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What is an Amazon Fire TV Streaming Device? How Does It Work?

Amazon Fire TV streaming device

Amazon Fire TV may mislead folks into believing that it’s a TV set offered by Amazon. Yes, there are Amazon Fire TV smart TVs.

But usually, Amazon Fire TV refers to the range of streaming devices offered by Amazon beginning in 2014.

In this post, we shall be looking at the different types of Amazon Fire TV streaming devices.

Amazon Fire TV is also referred to as the Fire Stick. This is because, except for the Fire TV Cube, each Amazon Fire TV streaming device looks like a USB thumb drive though they are HDMI devices.

What Do You Use Amazon Fire TV For?

You use Amazon Fire TV to stream videos from video streaming platforms like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and others.

You can also listen to audio streaming services like Spotify and Pandora.

If you’re into games, Fire TV will serve you well. You can play some common games available on your smartphone.

You may use your Fire TV Stick remote to play some of the games, If you want a full gaming experience you would need to add a game controller.

You can also access your favorite websites through the Silk and Firefox browsers that come with your Amazon Fire TV streaming device.

How Does Amazon Fire TV Work?

You would have to plug in an Amazon Fire TV device to the HDMI port of your TV set.

plug in an  Amazon Fire TV device to the HDMI port of your TV set.

Or you can use the HDMI adapter/extender that comes with your unit.

You’ll need an Internet connection to make Amazon Fire TV work. Once connected to the Internet, you can access video streaming services through the apps installed on the device.

It works like Roku, Apple TV, and Chromecast with Google TV or even an Android TV box.

Fire TV Operating System

Like every streaming device, Fire TV has an operating system built in. In the case of Fire TV, it is powered by Android OS. However, it is a modified version of the operating system.

You can’t run Android apps on it. Compare this to Chromecast which supports a full range of Android apps and games,

Do You Need to Pay to Use Amazon Fire TV?

Once you buy an Amazon Fire TV device, you don’t have to pay a monthly fee to use it.

You can use the free streaming services that come with the device. Among them are Freevee, Crackle, Tubi and Amazon News.

Amazon Fire Tv New Ui

For more free shows you can click on Find on the home menu and select the Free category.

However, if you want to watch video from premium video streaming services, you would have to sign up with them and pay subscription fees.

Turn Your HDTV Into A Smart TV

Always wanted a smart TV but don’t have the budget to purchase one? Well, Amazon Fire TV can turn your normal HDTV into a smart TV.

Really? A smart TV is one that helps you connect to the Internet to enjoy supported services.

Since Amazon Fire TV connects to the Internet, it will turn your HDTV into a smart TV.

In other words, it turns your TV into a ‘giant smartphone’ giving you access to all the apps to use supported web services.

Amazon TV Fire Streaming Devices

There are 5 types of streaming devices:

  • Fire TV Stick Lite
  • Fire TV Stick
  • Fire TV Stick 4K
  • Fire TV Stick 4K Max
  • Fire TV Cube

What’s the difference between them? They’re basically the same. The difference is in the video and sound quality, as explained below.

In each of these streaming devices, Amazon services like Prime Video and Prime Music are emphasized.

Not all streaming devices out there come with voice control. Amazon Fire TV uses the Alexa voice assistant which is available with Echo smart speakers.

Setting Up Fire TV

The videos below show you in detail how to set up Amazon Fire TV streaming devices. You may want to watch them before buying an Amazon Fire TV streaming device.

Generally, these are the steps:

Step 1: Plug your Fire Stick into an available TV HDMI port. You can use the provided HDMI adapter/extender provided with the package.

Step 2: Power the Fire Stick through the provided Micro USB cable by plugging it into your TV USB port or through the provided AC adapter.

Step 3: Connect the Fire Stick to your WiFi.

Step 4: Use the remote and set up your Fire TV following the on-screen directions.

Fire TV Stick Lite

Fire TV Stick Lite, launched in 2020, is the most affordable among the Amazon Fire TV streaming devices. For around $30 you get to enjoy 1080p Full HD (1920 x 1080)streaming video.

Storage space is limited to 8GB and RAM is 1GB.

Dolby Atmos is not supported. Only Dolby-encoded video via HDMI passthrough.

Quad-core processor specs: CPU 1.7GHz, GPU 650MHz

You would want to choose the FIre TV StickLite if you watch the occasional movie and sound quality isn’t a concern.

Be informed that the Alexa Voice Remote Lite doesn’t allow you to control your TV, soundbar, or AV receiver power and volume.

Check out the Fire TV Stick Lite.

Fire TV Stick

If you would like to control your TV with your Fire Stick Remote, then go for this option.

Video resolution, storage memory, and processor specs are the same as the Lite version.

Dolby Atmos is supported though. This Fire TV Stick is 50% more powerful than the earlier version.

Check out the Fire TV Stick.

Fire TV Stick 4K

If 4K video (3840×2160) is the game you play, then this 4K Fire Stick will delight you. Yes, you also get to watch 1080p-quality videos.

Dolby Vision is supported for you to enjoy HDR-quality video.

RAM provided is 1.5GB. However, processor specs and storage capacity are no different from the above two models.

Check out the Fire TV Stick 4K.

Fire TV Stick 4K Max

The standout feature of the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is it supports Wi-Fi 6. Additionally, HDR10+ video is supported.

When it comes to 4K video it has the same capability as Fire TV Stick 4K.

Additionally, there’s the Live View Picture-in-Picture. This allows you to view your IP camera feeds while watching your favorite shows.

RAM is set at 2GB.

Processor Specs: CPU 1.8GHz, GPU 750MHz.

Check out the Fire TV Stick 4K Max.

Fire TV Cube (Hands-Free Alexa Voice Support)

The standout feature of this Amazon Fire TV streaming device is the hands-free voice support. This 3.4-inch square box has the same specs as Fire TV Stick 4K Max except for Wi-Fi 6 support.

With the latest Fire TV Cube, you can engage in a 2-way video call with any Alexa-enabled camera device.

For that, a webcam with a minimum resolution of 720p at 30fps is needed.

Storage space is at 16GB. That’s double that of the other 4 models.

The Quad-Core processor specs: Hexa-core CPU 2.2GHz + 1.9GHz, GPU 800MHz

Check out the Fire TV Cube.

You now have enough working knowledge to choose an Amazon Fire TV streaming device.

Choose one that suits your budget and requirements.

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