There were some big announcements at Amazon's big device event 2023. Among these was the launch of not one but two new Fire TV Sticks, which Amazon is currently calling the All-new Fire TV Stick 4K and the All-new Fire TV Stick 4K Max.
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2nd gen), which is what we'll probably stick with calling it, is the pricier and more feature-rich version of the two. It boasts more processing speed with support for Wi-Fi 6E, has twice the amount of storage than its predecessor at 16GB, offers access to Fire TV Ambient Experience and a whole suite of high-quality formats, including Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and Dolby Atmos.
While the Fire TV Stick 4K Max costs $59.99 / £69.99 / AU$119, for $10 / £10 less you can pick up the new Fire TV Stick 4K (there is a bigger AU$40 price gap between the two in Australia).
You don't lose out on too many features, although this model does have a less speedy wireless connection with just Wi-Fi 6. We rate last year's original Fire TV Stick 4K Max as one of the best streaming devices for your TV, so while it's still too early to say how these models compare, we do have high hopes that the new features will make them a standout replacement.
And there are some great new features that have been packed into these two streaming devices, some of which will also be available on Fire TVs as part of a software update coming later this year.
The 'world's best video store clerk'
Amazon has been working to upgrade Alexa with a brand-new generative AI language model that focuses on life-like conversation, real-world applications, personalization, personality, and trust.
This new system is what's behind Fire TV's new Alexa-assisted search feature. Amazon is calling it "Fire TV AI-powered Search", and it works by combining generative AI with your Fire TV's library of movies and series from the best streaming services to enhance search results, how you browse, and what content is recommended to you.
During the hardware presentation, there was a live demo of how this new feature works. Amazon showed off how you could discover new content through a conversation by asking questions such as "find some action movies for me" followed by "show me the ones I haven't seen yet" and then "which of these are okay for my teenagers to watch".
By tapping into your watch history, account profile and using data from IMDb, this new search functionality can be much more personalized with what it recommends to watch. It sounds great, and while we were able to see it in action at the event, we weren't able to test it ourselves, so we can't wait to really put it through its paces.
A new way to see everything you're watching
Amazon also introduced a new Continue Watching row for the Fire TV that brings together lots of your streaming service subscriptions. This new menu feature brings the Fire TV interface more inline with what other streaming menus look like, including from the likes of the Apple TV app on Apple TV 4K (2022).
It's a small design update, but one that's crucial in an age where you have so many different services. The new row makes it easier to quickly find the shows and movies you're watching without having to go into each app itself. It's also a useful way to quickly see what you're in the middle of watching.
The new Continue Watching row will be available on both streaming sticks and will come to all Fire TVs via an over the air update later this year in the US, which means that anyone with an existing Fire TV will get the new look.
You can now make art with your TV
Another added feature that will be available on the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is Amazon's smart display mode, which it calls the Fire TV Ambient Experience. It basically turns your TV into a smart display, with helpful information such as a clock, calendar and reminders, as well as art and photos.
Amazon has also added hundred of new artworks to its already large library of 2,000 pieces, including some from the Musee d'Orsay. But the big headline feature that Amazon shouted about during the presentation was that the Fire TV Ambient Experience would enable customers to even create their own art using just their voice.
The new feature is called AI Art and works like any other AI image generator (think Midjourney). You'll be able to describe an image that the system then uses as prompts to create a unique artwork that you'll be able to use as a display. The feature won't be available until later this year in the US, and we don't know when it will roll out more widely.
The ultimate MGM Plus bundle
Another exciting draw for potential buyers of the new Fire TV Sticks is a free content bundle that new US customers will get access to. If you purchase a new Fire TV streaming media player or TV from September 20, you'll get six months of MGM content for free.
The six-month subscription gives customers access to "thousands" of movies in the studio's library, including including Top Gun: Maverick, No Time to Die, House of Gucci, Creed, Dog and more. You'll also get access to original series such as FROM, Godfather of Harlem and Billy the Kid.
If the new enhanced AI features weren't enough to get you to consider upgrading your Fire TV Stick 4K then this surely might be the clincher. After all, what better way to make the most of all these new updates then with a whole new suite of movies and series to watch.
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Amelia became the Senior Editor for Home Entertainment at TechRadar in the UK in April 2023. With a background of more than eight years in tech and finance publishing, she's now leading our coverage to bring you a fresh perspective on everything to do with TV and audio. When she's not tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos in the ever-evolving world of home entertainment, you’ll find her watching movies, taking pictures and travelling.