The all-new Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote has recently been released over on Amazon (http://amzn.to/2C6ARja) and I’ve been checking out the benefits from the updated model. This isn’t just about the Amazon Prime bonuses, and ease of use from TV to laptop, because the new Fire TV stick has 4K UHD capabilities and is specifically focused towards those with a 4K UHD television, which fits my recent upgrade perfectly.
Why the Fire TV 4K UHD upgrade?
Although there are a lot of options for 4K UHD Blu-ray now, see the likes of these titles, the streaming side of UHD is still up and coming. While I have my doubts that everyone will instantly replace their Blu-ray collection, after updating their DVD haul, to the new versions of 4K UHD, there is little doubt when it comes to superior quality and clarity, and once you start using, you notice the difference.
Do I need the 4K element?
If you’re a real movie addict, or just love your TV shows, this is pretty much the future. We’ve come a long way, very quickly, in terms of the balance between big screen cinema and small screen TV and it’s clear we’re at a point in technology history where the two are closer than ever. Nothing will beat that cinema experience, ever, but home-movie setups and 4K give you something special. Amazon Prime has a good selection of titles across the spectrum’s, you’ve got Netflix on there, and it can’t be long before all streaming services offer it as standard.
After recently getting the aforementioned 49″ TV upgrade, and having an older Fire TV Stick, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to make the most of the new TV’s functions and see what kind of visuals I could push onto it. Having recently loved American Gods, I thought it was a prime show for a test and even from the first episode – which is full of blood, death and more low-key Mr Wednesday and Shadow Moon moments – it’s crisp and clear with a fast broadband connection. Our area has a cabled, fibre optic Virgin Media connection, but it’s important to know that the new Fire Stick has to work off a strong connection on the Wi-Fi if you want the 4K UHD experience and, so far, there have been no problems.
The strong image quality brings that ‘true-to-life’ style in a positive, imposing manner as you’re getting vivid 4K Ultra HD up to 60 fps. There’s also the sound element but, of course, this depends on your TV but with the Yamaha Soundbar we have (see my review of that one here), everything is running loud and as you’d hope. Smooth as, in fact and with the goodness of Dolby Atmos audio booming out!
The setup was ridiculously easy, I just plugged it in, changed it to the specific HDMI socket and went from there. It’s likely it’ll do a software update first of all, but then you should be up and running. It’s also important to mention the Alexa option and although I’m new to that side of the tech world, I found it a bit unresponsive at first and – to be honest – I’m in my thirties and of a generation that can type pretty quickly. That being said, it’s a bonus feature and I’m sure it can be useful if you’re after an extra.
Buy it here: http://amzn.to/2qbnCYW
The key things to think about if you’re purchasing one:
- At these present moment, there’s only a certain selection of UHD 4K shows but Amazon tells you which ones when you login, this TV Stick gives you UHD 4K whereas the older Fire TV only does up to 1080p. Check to see whether you have a 4K TV, if you don’t, you’ll benefit just as well from the other Fire TV stick here: http://amzn.to/2C42Ujk
- For streaming purposes, just make sure you’ve got a strong internet connection. It just makes sense really, you’ll be able to check this with your provider or you might just know!
- You don’t need a ‘Smart’ TV to use this, but you probably need a decent one (or buy the other one) but you can also add apps once you’ve signed in. For example, I’ve also downloaded BBC News, Vevo, BBC iPlayer, Netflix (even though I’ve got Netflix everywhere now), plus some good cinema apps included Curzon and, have an app-managed heating or house system? Check their list because they appear to cover those as well, even though I’ve not tested it yet.
- Obviously, also, the Alexa Voice Remote means ‘voice control’, here that means launching apps, skipping ahead plus Alexa can also play music, order food or (again not tested this part) embed with your smart home devices. Which is pretty impressive.
- It includes HDMI output and micro-USB port for power. If you prefer to use Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi, the Amazon Ethernet Adaptor is available as an optional accessory.
Buy it here: http://amzn.to/2qbnCYW
*This review has not been paid for by advertisers, and is the view of my own personal testing.*