In the era of online shopping Amazon is almost a ubiquitous name. What is more interesting is that it is rapidly expanding it's offering on personal entertainment front. If you are an avid amazonian, you would already be having Amazon Prime membership which comes with plethora of benefits. The first certainly is those super fast free shipments and second in form of 'Prime Music' & 'Prime Videos'. You could just go about installing these apps on your phone or tablet and enjoy the semi-recent movies, series, etc. Or you could buy what is called as Amazon FireTV Stick and simply enjoy high-definition content from various providers on a larger screen and your favorite couch! In this installment we will explore more about FireTV Stick and figure out what's stored in there for us.
The Sleek Packaging
The FireTV Stick comes in a small and sleek orange packaging. It was slightly smaller than what we expected but does its job. It tells you all around what could be expected from the stick. The front and the back has embossed remote and firetv stick images almost giving near real feeling touching them. For starters the features provided on the box reads following.
- Voice Search
- Dolby Audio
- 802.11AC MIMO Wi-Fi
- Support upto 1080p (Full HD)
- Quad Core
Opening the front cover reveals a nifty tab to pull out something we call as black cartridge. Unfolding the cartridge, aka, cover reveals the content within it. The first thing that would strike you would be the amazing way everything is packed together! The only thing that you may notice at first is that tiny leaflet reading 'fire tv stick'.
The leaflet consists of getting started guide and you can slowly start extracting content from the package. On the top we have the firetv stick, remote, AAA batteries & power adapter. On the bottom we have accessories which includes USB cable and HDMI extension cable.
Meet The Stick
The FireTV Stick looks like an overgrown USB pen drive whose one end has HDMI male connector which can be connected to TV. On top the Amazon logo is etched on the stick and the bottom is etched with regulatory markings. One of the lower side we have a micro USB female connector mainly used to provide power to the device.
It may so happen that the device may not sit in place where the HDMI ports are present on your TV. The device is slightly on thicker side, much thicker than the USB pen drive. In such cases you can use the extension cable provided by Amazon. It is rather short cable with male & female HDMI connectors. The former meant to go into TV and the later is supposed to be connected with the Stick. You could also use it to enhance the Wi-Fi signal by extending the reach of the Stick.
The FireTV Stick requires external power to operate. It has a micro USB connector on the bottom side which can be plugged into wall power supply. Amazon has provided a wall adapter and the micro-mini USB cable. The cable is rather long and you may not find difficulty in reaching out to farther supply spots. The charger operates on a wide AC voltage range ranging from 100-240V and can output 5V 1A/5W
The Voice Enabled Remote
What stands out most in the device is the state of art remote control. It is a voice enabled remote control with a dedicated button to activate mic. You can interact with device and supposedly Alexa Voice Service to play your favorite movie, show or app. The remote connects to the stick via Bluetooth so you may not need to point it directly to the stick to have it function unlike the infra based TV remotes.
It is operated by two AAA batteries and what is interesting is the layout in which the battery could be inserted in the remote. Unlike traditional battery operated devices which needs the batteries to be arranged in correct polarity, i.e. positive on top and negative on top, this remote takes in battery in single polarity, i.e, for both batteries positive should be on top. This is supposedly a great usability enhancement and you may not have to worry about inserting the batteries in 'correct' order.
The remote has simple layout. It consists of Microphone on the top along with Voice Button. You need to press the button and keep it pressed to speak to the device and then release. It would populate the search result from which you can choose.
The middle ring is something that you would be using a lot. It contains a big select button in the middle and four edges on the ring to navigate across various menus. Pressing the left or right edge of the screen while content is playing would rewind or fast forward the content by 10 seconds.
Back, Home, Menu
There are three dedicated buttons to go back, to go on the Home page or to invoke the device's settings menu.
Rewind, Play/Pause, Fast Forward
These buttons as self explanatory helps rewind, play, pause & fast forward pretty much anything you are watching on screen. Long pressing rewind/fast forward helps navigate content at faster speed.
Connecting FireTV Stick to TV
Connecting the Stick to TV is really simple. Plug in the adapter to the micro USB cable, connect the Stick to the HDMI connector on TV. Switch the power supply for both TV & Stick. You should be seeing the welcome screen. Follow the on-screen instructions, make sure the Wi-Fi is on and select one when prompted. Once the device is able to connect to internet you are done! Surf from collection of Prime Movies / Music or play with your favorite app.
By default the device would always start on the home page. You can navigate to this page by pressing home button on the remote. The home page shows the featured content.
Pressing the left side of the ring on the remote should navigate you to the Movies section. It again shows the featured as well as all the new or available content on the Prime Movie platform.
Navigating further along right would take you to the TV Shows. You can again see here the featured content from multiple providers and the content available on Prime Video at the bottom. There are many series which are produced by Amazon called as Amazon Originals. Some are really good don't miss on those!
FireTV Stick let's you install many apps like Netflix, HotStar, ErosNow, etc. You need to install the application by search for it. Once done some like Netflix requires registration and subscription fees. Others like TVFPlay, HotStar are availabel for free. And some like Jio Cinema requires a Jio number for activation.
The FireTV Stick with Voice Remote is second generation of the device. It has hugely evolved from it predecessor and features relatively stronger configurations enough to stream a Full HD high resolution content to TV.
- Processor / SoC - MediaTek Quad-Core ARM 1.3 GHz
- GPU - Mali450 MP4
- Memory - 1 GB
- Storage - 8 GB internal
- Wifi - Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi supports 2x2 MIMO 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
- Bluetooth - Bluetooth 4.1
- Audio - Dolby Audio, 5.1 surround sound, 2ch stereo, and HDMI audio pass-through up to 7.1
- Video - 720p and 1080p up to 60fps
The Amazon FireTV Stick is power house of entertainment. It has content from Amazon's in-house video collection called Prime Video and supports many other content providers. You just can't get bored of it! In the next installment we will see some tips and tricks for the Stick.
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