Amazon takes on Chromecast with Fire TV Stick

The $39 device will let users stream a wide range of content, including Netflix, Prime Instant Video, and Hulu Plus.

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The Amazon Fire TV Stick is taking on the Chromecast. Amazon

It's smaller than a crowbar, but Amazon surely wants its new streaming stick to pry users away from Google's Chromecast.

Dubbed the Fire TV Stick, the streaming-media device connects to an HDMI port on the back on an HDTV and streams from sources including Netflix to Hulu Plus to, of course, Amazon's own Prime Instant Video. Owners will also find a wide range of other streaming apps, including Spotify, Vevo and A&E.

It was seven months that Amazon announced its Fire TV streaming set-top box. That device, which is designed to provide both streaming entertainment and gaming, goes for $99 in the US and £79 in the UK. The Fire TV Stick retails for $39 in the US, with UK and Australian launches yet to be announced ($39 converts to £24 or AU$44). For the next two days only, new and existing Amazon Prime customers in the US will be able to order the Fire TV Stick for $19.

The Fire TV Stick comes with a remote control and a free, 30-day trial of Amazon Prime and Netflix. The remote control is not the same one that comes with the Fire TV and includes voice search. Those who want the Fire TV remote with voice search will need to pay $30.

Gadget shoppers will have to stack up the Fire TV stick against a number of other options. One is Google's $35 Chromecast, which also plugs into a television and provides a wide range of streaming services. Chromecast owners can also toss up their apps and entertainment content to the HDTV from an Android phone, tablet, iOS device, Mac, Windows PC, or Chromebook. Meanwhile, set-top heavyweight Roku offers its own $50 Streaming Stick .

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The Fire TV Stick packs a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. Amazon

And there's also the Matchstick, a device that cropped up on Kickstarter earlier this month and easily beat its $100,000 funding goal. The Matchstick differentiates itself by being the first streaming stick to run on Mozilla's open-source Firefox OS.

Still, it's the Chromecast and Roku sticks with which Amazon seems most concerned. In a statement, the company noted that the Fire TV Stick comes with a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. Amazon claims its product has "50 percent more processor power and two times the memory of Chromecast, and six times the processing power...Roku Streaming Stick." All that translates to better streaming performance, Amazon argues.

The Fire TV Stick is available for preorder now, and Amazon will start shipping the gadget on November 19.

This story has been updated throughout the morning.

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