Amazon Fire TV Stick 4k Review: Amazon Debuts Dolby Support
By AJ Estrada
February 11, 2019 at 2:04 am

Besides the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K’s greatly improved format support, one of the paramount upgrades Amazon has introduced actually involves the added Alexa voice remote.  The remote now has volume, mute and power buttons that can operate your TV directly. Our Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K review showed that setup is super easy – all it needs if for you to push the volume buttons a few times till Amazon detects your TV type.  When that is done, the TV clicker can be left alone when the Fire TV is being used.

FEATURES

REVIEW PRICE: $50

  • Alexa
  • Dolby Vision support
  • IR blasters

DISCUSSION

Amazon goes further than only taking care of power and volume; the new remote comes with IR blasters so it can operate an affixed sound bar, regulate your TV’s present HDMI input or even tune to a particular channel on supported satellite/cable boxes – like the Cube does.

Still, the actual hardware of the 4K stick has its portion of enhancements.  It plugs right into a free HDMI port and to get it working, run the connected USB cable to an outlet close by.  In regards to video/audio output, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K meets the expectations of theatre lovers – Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, HDR10+ (mainly for Samsung TV users) and HDR10.  It needs to be said, however, that the Fire TV Stick 4K is the solitary streaming Amazon device that supports Dolby Vision.

For a mere $50, the Stick 4K displays fantastic picture and amazing sound at way less than Amazon’s Cube.

Another improvement to the Stick is its new, swifter processor that majorly boosts the responsiveness and speed of starting a video and browsing through menus.

Regrettably, Walmart’s Vudu service — a key supplier of Dolby Vision content – has still not released an app for fire TV, which means all that’s left is Amazon and Netflix.  They both heavily limit Dolby Vision (and HDR10 also) to their own content, while Vudu supports HDR for most Hollywood shows/movies.

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Alexa’s efficiency is very impressive.  You can regulate your smart lights, check the weather, get your doorbell camera feed or check out Alexa’s other abilities with a simple voice command.  Although, to use voice; you have to push the Mic button on the remote. To use Alexa hands-free, link the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K to your living Echo device if you own one.

The command – “Alexa, show me 4K movies” gets you a list of options drawn from both Netflix and Prime Video or you can request for content starring a particular actor/actress.  Alexa can access and play via prime video, any film in your Movies Anywhere collection. The Fire TV always pulls up the service that lets you watch the movie free when you search for something or use the remote to choose.  The Fire TV endeavours to not be partial in regards to how and where you stream. Another notable feature of the fire TV is how movies and shows go to the “recents” row rather than the app they were found in, making resuming watching much easier.

On the other hand, Amazon’s tendency to pretty much cover the main home screen with its own content and add can be irritating.  Despite the fact that “Netflix recommends” row and others that blend content from various streaming apps exists to even outputting, the Amazon content can be exasperating.  However, considering all the Fire TV Stick 4K gives for just $50, stomaching all these minor annoyances is undoubtedly worth it.

There is little room for customizability on the Fire TV home screen.  All you’re able to do is move tiles around in the “Your Apps & Channels” part of the screen (and this movement needs more horizontal scrolling than probably necessary).

Another source of disappointment is that the Fire TV does not have the YouTube App.  What you get is Amazon routing you to either Firefox or the Amazon Silk web browser; which seems like a lot of stress but as soon as you sign into your YouTube account, it works alright.  YouTube is able to play 4K videos which look terrific regardless of the absent app.

Watching YouTube TV is a different story.  There’s simply no good way of doing it on this device, which is incredibly frustrating since I consider it to be the top streaming TV service.  Hulu with Live TV or can hop right into live TV but not YouTube TV customers.

For YouTube TV, there is just no way of watching it on this device.  This is enormously infuriating because it ranks high on the list of streaming services.  PlayStation Vue or Hulu Live TV subscribers can go straight into live TV but YouTube customers cannot.

Amazon and YouTube need to settle their dispute as soon as possible so the YouTube App and TV can be made available.  They also need to better manage their quite extravagant featured content and ads home screen display.

CONCLUSION

Despite its somewhat excess featured content/ads and frustrating YouTube app/TV absence, The Fire TV Stick 4K is still a very good value buy (compared to the Fire TV Cube probably and also if you own a Dolby Vision compatible TV)

Even if you’re not into smart home set up, Alexa is very effective as regards to selecting a movie or show.  The voice remote now also has the way past due TV control buttons.

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