Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite Review: Capable Streamer, Cheap Price

Amazon Fireplace TV Stick Lite Overview: Succesful Streamer, Low-cost Value

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Editor’s Be aware, Dec. 2022: New releases within the $30 HD streaming class, such because the Chromecast with Google TV HD, have outpaced the Fireplace TV Stick Lite when it comes to each options and worth. We have now adjusted the ranking of this product from an 8.1 to a 6 in an effort to mirror the altering panorama.

Like


  • Grime-cheap


  • Contains Alexa voice distant


  • Wide selection of streaming apps, together with HBO Max


  • Integrates nicely with Echo audio system

Do not like


  • Voice instructions do not work with each app


  • Extra complicated menus than Roku


  • HDR with out 4K is kinda pointless


Roku
is the most important identify in streaming {hardware}, with a number of totally different streamers obtainable proper now, and much more TVs and soundbars. Amazon has been gunning for Roku’s slice of the pie ever because the first
Fireplace TV
appeared. The $30 Amazon Fireplace TV Lite is the corporate’s most cost-effective streamer, a solution to the $30 Roku Specific and as you’d count on its greatest benefit over Roku is the Alexa voice assistant.

Amazon additionally has a $40 Fireplace Stick however I might argue that the Fireplace Stick TV Lite is the higher deal. The principle distinction is that the dearer Stick has a special distant with energy, quantity and mute buttons to manage your TV. In case you’re solely utilizing this streamer on an inexpensive TV anyway, it is value saving the cash, until you actually need TV management.

So is the $30 Fireplace TV Lite higher than the $30 Roku Specific? They principally have the identical collection of apps, now that Fireplace TV has Peacock, so the vital variations are within the menu techniques and voice assist. The Lite’s built-in entry to Alexa is a giant benefit should you like talking as a substitute of typing while you seek for reveals and launch apps. In the long run, I preferred the Fireplace TV Lite a bit higher, though the Roku Specific remains to be a wonderful selection too. In case your TV has an 
HDMI
 port, the Fireplace TV Stick Lite is a good way to equip it with a wealth of streaming for not a lot cash.

What’s it?

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Fireplace TV Lite is a USB stick-sized system which plugs right into a spare HDMI port in your TV. For 30 bucks it gives lots of options, together with that devoted voice distant that permits integration with the Alexa voice assistant. There’s additionally dozens of supported 
streaming providers
 amongst its 1000’s of accessible apps.

The distant hasn’t bodily modified a lot because the first Fireplace TV and I did not like the texture as a lot because the Roku distant or the new Google TV distant. Amazon’s clicker additionally lacks the shortcuts to 
Netflix
 or different often-used providers, nevertheless it does embody a brand new dwell TV button. 

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The Lite distant ought to look acquainted to Fireplace TV customers.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Urgent that new backside button brings up a grid-style dwell TV information populated by default with “channels” of free reveals from Pluto TV and Starz. Surprisingly Amazon’s personal IMDb TV just isn’t a part of the dwell TV grid, though it has its personal program grid when you open the app. In case you occur to subscribe to YouTube TV, you will additionally see reveals and channels from that service within the information, though it did not work with Sling TV (subscribers must use the Sling app as common).

The stick itself comes with an influence adapter which Amazon strongly recommends you employ. Whilst you may use the USB ports in your system to energy it I discovered it may trigger the unit may behave surprisingly. For instance, Dolby Atmos content material would not work in any respect when plugged right into a TV USB port, regardless of the system declaring “Dolby Atmos” — the sound got here out as 5.1.

One characteristic on the Lite’s characteristic checklist appears somewhat misplaced: HDR compatibility. That is the primary system we have seen to supply HDR however not 4K decision, and it raises the query of what sort of TV it is designed for. There are tons of of 4K HDR TVs on the market however, based mostly on a search of the Finest Purchase website, there are solely 4 1080p TVs that may do HDR. For most individuals with 4K HDR TVs, we would suggest getting a streamer that may really do 4K as a substitute of a 1080p streamer just like the Lite.

