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Amazon launches new range of Fire TV devices

Richard Easton
17 Sep 2015
Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick 2015
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All new Ultra HD 4K-capable Fire TV is joined by new Fire TV Stick with voice remote

If you're an Amazon Prime subscriber with Amazon Instant Video, the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick were great choices. The latter, at £35, was a bargain budget streamer that gave the Google Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick a run for their money.

Amazon has now unveiled new 2015 models to both products and both pack in some great new features that make them suitable updates to the existing streamers. 

Amazon Fire TV 2015

Amazon Fire TV 2015

From the 5th of October and available to pre-order today, the Amazon Fire TV now has 4K Ultra HD outputs, so will be able to fully take advantage of today's newer 4K televisions. With both Amazon's own Instant Video, Netflix and YouTube all now churning out 4K content, this is great news indeed. There are already television shows available in 4K including Transparent, Better Call Saul and Orphan Black, as well as movies such as Captain Phillips so you can hit the ground running with content to watch. There's no confirmation that the YouTube app will support 4K for relevant content, however. We asked Amazon about YouTube and received the following response: "we’ve been in conversation with YouTube and they’re excited to bring their 4K content to our platform" so it sounds like it's forthcoming.

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Amazon promises that through its High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) the new Amazon Fire TV will also deliver better quality 1080p content from Amazon Video, too. The company says it's twice as efficient at encoding video than H264 so less bandwidth is needed. For those who like to take advantage of the Amazon app store, you'll be pleased to hear that the 8GB of internal storage is now upgradable through a microsD card, up to a maximum of 128GB of additional space. For wireless, 802.11ac is included with MIMO support for better range and performance. There's a new game controller to go with the new streamer, too. This one now voice search and an audio jack for private listening. This will cost £39.99. The New Fire TV with 4K is available for £89.99.

Amazon Fire TV Stick with Remote 2015

Amazon Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote 2015

The original Fire TV Stick was Amazon's fastest-selling Amazon device to date, so the new model has big boots to fill. The new model, which is now £10 more expensive, now includes a more sophisticated remote control that includes voice search. This was one of the more useful features available on the original full Fire TV streamer, so it's great to see it now available on the Fire TV Stick even if it is a little more.

You can stil buy the original Fire TV Stick without the voice remote and it remains the same price at £35. The voice search allows you to find new content easily by saying the name of an actor, movie or director and relevant content shows up, adding a layer of convenience and simplicity. I think voice search makes it worth going for the more slightly more expensive model if you don't already have a Fire TV Stick. The new Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote is available to pre-order today and will start shipping on October 22nd (so a few weeks after the Fire TV).

What is seemingly missing from the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote designed for the UK market is support for Alexa, which is coming to the US versions. This is the same voice recognition technology that powers Amazon's Echo and provides greater and more fluent voice controls. It's perhaps unsurprising as Amazon Echo has yet to make it to the UK market but still a shame its debut wasn't made with these streamers.

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