When Google launched Chromecast last year, it offered a simple and intuitive way to stream content from mobile devices to TVs. Its product was good, but lacked some important features that Amazon’s newly launched Fire TV Stick comes with.
Seeing how it failed miserably in the smartphone department with its Fire Phone, the Seattle-based e-tailer wants now to focus on a category of devices that were better received by the consumers. Launched almost 7 months ago, the Fire TV digital media player and microconsole became a great alternative to Apple TV, especially since the e-tailer’s device runs Android. The Fire TV Stick comes to complement the TV box, while promising to offer a smoother experience than Chromecast.
How is the Fire TV Stick better than Chromecast? It comes with 4 times as much storage (8GB) and twice as much RAM (1GB), for starters, which means that it will be able to run more apps at the same time, while also being able to store more digital content.
On top of that, the Fire TV Stick features Dolby Digital Plus certified surround sound (this was also one of the main selling points of the second-gen Fire HD tablet), voice search via a remote app or a voice remote that’s sold separately (seeing as this feature comes after the launch of Google’s Nexus Player, this feature doesn’t seem that revolutionary after all), access to Amazon Instant Video and Bloomberg TV. On the downside, Fire TV Stick users won’t have HBO GO.
One of the most important aspects, however, is the dual-band/dual-antenna Wi-Fi. Chromecast only operates in the 2.4Ghz band, which is virtually useless in major cities because of the great number of Wi-Fi routers. The 5Ghz band, on the other hand, ensures you that your content will stream without glitches and interferences, just as it should.
The Fire TV Stick is available for pre-order for $39, as mentioned in the title, thus taking the middle ground between Chromecast (which normally sells for $35, but is also available on sale for $28 with a $5 credit) and the Roku Stick. There is a catch, though, as Amazon Prime members will be able to get it for $19 in the next two days. Try beating that, Google! And to think that until a couple of years ago people considered video game consoles the only form of entertainment on the small screen…