HomeTechnologyAmazon Fire TV Stick Lite Review: Capable Streamer, Cheap Price

Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite Review: Capable Streamer, Cheap Price

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Roku is the largest identify in streaming {hardware}, with multiple different streamers out there proper now, and much more TVs and soundbars. Amazon has been gunning for Roku’s slice of the pie ever because the first Fire TV appeared. The $30 Amazon Fireplace TV Lite is the corporate’s least expensive streamer, a solution to the $30 Roku Express and as you’d count on its greatest benefit over Roku is the Alexa voice assistant.

Amazon additionally has a $40 Fire Stick however I might argue that the Fireplace Stick TV Lite is the higher deal. The primary distinction is that the costlier Stick has a distinct distant with energy, quantity and mute buttons to manage your TV. In case you’re solely utilizing this streamer on an inexpensive TV anyway, it is value saving the cash, until you really need TV management.

So is the $30 Fireplace TV Lite higher than the $30 Roku Categorical? They principally have the identical number of apps, now that Fire TV has Peacock, so the vital variations are within the menu programs and voice help. The Lite’s built-in entry to Alexa is a giant benefit in case you like talking as an alternative of typing whenever you seek for exhibits and launch apps. Ultimately, I preferred the Fireplace TV Lite a bit higher, though the Roku Categorical continues to be a superb selection too. In case your TV has an HDMI port, the Fireplace TV Stick Lite is an effective way to equip it with a wealth of streaming for not a lot cash.

What’s it?


Sarah Tew/CNET

The Fireplace TV Lite is a USB stick-sized gadget which plugs right into a spare HDMI port in your TV. For 30 bucks it affords a number of options, together with that devoted voice distant that enables integration with the Alexa voice assistant. There’s additionally dozens of supported streaming services amongst its hundreds of obtainable apps.

The distant hasn’t bodily modified a lot because the first Fireplace TV and I did not like the texture as a lot because the Roku distant or the new Google TV distant. Amazon’s clicker additionally lacks the shortcuts to Netflix or different often-used companies, but it surely does embrace a brand new stay TV button. 


The Lite distant ought to look acquainted to Fireplace TV customers.

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Urgent that new backside button brings up a grid-style stay TV information populated by default with “channels” of free exhibits from Pluto TV and Starz. Surprisingly Amazon’s personal IMDb TV just isn’t a part of the stay TV grid, though it has its personal program grid when you open the app. In case you occur to subscribe to YouTube TV, you may additionally see exhibits and channels from that service within the information, though it did not work with Sling TV (subscribers should use the Sling app as traditional).

The stick itself comes with an influence adapter which Amazon strongly recommends you employ. Whilst you may use the USB ports in your gadget to energy it I discovered it may trigger the unit may behave surprisingly. For instance, Dolby Atmos content material would not work in any respect when plugged right into a TV USB port, regardless of the gadget declaring “Dolby Atmos” — the sound got here out as 5.1.

One characteristic on the Lite’s characteristic checklist appears a bit misplaced: HDR compatibility. That is the primary gadget we have seen to supply HDR however not 4K resolution, and it raises the query of what sort of TV it is designed for. There are a whole lot of 4K HDR TVs on the market however, based mostly on a search of the Greatest Purchase website, there are solely four 1080p TVs that can do HDR. For most individuals with 4K HDR TVs, we would advocate getting a streamer that may really do 4K as an alternative of a 1080p streamer just like the Lite.

Numerous streaming apps


The Fireplace TV Lite helps a variety of apps.

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Like different streaming gadgets the variety of companies that Amazon Fireplace TV helps is enhancing on a regular basis. It could entry nearly all the main streaming apps, together with Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, Crackle, Pluto TV, Tubi TV, Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify and lots of, many extra. 


The brand new Stay button on the distant summons a grid-style program information.

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

What it is like to make use of

The wholesome complement of options, tightly built-in voice instructions and its relative velocity makes for a successful mixture. Basically opening apps was speedy, and solely navigating the house web page tiles may give a really occasional slow-down, however nothing that spoiled the expertise. 

Utilizing the Fireplace TV Stick Lite distant is straightforward, and Alexa searches with the microphone button have been extra responsive and related than utilizing the Echo as a go-between. Solely now and again did I want for a mute button, and that was often throughout the autoplay movies that accompany the tiles on the house web page.

I appreciated having the ability to use both the distant or an Alexa speaker for voice instructions, however utilizing an Echo speaker did not work with each app I attempted. Asking for “Umbrella Academy” on Netflix failed, for instance, and I simply obtained a “test your abilities” message (there’s no official Netflix skill within the Alexa app). 

Utilizing the distant as an alternative of a speaker was extra profitable, however even that wasn’t infallible. On condition that YouTube TV is now tightly built-in I hoped that voice search would work higher than it does. For example I requested for “Battle Bots on YouTube TV” and all I obtained have been YouTube and Amazon “purchase” hyperlinks. Amazon Prime video labored properly with Alexa voice, nonetheless.

In distinction, Roku could not have the identical sturdy voice capabilities, however textual content and voice searches through the Roku distant are typically extra focused towards the free/included packages relatively than merely pointing to “purchase now” hyperlinks.  

Image and sound high quality have been additionally excellent, however the lack of an audio format management past “Greatest Out there” may result in some odd issues. For instance, The Legend of Korra on Netflix utilizing the Lite solely gave me stereo sound (although it must be able to 5.1), whereas the brand new Fireplace Stick did give me the anticipated 5.1. Different packages, together with Jack Ryan on Amazon, have been performed in Atmos on the Lite so it wasn’t probably a {hardware} functionality concern. Extra probably a Netflix one, and after I reached out to Amazon for clarification, a spokesperson confirmed the gadget helps each 5.1 and seven.1. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

There are two completely different colleges of thought on the subject of how streaming gadgets set up their content material. App-centric menus like Roku and Apple TV simply present you a grid of apps, so you’ll be able to’t really browse for one thing to observe with out clicking by means of to every app. Amazon Fireplace TV and Google TV take a extra content-focused method, surfacing a number of titles on the house web page itself. 

In case you prefer to graze for content material, the Fireplace TV may be extra interesting, though the “stay tiles” autoplay video could be jarring. If you understand what you need already, or not less than what app you wish to watch, Roku might be a better option, partly as a result of Amazon’s search outcomes skew closely towards its personal content material (typically at additional price). 


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Must you purchase it?

If you need an ultracheap, succesful streamer and are embedded with Alexa and the Amazon universe, this product makes a number of sense. Chances are you’ll or could not miss the TV management capabilities however the Stay TV Information button is an actual bonus for cord-cutters specifically. At $30 it is a worthy streamer and a fantastic stocking filler.

If, then again, you could have the 2019 Fireplace Stick, there’s completely no motive so that you can purchase both of the 2020 variations. Dolby Atmos and/or Dolby Imaginative and prescient are bizarre add-ons for 1080p gadgets, and when you have a good 4K TV then it’s best to get an actual 4K streamer — it is simply one other $20.

First revealed Oct. 8 2020, up to date June 2021 with addition of Peacock.

Supply: www.cnet.com

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