CNET First Look
Amazon Fire TV gives voice to 4K HDR streamingWith the best voice features in the streaming business, anchored by the ability to ask Alexa to play a show, the new Fire TV makes a run at Roku for 4K HDR superiority.
Alexa, play Transparent. [BLANK_AUDIO] Getting Transparent from Fire TV. [BLANK_AUDIO] I bet you're wondering how I did that. The answer is a combination of Amazon's Echo Dot speaker and the all new Fire TV. If you have an Alexa-capable speaker like The Dot, you can add the little Fire TV box to your television and be able to control stuff without a remote using just your voice. You'll have to remember to say the keyword Alexa, and not everything works. Alexa, volume up. Sorry, I didn't find this device. But quite a bit does. Alexa, launch YouTube YouTube. Getting YouTube from Fire TV. You can use the remote to issue voice commands too so even if you don't own an Alexa speaker you can run searches, get the weather, and perform any other Alexa task just by speaking into the clicker. The new Fire TV costs more than the existing Fire TV stick and both offer Alexa voice control, so the main reason to get the little box is for its 4K and HDR playback. TV shows, movies and videos from Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube appear in the best available quality, provided that you have a compatible 4KHDR TV. The difference in video quality isn't huge compared to standard HD, but if you paid big bucks for a sweet, new television, you'll probably want to spring the extra money for the box. The Fire TV seems a little awkward hanging off the back of your TV, but it'll generally be hidden back there, so you won't notice. You can opt to plug it directly into the wall for power or use a USB port on your TV. That eliminates having to plug in but boot up takes longer. Responses are super quick, app selection is superb, and it's 4K HDR image is as good as I expected. Main downside to Amazon Fire TV is the tendency of the interface to push you towards Amazon video. Non Amazon apps like Netflix and Hulu appear in the recently used section and you can move them around, you can't otherwise customize the screen. Most of the featured videos are from Amazon and there are also a lot of Amazon promotions. Overall Are like Roku Streaming Stick Plus, another 4K HDR streamer better than the Fire TV thanks to its neutral interface and TV controller remote. Fire TV is still an excellent capable choice especially if you really like talking to the TV. [BLANK_AUDIO]