Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite review: Capable streamer, cheap price

Roku is the largest name in streaming hardware, with seven distinct streamers readily available appropriate now, and even additional TVs and soundbars. Amazon has been gunning for Roku’s slice of the pie ever due to the fact the initially Fireplace Television ($34 at Amazon) appeared. But what Amazon has not experienced is an ultracheap alternative, until now. The $thirty Amazon Fireplace Television Lite is the firm’s latest try to compete with Roku’s most economical participant, the Roku Specific. If you wished an ultracheap Amazon streamer for the selling price of a DVD, it can be last but not least listed here.


  • Dirt-cheap
  • Incorporates Alexa voice remote
  • Large assortment of streaming apps
  • Integrates properly with Echo speakers

Really don’t Like

  • Voice instructions you should not function with every single application
  • A lot more intricate menus than Roku
  • HDR with no 4K is kinda pointless

Amazon unveiled not one but two new streamers at the exact time — the other was the updated $40 Fireplace Stick — but I would argue that the Fireplace Stick Television Lite is the far better deal. The key difference is that the additional costly Stick has a distinct remote with power, quantity and mute buttons to handle your Television. If you are only employing this streamer on a cheap Television anyway, it can be well worth saving the revenue, except you actually want Television handle.

So is the $thirty Fireplace Television Lite far better than the $thirty Roku Specific? They mostly have the exact variety of apps, with the exception of Peacock — NBC’s new services that just isn’t nonetheless on Fireplace Television. The two largest distinctions are in menu programs and voice assistance. The Lite’s crafted-in accessibility to Alexa is a major benefit if you like talking rather of typing when you research for demonstrates and start apps. In the finish, I favored the Fireplace Television platform a bit far better, whilst Roku is nonetheless an exceptional option far too. If your Television has an HDMI port, the Fireplace Television Stick Lite is a great way to equip it with a wealth of streaming for not a lot revenue.

What is it?


Sarah Tew/CNET

The Fireplace Television Lite is a USB stick-sized machine which plugs into a spare HDMI port on your Television. For thirty bucks it offers a good deal of functions, including that dedicated voice remote that makes it possible for integration with the Alexa voice assistant. There is certainly also dozens of supported streaming services among its 1000’s of readily available apps.

The remote has not bodily improved a lot due to the fact the initially Fireplace Television and I failed to like the experience as a lot as the Roku remote or the new Google Television remote. Amazon’s clicker also lacks the shortcuts to Netflix or other generally-employed services, but it does consist of a new live Television button. 


The Lite remote should really seem familiar to Fireplace Television people.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Urgent that new bottom button brings up a grid-model live Television manual populated by default with “channels” of free demonstrates from Pluto Television and Starz. Surprisingly Amazon’s own IMDb Television is not element of the live Television grid, even although it has its own system grid when you open up the application. If you take place to subscribe to YouTube Television, you are going to also see demonstrates and channels from that services in the manual, whilst it failed to function with Sling Television (subscribers will have to use the Sling application as common).

The stick itself comes with a power adapter which Amazon strongly recommends you use. Although you could use the USB ports on your machine to power it I discovered it could induce the device could behave strangely. For instance, Dolby Atmos content would not function at all when plugged into a Television USB port, inspite of the machine declaring “Dolby Atmos” — the seem came out as

A single characteristic on the Lite’s characteristic record seems a very little out of position: HDR compatibility. This is the initially machine we have viewed to offer you HDR but not 4K resolution, and it raises the dilemma of what sort of Television it can be designed for. There are hundreds of 4K HDR TVs out there but, dependent on a research of the Most effective Acquire web site, there are only 4 1080p TVs that can do HDR. For most folks with 4K HDR TVs, we might advocate receiving a streamer that can in fact do 4K rather of a 1080p streamer like the Lite.

