I told a friend the other day that I’d recently bought an Amazon Fire TV Stick and he replied “a what?”, “it’s the thing that you buy from Amazon so they can sell you more stuff”.
When you put it like that it seems ridiculous. Fire TV Stick is Amazon’s answer to Google’s Chromecast. It lets you get on demand content on your TV. I bought it as my old Apple TV finally packed in a few weeks back and I’d missed it more than I expected to.
The device itself is pretty slick, you simply plug it into the HDMI slot of your TV, plug it in to the mains and enter your WIFI password. That’s all the setup you need. It comes with a remote control and gives you access to all of Amazon’s content. For £35 it seemed like it was worth a shot. One word of warning, Amazon don’t seem to show the fact that it needs a power source in any of their promo material. It does.
Amazon Fire TV Stick’s interface is impressive. You can download movies, play games, listen to music, watch Netflix, iPlayer and use other 3rd party apps. It’s easy to use and has a really great walkthrough that runs the first time you plug it in. So far so good.
Now for the bad stuff, get ready to be absolutely pummelled with buttons to sign up for Amazon Prime. It is riddled with them. It’s pretty clear that Amazon’s main goal is to get you hooked up with Amazon Prime Instant Video. In fact, I’d doubt you could survive too long before you get sick of the buttons and end up signing up just to get rid of them. Amazon Prime Instant Video is £79/year, add this to the £35 you pay for the Fire TV stick and you’re at £114. It’s a hidden cost, no doubt about that. If you’re already signed up to Prime Instant Video then it’s a bit of a no brainer, and that hidden cost isn’t going to be an issue for you.
And The Conclusion
As a device I like the Fire TV Stick and if Amazon back off the hard sell a bit then it will definitely improve the experience in my opinion. What I also like about it is it’s portability, if I want to take it to another room and watch something there it’s nice and simple.
Overall, I think I’ll get plenty of use out of the Fire TV Stick and for now I’ll ignore the Prime Instant Video buttons (Netflix is better anyway).