fire TV mobile app, we were able to speak the name of England’s finest screen actor and shortly after peruse a selection of titles starring the very same man.
Full HD 1080p streams are supported and the dual-core WiFi module promises smooth, uninterrupted streaming. As you can make use of that faster 5GHz channel, it’s a little more friendly to your congested 2.4GHz channel than Chromecast is.
The only real differences between this and the bigger Fire TV box is that the bundled remote control doesn’t support voice commands. If you want to be able to talk to your Fire TV Stick, you’ll need to make use of the Fire TV remote app (iOS, Android, Amazon).
Hardware-wise, the Stick is also packs a smaller processor (dual-core) and less memory (1GB) than what the original Fire TV, with it’s quad-core chip and 2GB of RAM, brings to the table.
The Fire TV Stick is available to buy right now for £35. We’ll post our full review shortly.