Amazon Fire TV Stick goes up against Google's Chromecast

  • AFP
  • Updated: Oct 28, 2014 11:53 IST

The battle for our living rooms is set to heat up even more with the launch of Amazon's latest media streaming device, the Fire TV Stick.

Designed to compete head on with Google's Chromecast and Roku's Streaming Stick dongles, the Amazon streaming stick plugs into a TV via its HDMI port and can be used to access a host of media content via Amazon or for mirroring content directly from a smartphone or tablet screen.

While those functions resemble those of Chromecast, the Stick also has a couple of neat tricks that its competitors can't yet perform. The biggest of which are internal specifications and pricing.

"Fire TV Stick is the most powerful streaming media stick available-a dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage, dual-band and dual-antenna Wi-Fi, included remote control, voice search with our free mobile app, easy set-up, an open ecosystem, and exclusive features like ASAP for instant streaming," said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO. "The team has packed an unbelievable amount of power and selection into an incredible price point-Fire TV Stick is just $39."

So that makes it the same price as the Chromecast and $60 cheaper than the Apple TV, however, unlike either, it potentially offers access to a greater selection of content as it is essentially more open than the Apple iOS or Google Android operating systems. Out of the box it will offer owners access to Netflix, ESPN Showtime, Spotify, Pandora and the Disney Channel alongside Amazon's own music and video content.

Back in March, Amazon launched its first TV set-top box, the Fire TV and it has been a huge hit in terms of ease of use and performance. The idea behind the Fire TV Stick is to strip things back even more in terms of cost and complication while still offering most of the same features and access to music, games and films. So that's why it comes with a remote control as standard. It means everyone in the house can use it, not just those with a smartphone or tablet.

But for those that are more tech savvy, there is a supporting app that allows users to perform voice searches via their handsets and mirror content from tablet and smartphone screens directly to the TV.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick goes on sale on November 19 via the online retailer's main site and Amazon Prime members can snap it up for just $19 if they reserve their device before October 29.

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