Now watching a Netflix movie like The Irishman or an Amazon original show like Fleabag in the small screens of our phones is not what everyone looks forward to very happily ,on the other hand the hefty bill of the latest “smart tv” is also out of budget and priority for majority of us in these times. It’s where mediastream devices like the ‘Amazon Fire Tv stick’ , ‘Google’s Chrome’ cast or the newly launched ‘Mi box 4K’ fit perfectly into the picture .
While ‘lockdown’ has restricted us to to stay at home and obstructed every first day first show plans we used to make , it’s the ‘OTT’ (over-the-top) platforms like Netflix ,Prime Video ,Disney+Hotstar ,etc, that have helped to fill up the entertainment quotient being at home.In the following blog i will discuss about my experience so far with the Amazon Fire Tv stick after more than a year’s regular usage and where it stands today in light of it’s competition, Should you get one ? Is it better than the traditional cable tv ? and What price to get it ?
To answer all such questions , let’s get started.
What is the Amazon Fire TV Stick ?
Imagine being able to take your TV with you wherever you go. That’s the main functionality you get with the Fire TV Stick. It houses all of your content and is completely portable . You can just plug-and-play the device with any Tv (need not be smart) that has a HDMI port. Simply plug and enjoy all of your favourite content using a WiFi network or creating a hotspot from your phone , in case there is no WiFi network around.
If you already are an Amazon Prime member, your Fire TV Stick comes pre-registered to your account whenever you order it from Amazon’s website so that you have immediate access to all of your Amazon Prime content.Though for other platforms like Netflix , Disney+Hotstar , ZEE5 , you need to get a separate subscription if not already purchased .
If you are making your mind to get one , this literally would be the perfect time because while writing the article it is retailing at a much lower price than usual , head to amazon to check out the reduced prices-
Amazon fire TV stick here – https://amzn.to/3fvATAq
Amazon fire TV stick 4k here – https://amzn.to/2YEzmB3
So when you purchase a Fire Tv stick from Amazon , u will receive the following contents in the box:
1. Fire TV Stick
2. Alexa Voice Remote
3. USB cable and power adapter
4. HDMI extender
5. 2 AAA batteries,
6. Quick Start Guides
The stick runs on a Quad-core ARM based processor clocked at 1.3 GHz with a Mali450 GPU and has an 8GB of internal storage available for applications while supporting dual band WiFi with Bluetooth 4.1 .The 2nd gen fire tv stick comes along the Alexa Voice remote which means you can just ask Alexa through your voice command to play content on your TV. It also supports Dolby Audio with provisions for 5.1 surround sound and through HDMI audio pass , you can even extend it to 7.1 channel audio support.
And with my experience, there’s hardly any issue in the OS ,there’s a separate AppStore to download the featured apps and the software updates are pretty regular.
The built in YouTube cast works perfectly fine which means you can directly cast a YouTube video playing on your phone to the Fire Tv stick given that both the devices are connected to the same network. Netflix , Disney+Hotstar , Zee5 , Dicovery+ , infact Apple TV too runs without any problems, lag or playback issues .
Now the biggest question that comes to our mind ,especially in India is –
Can it replace the regular cable tv or paid d2H services that we have been using for ages ?
My answer is YES and NO .
Let me explain .
So i disconnected my cable Tv connection few months after i started using the Fire Tv stick . So from past 7-8 months the fire tv stick is my sole medium of TV entertainment . There were two main reasons i did that:
- I realised that majority of my viewership is from YouTube , Netflix ,prime video and so on .
- Jio and Airtel came to rescue with the introduction of IPTV providing apps such as JioTV and Airtel Xstream giving access to the major mainstream channels on the app itself without having to pay extra .
Unfortunately, none of these apps are available directly in the Fire TV AppStore but fortunately through some minor settings under developer options i downloaded the JioTV app on my fire tv stick and it functions perfectly fine . You can find multiple how to videos on YouTube regarding the same.
Getting sorted with Live TV channels , it made complete sense to disconnect the cable tv subscription costing anywhere near 400-500 bucks a month adding up to approx ₹6000 a year .
Comparing to the OTT subscriptions(most used) – Amazon Prime video – ₹1000 a year ; Hotstar-₹399 annually for VIP , Netflix – ₹200 per-head per-month for 4 people using the ₹799 plan, making up to ₹2400 annually. All adding to approximately ₹4000 per year including all the favourite movies , shows , youtube and the added bonus of Live tv channels.
Also , various mobile operators like Jio ,Airtel ,Vodafone have great plans for postpaid users giving benefits such as free Amazon prime for 1 yr , Netflix for 3 months , Zee5 for a year and many other useful subscriptions like Shaw academy. I personally use an Airtel postpaid connection and received all the above benefits .
Apart from these many companies provide special benefits for students or the younger subscribers. For example: Amazon provides a plan named Youth Offer in which if you are in the age bracket of 18-24 you can get ₹500 cash back on the ₹1000 annual Prime subscription by submitting few identification documents to verify your age , making the plan stand effectively at ₹500(One time use) .
And the NO in my answer earlier is mainly due to the fact that streaming experience is mainly linked to good network availability, so if u do not have a good internet connection, i would strongly recommend getting one to take full advantage of streaming devices.
Price and Competition
Apart from the cheap fake streaming devices available in the market for 500-1000 bucks , there are mainly 2 rivals to Amazon’s fire tv stick :
- Google chrome cast
- Newly launched Mi box 4K
Now , amazon also sells a 4K version for the fire tv stick and the only other 4K competitor to it is the mi box 4K which at the time of writing this blog is retailing at an introductory price of ₹3500 on mi.com . Though the mi box 4K And fire stick 4k share almost the same hardware specs and features like Dolby vision HDR10 support and more , the difference in prices would decide a clear cut winner in the 4K viewing department .
Coming back to 1080p (Full HD) , which majority of our pre owned tv’s support , the fire stick in my opinion is a much better deal with better portability option given that you buy it in a sale . At this moment it retails at ₹3199 on amazon.in and i bought it at a similar price in one the the amazon’s sales , so now would be a great time to get one.
Well for google’s chromecast , it literally is not giving any competition to anyone. Retailing at ₹3500 on flipkart , it cannot compete with the mi box giving 4k support and in my personal opinion it doesn’t have any parameter surpassing the fire stick as well.
So finally to conclude , if you are planning to buy a new 4k panel or already have one , Mi box 4k is good but Amazon’s fire tv stick bought at a good price like right now, would be the best of the lot.
Price drop alert –
You can buy the Amazon fire TV stick here- https://amzn.to/3fvATAq
You can buy The Amazon fire TV stick 4k here – https://amzn.to/2YEzmB3
Also, lots of interesting tech updates are around the corner – with apple’s WWDC 2020 scheduled on June 22th and the Oneplus set to launch a newer range of affordable tv’s on July 2 followed by the launch of OnePlus Nord smartphone. I’ll update all the important takeaways from these launches.
For now,this is all in today’s edition of updated , a big thanks if you have come this far in reading the blog, see u in the next one.