2017 Amazon Fire TV Stick UK release date, price and specs: Amazon Alexa and quad-core processor just two of the new features
2017 Amazon Fire TV Stick UK release date, price and specs: now with Alexa
Amazon's Fire TV Stick is a rival to the Google Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick. Here's what you need to know about the 'all-new' Fire TV Stick with Alexa including UK price, release date and specs.
Everything you need to know about Amazon's new Fire TV Stick, which is now available in the UK
The new 2017 Fire TV Stick with Alexa is now available in the UK. Here's what you need to know about the 'all-new' Fire TV Stick including UK price, release date and specs. See also: 16 best media streamers
2017 Amazon Fire TV Stick: Release date and price
The new Fire TV Stick will be released on 6 April 2017 in the UK.
You can pre-order one right now for £39.99. This is £5 more than the outgoing version, but you're getting more powerful hardware, and it's well worth the slightly higher price. (And note that this is £5 cheaper than if you bought the old model with the Voice Remote upgrade, making it doubly good value.)
Below is the 'all-new' Stick with the Voice Remote. Yep, it looks identical to the old one. So make sure you're actually getting a third-generation version if you order from anywhere other than Amazon, as it will also be sold at Currys, Argos, John Lewis, Tesco, Maplin and Shop Direct.
In the US, the new Fire TV Stick went on sale on 20 October last year, so we've had to wait an extra four months to get it here in the UK.
2017 Amazon Fire TV Stick: New features
It may look identical, but the new Stick is slightly bigger than the old one. But most of the changes are inside. Here's a summary of what's new:
- Quad-core processor that's 30 percent faster than the old model
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi - faster than the old model with 802.11n
- Bluetooth 4.1
- HEVC support
- Alexa is now integrated
- Dimensions: 84.9 x 30 x 12.6mm
Here's what's the same as the old version (read our review of the Fire TV Stick)
- 1GB RAM
- 8GB storage (not expandable)
- Support for optional game controller
- Output up to 1080p
- Dolby 5.1 output with passthrough for 7.1
Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa, is now built into the Fire TV Stick. We've written a separate guide on how to use Alexa, but here a few examples of what you can ask her to do:
- Alexa voice control for Amazon Video. You can now say “fast forward 2 minutes” to jump past the opening credits. And before the closing credits you can say "Next episode".
- Universal Search means you can say "Find action movies" and Alexa will show results from Amazon Video, Netflix and other apps.
- Music playback. Just say "Play some pop music"
- Sports updates. Using Alexa, just say “give me my sports update” to see the latest scores. You can select your favourite teams in the Alexa app, either using a web browser or your Fire tablet, iOS or Android device.
Existing Fire TV Stick owners who want Alexa do not need to buy the new version as a software update is coming at some point soon which will add the assistant for free. Of course, you will need to have a Voice Remote and not the original remote which didn't have a microphone. The remote can be bought for £19.99 from Amazon, but currently delivery is estimated at 2-3 months.
The alternative is to download the free Fire TV app (available for Android, iOS and Amazon Fire) and use your phone or tablet's microphone to command Alexa.
What is the Amazon Fire TV Stick?
The original Fire TV Stick, which will shortly be discontinued, launched in October 2014. There was an intermediate version which added the microphone-equipped remote control from the set-top box version of the Fire TV, but that' was the only change.
The Fire TV Stick is an HDMI dongle which plugs into your TV and allows you to watch video from a wide selection of places, including iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, Amazon Video, Netflix and YouTube. It's a very similar product to the Google Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick.
You can install apps for the services that you want to use, and you can even install and play 'casual' games. Only the Fire TV (the £79.99 set-top box) can play 'high-performance' games, according to Amazon.
You can use the Fire TV Stick on your TV (or a PC monitor with an HDMI port). It connects via Wi-Fi to your router so you can stream content over the internet. As well as video services and games, you can also use it to listen to music from Amazon, Spotify and from your locally stored collection. See also: Netflix vs Amazon Prime Instant Video
Unlike the Chromecast, the Fire TV Stick comes with a physical remote control but can also be controlled via an Android or iOS app. Also you can use an Amazon Fire tablet as a second screen to get information while playing many videos from Amazon Video.
If you're not a Prime member, you can still use the Fire TV Stick to access UK catch-up TV, Netflix, YouTube, Vimeo, BBC News, Daily Motion and any of the other available apps. You can even rent or buy videos and music from Amazon without subscribing to Prime.