Roku is the most important title in streaming {hardware}, with multiple different streamers obtainable proper now, and much more TVs and soundbars. Amazon has been gunning for Roku’s slice of the pie ever for the reason that first Fire TV appeared. The $30 Amazon Fireplace TV Lite is the corporate’s least expensive streamer, a solution to the $30 Roku Express and as you’d anticipate its largest benefit over Roku is the Alexa voice assistant.

Amazon additionally has a $40 Fire Stick however I might argue that the Fireplace Stick TV Lite is the higher deal. The principle distinction is that the costlier Stick has a unique distant with energy, quantity and mute buttons to manage your TV. When you’re solely utilizing this streamer on an affordable TV anyway, it is value saving the cash, except you actually need TV management.

So is the $30 Fireplace TV Lite higher than the $30 Roku Categorical? They largely have the identical choice of apps, now that Fire TV has Peacock, so the essential variations are within the menu programs and voice help. The Lite’s built-in entry to Alexa is an enormous benefit when you like talking as a substitute of typing while you seek for reveals and launch apps. Ultimately, I preferred the Fireplace TV Lite a bit higher, though the Roku Categorical remains to be a superb alternative too. In case your TV has an HDMI port, the Fireplace TV Stick Lite is a good way to equip it with a wealth of streaming for not a lot cash.

What’s it?


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The Fireplace TV Lite is a USB stick-sized system which plugs right into a spare HDMI port in your TV. For 30 bucks it presents numerous options, together with that devoted voice distant that enables integration with the Alexa voice assistant. There’s additionally dozens of supported streaming services amongst its 1000’s of obtainable apps.

The distant hasn’t bodily modified a lot for the reason that first Fireplace TV and I did not like the texture as a lot because the Roku distant or the new Google TV distant. Amazon’s clicker additionally lacks the shortcuts to Netflix or different often-used companies, nevertheless it does embrace a brand new reside TV button. 


The Lite distant ought to look acquainted to Fireplace TV customers.

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Urgent that new backside button brings up a grid-style reside TV information populated by default with “channels” of free reveals from Pluto TV and Starz. Unusually Amazon’s personal IMDb TV will not be a part of the reside TV grid, despite the fact that it has its personal program grid when you open the app. When you occur to subscribe to YouTube TV, you may additionally see reveals and channels from that service within the information, though it did not work with Sling TV (subscribers must use the Sling app as standard).

The stick itself comes with an influence adapter which Amazon strongly recommends you utilize. Whilst you might use the USB ports in your system to energy it I discovered it might trigger the unit might behave unusually. For instance, Dolby Atmos content material would not work in any respect when plugged right into a TV USB port, regardless of the system declaring “Dolby Atmos” — the sound got here out as 5.1.

One characteristic on the Lite’s characteristic listing appears just a little misplaced: HDR compatibility. That is the primary system we have seen to supply HDR however not 4K resolution, and it raises the query of what sort of TV it is designed for. There are lots of of 4K HDR TVs on the market however, based mostly on a search of the Greatest Purchase web site, there are solely four 1080p TVs that can do HDR. For most individuals with 4K HDR TVs, we would advocate getting a streamer that may really do 4K as a substitute of a 1080p streamer just like the Lite.

A number of streaming apps


The Fireplace TV Lite helps a variety of apps.

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Like different streaming gadgets the variety of companies that Amazon Fireplace TV helps is bettering on a regular basis. It will possibly entry nearly the entire main streaming apps, together with Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, Crackle, Pluto TV, Tubi TV, Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify and lots of, many extra. 


The brand new Stay button on the distant summons a grid-style program information.

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What it is like to make use of

The wholesome complement of options, tightly built-in voice instructions and its relative pace makes for a successful mixture. On the whole opening apps was speedy, and solely navigating the house web page tiles might give a really occasional slow-down, however nothing that spoiled the expertise. 

Utilizing the Fireplace TV Stick Lite distant is simple, and Alexa searches with the microphone button had been extra responsive and related than utilizing the Echo as a go-between. Solely occasionally did I want for a mute button, and that was often through the autoplay movies that accompany the tiles on the house web page.

I appreciated having the ability to use both the distant or an Alexa speaker for voice instructions, however utilizing an Echo speaker did not work with each app I attempted. Asking for “Umbrella Academy” on Netflix failed, for instance, and I simply acquired a “verify your abilities” message (there may be no official Netflix skill within the Alexa app). 

Utilizing the distant as a substitute of a speaker was extra profitable, however even that wasn’t infallible. On condition that YouTube TV is now tightly built-in I hoped that voice search would work higher than it does. As an illustration I requested for “Battle Bots on YouTube TV” and all I acquired had been YouTube and Amazon “purchase” hyperlinks. Amazon Prime video labored effectively with Alexa voice, nevertheless.

In distinction, Roku might not have the identical sturdy voice capabilities, however textual content and voice searches by way of the Roku distant are typically extra focused towards the free/included applications slightly than merely pointing to “purchase now” hyperlinks.  

Image and sound high quality had been additionally excellent, however the lack of an audio format management past “Greatest Accessible” might result in some odd issues. For instance, The Legend of Korra on Netflix utilizing the Lite solely gave me stereo sound (although it must be able to 5.1), whereas the brand new Fireplace Stick did give me the anticipated 5.1. Different applications, together with Jack Ryan on Amazon, had been performed in Atmos on the Lite so it wasn’t seemingly a {hardware} functionality difficulty. Extra seemingly a Netflix one, and once I reached out to Amazon for clarification, a spokesperson confirmed the system helps each 5.1 and seven.1. 


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There are two totally different colleges of thought on the subject of how streaming gadgets set up their content material. App-centric menus like Roku and Apple TV simply present you a grid of apps, so you possibly can’t really browse for one thing to look at with out clicking by way of to every app. Amazon Fireplace TV and Google TV take a extra content-focused method, surfacing a lot of titles on the house web page itself. 

When you wish to graze for content material, the Fireplace TV is perhaps extra interesting, though the “reside tiles” autoplay video might be jarring. If what you need already, or no less than what app you wish to watch, Roku might be a more sensible choice, partially as a result of Amazon’s search outcomes skew closely towards its personal content material (typically at further price). 


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Do you have to purchase it?

If you’d like an ultracheap, succesful streamer and are embedded with Alexa and the Amazon universe, this product makes numerous sense. You might or might not miss the TV management features however the Stay TV Information button is an actual bonus for cord-cutters particularly. At $30 it is a worthy streamer and an ideal stocking filler.

If, then again, you have got the 2019 Fireplace Stick, there’s completely no cause so that you can purchase both of the 2020 variations. Dolby Atmos and/or Dolby Imaginative and prescient are bizarre add-ons for 1080p gadgets, and you probably have a good 4K TV then it’s best to get an actual 4K streamer — it is simply one other $20.

First revealed Oct. 8 2020, up to date June 2021 with addition of Peacock.

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