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Review Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K : Better than the Fire TV 3 and the Cube!


hey everybody its lineside but now we’re taking a look today at the brand new amazon firetv stick 4k it can be happy or sad depending on which way you hold it this is actually a pretty decent upgrade from Amazon we haven’t seen actually a real upgrade and hardware lately from them and this one actually is in fact as you’ll see in a few minutes this performs better than their flagship fire TV devices including the cubes so we’re gonna be digging a little bit deeper into what this device can and can’t do in just a minute but I do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that I paid for this with my own funds all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own nobody is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this device is all about so let’s take a closer look now at the hardware this will run $49 as you see it you get the device itself a power adapter a remote control and an HDMI extension cable for that price they also have an Ethernet adapter that will plug into that USB port at the bottom that costs an additional fifteen dollars I think if you’re doing a lot of 4k streaming and you’re not sure about how good your Wi-Fi is around the house hooking it up via ethernet is certainly the better way to go and I would recommend doing that especially if you have an Ethernet port near your television where you’ll be having this plugged in but in my testing because it supports 802 11 AC wireless it’s actually working pretty

decently here and I didn’t have any real problems it’s a little bit larger than the 1080p fire stick that we looked at a little while ago so you can see the size difference they’re about the same thickness I do recommend using the extension cable just because it takes a little bit of weight off your television to do that and you also might pick up a little better Wi-Fi coverage with it as well the remote control on the 4k Edition is also a little better than what we saw on the 1080p version you now have a volume control built in to this portion of the controller along with a mute button and a power button here to control your other devices I believe it does all of that through hdmi cec so you can hit the power button and power up everything and tune to your fire TV stick automatically if your television supports that this is an upgrade and hardware it’s got an MT K 86 95 plus an M t7 6 6 8 processor built-in has 8 gigabytes of storage and one and a half gigabytes of ddr4 Ram it will support 4k resolutions up to 60 Hertz it also supports three different HDR modes including regular old HDR HDR 10 which is a new emerging format that you’ll start seeing on some televisions soon and it supports Dolby vision for audio it does most of the digital audio formats out there that are on streaming services and it also supports Dolby Atmos but there are some catches with that support especially when you’re playing back your own media with Plex or Kodi which we’ll talk about in a few minutes so that’s it

for the overall hardware let’s boot it up now see how it performs and some of the things that you can do with it alright so let’s take a look now and see how it performs we have it running at 4k 60 Hertz on this display right now so you can get a feel for how it works at its highest supported resolution and generally I’m finding everything loads up very quickly on here I can pop into Plex for example and this is a load from start here it’s not caching a previous session here so if I pop in here you can see everything is coming to life very quickly and really no lag or anything like that that you would typically experience with a lower end device like this Netflix here was already loaded and was sitting in the background and it just came right back up to where I left off with it last time so generally it’s a pretty nice interface and a nice experience with it as you’re running around with the menus here I did find too that it detected everything properly when I had it hooked up to my home theater setup upstairs so I have a home theater receiver I also have a LG OLED television that supports HDR and Dolby vision it correctly detected all of those things I didn’t have to go and force anything initially but I did notice it was leaving everything in Dolby vision even things that didn’t support that so I did have to go into the settings menu here and go over to the display and sound category and then I went over to display and I set the dynamic range settings to adaptive it was on

always HDR by default and I think if you’re really careful about color you don’t want that so I put it on adaptive so that when it needed to switch into HDR it would but when it didn’t it would switch out and it also made sure to get the right HDR mode selected so for example some things on the Amazon store support HDR and not Dolby vision so it was correctly switching back and forth between those when I got that set up another thing I set up on here was matched the original framerate that’s just a personal preference but I think if you’re watching a film that was shot at 24 frames per second having the TV switch into that mode properly will give you a more authentic experience at least based on what the director was looking for so you can do a couple of tweaks here and there but I think the big one here is the dynamic range setting and I would hope maybe in a future firmware update that Amazon has it set to adaptive by default but this really speaks though to some of the consumer confusion out there regarding HDR modes and this is an example of how having all these different standards is forcing manufacturers to just default to one of them just to prevent consumers from getting stuck while using these products what really got kind of a mess brewing here with all these different formats we’ll have to see again what happens with this as some of these new modes make their way into more televisions this year I did find though that Dolby

