Before I jump into the review of the New FireTV, I want to note other people’s review on this product .
High profile Critics like CNET and Techradarseem to be good with this product, but individuals with reviews of their own on Amazon not somuch This is a head scratcher because typicallyAmazons products tend to review pretty well, especially on their website.
Here the Fire Stick for example.
So I guess the question is where do I land on this? To be completely honest there’s a lot tonot like about this device, but.
what are you guys looking at? I wasn’t.
I wasn’t talking about you I was talking about Roku.
I wasn’t Oh come on – don’t go.
I didn’t think he would.
I should go after him, right? Actually let’s start the review first, I’lldeal with him in a little bit The unboxing experience is pretty nice.
Definitely a step up from the Fire tabletunboxing I did in my last video.
You can power the Fire TV either with a walloutlet or by plugging it into a usb slot in the televisionitself Also, odd no reset button.
I think this is a mistake, but to be fairI’ve only had the fire TV lock up on me once in the few weeks I’ve owned it.
I just had to unplug the fire TV and plugit back in to get it going again.
After putting my wifi in, an update to theFire TV, a few reboots and logging into my Amazon account, I was good to get streaming.
Actually I take that back, I didn’t need tolog in! I think because amazon shipped it and theyhad my account info they had me already logged in and ready to go.
Nice touch Amazon! I really like the app picker at the beginningof the setup.
It shows popular options in several categoriesto get you started in streaming.
After I was in I tried to find where I couldsearch for apps.
But then I realized that was what Alexa wasfor.
This makes installing apps really easy.
I bought a kit including the echo dot To use that with it, you have to link Alexaon the echo dot in the Alexa app After that short process you’re good to go.
The interface is really nice It looks a lot nicer than the Roku interfacewhich I can appreciate, but it’s a little bit amazon-centric.
To be fair Amazon does promote things otherthan their apps.
I like how on the main screen if you highlightsomething Amazon is promoting it shows a trailer in the background but it’s totally out ofthe way and you can still control things if the trailer doesn’t grab you.
But the Fire TV definitely pushes Amazon servicesfor sure.
It’s like every other thing is somethingAmazon is streaming.
And they update this home screen pretty frequently.
It seems like daily, which is really nicefor getting exposed to new things.
It supports tons of apps – Netflix, Hulu, Epix, Prime Video, and there are even some I’ll talk about later Plex and HDHomerun There are some notable missing – Vudu andGoogle Play Movies for instance.
I guess amazon didn’t want the competition.
But I will note although it has YouTube, it’snot a official app.
YouTube and Amazon have a complicated relationship.
It works but it’s a less than perfect experiencewith video stuttering and some additional load times, but it’s pretty good for the mostpart And it supports HDR which we’ll talk aboutlater you can beam YouTube from your phone to theFire TV which is a really fun feature Also the screensaver that it uses is reallyawesome.
These photos just stop me in my tracks attimes Let’s just enjoy these for a little bit Hey I’ve been there! But Alexa is where this thing shines You can control Alexa via the voice remoteor hands free with a nearby echo device like my echo dot You can pause, play or even rewind or fastforward a specific amount of seconds.
Really cool stuff But this functionality doesn’t work on everyapp Prime Video works flawlessly.
Netflix is close but it won’t let you specifyan amount of seconds, you can just fast forward or rewind 10 seconds at a time And Hulu just supports pausing and playing YouTube would let you pause and play but fastforward or rewind just skipped to another video.
But even HDHomerun supported fast forwardand I wouldn’t consider that a high profile app, although again you couldn’t specify theamount seconds I imagine support will be added in the nearfuture for all of these features for all of these apps though Here’s some cool things you can do.
I can tell Alexa to play a particular showand sometimes it’s smart enough to know where I can watch that show for free Alexa, Play Stranger Things See here, it knew it was on Netflix Alexa, play This Is Us And here it knew it was on Hulu And a simple “Alexa play” gets thingsgoing But sometimes you hit some walls with Alexa.
Like if I tell it to play SpongeBob SquarePantsit takes me to purchase it instead of to prime video where I can watch it for free.
