Overview of the Fire TV Stick 4K
The Fire TV Stick 4K is Amazon’s compact yet powerful streaming device launched in 2018. Despite being a few years old, it still outpaces many competitors in the budget 4K streaming space thanks to its impressive features and performance.
Design and Dimensions
The Fire TV Stick 4K features a minimalist matte black plastic design that keeps things simple. It measures just 3.9 x 1.2 x 0.6 inches, making it slim and portable enough to plug into just about any TV setup.
For tricky HDMI ports that are hard to access, Amazon includes a short flexible HDMI extender cable. This lets you position the stick at different angles to fit your configuration.
Weighing in at just 1.1 ounces, the Fire TV Stick 4K is feather light. You can easily move it between rooms or take it on trips without adding any noticeable bulk.
Video and Audio Specs
Despite its diminutive size, the Fire TV Stick 4K is capable of streaming 4K Ultra HD video at up to 2160p resolution and 60 frames per second. This enables smooth, high quality 4K streaming from compatible apps and services.
For high dynamic range (HDR) video, the Fire TV Stick 4K supports Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, and hybrid log-gamma (HLG) formats. This provides expanded contrast and vivid colors when viewing HDR content.
On the audio side, the Fire TV Stick 4K supports Dolby Atmos for immersive sound when connected to a compatible sound system.
Hardware and Networking
A quad-core 1.7GHz processor and 1.5GB of memory power the streaming and interface. This hardware combo delivers snappy navigation and quick app launching.
The Fire TV Stick 4K includes a dual-band WiFi 5 radio with MIMO support for wireless connectivity. It also has Bluetooth 5.0 for connecting headphones, speakers, and other accessories.
There is no ethernet port, but you can purchase a $15 OTG adapter for wired connectivity if needed.
Storage comes in at 8GB, providing room for plenty of apps. And the micro USB port handles power input.
Alexa Voice Remote
The Fire TV Stick 4K includes Amazon’s upgraded Alexa Voice Remote. This slim black remote allows you to launch apps, search for content, and more completely hands-free using Alexa.
Dedicated power, volume, and mute buttons let you control your TV without needing a separate remote. There are also quick access buttons for popular streaming apps like Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+.
Fire TV OS Interface
The simple yet powerful Fire TV OS runs the show on the Fire TV Stick 4K. The intuitive interface features rows of your favorite apps, recommended content, and more.
Deep Alexa integration enables voice control of media playback, smart home devices, and more. Alexa provides visual responses right on your TV screen.
Now let’s look at the setup process and getting started with the Fire TV Stick 4K.
Setting Up the Fire TV Stick 4K
Setting up the Fire TV Stick 4K is quick and straightforward. Here is an overview of the steps:
1. Plug In the Hardware
The first part of the setup process involves the physical connections:
- Plug the Fire TV Stick 4K directly into an open HDMI port on your TV. Make sure your TV is powered on.
- If you need extra length or flexibility due to a hard to access port, use the included HDMI extender cable.
- Connect the micro USB end of the power cable to the Fire TV Stick 4K and plug the other end into an electrical outlet or power strip.
Once connected, the Fire TV Stick 4K will usually power on automatically. If not, you may need to navigate to your TV’s correct video input channel.
2. Connect to Your WiFi Network
After booting up for the first time, the Fire TV Stick 4K will guide you through connecting to your WiFi network:
- Use the Alexa Voice Remote to select your wireless network from the list of available connections.
- Enter your network password using the on-screen keyboard.
- The Fire TV Stick 4K will connect and test the speeds.
For reliable 4K UHD streaming, your network should provide speeds of at least 15 Mbps, preferably over 5GHz WiFi. If you notice frequent buffering, however, wired Ethernet is recommended.
3. Sign Into Your Amazon Account
Once connected to WiFi, you’ll be prompted to sign into (or create) an Amazon account:
- If you already have an Amazon account, enter your email and password.
- Otherwise, select the option to create a new account and follow the steps to set up your Amazon profile.
- No paid Amazon Prime membership is required. You can use a free account.
4. Explore the Fire TV Interface
After signing in, you’ll land on the main Fire TV interface:
- Here you’ll see rows of recommended movies, TV shows, apps, and Amazon content.
