Amazon has come out with a new Fire Stick that lets you stream videos and apps on your TV. This time around, Amazon has included voice control in the form of Alexa. The addition of voice control makes using this version simpler and faster. Plus, all you have to do now is talk to your TV in order to watch what you want to see. Here’s the scoop.
Setting it Up
Amazon makes things easy. The Fire Stick isn’t any different from other Amazon products in this sense. All you have to do is plug the Fire Stick into the back of your TV or receiver, or use the provided HDMI extension cable if you don’t have enough space to plug in the Fire Stick. Once that’s done, all you have to do is enter your WiFi password and Amazon account details when prompted.
Once you’ve entered your information, just use the Bluetooth remote to watch a quick introduction video. From there, you’ll be able to start using your Fire Stick and Alexa remote. You might be wondering whether or not you need an Amazon Prime account in order to use the Fire Stick.The answer is two-fold. You need an account but not a Prime account.
You can purchase content from Amazon or you can use any of the pre-loaded apps including Netflix and other popular apps (including Spotify) that are already included. If you do have a Prime account, you can access any content that you get through Prime (which includes all of the Amazon shows).
If you plan to watch a lot of Amazon shows, it makes sense to purchase the Prime account instead of buying individual content, but that’s entirely up to you. The new Fire Stick works just like any other streaming stick - plug it in, watch the intro video, and start streaming. The difference is that this stick includes Alexa.
Amazon has included a basic press to talk feature with the new Fire Stick remote. You press the button on the remote that activates the microphone, and from there you talk to Alexa. Using Alexa via the Bluetooth remote is as easy as telling the remote what you want to watch. For example, you might say to Alexa ‘Good Girls Revolt,’ and Alexa would pull up the start of that series for you.
If you ask Alexa for something like the weather report, you’ll see a ‘card’ flash on the screen in addition to hearing the weather report (so visual and audio). The cards cannot be played with (they’re not interactive), but you’ll get what you wanted. Alexa will always show you Amazon content before showing you other ways to purchase various shows.
Amazon has also made it possible for your Alexa remote to control various smarthome phone apps that you might have - so you could dim the lights via a phone app with your Alexa remote. Some reviewers have found Alexa to be slower than pushing various remote buttons, but you’ll have to play around with it to discern that for yourself.
Using voice control feels natural given how much we use it with our phones. Unless you don’t. In that case, you might be happier pushing buttons. The remote and Fire Stick are currently for sale through Amazon.