After 12 hours with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, some thoughts…
The remote feels exceedingly cheap compared to the premium clicker that ships with the full-fledged Fire TV box and I had some difficulty removing the battery cover. Having said that, a flimsy remote is infinitely more valuable than no remote… versus Google Chromecast, which requires a smartphone for interaction.
In the app department, the Fire TV UI remains somewhat unwieldy compared to Roku given its expected emphasis of Amazon services – but it’s certainly manageable, More importantly, the third party content selection is still lacking. For example, our kitchen TV is perfectly suited for CNN or Sky News (as seen on Apple TV) background noise, yet neither are available. Also missing, but expected soon, is HBO GO. I had no problems streaming Netflix and WatchESPN – both looked great. Plex also seems to be working well.
When announced, there was some confusion as to whether or not the Fire TV Stick could be powered purely over USB without requiring a wall wart. And, having received my streamer, the answer remains somewhat fuzzy. Amazon highly recommends using the included adapter to “provide a reliable power source, allow fast wake up, and enable automatic updates.” Indeed, my first attempt at a software upgrade failed and, while I’m not sure which device to blame, my Vizio TV used for initial testing (and USB power) rebooted. A lot. And while the set has a history of flakey behavior, it’s been nothing but rock solid as a Chromecast host.
Prime members who bought Fire TV Sticks direct from Amazon for the extremely low price of $19 and intend to gift or ebay them better head to this page, click on the Devices tab, and deregister the streamer from their accounts… before footing the bill for an Amazon Instant movie marathon since they shipped linked to an Amazon account. And if you wanted an Amazon Fire TV Stick for Chrismahanukwanzakah, Amazon is fresh out. However, Best Buy and perhaps other brick and mortar retailers will have inventory (at $39 a pop).