- Use the Alexa Voice Remote to navigate and select titles to view more details and start streaming.
- Say “Alexa” and make a voice request to search for content, launch apps, control smart home devices, and more.
And that’s it! The Fire TV Stick 4K is now ready to start streaming. Next we’ll dive into the Fire TV OS and Alexa integration.
Exploring the Fire TV OS Interface and Alexa
The Fire TV operating system provides a simple yet powerful streaming platform. Intuitive menus combined with deep Alexa integration make finding and controlling content easy.
Fire TV OS Layout
The main Fire TV interface features rows of content tailored to your viewing habits and interests:
- Home – The top row shows recently accessed apps and recommendations based on viewing history.
- Find – Search through a catalog of movies, TV shows, apps, Alexa skills, etc. Voice search with Alexa is also available.
- Live – Access live TV streaming services like Hulu Live, Sling TV, and YouTube TV.
- Movies – Browse new releases and popular movies available from your apps.
- TV Shows – Discover new series and episodes from your streaming apps.
- Apps – View all installed apps in a single row.
- Prime Video – Direct access to Amazon’s streaming movie and TV catalog.
- My Stuff – View bookmarked content from various streaming services in one place.
The rows dynamically change to highlight timely content like new releases and live sports. The interface also brings Alexa suggestions and recommendations to the forefront.
Overall, navigation feels snappy thanks to the quad-core processor. Transitioning between menus, launching apps, and loading content is quick.
Alexa on Fire TV
Alexa is deeply integrated into the Fire TV OS, enabling powerful voice control capabilities:
- Launch Apps – Say “Alexa, open Netflix” to start streaming immediately.
- Play Media – Request content like “Alexa, play The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” to start playback.
- Search – Find content with voice commands like “Alexa, search for action movies.”
- Smart Home Control – Manage lights, thermostats, cameras and more with Alexa.
- General Information – Ask Alexa for sports scores, weather forecasts, definitions, calculations, etc.
Alexa also provides visual responses directly on your TV. For example, sports scores display team logos and weather forecasts include graphics.
You can even pair the Fire TV Stick 4K with an Echo speaker for hands-free TV control from across the room. Alexa makes navigating Fire TV a breeze.
Next let’s examine the streaming performance and capabilities of the Fire TV Stick 4K.
Streaming Performance and Capabilities
With support for major 4K, HDR formats, and speedy internals, the Fire TV Stick 4K offers an excellent streaming experience, especially for the price.
4K and HDR
The Fire TV Stick 4K is capable of streaming 2160p resolution video at up to 60 frames per second. This enables smooth playback of 4K content from compatible apps and services.
For high dynamic range video, the Fire TV Stick 4K supports the major HDR formats:
- Dolby Vision – Dolby’s HDR technology with scene-by-scene adjustments for optimal picture.
- HDR10 – Basic HDR video with static metadata based on the entire video.
- HDR10+ – An enhanced version of HDR10 with dynamic scene-based metadata.
- HLG – A broadcast television standard that combines HDR and standard dynamic range video.
Covering all major HDR bases ensures vivid colors and expanded contrast when viewing HDR-enabled content.
In terms of raw performance, the Fire TV Stick 4K provides snappy streaming thanks to its:
- Quad-core 1.7GHz processor – Quickly launches apps and navigates menus.
- 1.5GB memory – Provides sufficient RAM for smooth multitasking.
- Dual-band WiFi – Streams over congested networks with minimal buffering at sufficient speeds.
- Bluetooth 5.0 – Enables wireless audio connectivity.
Benchmarks show the Fire TV Stick 4K outperforms competitors like the Roku Streaming Stick+ in app launch times and UI navigation speed.
Of course, your network connection is still the ultimate factor in streaming quality. For the most reliable 4K streaming, ethernet is recommended if available.
The Fire TV Stick 4K provides access to a vast library of media apps and services:
- Prime Video – Included with Prime membership for unlimited streaming.
- Netflix – View Netflix originals and movies in 4K HDR.
- Hulu – On-demand and live TV streaming with Hulu’s catalog.
- Disney+ – Stream Disney classics and new originals.
