Amazon on Wednesday expanded its Fire TV portfolio by launching the Fire TV Stick 4K along with an all-new Alexa Voice Remote. The new Fire TV Stick 4K will go on sale in India with a price tag of Rs. 5,999, while the Alexa Voice Remote will be available as a standalone remote for existing Fire TV users at Rs. 1,999. Both new devices are available for pre-orders through the Amazon site, though their shipment will begin starting November 14. The new model supports Dolby Vision and HDR10+. Also, there is Alexa integration to let you speak with the voice assistant directly using the new Voice Remote that comes bundled with the new Fire TV Stick model. The new Alexa Voice Remote can also control your TV through dedicated buttons. Amazon also has plans to bring the Alexa integration to the existing Fire TV Stick that was launched in April last year at Rs. 3,999.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K comes with a quad-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz that is touted to be over 80 percent more powerful than last year's Fire TV Stick. The new processor is expected to offer quicker load times and an enhanced picture quality than what was delivered on the previous offering. Amazon additionally claims that the Fire TV Stick 4K is the "first streaming media stick available with Dolby Vision" support. Users will also be able to access content in 4K Ultra HD format or any of the HDR10+ titles.
With the launch, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K becomes one of the cheapest native 4K players in India. While the Apple TV 4K is already available in India as a 4K player, it is not as affordable as the Fire TV Stick 4K, with a starting price of Rs. 17,430 for the 32GB storage variant, and Rs. 19,480 for the 64GB variant.
Leveraging the Alexa integration, the Fire TV Stick 4K offers you a smarter TV-watching experience. You can use new Alexa skills to view live camera feeds, check sports scores, order food, book a cab, or stream songs using your voice. Similarly, you can pair your Echo devices with your Fire TV to control your TV and ask Alexa to play and search for your favourite content, access new apps, or control playback on your Fire TV - without using the bundled remote.
The Alexa Voice Remote additionally combines Bluetooth and multidirectional infrared technology alongside using a proprietary cloud-based service from Amazon to let you control your TV and Fire TV Stick simultaneously - without using the native remote controller of your TV. The Alexa Voice Remote has dedicated power, volume, and mute buttons to control your TV, soundbar, or other AV equipment - alongside the iconic voice button and other Fire TV Stick controls. Since the new Voice Remote is backward compatible, you can use it along with your existing Fire TV device as well. Amazon has also provided an extensive list of device compatibility through which you can check whether your TV or AV equipment is compatible with the new Alexa Voice Remote.
Amazon is also bringing the Alexa integration to the existing Fire TV Stick via a software update. Importantly, users won't need to purchase a separate Alexa Voice Remote to avail Alexa services. The new experience will be available "just as the voice search" already works on the older Fire TV Stick model.
"This is just the start," Parag Gupta, Head - Product and Marketing, Amazon India, tells Gadgets 360. "The 4K content in India is at a comparative nascent stage to the full-HD content. But all of our Prime Originals are in 4K and then a lot of the content that we have on Prime Video is in 4K. At the same time, other providers like Netflix are also putting out the 4K content which with Fire TV Stick 4K, you'll be able to watch and stream."
Gupta also confirmed that Amazon India will continue to sell the original Fire TV Stick at the same price of Rs. 3,999.
Notably, Amazon is selling the Ultra-HD video stream-supported Fire TV 4K in the US for some time. But the latest model brings 4K video streaming support in an as small form factor as an HDMI stick. Also, the Alexa Voice Remote that has dedicated TV controls is something all-new in the bouquet.
Gupta didn't reveal any details around the sales of the original Fire TV Stick in India. However, he highlighted that the Fire TV Stick is "one of the best selling products" among the company's entire hardware lineup.
"It is a complete 4K solution our customers are looking for, all within a compact stick form factor," says Marc Whitten, Vice President, Amazon Fire TV, in a press statement. "The team invented an entirely new antenna technology and combined that with a powerful 802.11ac Wi-Fi to optimise for the best possible 4K UHD streaming experience, even in congested network environments."