Benefits of the Amazon Fire Stick: Is it Your Streaming Solution?

One device that we bring up often is the Amazon Fire TV Stick. Along with Roku and Apple TV, it’s one of the leading streaming devices on the market. As long as your TV has an HDMI outlet, you can stream all of your subscription services through your TV with the Amazon Fire TV Stick. You can also stream free services like YouTube, Spotify, and other network apps. If you can’t decide what the best choice for you and your family is, our review and a list of benefits of the Amazon Fire TV Stick should help out.

The main benefits of Amazon’s Fire TV Stick are its ease of use, a massive library of available apps, and its affordability. Even if you don’t use the Amazon Prime service with the Fire TV Stick, it’s still a great streaming device; however, combining it with Amazon Prime Video makes it even better.

We’ll start off by saying that for the price, it’s a great deal since it allows you to turn any digital TV into a smart TV. And if you already have a smart TV, it’ll make it even smarter.

Check the price and read reviews of the Fire TV Stick 4K version on Amazon.

Fire TV Stick 4K streaming device with Alexa Voice Remote (includes TV controls) | Dolby Vision
  • Cinematic experience - Watch in vibrant 4K Ultra HD with support for Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10+.
  • Home theater audio with Dolby Atmos - Feel scenes come to life with support for immersive Dolby Atmos audio on select titles with compatible home audio systems.
  • Endless entertainment - Stream more than 1 million movies and TV episodes from Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Peacock, and more, plus listen to millions of songs. Subscription fees may apply.
  • Live and free TV - Watch live TV, news, and sports with subscriptions to SLING TV, YouTube TV, and others. Stream for free with Pluto TV, IMDb TV, YouTube and more.
  • Alexa Voice Remote lets you use your voice to search and launch shows across apps. Plus, control power and volume on your TV and soundbar with a single remote.

Starting the Amazon Fire TV Stick up and using It

The interface is relatively easy to navigate, and the setup is pretty straightforward. Start by connecting the micro USB cable of the device to a power source and then connecting the HDMI cable to the back of your TV. If you’re looking to hook up a thumb drive or other external USB drive, the Fire Stick allows you to do so through a micro OTG (on-the-go) cable.

You’ll need to connect the device to your home network as well. It should check for updates, but if it doesn’t you can always do that manually through the settings menu. It’s a good idea to keep it updated.

To activate the remote, press down on the home button and connect it to your WiFi network. The remote also includes Alexa Voice, letting you control the Fire TV Stick even when you’re out of the line of sight, which is one of the best things about the remote.

After installing the apps and services you’re planning on using (such as Hulu and Netflix), log into your streaming service accounts, and you can begin watching.

The Fire TV Stick interface

Right away, the home page showcases ads for prime original content, and it was a little difficult to locate where the “cursor” for the remote was the first time we opened it up. But with a little clicking around, it was easy to get situated. It’ll be hovering over the Home button at the very top, to the right of the search icon. By clicking right on your remote, you can browse through movies and TV shows; however, most of these will also be Amazon Prime content.

The interface overall is pretty good. It’s not spectacular, and there are some annoyances. However, it does seem that Amazon is making improvements slowly, and it’s getting easier to find content. For instance, recently Amazon introduced the “Free” menu that we’ll discuss shortly.

We use a combination of the remote’s buttons and the voice feature. This seems to be the best way for us to get around and access the content we’re looking for quickly and easily. I have to say, the Alexa voice feature has been more fun than we expected. Finding out the various “Easter eggs” available with the Alexa voice remote can be quite amusing.

The Fire TV Stick settings menu

The far-right menu option in the top menu is the settings menu. This is where you can go to connect Bluetooth headphones, change your remote to your smartphone (which is very easy to do after you download the Remote App), adjust network settings, and many other tasks as well. You’ll want to get used to the settings menu. It’s really useful for personalizing your streaming experience.

