Thinking of buying a new streaming device? Before you commit, note that while most streaming devices are very simple on paper, giving you access to your favorite streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, but they are not all created equal.

The sheer number of choices in brands and models can be daunting. After a lot of research and personal testing of many devices, I am going to explain why the new Amazon Fire TV Stick is a very good option and not just another streaming device, but in fact one that I would urge you to seriously consider.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

App selection – 9/10
The Amazon Fire TV Stick offers many apps, including the most-often used services like Hulu and Netflix, but also offers hundreds more. Do you have Amazon prime as well? Well the Stick works perfectly with Prime, giving you access to lots of shows and movies. So far I have not had any issues finding an app that I needed.

Wifi and Ethernet – 8/10
I have personally designed and installed a Luxul network at my home which makes a great test bed for many Internet-connected devices. I have used Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV Stick on my network and have been very impressed with the Wi-Fi streaming (HD only) on my two Amazon Fire TV Sticks, even when using both them at the same time. It was smart of Amazon to design the Stick to use dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity. I have yet to see any loss in frame rate or failure to play videos. However, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that an Ethernet port be included on the Stick, as I prefer to hardwire whenever I can. However, if you opt for the slightly more expensive Fire TV it does in fact have an Ethernet port and 4K streaming, but it is a bit bigger and harder to hide behind your TV. That can be a big issue for some (like me), but if you have the extra space and cash, go for it!

Value – 8/10
The streaming market is already quite saturated with devices and on top of that, a lot of new HDTVs have it built in. So value has become somewhat important when considering peripherals. The regular cost of a Fire stick was $49.99, but at this writing, it’s only $39.99. The regular cost of the Fire TV is $89.99, but is often on sale for $10-15 less. Compared to others like the Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV, I feel the Fire Stick is priced just right. However, the Chromecast is cheaper and with the Amazon Fire TV Stick often on sale, I am giving it an 8/10.

Amazon Fire TV Stick - Remote

Control – 10/10
There is no IR or RF control to be found on the Amazon Fire TVs and I am actually loving it. As an AV integrator, why would I love that? After using the Fire Stick remote for months now and not ever having it miss a button press once, IR/RF remotes seem like a sending a telegram by comparison. You can also control the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick via smartphone app, which I found works quite well. I was even able to successfully integrate my Fire TV Sticks with Control4 over IP. However, I often use the remote, because it just works so well, almost too well! No delays or battery issues so far. As if the remote couldn’t get any better, you can use a watered down version of Amazon Alexa with the Fire TV remotes to help you find TV shows or even show you the weather. That’s just plain awesome…

Reliability 9/10
Over the past three years, I’ve had four (yes four) Apple TVs fail on me and many, many hard resets to get them to work again. No issues with my Fire TV Sticks though, never even had to do a reset. But I’m only at 6 months with my Fire Sticks, so time will tell.

Amazon Fire TV Stick - Weather Report

Bottom Line:
Overall, the Amazon Fire TV Stick just works when you want it to and in the unlikely event it doesn’t, there’s Amazon’s excellent customer service to back you up. Wi-Fi image quality was better than I had expected with HD-only streaming. Price-wise, it could be a bit cheaper, maybe even free with an Amazon Prime account, that would be nice! But it’s definitely not the most expensive streaming device out there. If you want 4K streaming remember that you will need the Fire TV (not the Stick) and make sure you have access to Ethernet where you plan to install it. If you aren’t using 4K just yet, you can get away with the Fire TV Stick at this point and get a really good value and tons of content for just $40 (I did!). Don’t forget, you also get a unique version of Amazon’s Alexa, that is a bit watered down, but it can use your TV to deliver information like weather forecasts. Overall I give the Fire TV and more specifically the Amazon Fire TV Stick a solid 8.8/10.

  • Steve

    I have been using the Amazon Fire TV (not the stick) for a year now and could not be happier. I have used it with both WiFi and hard wired internet connection. For the sake of simplicity – one remote to rule them all – I added the FLIRC FL-09028 USB Universal Remote Control Receiver which I bought on Amazon. Once the FL-09028 was programmed on my laptop and plugged into the USB port on the Fire TV, my wife and I can now control the Fire TV from the same remote control used for the Preamp, TV, DVD players, Apple TV, etc. The Fire TV along with our Prime subscription makes for a very good value. We added the Acorn service that gives access to lots of good British TV favorites. Fortunately our local internet provider now offers a low cost streaming service for local channels, as well as the more popular national channels, e.g. Weather, CNN, MSNBC, etc., and we can get HBO, Netflix on either the Apple TV or Fire TV. We have cut the cable and are not looking back.

  • Indiana Lang

    Since moving into my first house last year I dropped cable and never looked back. Streaming is definitely the way of the future!

  • sriniwass

    I’ve owned a Fire TV and a Fire TV stick for over three years. I love both of them. However, the Fire TV voice remote is junk. I’ve owned the Fire TV for more than three years and have already been through 2 remotes. To make matters worse, replacement remotes are $30. You will see many complaints about this in the reviews of the Fire TV remote on Amazon.

  • Indiana Lang

    Well, they do have an app for that.

  • sriniwass

    Yes, I do have the app. I do not like using it. Having an app does not excuse them from making a better quality product.

  • Sharon Strawn

    We received the Amazon FireTVstick with Alexa Voice Remote for a late Christmas gift from our daughter. We can not open the remote to insert the batteries. Has anyone else had this problem, and if so, any recommendations as to how to get the thing open? It is use less unless we can use the remote!

  • Indiana Lang

    Hi, Sharon, the bottom should slide right off towards the bottom of the remote. What I do is place my thumb on the bottom lip of the remote (the little part that is slanted down) and push upwards to the top of the remote, the bottom of the remote should slide right off.