And this is Alexa, so you can even controlsmart devices Set the temperature to 52 The heat is set to 52 Or order something Order toilet paper Alright Or have it tell you a joke Tell me a joke What is a pirates favorite animal? Arrhhh-varks This is a lot of functionality you don’tget with other devices.
But I will say controlling the Fire TV sometimesfeels a little limited.
Here is all the commands I’m aware you cando Be sure to be specific in your wording.
It’s not the smartest voice control I’veseen But what’s missing? You can’t navigate the menus by saying upor down, it just supports pretty specific stuff Even something as simple as turning on yourtv is out of the question.
“Alexa, turn the tv on” Sorry I didn’t find tv Nope nothing.
What’s dumb here is this device supportsHDMI CEC so theoretically Amazon could program this feature in.
By the way HDMI CEC is an awesome featurethat MANY people don’t know about Basically it allows the device and the TVto communicate so the Fire TV can control your television and vis versa, To make things a little more clear, by clickingthe home button on my fire TV remote, the tv will turn on And I can control my fire tv with my televisionremote – it’s really simple and really awesome you’re welcome! Not all TVs support it, but a lot do and it’sreally a easy setup.
I found the performance to be pretty good I’ve used the Fire TV Stick and I foundthis to be a good bit faster and more responsive.
and I’ve used the 2015 Fire TV and to behonest it’s tough to say which is faster.
It’s really close, but this certainly isn’tan upgrade from that.
There is a bit of lag sometimes, but it’stough to say if it’s because it’s not a powerful enough device or if it might beimproved through software updates One question I had going into purchasing thiswas how reliable this Fire TV was I’m happy to say even after long streamingsessions it held up like a champ I did run into some bugs and app crashes andit makes me think this device needs to cook a little longer in the developer oven I think amazon will eventually polish up thisdevice with a few patches and updates This is a 4K HDR device, so what about that, right? Well this is embarrassing, but I don’t havea tv with HDR.
or 4k I know, I know.
I can see the comments now.
“You call yourself a tech reviewer and youdon’t have a 4k HDR TV? Unsub! – Love, Mom” You might be wondering why I’d buy one ofthese without a TV supporting those features and I have a reason I promise, but I’llget to that later Luckily a friend of mine has a 4K HDR tv andthey allowed me give it go 4K HDR with the Fire TV is really nice.
I tried netflix, amazon, youtube in HDR andHDR is awesome, but I’d say even a non HDR image still looks great from this device in4k.
I could only notice the HDR difference inselect scenes that really take advantage of the extra range of color.
But watching at 4k though, that was a gamechanger for me.
The edges and crispness of the image we’renearly perfect.
It definitely makes me want to accidentallydrop a bucket of water on my 60in Vizio Loading the 4k HDR image was plenty fast evendespite the extra data powering that image.
My friend has fiber internet at a gigabitspeed and loading was near instantaneous with the Fire TV But you shouldn’t need that much.
Amazon claims a speed of 20 megabits per secondshould do the trick.
Which is surprising, I would have thoughtyou would need more.
The fire supports HDR 10 and not the DolbyVersion of HDR so make sure your tv supports that if you’re wanting to take advantageof HDR.
Also at this time only Netflix, YouTube andAmazon apps support HDR, so not a huge collection right now, but I’m sure more will come later.
Also, this device is perfectly portable.
Just bring it along and connect it to wifiand you’re off and running The built in HDMI cable helps this portability, but another reason I like having an all in one device like this is it saves you a littlebit of money.
An HDMI cable that supports 4k at 60hz withHDR runs for about $10 on Amazon.
It’s a nice little bit of savings baked inthere The main reason I got a 4k HDR device withouta 4k or HDR television was because I wanted to use HDHomerun.
HDHomerun doesn’t require a 4k hdr device, but I needed the extra horsepower to get this thing going It’s a service that allows you to watchtelevision off of an antenna Actually it’s a little more complicatedthan that, but it requires quite a bit of horsepower.
And Roku doesn’t have an app for it, sothat’s why I decided to pick up this Fire TV I’m happy to say it works pretty well.
Not totally perfect with a few hitches hereand there but pretty good nonetheless To be fair no device I’ve ever used runs HDhomerunperfectly.
I also tried plex which is a popular app forplaying media stored internally on your network I was able to watch tv shows I recorded onmy computer from the HD Homerun seamlessly – great performance here.