Atmos audio worked correctly at least with Amazon Prime video so Prime’s Jack Ryan series here supports Dolby vision and Dolby Atmos and when I loaded up that show all of that stuff activated I was getting at most through my home theater receiver and Dolby vision on my television however at the time I’m recording this video Netflix did not work properly with Atmos but I’m sure at some point they’ll update their app to make it work in the near future and like the prior version of the fire TV stick there is also voice control on this one so you can hold down the microphone here and say show me the weather in New York City tomorrow and you’ll get all of the same a word functionality that you would experience with other Amazon voice control devices like the echo on this one of course you get visual feedback along with the verbal feedback you can even use it to tune your security cameras as well but one of my biggest gripes with the fire TV remains they are having a spat with YouTube and have had an issue with them for a long time so as a result there is no native YouTube app on fire TV you get this generic icon here this is essentially a bookmark and when you click on that bookmark it goes out to the silk web browser or Firefox your choice and it loads up the Leanback interface of youtube.com so what we’re looking at here is actually just a web wrapper does function fairly similar to how it

might on set-top boxes but if you are a fan of 4k 60 Hertz content on YouTube you’re going to be disappointed because when we load up this video for example which is a 4k video that I shot at 60 frames per second it’s only playing back at 30 frames per second I had similar experiences with 1080p content as well so if you like that 60 frames per second stuff you’re not going to get it all that well on here and I’m seeing occasional dropped frames with this as well so generally the YouTube experience on the fire TV is pretty poor and it’s something that could be improved that these companies just got along a little better and unfortunately US consumers are paying the price for that but one thing this new stick does better than the old one is live TV watching one of the issues I had with the prior edition of the stick was that when you were in apps like the HD homerun app that interfaces with their network TV tuners you would see a lot of wavy lines on screen because the old stick did not de-interlacing z’ properly this new one does so live TV looks great on the HD homerun app it also looks great on the plex live TV app as well that’s a nice big improvement here and if you were looking for a low-cost way to add these apps to your televisions around the house this one is now something I could recommend which is something I couldn’t do before however I do think you

need a very strong Wi-Fi signal for a lot of these things to work properly so if you don’t have that again you might want to look at getting the ethernet adapter but this was a nice improvement to see on here and in full disclosure both silicon dust the makers of the HD homerun and Plex are occasional sponsors here on the channel but these are apps that I use every single day and like quite a bit now one quick addition though is that if you have the HD homerun prime tuner which tunes in from your cable system and you have DRM protected channels the fire TVs are not compatible with the HD homerun DRM feature it does work on other Android boxes and we’ll be looking at a few that come in around this price point soon so stay tuned for that but this is not a good solution for DRM watching but it is a good solution for over the air and non protected channels now if you are a home theater enthusiast I think you might be disappointed with this it is able to of course load up flex and Kody and you can play probably some compressed movies just fine but the blu-ray mkv files that I like the playback I had a lot of trouble my Jurassic Park movie here for example which is a blu-ray MKV was not transmitting over the lossless audio so we didn’t get DTS HD or Dolby true HD Dolby Atmos didn’t work either and then when I tried out one of my 4k HDR movies I have stored on my disk array it actually switched into HDR mode but then the screen was just green so this is really not a good home theater solution I think you’ll want to stick with the Nvidia shield for something like that so let’s take a look now at some gaming we’re running the Android / Amazon version of shovelknight

and it seems to be running just fine on here like it’s other siblings out there the other fire TV devices this one is best suited for casual games like this but what I found in some testing is that this one’s actually faster than the two flagship Amazon TV boxes right now it’s faster than the fire TV 3 and it’s also faster than the fire TV cube yet it costs less money and we found that out through a benchmark that we ran called the 3d mark ice storm test and there we got a score of eight thousand 831 and that’s about half the score we got out of the second edition fire TV from about two or three years ago but nonetheless it is an improvement over the fire TV 3 and the cube but if you’re looking to do more intensive things again the shield TV is probably your best option it is significantly more powerful than anything else on the market including this but it was good to see though that they’ve made some improvements in performance because that’s been one of the issues we’ve seen with these fire TV boxes for a while even things like grand theft auto here run a little smoother on this one versus what we saw on the TV 3 and the cube so I think if you’re looking a place in these casual games the stick

might be the better way to go you might want to get it out from behind your television though to make it work with Bluetooth controllers I could see that being issue when you’re across the room but again not bad for gaming although it’s no longer a focus of Amazon for their devices so altogether I’m pretty pleased with this at least compared to some of the other Amazon boxes out there I think at the moment it’s probably the best Amazon box they make and it’s not the most expensive either usually you would expect the best one that cost the most in this instance at least for now this one has more features has a better remote seems to perform better and I think if you are deeply invested in Amazon’s ecosystem this is not a bad choice my issues though with it remain namely the fact that they don’t get along well with Google and YouTube and that experience is not as good on here but otherwise I think if you are looking for an Amazon device this is probably the one to consider just because I think it works better than some of their other recent offerings until next time this is lines ivan thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lon TV supporters including gold-level supporters Chris Allegretto the four guys with quarters podcast Tom Albrecht too much sauce gerard Newberg in cali anne kumar if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to LAN TV slash support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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