The Amazon Fire TV free menu

One of the biggest benefits that Amazon has included in the Fire TV interface recently is the Free menu setting. The biggest challenge to navigating the interface in the past was that the content that you were able to access for free was mixed in with all of the recommendations from Amazon Prime. It was really hard to search through content and find something quickly and easily as you often didn’t know if a selection was free or a paid option from Amazon or some other partner.

The Free menu is basically a “free to me” area where you can quickly browse content and pick something that won’t cost you anything to watch. It’s a very big deal.

To find all the other apps and streaming services that you subscribe to, scroll down in the main menu.

Fire TV Stick apps, channels, and movies

When you scroll down in the main menu area (not the Free section), the first row will show you your most recently used apps, and under that is the full collection of apps and channels that you have available.

The more you scroll down, the more ads you’ll see of apps to download, and content categorized for easy browsing. Many of the ads are for other streaming services or network apps and games, some of which provide live TV. However, one thing to note is that if you do plan on playing games through the Fire Stick, you might have to buy an Amazon Bluetooth controller.

One of the primary benefits of the Amazon Fire TV Stick is the sheer amount of options you’ll have for downloading apps and finding channels to stream content with. Whether you subscribe to premium services or not, you and your family will have tons of selections regarding what to watch.

The nice thing about some of the movies or show recommendations that Amazon displays is that once you click on one, Fire TV will give you the choice of which streaming service to use if it’s available on multiple services. If you have cable TV on top of the streaming services, Fire TV shows apps that you can watch with your cable subscription as well, such as FOXNOW, A&E, the History Channel, and Lifetime.

Streaming music through your Amazon Fire TV Stick

The Amazon Fire Stick also supports some music streaming services, like Pandora, Spotify, iHeart Radio, and Amazon Music. These were hidden a little deep in the homepage, and it would’ve been nice to have a row dedicated to music streaming to make browsing easier.

Overall, this is a great benefit if your house is anything like ours, since we’re often streaming multiple music selections on different devices simultaneously. Being able to stream music through the TV is a great option.

If you use Amazon Music and Photos, they’re both available for viewing and listening through the stick; however, storage is a little limited with only 1 GB of memory and 8 GB of internal storage.

If you’re going to be doing much music streaming through your Fire TV Stick, make sure to choose a solid speaker or soundbar setup.

How to get the most out of your Fire TV Stick

We’ve found that the Fire TV Stick runs much better on a modern, 5Ghz home network. We’ve noticed a smoother picture, and even more noticeably, our soundbar works much better. We noticed that when we connected our portable soundbar to our Fire TV Stick on the 2.4Ghz network, it took a while to find the connection, and the audio skipped and dropped in and out for a few minutes afterward.

In fact, while we were using the 2.4Ghz network, we would get a warning from the Fire TV Stick whenever we connected our soundbar. It just mentioned that we might have some performance issues until we upgraded to a 5Ghz network, and it was right!

Also, try to keep your device updated and free of unused apps. Since it does have limited storage space, you can run out of memory. If you completely uninstall any apps that you no longer use, you’ll have fewer problems with capacity issues on the Fire TV Stick.

Really explore your options for programming too. The Amazon Fire TV Stick will allow you to watch a vast array of content if you know where to find it. From premium apps like HBO and PBS Masterpiece to freemium choices like Pluto, Tubu, and now Peacock, you’ll find something for your entire family.

You can even stream content that you access through your library for free.

The drawbacks of the Amazon Fire TV Stick

There were a couple of complaints that we had as users, mainly surrounding how the home page was organized, but the addition of the Free menu was an enormous benefit. It would have been nice to see the rows separated into which apps and services we had downloaded and which we had not, to simply keep track of what platforms we could use.

The amount of ads is also a little excessive; if you simply wanted a streaming device to watch movies and television, it gets a little frustrating having to sift through recommendation after recommendation in some areas of the interface.

Benefits of the Amazon Fire Stick – Wrap-up

Overall, both versions of the Amazon Fire TV Stick are a great deal for the price. It’s a breeze to install and includes quite a lot of apps and choices to stream. You just might have to wade through some recommendations to find what you’re looking for. Happy streaming!

Last update on 2024-04-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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