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Review of the Fire TV Stick 4K Streaming Device

Walter Shillington writes about products he knows firsthand. His articles focus on healthcare, electronics, watches, and household items.

The Fire TV Stick 4K Streaming Device

The Fire TV Stick 4K Streaming Device

I've never been slow to make fun of those trapped within the Apple ecosystem. They buy the latest iPods, Macs, and iPhones; they read only Apple eBooks and subscribe to Apple TV. How foolish is that?

But, of course, I live in a glass house. I subscribe to Prime, Amazon Music, and Kindle Unlimited, sending a hefty monthly payment to Amazon. Even the novels I write are published on Kindle. My single act of independence has been my consistent preference for Roku streaming devices.

That has changed. I plan to review a selection of 4K capable projectors over the next year, and unfortunately, my elderly Roku media stick will not be up to the task. Since Amazon has recently listed their competing devices at half their regular price, I broke with tradition and purchased a 4K Fire TV media stick.

Fire TV stick

Fire TV stick

HDMI extender

HDMI extender

Description

The Fire TV stick plugs firmly into a television's HDMI port and is 4.3 inches long, 1.2 inches wide, and 0.55 inches thick.

A D-shaped mini-USB port, serving as the device's power input, requires 5V at 900mA. One end of the included 58-inch USB power cable must be attached to this port. The other is terminated by a standard USB-A connector which can be plugged into its AC wall adapter or a USB port at the back of the connected television.

The Fire TV stick is wide enough to block access to an adjoining HDMI port when connected to a television. To alleviate this problem, Amazon has supplied a short HDMI to HDMI extender. A sturdy remote control and a pair of AAA batteries are also included in this package.

This system utilizes a Bluetooth connection to facilitate communication between the Fire TV stick and its remote, WiFi to enable access to the internet-based streaming channels, and a physical HDMI connection to shift the information to the television screen.

USB power cable

USB power cable

Wall adapter

Wall adapter

Specifications

  • Brand: Amazon
  • Name: Fire TV Stick 4K Streaming Device
  • Stick length: 109 millimeters (4.3 inches)
  • Stick width: 30 millimeters (1.2 inches)
  • Stick thickness: 14 millimeters (0.55 inches)
  • TV connection: HDMI (HDMI 2.0 Recommended for 4K content)
  • WiFi capable: Yes
  • Bluetooth capable: Yes, between stick and remote
  • 4K Ultra HD: Yes
  • Dolby Vision support: Yes
  • HDR and HDR10+ support: Yes
  • 1080p Full HD support: Yes
  • Audio support: Dolby Atmos
  • Search content using Alexa: Yes
  • Storage: 8GB
  • Memory: 1.5GB
  • Processor: Quad-core CPU 1.7GHz, GPU 650MHz
  • Power requirements: 5V at 900mA
  • Included: 4K Fire TV stick, Alexa remote, two AAA batteries, HDMI extender, USB power cable, and AC wall adapter
Fire TV remote

Fire TV remote

Back of remote

Back of remote

Normal Usage

This device allows streaming movies and television shows from Netflix, Prime Video, Tubi, and many other sources. Live television, sports, and news from organizations like SLING TV and YouTube TV may also be watched. Please note that many of these sources require a subscription fee.

If your television can display 4K video and play Dolby Atmos audio, the 4K Fire TV media stick would be a great option. If your system is limited to Full High Definition, other less expensive Fire TV versions are available.

View of 4K Fire TV stick and Roku FHD media stick

View of 4K Fire TV stick and Roku FHD media stick

The Projector Test

Since I was reviewing the Vankyo V700W projector when my new Fire TV stick arrived, I plugged the media stick into one of the projector's HDMI ports, using the provided power cable and wall adapter to connect it to an AC outlet. Later in the test, I removed the wall adapter and connected the Fire TV power cable to the projector's USB port. This worked perfectly because the Vankyo V700W's USB port could provide the required 5V at 900mA.

The Fire TV setup procedure was relatively straightforward, although, like my Roku media stick, I could not configure the streaming device to adjust the projector's volume or turn it off. For these tasks, I depended on the projector's remote.

Otherwise, the connected devices worked well together. Whenever I turned on the projector, it would select the Fire TV main screen. From there, I could choose the required source—I usually use Prime Video, Netflix, or Tubi—and select the movie or series episode I planned to watch.

Although the Fire TV remote was more robust than the projector's, the built quality of the Roku controller is superior. On the other hand, the Roku remote takes several seconds to find and connect to its media stick each time the projector is rebooted. That can be annoying.

Overall, the projector tests went well. However, since this device is only Full High Definition capable, I conducted another test with my 4K television.

The 4K Television Test

My TLC 4K television is fitted with a built-in Roku unit. I plugged the Fire TV stick into one of its HDMI ports and connected the media stick's power cable to an AC outlet.

I then turned on the TV and selected the Fire TV stick's HDMI port. My television now displayed the home screen of my new device.

I first attempted to configure the Fire TV remote to control the power and volume of my television. As with the projector, this effort failed.

For my next test, I pressed the Fire TV remote's Alexa button, stating, 'Alexa, go to Prime.' I then asked Alexa to choose a series called The Tick. This comedy-superhero series streams in Ultra High Definition and makes excellent use of light and color.

Color and detail were superb, and in dark scenes, the contrast proved to be excellent.

After watching the first episode, I reverted to my Roku system and streamed the second. As with the Fire TV media stick, the results were outstanding. I could not differentiate any difference in quality.

View of streaming stick connected to TLC 4K television

View of streaming stick connected to TLC 4K television

Overall Impression

I was impressed by this media stick which competently streams movies, series, and live television from a large variety of sources. It can handle Ultra-High-Definition video and Dolby Atmos audio.

While the Fire TV failed to control my projector or television directly, this media stick was able to determine the capabilities of these devices. Using this information, it could select the maximum video and audio format acceptable to the connected television. The Fire TV Stick 4K Streaming Device is recommended.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Walter Shillington