A number of streaming apps

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The Fireplace TV Lite helps a variety of apps.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Like different streaming units the variety of providers that Amazon Fireplace TV helps is bettering on a regular basis. It might probably entry virtually the entire main streaming apps, together with 
Amazon Prime Video
, Peacock, HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, Crackle, Pluto TV, Tubi TV, Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify and plenty of, many extra. 

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The brand new Dwell button on the distant summons a grid-style program information.

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

What it is like to make use of

The wholesome complement of options, tightly built-in voice instructions and its relative pace makes for a successful mixture. Basically opening apps was speedy, and solely navigating the house web page tiles may give a really occasional slow-down, however nothing that spoiled the expertise. 

Utilizing the Fireplace TV Stick Lite distant is simple, and Alexa searches with the microphone button had been extra responsive and related than utilizing the Echo as a go-between. Solely occasionally did I want for a mute button, and that was normally throughout the autoplay movies that accompany the tiles on the house web page.

I appreciated having the ability to use both the distant or an Alexa speaker for voice instructions, however utilizing an Echo speaker did not work with each app I attempted. Asking for “Umbrella Academy” on Netflix failed, for instance, and I simply received a “verify your abilities” message (there may be no official Netflix ability within the Alexa app). 

Utilizing the distant as a substitute of a speaker was extra profitable, however even that wasn’t infallible. Provided that YouTube TV is now tightly built-in I hoped that voice search would work higher than it does. For example I requested for “Battle Bots on YouTube TV” and all I received had been YouTube and Amazon “purchase” hyperlinks. Amazon Prime video labored nicely with Alexa voice, nonetheless.

In distinction, Roku could not have the identical strong voice capabilities, however textual content and voice searches by way of the Roku distant are typically extra focused towards the free/included applications moderately than merely pointing to “purchase now” hyperlinks.  

Image and sound high quality had been additionally superb, however the lack of an audio format management past “Finest Out there” may result in some odd issues. For instance, The Legend of Korra on Netflix utilizing the Lite solely gave me stereo sound (although it must be able to 5.1), whereas the brand new Fireplace Stick did give me the anticipated 5.1. Different applications, together with Jack Ryan on Amazon, had been performed in Atmos on the Lite so it wasn’t doubtless a {hardware} functionality challenge. Extra doubtless a Netflix one, and after I reached out to Amazon for clarification, a spokesperson confirmed the system helps each 5.1 and seven.1. 

053-amazon-fire-stick-tv-and-fire-stick-lite-menu-screens-2020 053-amazon-fire-stick-tv-and-fire-stick-lite-menu-screens-2020

Sarah Tew/CNET

There are two totally different colleges of thought relating to how streaming units manage their content material. App-centric menus like Roku and Apple TV simply present you a grid of apps, so you may’t really browse for one thing to look at with out clicking via to every app. Amazon Fireplace TV and Google TV take a extra content-focused strategy, surfacing numerous titles on the house web page itself. 

In case you wish to graze for content material, the Fireplace TV is perhaps extra interesting, though the “dwell tiles” autoplay video might be jarring. If you recognize what you need already, or a minimum of what app you need to watch, Roku might be a more sensible choice, partly as a result of Amazon’s search outcomes skew closely towards its personal content material (usually at further price). 

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Watch this: All the bulletins from Amazon’s loopy fall occasion

Must you purchase it?

If you’d like an ultracheap, succesful streamer and are embedded with Alexa and the Amazon universe, this product makes lots of sense. It’s possible you’ll or could not miss the TV management capabilities however the Dwell TV Information button is an actual bonus for cord-cutters particularly. At $30 it is a worthy streamer and an important stocking filler.

If, however, you’ve got the 2019 Fireplace Stick, there’s completely no motive so that you can purchase both of the 2020 variations. Dolby Atmos and/or Dolby Imaginative and prescient are bizarre add-ons for 1080p units, and if in case you have an honest 4K TV then you need to get an actual 4K streamer — it is simply one other $20.

First revealed Oct. 8 2020, up to date June 2021 with addition of Peacock.



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