Amazon's Fire TV Stick has been a popular little dongle ever since it debuted, but it was underpowered when it came out, and it has struggled to keep up with some of its more powerful competitors ever since.
That's about to change with the introduction of the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K. In addition to a relatively powerful 1.7-GHz quad-core processor and an Alexa-enabled remote, the device will also be the first streaming stick to support both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ protocols.
As the name suggests, the Fire TV Stick 4K is a small dongle, similar to the 1080p Fire TV Stick, which will support 4K HDR content. (Of course, it will still run on 1080p TVs, if you're not ready to update your whole TV set just yet.)
Fire TV Stick 4K price and release date
The device will start shipping on October 31 in the United States and Canada, and will be available in November elsewhere in the world. The whole package — dongle plus Alexa remote — will cost $50, while viewers can also purchase the Alexa remote by itself for $30.
Fire TV Stick 4K vs Roku Premiere
The potential benefits of a 4K HDR streaming stick more or less speak for themselves. Currently, most devices that stream at 4K resolutions with HDR color protocols cost $70 or more. The only one that's broken the trend is the Roku Premiere, which costs $40 — but comes in an inconvenient, boxy design rather than a sleek stick.
What you can do with Alexa
The upgraded Alexa remote will also let users control far more than just their Fire TV Sticks. Using Amazon's cloud-based Alexa services, viewers can also control their TVs, cable boxes and sound bars, with controls for everything from power, to volume, to voice commands. Naturally, Alexa can also help users control smart home gadgets, give them information about weather and traffic, and perform other standard digital assistant functions.
(In case you wanted the upgraded Alexa remote, but had your eye on the more powerful Fire TV Cube, fret not; Amazon will start shipping Fire TV Cubes with the new remote by late October.)
Amazon will also offer discounts on multiple devices: $90 for two Fire TV Stick 4Ks, $80 for a Fire TV Stick 4K plus an Echo Dot and $250 for a Fire TV Stick 4K, a Fire TV Recast and a 35-mile HD antenna.
Most of Amazon's streaming devices up to this point have landed firmly in "good, but not great" territory. With powerful specs and an industry-first HDR feature, the Fire TV Stick 4K has the potential to break that trend. Tom's Guide will have a full review of the product as soon as we get one in-house.