Amazon launches Fire TV Stick to rival Google’s Chromecast

27 Oct 2014

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Fire TV Stick image via phx.corporate-ir.net

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Amazon has unveiled a new Chromecast-eque dongle it’s calling “the most powerful streaming media stick available”.

The Fire TV Stick features a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and dual-band and dual-antenna Wi-Fi. It plugs into the HDMI port on a HDTV and can stream content from a variety of services including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Spotify, Pandora and Amazon's own Prime Instant Video.

The product's numbers dwarf those of the popular Chromecast device with the Fire TV Stick boasting 50pc more processing power and twice the memory of Google's offering. "This results in faster and more fluid navigation, plus more storage for apps and games," claims Amazon. And while, like the Chromecast, it can be controlled via a smartphone, the Fire TV Stick also comes with a remote control.

"Customers have told us they want to use a remote control, not just their phones, to watch TV," writes Amazon. "Now, everyone in the household can watch movies and TV shows without borrowing your phone – use the included remote to easily navigate and discover movies, TV shows, apps, and games."

A second version of Chromecast is thought to be in the works, however, and Amazon have quite a way to go to match the 650m people reported to have already used Google's device.

Fire TV Stick – which arrives seven months on from the launch of Amazon's digital media player, Fire TV – goes on sale in the US on 19 November for US$39. A European release has yet to be announced.

The launch of the Fire TV Stick comes on the back of the news that Amazon has posted a loss of US$437 million in the third quarter of 2014, compared to a US$41 million loss in the same period last year.

Just last month, Microsoft threw its hat into the HDMI dongle arena with the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. Linking in with Microsoft's Office range, the company quickly highlighted the adapter's ability to display Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on a big screen.

Fire TV Stick images via phx.corporate-ir.net

Dean is a freelance journalist and editor covering media.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com