Loads of streaming apps (but no Peacock or HBO Max)


The Fireplace Television Lite supports a broad assortment of apps.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Like other streaming products the variety of services that Amazon Fireplace Television supports is enhancing all the time. It can accessibility just about all of the big streaming apps, including Amazon Prime Video ($nine at Amazon), Netflix, Hulu, Sling Television, Crackle, Pluto Television, Tubi Television, Amazon Tunes, Pandora, Spotify and lots of, lots of additional. With so lots of services supported it can be just about less complicated to record the services the adapter does not have: particularly NBC’s Peacock and HBO Max ($fifteen at HBO Max) (although it does have a vanilla HBO app). Roku and Chromecast with Google Television each offer you Peacock and the latter also involves HBO Max. 


The new Stay button on the remote summons a grid-model system manual.

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

What it can be like to use

The nutritious complement of functions, tightly built-in voice instructions and its relative pace would make for a profitable mix. In general opening apps was fast, and only navigating the household webpage tiles could give a very occasional gradual-down, but almost nothing that spoiled the practical experience. 

Utilizing the Fireplace Television Stick Lite remote is quick, and Alexa searches with the microphone button were being additional responsive and suitable than employing the Echo as a go-involving. Only when in a though did I want for a mute button, and that was usually in the course of the autoplay films that accompany the tiles on the household webpage.

I appreciated remaining able to use both the remote or an Alexa speaker for voice instructions, but employing an Echo speaker failed to function with every single application I experimented with. Asking for “Umbrella Academy” on Netflix unsuccessful, for instance, and I just acquired a “look at your expertise” message (there is no official Netflix skill in the Alexa application). 

Utilizing the remote rather of a speaker was additional thriving, but even that wasn’t infallible. Specified that YouTube Television is now tightly built-in I hoped that voice research would function far better than it does. For instance I asked for “Struggle Bots on YouTube Television” and all I acquired were being YouTube and Amazon “acquire” back links. Amazon Prime movie labored properly with Alexa voice, nevertheless.

In distinction, Roku may perhaps not have the exact strong voice capabilities, but text and voice searches through the Roku remote are normally additional targeted toward the free/included plans fairly than basically pointing to “acquire now” back links.  

Photo and seem high quality were being also very excellent, but the absence of an audio format handle over and above “Most effective Available” could guide to some odd issues. For instance, The Legend of Korra on Netflix employing the Lite only gave me stereo seem (although it should really be able of, whilst the new Fireplace Stick did give me the predicted Other plans, including Jack Ryan on Amazon, were being played in Atmos on the Lite so it wasn’t likely a hardware capability situation. A lot more likely a Netflix one, and when I attained out to Amazon for clarification, a spokesperson verified the machine supports each and 


Sarah Tew/CNET

There are two distinct schools of assumed when it comes to how streaming products manage their material. App-centric menus like Roku and Apple Television just exhibit you a grid of apps, so you can’t in fact look through for something to view with no clicking by means of to every application. Amazon Fireplace Television and Google Television choose a additional material-focused tactic, surfacing heaps of titles on the household webpage itself. 

If you like to graze for material, the Fireplace Television may possibly be additional attractive, whilst the “live tiles” autoplay movie can be jarring. If you know what you want presently, or at least what application you want to view, Roku is in all probability a far better option, in element mainly because Amazon’s research final results skews closely toward its own (generally consumer-pays-more) material. 

Amazon has promised an interface update later on in 2020, which will occur initially to each the Lite and the 2020 Fireplace Television. It offers a redesigned key menu and enhanced searching, plus a new part called Alexa Discover with new recipes, stock studies and additional.

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Must you acquire it?

If you want an ultracheap, able streamer and are embedded with Alexa and the Amazon universe, this products would make a good deal of feeling. You may perhaps or may perhaps not skip the Television handle functions but the Stay Television Tutorial button is a genuine reward for wire-cutters in certain. At $thirty it can be a worthy streamer and a great stocking filler.

If, on the other hand, you have the 2019 Fireplace Stick, there is totally no purpose for you to acquire both of the 2020 variations. Dolby Atmos and/or Dolby Vision are odd incorporate-ons for 1080p products, and if you have a respectable 4K Television then you should really get a genuine 4K streamer — it can be just one more $twenty. 

Maria J. Danford

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