Amazon Releases Fire TV Stick to Challenge Google's Chromecast
Last Monday Amazon revealed an affordable streaming TV device that could challenge similarly priced competitors like Google's $35 Chromecast. Retailing at $39, the Fire TV Stick plugs into the HDMI port on your TV and can directly stream media from another device, or from a large selection of streaming apps, services, and online media hubs like Netflix, HuluPlus, Crackle, Pandora, and many others.
Amazon's new Fire TV stick is a bit bigger than the average person's thumb. For $30 extra it can come with a stylish, yet minimalistic remote control. Amazon Prime subscription members were able to purchase the new device by itself at the discounted launch price of $19 until the 29th of October.
Like Google's Chromecast, the Fire TV stick provides a cheaper alternative to box top sets and makes it easy to access streaming online content from the comfort and convenience of your television. Best of all, you don't need a Smart TV to do any of this – both devices plug into the HDMI port and you're good to go.
Does Amazon's Fire TV Stick Have Chromecast Beat?
Still, despite their similarities, Amazon's product seems to be getting a much warmer welcome than Chromecast initially received, reaching the very top of the Amazon Bestsellers list on the same day it was released (partially due to a slew of launch discounts).
Amazon has boasted that the Fire TV Stick has twice as much memory as the Chromecast and 50% more processing power. These technical advantages are expected to give the Fire TV Stick faster loading times and speedier navigation than Chromecast, so those will be factors for consumers to consider when comparing the two devices.
Battle of the Specs – Amazon's Fire TV Stick vs. Google's Chromecast
PCPro recently did a piece on 5 ways the Fire TV Stick beats Google's Chromecast, so that might be a good place to start your comparison. To summarize their findings, here are the main advantages that can be presented in favor of Amazon's Fire TV Stick:
More Storage – Amazon's Fire TV Stick has an 8 GB storage capacity, which is about 4 times the capacity of the 2GB Chromecast. The extra storage space may be due to the fact that the Fire TV Stick is geared more towards gaming than the Chromecast.
Better Gaming – The Fire TV Stick gives you instant access to more than 200 games, and you can even buy a dedicated game controller. Meanwhile, Chromecast comes with a not-so-impressive 30 games, and there is no option to buy an actual game controller that can be used with those games.
5GHz Dual Band Antenna – The Fire TV Stick has a dual band antenna that makes it capable of working with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi signals, whereas the Chromecast can only work on 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi networks.
Dual-Core Processor and Twice as Much RAM – The Fire TV Stick has 1GB of RAM (nearly twice as much as the Chromecast) and a dual-core processor (versus Chromecast's single-core processor).
Voice Command Searches – This is yet another feature that is surprisingly not found in Chromecast. While you'll need to download a smartphone app or purchase a special Fire TV voice remote to use voice search with the Fire TV Stick, it is a convenient feature to have once it is properly set up.
Any Other Notable Competitors?
Another competitor that is sometimes overlooked in this department is the Roku Streaming Stick at $49.99, which is obviously a bit more expensive than the Fire TV Stick and Chromecast. Then there's the less commonly mentioned Mozilla Matchstick at $25, which was just announced last month. To help you decide whether Roku's Streaming Stick is really worth the extra money, we've created a four-way comparison of the top streaming TV devices – Roku Streaming Stick, Amazon's Fire TV Stick, Google's Chromecast, and Mozilla Matchstick.