Amazon has launched its Fire TV Stick with a voice remote in India, which can be plugged inside a compatible television set. This will let users surf for content from Netflix, Prime Video, etc on their regular old TV.
Now naturally comparisons are being made between the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Google’s popular Chromecast 2. So what does Amazon Fire TV Stick offer, and how is it different from Google’s streaming device? We explain below.
Amazon Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote
Amazon Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote comes with apps, which you can use to stream content on your television. The Fire TV Stick is small (3.4-inches x 1.2-inches x 0.5-inches) and weighs around 32g. It is powered by a MediaTek quad-core 1.3 GHz processor, and has a Mali 450 GPU with around 8GB storage available for apps and games, and a total of 1GB RAM.
The TV Stick supports 2×2 MIMO 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, and the remote control comes with voice control. If you manage to break the remote in the future, then there’s the Amazon Fire TV Remote App, which can be downloaded for free on Android, iOS.
Amazon is giving free cloud storage for all Amazon content. So if you want to download say movies or shows on Amazon Prime Video, it will all be saved on the Cloud. Other features of the stick include, the ability to play 1080p videos, Dolby Audio 5.1 surround sound, and HDMI audio pass-through up to 7.1.
So what is needed to run the Amazon Fire TV Stick? Well for starters you need a television set, minimum HD resolution, if 1080p then that’s better. However Amazon Fire TV Stick won’t be streaming content in 4K, because it doesn’t support that resolution yet.
Your television set will need an HDMI input slot, and Amazon says the stick is compatible with all leading models from brands like Samsung, Sony, LG, Panasonic, Videocon, Micromax, Onida, Vu, etc. Also you will need a minimum of 4MBps internet speed in order to successfully stream data on your Fire TV Stick.
Once you’ve plugged it into your TV set, and connected the charger of the stick to a power slot, go to HDMI input in your TV settings. Here, the Amazon Fire TV Stick should be available; if you bought yours from Amazon, then your account will already be registered. Else you’ll have to sign into your account. Once you’ve connected it with your WiFi, you’ll see the apps and then you can start streaming content.
Netflix is available as is Hotstar, and there’s Amazon Prime Video, of course. Voot, Voot Kids, Airtel Movies, Gaana, Eros Now are some of the other options that Amazon mentioned as well. Essentially you can start streaming content from the Fire TV Stick itself; you won’t need to connect your smartphone or tablet to the stick in order to sync content.
Amazon says the voice remote is designed for India, (sorry that means no Alexa) and it will be able to understand Hindi as well. So if you’re looking for ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’ in Prime Video, you can just use the voice remote, instead of typing it out.
Price: Rs 3,999
Offers: Airtel users get up to 100 GB of free data for streaming content on Airtel Broadband and 4G home Wi-Fi devices. YOU broadband users will up to 240 GB of free data. Amazon will give Rs 499 credit back in Amazon Pay Balance to buyers. You’ll need an Amazon Prime account for this, and will have to purchase the Fire TV Stick before May 31.
Google Chromecast 2
Now Google Chromecast 2 will let you stream content from your smartphone or tablet onto your television set. The difference is that Chromecast 2 will require an Android phone, at the very least, where the Cast button has now become a part of the settings. On iOS, you can download the Google Home app, and then see which apps allow for content to be streamed via Chromecast and play them on the television.
Google Chromecast also requires a television with an HDMI port and a WiFi network in your house. It is compatible with Android 4.1+ devices and iOS 7.0+, as well as Windows 7 or Mac OS X 10.7, ChromeOS.
Dimensions of the Chromecast are 51.9 x 51.9 x 13.49 mm, and the power cable is 1.75m, while the device itself weighs 39.1 g. Connectivity includes WiFi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/5Ghz), and it has a 5V, 1A power supply charger with micro-USB on one side.
In order to use, Google Chromecast on your television set, you’ll need to plug it into the HDMI port, and then plug the charger for the device into a power source. Once that is done, just connect Google Chromecast with the WiFi in your house via the HDMI input. Now make sure, it is the same WiFi onto which your phone or connected device is synced.
Check on the Google Home app on iOS or Android, and follow the instructions to set up the device. Your smartphone or tablet’s screen should be reflected on your TV, once the set up is successfully completed.
After this look for the ‘Cast’ button on apps like Netflix, YouTube, and you’ll be able to play the content on your television. You’ll be able to control the content from your smartphone, though it will play only on the television set in the case of Netflix or YouTube. Just hit the cast button, and wait for it to reflect. For instance, in Netflix’s case it takes a couple of seconds for the video to load on the television set.
Price: Rs 3,399
So which should be your pick?
Fundamentally, Amazon Fire TV Stick and Google Chromecast 2 are different. The latter is dependent on your smartphone for streaming content, though it is cheaper by Rs 600. What you need for this is the Google Home App to setup, and after that the Cast button is good enough to stream content. It’s just your phone will be used during the streaming experience. Chromecast 2 in India can only stream in 1080p, which is the same as Amazon Fire TV Stick
Amazon Fire TV Stick is not dependent on your phone, and connects directly with your WiFi. Amazon also has some deals at the moment for free data, which might make more appealing to some consumers. If your main concern is whether Netflix will work on the Fire TV Stick, be assured: it works fine on both.