Seattle — Enjoying strong interest in its Fire TV platform, Amazon wasted little time in rolling out the second iteration of the device Monday in the form of the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Designed to take on challengers like the Roku Streaming sticks and Chromecast dongle, the Fire TV Stick, at just $19 for an introductory special, $39 everyday, is smaller and cheap enough to compete with either approach.
The device comes just seven months after the release of Amazon’s Fire TV set-top-box, which has received heavy advertising support and significant sales, “quickly becoming the best-selling streaming media box on Amazon,” the company said.
The Fire TV Stick includes dual-core processors, 2x the memory of Chromecast, dual-band, dual-antenna (MIMO) Wi-Fi, and exclusive features like ASAP for instant streaming
An included remote control is added to aid the “simple navigation” menu, Amazon said, or users can opt to use an app on their smartphones for remote control purposes, including voice search support.
Purchasers can opt to upgrade to the Amazon Fire TV Voice Remote for an extra $29.99.
The Fire TV stick supports a large library of popular video and music services, including Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, NBA Game Time, Prime Music, Pandora, Spotify, and more.
The stick can also be used to fling or mirror content from a smartphone or tablet to the TV screen.
Amazon is promoting the Fire TV Stick with a two-day only special sale price of $19 to celebrate the launch; after that it will sell for a $39 every-day price. It is available for pre-order starting today at www.amazon.com/fire-tv-stick and will officially ship November 19.
In a statement on the device Amazon said it introduced the Fire TV Stick to attract a wider audience of users in need of a smart TV system that is easy to use, offers great performance, and a large selection of content options at “an even more affordable” price.
Like other smart TV dongles, the Fire TV Stick is designed to connect to the HDMI port on an HDTV set.
“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, Amazon.com founder and CEO, in a statement. “The team has packed an unbelievable amount of power and selection into an incredible price point –Fire TV Stick is just $39.”
Amazon said the number of video services and games available on Amazon Fire TV has tripled since launch.
Amazon said the added processor power, memory and storage provides “fast and fluid navigation and instant search results.”
The company said the Fire TV Stick has 50 percent more processing power and 2x the memory of Chromecast, and 6x the processing power, 2x the memory, and 32x the storage of Roku Streaming Stick, supporting more storage for apps and games.
It delivers FullHD 1080p video and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound.
Also included is instant streaming with Advanced Streaming and Prediction (ASAP) technology that is said to eliminate waiting for movies and TV shows to buffer, while predicting which movies and TV episodes a viewer will want to watch, buffering them for playback before the play button is even pressed.
Fire TV Stick supports standards like DIAL allowing users to fling shows from services like YouTube, Spotify, and Netflix (coming soon) from an Android phone or iPhone.
Alternatively, a smartphone or tablet screen can be mirrored wirelessly to the Fire TV Stick from Fire tablets, Fire phone, and Miracast-enabled phones or tablets including devices from Motorola, Samsung, LG, and Google without any additional apps or software. An X-Ray feature for movies and TV shows allows using a Fire tablet or Fire phone as a second screen to see backgrounder X-Ray information on movies or TV shows being viewed.
A Whispersync feature lets viewers save and synchronize their video and music libraries across all of their devices. A viewer can start watching a movie on a phone or tablet, and continue viewing where they left off on a TV when they return home.