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amazon fire tv with remote september 2017

Amazon has just announced a new Fire TV streaming device. It's compatible with 4K and HDR content, and Dolby Atmos audio tech. But how does it compare with the firm's cheaper Fire TV Stick?

If you're wondering, you've come to the right place. To see what each device can do, and whether you're better off with the all-singing, all-dancing new model, or saving your pennies and going for the Fire TV Stick, read on.

Picture quality

amazon fire tv living room 2 september 2017

One of the main selling points of the new Fire TV is that it packs 4K. This resolution has four times as many pixels as high definition, making for much sharper image quality.

It also supports HDR, which stands for high dynamic range. This is a technology originally found in camera to improve picture quality. It creates a much bigger difference between the light and dark parts of the picture – the black are blacker, and the whites whiter – creating much more depth.

The result? A much more lifelike image.

The Fire TV Stick, however, has neither of these technologies. Instead, you have to make do with high definition, though it runs at 60 frames per second, just like the new Fire TV.

These technologies might sound like deal-breakers, but remember, you'll need a 4K/HDR-compatible TV in order to see the difference. If you're quite happy with your HD set and have no intention of upgrading in the next few years, the Fire TV Stick should be more than adequate.

Audio

amazon fire tv stick with alexa voice remote

Again, the new Fire TV has the upper hand. It boasts Dolby Atmos, which gives cinema-style surround sound without requiring a ridiculous home cinema set-up. But to hear the difference, you'll need a Dolby Atmos-compatible TV and/or speakers.

The Fire TV Stick has to make do with Dolby Audio. This is certainly no slouch – it makes for clearer dialogue, optimises audio for your home cinema set-up, and prevents jumps in volume as you switch between content. But it's not quite as advanced as Dolby Atmos.

Voice control

amazon fire tv voice search

This round is a draw. Both devices come with the Alexa Voice Remote, which lets you control your viewing just by speaking.

You can use the voice remote to fast forward, pause, or find shows from the menu screen. You can also tell Alexa to skip ahead five minutes (if you want to skip the personal background bits on 'Bake Off', perhaps), or to search all your apps. Your word is its command.

Apps

amazon fire tv new ui dec16 next for you

Another dead heat, as both have access to the same selection of apps.

These include the usual catch-up services like BBC iPlayer, All 4 and ITV Player, YouTube, and streaming services like Amazon Prime Video (naturally) and Netflix.

Both also have a selection of games to choose from, though they're not quite as advanced as those on the new Apple TV.

Hardware specs

As you would expect, the new Fire TV has the edge here. It packs a slightly more powerful processor (1.5GHz to the Fire TV Stick's 1.3GHz) and double the memory (2GB compared to 1GB), both of which make for a nippier response time.

However, it doesn't have any extra storage. Both have just 8GB, which isn't all that much. Thankfully, that shouldn't be a problem, as with a wealth of streaming services at your fingertips, you shouldn't have to store much content on the devices themselves.

Design

amazon fire tv front september 2017

The Fire TV Stick is what's known as a 'dongle' – essentially a USB-key-sized device that sticks into your telly's HDMI port around the back.

The Fire TV was always designed to be seen, like a mini set-top box. But the new model is much smaller than its predecessor, and light enough to dangle out of the back of your telly. It also comes with a short cable, so it'll stay around back out of sight whether you want it to or not.

Price

At £39.99, the Fire TV Stick is much more affordable. The Fire TV costs £69.99, so 4K and HDR come at a premium.

The Fire TV Stick is available now, while the new Fire TV ships on 25th October.

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