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Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa - Alternative to the Basic Cable Box


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Alongside the recent launch of a 4K version of Amazon FireTV, a rebuilt basic version of the original Fire TV was also launched - both now include support for the Alexa voice-control system also used by other Amazon products (such as the Echo).  Other than configuring Alexa, the setup of the FireTV itself remains unchanged - it connects via an unused HDMI input of your TV (or PC monitor) and uses a wireless connection to your router.  While you can use either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz N, 5 GHz N is definitely recommended, and wireless-G is not supported.  (There is no option for a wired connection at all.)  The power for Alexa comes from a battery-powered USB -connecting extender that connects to the stick - which can itself be kept charged by plugging into a power outlet - there is a mic built into the wireless remote (included) - the remote itself uses two AAA batteries (also included).  Like any device that is driven by FireOS, Kindle e-reader support is included, as is Amazon Prime Video (which now means that NFL Network's Thursday Night Football is ALSO included, via Amazon Prime's new sponsorship of the programming).  Fans of UEFA and Bundesliga aren't left hanging - both of those are available via the FOX SPORTS GO app.    The Fire stick is NOT meant to replace the big cable box - it just plain is lacking too much in terms of features to do that.  (The same applies to the 4K-ready version - too many features it has are missing.)  So get the idea of firing a big STB out of your head right now.  Small cable STBs are the targets - the ones that are $4USD per month.  A FireTV stick will thus pay for itself in a year (ten months to be precise).

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On 10/12/2017 at 7:01 PM, warwagon said:

I'm assuming you wrote a good review... but that big glob of unformatted text hurts my brain :( 

And you don't think that pretty formatting (dressing up the pig, if you will)  makes a bad review look better?.  One problem I have with some reviews (not all reviews) is missing information - that (at least to me) is worse than lacking pretty formatting.  My reviews are definitely of the Detective Friday school - just the facts, and little else.  When you are so worried about ancillary details that you start leaving out things from a product review (any product), in what way are you any different than a shill (paid or otherwise)?  I would like to think that most Neowinians would be above NEEDING the BS - and would instead look at the review of the product and see if said review answers the questions they have - as opposed to needing the review's packaging to be all dressed up.

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40 minutes ago, PGHammer said:

And you don't think that pretty formatting (dressing up the pig, if you will)  makes a bad review look better?.  One problem I have with some reviews (not all reviews) is missing information - that (at least to me) is worse than lacking pretty formatting.  My reviews are definitely of the Detective Friday school - just the facts, and little else.  When you are so worried about ancillary details that you start leaving out things from a product review (any product), in what way are you any different than a shill (paid or otherwise)?  I would like to think that most Neowinians would be above NEEDING the BS - and would instead look at the review of the product and see if said review answers the questions they have - as opposed to needing the review's packaging to be all dressed up.

LOL, it's not BS, it's called proper text formatting. As one guy said .. "Paragraphs are an essential tool to ensure that your writing is clear and can be understood easily. If you do not use paragraphs your writing becomes confused and unclear. Separate each new point with paragraphs and relevant connectives."

 

As an example.

 

Capture.JPG

 

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  • 5 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Review?  I see a description of the product, but no review at all... Where's an explanation of the preinstalled apps and how well they function?  Where's the description of how well the wifi performed? How about telling us what the streaming quality is like, or what other apps you can install? How about mentioning how well Alexa performs? 

 

You make zero mention that you can't install the YouTube app at all (something I know and I don't even HAVE one!), nor do you attempt to run any games on the thing.  There's no mention at all of being able to connect it to a NAS or other computer and stream video from there instead of the Internet, nor do you bother to mention how the UI works with the remote but having no keyboard for things like entering passwords etc...

 

In short, you've told us what Amazon tell us in their product description blurb, but absolutely nothing that an actual reader wants to know about the device itself.

 

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  • 10 months later...
On 4/29/2018 at 2:09 AM, FloatingFatMan said:

Review?  I see a description of the product, but no review at all... Where's an explanation of the preinstalled apps and how well they function?  Where's the description of how well the wifi performed? How about telling us what the streaming quality is like, or what other apps you can install? How about mentioning how well Alexa performs? 

 

You make zero mention that you can't install the YouTube app at all (something I know and I don't even HAVE one!), nor do you attempt to run any games on the thing.  There's no mention at all of being able to connect it to a NAS or other computer and stream video from there instead of the Internet, nor do you bother to mention how the UI works with the remote but having no keyboard for things like entering passwords etc...

 

In short, you've told us what Amazon tell us in their product description blurb, but absolutely nothing that an actual reader wants to know about the device itself.

 

Because I did not have that problem for the rather simple reason that the TV it is connected to is used as a PC monitor - I use the YouTube web page.  The wi-fi is rock-solid (that is more a function of the telephony router I use to drive 5 GHz - it drives all the 5 GHz devices household-wide - including all the tablets and smartphones - the router itself was upgraded by Comcast/Xfinity - our telephony provider - last year, and replaced an older router at no cost to us).  I don't run games on the stick; however, that is not a failure in FireOS - I have a FireOS tablet that has no issues running games.  I use it strictly as a TV viewer, and therefore stuck strictly to that functionality.

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yeah youtube is a non-issue

 

in the FireTV app store there's a "YouTube.com" web-wrapper launcher that launches the youtube.com/tv site in your default browser and enables controller/voice support as well as disabling sleep while a video is playing.

not much that a native app could improve on honestly :)

 

edit: I can also stream videos from my local network just fine as well; "Network Browser" app enables that.

Can use VLC to support any missing formats when streaming local videos

 

I can also cast to my FireTV Stick without issue; seems more stable than chromecast personally for casting. I use "Web Video Cast" on my phone to cast.

 

As for a keyboard the Fire TV app for your phone covers that :)

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