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Amazon's Fire TV Stick

If your TV has one more HDMI port available for yet another streaming media dongle. Plug the Fire TV stick in, power it up via your TV’s USB port or any USB charger, set up your Amazon India account and you’re set

If your TV has one more HDMI port available for yet another streaming media dongle. Plug the Fire TV stick in, power it up via your TV’s USB port or any USB charger, set up your Amazon India account and you’re set

Amazon's subscription-based Prime Video streaming service has been hobbled on one major account since its launch late last year — there was no straightforward way of getting to watch Prime Video content on your big screen. With the recent launch of the Fire TV stick (Rs 3,999), there’s finally a way, if your TV has one more HDMI port available for yet another streaming media dongle. Plug the Fire TV stick in, power it up via your TV’s USB port or any USB charger, set up your Amazon India account and you’re set. Now, though the device is meant for consuming Amazon’s own Prime Video service first and foremost, you do get a wide selection of apps from the Amazon App Store for other streaming media services as well, such as Netflix, Hotstar, Voot, Sony Liv, Eros Now, Gaana, Ditto TV etc. If you have a lot of local media on your home network, apps like Plex or VLC can get your local content onto your TV, plus there’s support for other third-party apps since the Fire TV stick essentially runs a fork of Android OS 5.0. You’re limited to about 6GB of the Fire TV stick’s inbuilt 8GB storage, so keep an eye on the free space levels.

One of the big differentiators for the Fire TV stick is that it requires no smartphone or tablet to stream content onto your TV, and all on-screen control is handled by a bundled voice-enabled remote. With this remote, the Fire TV UI is super slick and responsive to operate, and it even offers a voice search within Prime Video which is tuned to work with Indian names and accents — so you can just say “Amitabh Bachchan” to have it search the catalog for Big B’s movies or TV shows. That said, universal search is missing, so if you’re looking for content across your Netflix and Hotstar catalog, you’re out of luck. Also missing is Amazon’s voice-based assistant, Alexa. Even so, as it stands, the Fire TV stick is a good option for folks with subscriptions to Prime Video and other streaming services if it’s the big screen where you do a bulk of your viewing.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.



Tushar Kanwar

The author is Technology Columnist and Program Manager in Bengaluru, India

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