With Amazon refresh of its Amazon Fire TV streaming box in 2017 (Amazon Fire TV 2017), the giant company has made turning your 4K TV into an all-singing, all-dancing smart TV with access to HDR and 4K content from some of the famous media brands more stylish and convenient than ever before.
Previous Fire TV devices are an incredibly fantastic way of streaming content to people’s TVs because they are plug-and-play devices and support many channels and media platforms. While the Google Chromecast competing with the devices denies its users access to Amazon Prime Video services, Amazon Fire TV is generous with allowing its users access to competing services.
The 2017 Amazon Fire TV comes in a redesigned body that is compact enough to hide behind your TV ditching previous model bulkier designs. This made the Amazon Fire TV (2017) a box of media trick that can entertain your family.
Amazon Fire TV 2017 price and release date
It is available from October 25, 2017.
The price is $69.99/£69.99/around AU$90, which is cheaper than the Chromecast Ultra.
The Amazon Fire TV 2017 is available for sale from October 25, 2017, at a price of $69.99/£69.99. While in Australia, the Amazon Fire TV is not sold directly by Amazon but you can use it and it will cost around AU$90.
This is more than twice the price of Google Chromecast latest version, which costs $30/£30/AU$55, although the Google Chromecast doesn’t come with access to Amazon Prime Video, remote control and doesn’t support HDR or 4K. If you only have a 1080p TV and do not subscribe to Amazon Prime Video, this is a device you should consider.
Comparing the new Chromecast Ultra to the Amazon Fire TV 2017, Chromecast Ultra still has no remote control and you can’t access Amazon Prime content on it. It is now supporting HDR and 4K content though and costs $69/£69/around AU$90, which makes the price of the Amazon Fire TV 2017 more reasonable.
In fact, because of its cheaper price, HDR and 4K support, similar compact design, remote control and additional services – not to mention its easy-to-navigate user interface – the Amazon Fire TV has done a great job to justify its price tag and to challenge the Chromecast Ultra. Looking at the two devices closely, there is no much competition as the Amazon Fire TV 2017 beats the Chromcast Ultra.
Amazon Fire TV 2017 design
- Smaller design
- Simple remote
- Easy to install
The design of Amazon Fire TV 2017 is one of the things that set it apart from its earlier model. It has been redesigned as a dongle that plugs directly into your TV’s HDMI port and hangs from it.
Unlike the previous version which is a bit of chunky black box that you need to place near your TV, the Amazon Fire TV 2017 version can be tucked away completely, so you would not know it was there.
The Amazon Fire TV 2017 requires a separate power connection, which means you will have an additional cable hanging from your TV, but it is understandable considering the fact that it needs the power to display 4K HDR content.
At 65.0 mm x 15.0 mm, the Amazon Fire TV 2017 compact design is subtle enough that it doesn’t stick out, even when it is on display. It weighed just 87.1g, meaning it can hang from an HDMI port without putting pressure on the physical port. The HDMI connector attached to it is a flat, bendable, wire that offers you more flexibility when plugging the Amazon Fire TV into a TV, especially the TV that is pushed back against the wall.
The 802.1 ac Wi-Fi antennae is contained inside the body, so there is no ugly protrusions, and as long as you have a good dual-band router with wireless AC support, that should be enough to stream HDR and 4K content. If your wireless signal is weak, or you have an older router, you can purchase an additional Ethernet adaptor for a wired connection.
The included remote design has not changed, but honestly, it didn’t need to, as it has a simple but elegant design that allows you to scroll through the interface easily – something you won’t find in Chromecast.
With a free app, you can use your phone as a remote. You can also use Alexa voice commands to control playback. This is a huge advantage for anyone using Amazon’s virtual assistant via the Amazon Echo speakers.
Amazon should be commended for shrinking the size of the Amazon Fire TV 2017 without sacrificing features of power.
The use of the interface is easy and clear. It also feels smooth when in use, thanks to the boosted hardware. Everything is clear with the Fire TV 2017, and it has a user interface that rates it higher than the Chromecast, which needs apps from your phone to launch.
The interface works similarly to the way the Apple TV works. The Amazon Fire TV 2017 offers you content from a range of services in an attractive and clear manner.
As earlier mentioned in this review, the Fire TV 2017 offers access to Amazon Prime Video. If you have an Amazon Prime account, you can stream from TV shows selection and movies, such as Netflix and Amazon great original programs like Transparent, American Gods and The Grand Tour – all series you would have missed out on if you just had a Chromecast.
Unlike Netflix, you can rent or purchase other, more recent, TV shows and movies for an additional fee. The Amazon Fire TV 2017 also supports 4K HDR through its YouTube app, which is another source of content.
- Content looks great
- Responsive interface
Apart from the new design, the inclusion of High Dynamic Range (HDR) is the most significant new feature of this Amazon Fire TV 2017. HDR allows for more pronounced contrast levels between dark and light and results in more natural colors.
There is also increment in the number of content providers, including Netflix and Amazon, offering popular shows (like Daredevil) in HDR. The Amazon Fire TV 2017 is now supporting HDR10, so you can now enjoy the shows if you have a compatible TV.
On the audio side, Amazon Fire TV 2017 is now supporting Dolby Atmos audio. This is the 3D dimensional sound that goes beyond 5.1 surround sound, as it makes use of ceiling speakers to add another level of immersive audio, with sound coming from above.
Future proof with Dolby Atmos
Volume control missing from remote
Lack of Dolby Atmos content
Not as much 4K content as Apple TV
Just like Amazon recently revamped its Echo line, it has continued in that line with the Fire TV 2017 with a much-improved design that reduces the overall size and makes its installation behind your TV easier – all these without sacrificing power or features.
HDR support is another great addition, and the Amazon Fire TV 2017 manages 4K HDR content fantastically, though its performance depends on your Wi-Fi network – unless you buy Ethernet adapter.
The Fire TV 2017 is also a cheaper alternative to its closest rival – the Chromecast Ultra. It also offers better features and more content, so if you are undecided on which one to buy, we’d recommend this year’s Amazon Fire TV. You can check it out here.