Amazon’s Chromecast rival, the Fire TV Stick, will begin shipping out to customers today.
The £35 dongle, which Amazon claims is the fastest-selling device it’s ever had in the UK, will begin making its way out to customers who pre-ordered a few weeks ago.
Jorrit Van der Meulen, Amazon Devices Europe’s vice president said: “We expected Fire TV Stick to be popular, but the customer response has just blown us away,” he said.
The Fire TV Stick plugs directly into a spare HDMI slot on your TV and connects you up with a ton of streaming services, including Amazon’s Prime Instant Video, which is currently riding high off the back of shows like Transparent, Netflix, Spotify, iPlayer and a bunch more, and you can even set up your own channel and stream media from your PC or laptop, with Plex Media Server.
Only a fiver more than Chromecast, the Fire TV Stick offers more hardware bang for your bucks. You get a dual-core chip and 1GB RAM inside, while Google’s stick only weighs in with a single-core CPU and 512MB RAM. Amazon’s little streamer also offers comes with dual-band WiFi, which promises a smoother streaming experience compared to the single-band Chromecast.
The experience is slightly different to what you get with Chromecast. The Fire TV Stick can be controlled by a dedicated mobile app that lets you enter voice commands and scroll through the many menus. Chromecast turns this experience inside out – you do all the searching on your phone via Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Now TV or whatever, and then cast it to your TV.
Amazon has recently confirmed that X-Ray for Movies and TV is now heading out to Fire TV devices. This IMDb-powered service lets you pause a show and identify the faces on the screen – perfect for those ‘isn’t that what’s his name from EastEnders’? moments.