- HBO Max – Enjoy HBO’s libraries of movies, shows, and Max exclusives.
- YouTube – Watch YouTube videos and creators in up to 4K.
- Pluto TV – Free access to over 250 streaming linear channels.
- Apple TV – View Apple TV+ originals and access iTunes libraries.
- Twitch – Watch live streams from top gaming creators.
And many more popular apps like ESPN, Sling TV, Philo, and Tubi are also available. App selection lags behind Roku but covers all the major 4K streaming services.
Now let’s compare the Fire TV Stick 4K to competitors on metrics like price, pros, and cons.
How the Fire TV Stick 4K Compares to the Competition
The Fire TV Stick 4K holds its own against competitors like Roku and Apple TV, especially given its affordable $50 price point. Here’s how it stacks up.
Fire TV Stick 4K vs. Roku Streaming Stick+
The Roku Streaming Stick+ is Roku’s comparable budget 4K HDR streaming stick. Here’s how the specs and features compare:
- Price – Both retail around $50 regular price.
- 4K/HDR – Each supports 4K, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, with similar performance.
- Processor – The Fire TV Stick 4K benchmarks faster with its quad-core CPU.
- Wireless – Roku offers ethernet compatibility; Fire TV Stick 4K is Wi-Fi only.
- Voice – Fire TV has built-in Alexa; Roku has a voice remote but no assistant.
- Apps – Roku offers more apps with over 10,000; Fire TV has most major services.
For cord cutters wanting the widest app support, Roku is the better choice. But the Fire TV Stick 4K is faster and has richer voice features.
Fire TV Stick 4K vs. Apple TV 4K
Apple’s latest Apple TV 4K brings its polished ecosystem to 4K HDR streaming:
- Price – Apple TV 4K is more expensive at $179. The Fire TV Stick 4K is only $50.
- 4K/HDR – Both support Dolby Vision and major HDR formats. Apple may have a slight edge.
- Processor – Apple TV 4K benchmarks significantly faster thanks to its A12 Bionic chip.
- Wireless – Apple TV 4K adds WiFi 6 support; Fire TV Stick 4K is WiFi 5.
- Voice – Siri on Apple TV cannot match Alexa’s smart home control breadth.
- Apps – Apple TV leverages a robust iOS ecosystem; Fire TV has most major services.
With richer voice features and far lower prices, the Fire TV Stick 4K is the better value. But Apple TV 4K provides a more polished experience if budget is no concern.
Fire TV Stick 4K vs. Chromecast with Google TV
Google’s latest Chromecast streaming dongle competes directly with the Fire TV Stick 4K:
- Price – Similarly priced around $50.
- 4K/HDR – Both support all major HDR formats. Performance is comparable.
- Processor – Benchmarks show the Chromecast slightly lags the Fire TV Stick 4K.
- Wireless – Like Fire TV, Chromecast is WiFi-only. Both are WiFi 5.
- Voice – Chromecast has Google Assistant, while Fire TV offers Alexa.
- Apps – Chromecast provides a full Google Play app suite; Fire TV lacks some Google apps.
Those invested in Google’s ecosystem may lean towards the Chromecast. But Alexa and slightly snappier performance give the Fire TV Stick 4K the overall edge.
Now that we’ve compared the competition let’s evaluate some pros and cons of the Fire TV Stick 4K.
Pros and Cons of the Fire TV Stick 4K
Based on its combination of performance, features, and value, here are some pros and cons to consider about the Fire TV Stick 4K:
- Affordable price – At around $50, it’s one of the most affordable 4K HDR streamers available.
- Smooth 4K streaming – Supports all major HDR formats and delivers smooth 2160p video playback.
- Snappy performance – Quad-core processor provides quick app launches and navigation.
- Alexa integration – Deep Alexa voice control features not found on Roku or Chromecast.
- Universal search – Aggregates content results from installed apps into one search.
- Travel-friendly – Small size and included extender make it easy to pack and use anywhere.
For buyers on a tight budget wanting 4K streaming with Alexa voice features, the Fire TV Stick 4K represents a fantastic value.
- No ethernet port – Must use WiFi for connectivity – ethernet requires an adapter.