I haven’t talked about specs yet, becauseI think a device like this is more about what it can do than what’s on the inside But it rocks a Amlogic Quad-core 1.
5 GHz | ARM4xCA53 and Mali450 MP3 GPU Yeah I don’t know what those are either, but they work well enough.
It also has 2 gb of ram and only sports 8gbof storage which in this day and age does seems a bit low, but that appears to be thenorm for these small tv devices.
It should be enough to store any apps youmight want, but storing let’s say your movie collection is out of the question.
But that’s not what a device like this isfor so it’s totally forgivable It supports these codecs on the screen ifthat interests you.
Pause the screen if you want this, I’m aboutto take them away.
But If you were hoping of gaming on this device, oh boy you’re going to be disappointed.
I tried to play crossy road, yes crossy roadand man that was bad.
Very laggy and did I mention it’s just crossyroad.
This is not an intense game by any stretch After that I didn’t bother with any othergames.
If it can’t handle Crossy road, I don’tthink it will run Crysis.
It does support some game controllers, butwith it’s lack of graphics power, I wouldn’t bother getting one.
Also a little random the included remote forsome unknown reason uses bluetooth instead of well whatever it was using before I’m not sure what’s the deal with thechange, but it still takes 2 AAA batteries But nothing else has changed.
Exact same layout and form factor.
Comparing it to my roku remote – this is theprevious version of the Roku remote granted, but the fires is skinnier and has more buttons, although the Roku remote has buttons to specific apps which is nice.
But the sleeker design actually hurts theFire a little bit.
I found this remote really easy to lose withit being all black and it being so skinny it easily slides right into my seat cushions.
Hmm maybe smaller and sleeker isn’t alwaysbetter.
just a thought.
There is even a remote app and it works asyou’d expect, but it does use some sort of a touchpad instead of buttons which isfine, but a little odd.
Also it doesn’t support private listeningthrough the phone like Roku does.
This is a nifty feature on Rokus where youcan listen to the audio streaming from the phone instead of it going through the tv speakers.
You can do this with earbuds to get a privatelistening experience To put it simply, if you want a new AmazonFire with HDR and the idea of Alexa being built in appeals, then at this point thisis device to get.
It’s a pretty good device, but it’s definitelynot perfect.
If you already have the 2015 Amazon Fire TV, then you might want to wait for the next Amazon Fire if you’re wanting an upgrade Rumor is it’s coming out next year sometime.
Also if you’re happy with your current streamingsolution like through Smart Tv or Game console, I really don’t see a need to switch unlessyou think you’d benefit from the hands free control of Alexa or you’re wanting the 4kHDR support With that said where do I land on this deviceand rift between critics and the average user I think the issue here is the marketing.
This is a new 4k HDR fire streaming stick, I don’t care that amazon is calling it a Fire TV and not a streaming stick.
If you look at it like that, I don’t thinkyou’ll be disappointed.
Not that this is a step back from the 2015amazon fire tv.
No not at all.
It’s more of side step As I mentioned before, I used the 2015 FireTV for a few weeks before getting this one and although the older version is more polishedwith less bugs, I don’t think performance is that different as the streaming box.
It’s basically the same thing in smaller profile.
That is unless you care about gaming on these, a microSD card slot for sideloading things and getting an Ethernet jack built in Well on that last one, you can get an Ethernetjack on this sold separately for $15 .
except you can’t right now.
It’s not on sale for a few more weeks.
If these drawbacks are pushing you away fromthis device, then you might want to consider the new Roku devices that came out recently.
There is a lot more of a selection to choosefrom and they seem really nice on paper although I haven’t used one yet And they can control the volume on your TVfrom the remote, how great is that? I’ve linked some to look at in the description.
I think that’s it for the review, thanksso much for watching.
I uhh, I gotta go now I thought I might find you here So, how are you holding up? I’m sorry, I mean, I don’t even like Crossyroad Why don’t you just come home, Iheard there’s a new episode of the Walking Dead that just came out.
I’ve been really wanting to seethat.
Listen, maybe you’re not the perfect streamingbox for everyone, but your perfect for me.
At least untilsomething better comes out.