CNET First Look
Amazon finds voice with $40 Alexa-compatible Fire TV StickThe tiny new streamer, now with an included voice remote, can access video from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and more, as well as talk back in the voice of Alexa through your TV.
[MUSIC] Although it's barely bigger than a fat USB stick, Amazon's latest TV device packs some big features for just 40 bucks. The sleek little stick is designed to hide discreetly behind your TV. It plugs directly into the HDMI port and includes a click adapter in case the fit is too cramped. There is also a power plug. So what sets it apart from Amazon's original stick and competitors like the Roku Streaming Stick? In a word, voice. Amazon's new stick is the cheapest TV device to include a voice capable remote in the box. You can use the search across numerous apps for TV shows and movies, launch apps, and even ask it to skip ahead. Although that last feature only works for Amazon videos for now. Amazon stick also has Alexa, the digital assistant found in devices like the Echo and Dot Speakers. Just like those speakers, a TV stick can read you the weather, look up local restaurants, or even answer weird questions. The big disadvantage compared to those speakers, is that you'll need to have your TV turned on to use it. Its main task of course is giving you access to thousands of streaming apps like Netflix Hulu SlingTv and Playstation View as well as to Amazon's vast collection of TV shows, movies and music, for those functions we still like Roku better. Amazon's interface pushes you too much to consume Amazon's own content as opposed to other apps like Netflix and doesn't offer any customization or price-based search results. Amazon says a new interface is debuting later this year, however, that could change the equation.