- Some UI lag – Interface has occasional lag compared to pricier streamers.
- No Google Play Store – Missing official Google Play app access that Roku and Chromecast offer.
- Remote lacks TV controls – Cannot control TV power and volume as the upgraded Alexa Voice Remote Pro can.
For the price, there are very few major weaknesses. But some lag and lack of ethernet could bother pickier streamers.
The Fire TV Stick 4K provides unmatched value in affordable 4K HDR streaming. Next, summarize who can benefit most from the Fire TV Stick 4K.
Who Should Get the Fire TV Stick 4K?
With its blend of performance, voice features, and value the Fire TV Stick 4K is an excellent option for:
At around $50, the Fire TV Stick 4K is one of the most affordable ways to add full-featured 4K HDR streaming to any TV. The price makes it accessible to cost-conscious shoppers.
Despite the low price, you still get smooth 2160p video, Dolby Vision/HDR10+, Dolby Atmos audio, and speedy navigation. Value seekers can’t go wrong with the Fire TV Stick 4K.
The Fire TV Stick 4K is a perfect streamer choice for users already invested in Amazon’s ecosystem. Alexa enables simple voice control of your Amazon content and smart home devices.
Deep Prime Video integration makes the Fire TV Stick 4K ideal as an additional streamer for Echo households. Alexa helps unify the experience.
The Fire TV Stick 4K makes an excellent travel companion thanks to its portable design. Just pack it and the power cord to stream all your apps and subscriptions anywhere with a TV.
The included extender helps situate the Fire TV Stick 4K for optimal reception in hotels and rental properties. Streaming on the go is easy with its convenience and flexibility.
With excellent 4K HDR streaming, snappy performance, and Alexa voice features for an affordable $50, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is one of the best values in streaming. Its smooth streaming and deep Alexa integration make it a top choice, especially for Prime member households.
While light on extras like a full smart remote or wired ethernet connectivity, the Fire TV Stick 4K provides a complete 4K streaming experience at a budget-friendly price. For shoppers wanting premium Roku or Apple TV features, stepping up to higher priced models is recommended. But for seamless 4K streaming under $50, the Fire TV Stick 4K can’t be beat.
Tips and Recommendations for New Owners
Here are some handy tips for getting the most out of your new Fire TV Stick 4K:
Download Streaming Apps Upfront
Save time by downloading essential streaming apps upfront rather than on-demand:
- Prime Video – Included with Prime for access to originals, movies and more.
- Netflix – Premier destination for original series and on-demand shows/movies.
- Hulu – Great for next day streaming of network and cable TV.
- Disney+ – Must-have for Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and other content.
- HBO Max – Unlocks HBO’s huge catalog of popular series and films.
Also grab any others like ESPN, Sling TV, or Philo based on your preferences.
Enable Voice Control with Alexa
Make use of the included Alexa Voice Remote to enable hands-free voice control:
- Say “Alexa” and request to launch apps, play media, check information and more.
- Manage smart home devices like lights, cameras, and appliances by voice.
- Use Alexa to search for content across multiple streaming apps at once.
- Pair with an Echo device for TV control from anywhere in your home.
Optimize Streaming Quality
Get the most out of 4K HDR streaming with these tips:
- Position WiFi router as close as possible to minimize interference.
- Connect to 5GHz WiFi network instead of 2.4GHz for higher bandwidth.
- Test internet speeds and upgrade plan if below 25Mbps.
- Adjust TV display settings to enable HDR mode and match 4K resolution.
Accessorize your Fire TV Stick 4K setup:
- Remote case/holder – Protects Alexa Voice Remote from damage.
- HDMI extender – Provides more positioning flexibility.
- Ethernet adapter – For wired streaming if WiFi is unreliable.
- Wireless keyboard – Makes text entry easier for search, apps.
Common troubleshooting steps:
- Reboot the device and router if apps freeze or streaming stutters.
- Re-pair remote if voice commands stop responding.
- Disable HDCP if 4K content fails to play correctly.
- Factory reset device if all else fails to restore functionality.
With these tips, you can avoid headaches and take full advantage of all the Fire TV Stick 4K offers!