With the concept of cord-cutting finally catching on in India, Amazon believes this is the perfect time to bring in the Fire TV streaming Stick, to perhaps also complement the Prime Video streaming service.
The Fire Stick TV runs a MediaTek Quad-core processor clocking at 1.3GHz, 1GB RAM and Mali450 graphics. There is 8GB internal storage, used for apps and caching data. These specifications will be able to handle 720p and 1080p HD video content streaming. In the US, Amazon preloads, apart from access to its own Prime Video service, about 140 apps such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime, Fox Now, CBS All Access and more. However, because of geographical restrictions for these apps to regions other than India, we might get a different set of apps in India—Netflix and the likes of YouTube will surely be there, but it will be interesting to see whether other apps such as Hotstar or Eros Now are available on Fire Stick TV in India. Incidentally, the US version also has apps such as iHeart Radio, Spotify, Pandora, Domino’s Pizza and Uber, but we’ll have to wait and see how many of those make it to India.
In the US, it is priced at $39 (around Rs1,999), while the official India price is Rs3,999.
We would expect Amazon to compete directly with Google Chromecast.
But that is where the vast differences come into the picture. Chromecast is essentially a go-between device that enables streaming of content from certain apps on your phone to your TV (which has the Chromecast plugged in). In this case, what you need is a phone or a tablet, where the apps are, and you stream from that—Chromecast doesn’t run any apps on its own. However, the Fire Stick TV is a complete media player in itself, and it runs the Android operating system with Amazon’s custom interface wrapped around it. It runs its own processor and graphics rendering hardware, has internal storage and plugs directly into your TV’s HDMI port, and connects to your home Wi-Fi. All the apps run on the Fire Stick TV itself, and you don’t need a phone in the chain to view stuff on Prime Video and Netflix, for example. In some ways, the compact Amazon Fire Stick TV is actually competing against the likes of the Apple TV and many other Android-based streaming devices—the latter haven’t really cut any ice with most users.
The Fire Stick TV comes with the Alexa Voice Remote—you can ask any query, and it’ll search and show results from apps such as Prime Video and Netflix. In a nutshell, on a Friday night, you can simply tell the Fire Stick TV to “find comedy movies”, and the binge watching session can commence instantly.