Sandwiched between the Roku Premiere and upcoming third-generation Chromecast that’s reported to be revealed at Google’s upcoming Pixel 3 event on October 9, Amazon today has unveiled a new entry in the affordable, small and powerful category: the new Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K.
Not only will Amazon's thumb drive-sized streaming device be capable of 4K HDR playback, but the updated streaming stick will have a number of new specs – like an 802.11ac Wi-Fi chip and a 1.7GHz quad-core processor – that will help it compete with (and potentially beat out) the two new small form factor streaming devices from Roku and Google.
Of course, new hardware isn't the only trick up the Fire TV Stick's sleeve.
Despite sitting underneath Amazon’s refreshed Amazon Fire TV dongle, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K will offer just as much functionality as its larger predecessor with the added capability of streaming 4K HDR content in HDR10, Dolby Vision and HDR10+ formats – a first for any streaming device.
On top of offering three types of HDR support, the Amazon Fire TV 4K will support Dolby Atmos object-based surround sound for Amazon’s growing library of Atmos-enabled content – another feature that’s found on only a handful of streaming devices at the moment – and should be about 80% more powerful than the current-generation Amazon Fire TV Stick in-stores now.
Add to all of that Alexa integration either via Amazon’s new-and-improved Amazon Alexa Voice Remote or Echo device – and an unbelievable low sticker price of $49 (£49, around AU$68) – and you have a potentially strong contender for king of the streaming stick wars when Fire TV Stick 4K becomes available on October 31 in the US and Canada and November 14 in the UK, Germany and India.
All-in-one compatibility with the Alexa Voice Remote
One of the larger complaints we had about the Amazon Fire TV is that the remote didn't let you control the volume like some other streaming devices – something that Amazon has set out to fix with the new Amazon Alexa Voice Remote.
The remote, which can be purchased separately for $29.99 (around £20, AU$40), adds dedicated power, volume, and mute buttons to the traditional Amazon Fire TV remote design and allows you to control most AV devices connected to your TV.
While Amazon didn't come out and say it directly, all this capability likely comes down to the player adopting CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) via HDMI ARC.
The remote itself combines Bluetooth and multidirectional infrared technology (a technology employed by the Amazon Fire TV Cube) and could be the all-in-one solution Amazon desperately needs for its players.
The Alexa Voice Remote will be available the same day as the new Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (October 31 for United States and Canada, November 14 in the UK, Germany, and India) and will be available bundled with the Amazon Fire TV Cube in the US starting on October 31.