With Alexa’s ever-increasing popularity, new Alexa-enabled products deliver almost daily. Some are duds – some are interesting and valuable. Each week, we take a look at new and important Alexa add-on hardware you might want to consider adding to your Alexa device farm.
This week’s hardware: Fire TV Stick
Description: The next generation of our bestselling Fire TV Stick. The most powerful streaming media stick under $50 – now with the Alexa Voice Remote.
Enjoy over 15,000 apps, games, and Alexa skills including Netflix, Hulu, HBO NOW, YouTube, Amazon Video, NBC, WatchESPN, Disney, and more. Subscription fees may apply.
Launch and control content with the included Alexa Voice Remote. Simply say, “Play Game of Thrones” or “Launch Netflix” and Alexa will respond instantly. Plus, play music, find movie show times, order a pizza, and more – just ask.
Real world use: We’ve been a cord-cutter family for about 3 years now. When we first started down this route, it was tough to cobble together the right technologies to supply the TV we wanted. At first, we used a DVD player that had streaming apps built-in. The platform was built on Java, so obviously it was unreliable. We then moved to the Xbox One, but even though Microsoft makes an excellent gaming system it’s still a bit too cumbersome to use for just TV – though I do really like Microsoft’s onscreen TV guide when connected to an HDTV antenna.
It wasn’t until we snagged a Fire TV Stick (not the full Fire TV– just the stick) when we finally realized a very comfortable and desired TV experience. My oldest daughter and my dad both still use Roku, and really, that was what made me choose the Amazon device. My experience with Roku wasn’t great. I mean, if Roku was all that was available, I could live with it – but that’s not the case.
The Fire TV Stick provided Alexa capability through the remote. Tap and hold a remote-control button and speak directly into it to have Alexa perform your commands. This function has always worked great. And, now that Amazon has connected Alexa devices with Fire TV, its even better. We just use Alexa like normal and speak to the air to search for TV shows and movies, and then to use playback commands. Amazon is making it very valuable to be part of its ecosystem. And, its these types of things that have pushed us to use other Amazon features like its music service, Audible, Kindle, cloud storage, and many other things, along with installing Alexa-connected home devices.
Where to get the hardware: Amazon has its streaming device for around $40.00: Fire TV Stick
As I noted above, Amazon also has a Fire TV streaming player. Besides the footprint difference, the streaming player supports 4K Ultra HD and 8 GB of storage and expandable storage of up to 200 GB, which makes it better for gaming. Yes, Amazon does also offer games on its Fire TV platform. Also, the Fire TV streaming player is more than twice the cost at around $90.
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