Amazon just announced that it's releasing a new streaming media player for the fall, just as its competitors are also readying new video streaming boxes and sticks.
The new Amazon Fire TV streaming media stick has a quad-core processor, an upgrade from the dual-core processor in the last stick; supports faster Wi-Fi (802.11ac MIMO); and now comes bundled with an "Alexa" remote, which lets you use voice search to find stuff to watch. The new Fire TV stick still doesn't stream 4K video — which Amazon's full-powered Fire TV box does — but Amazon is clearly betting that a) over 7,000 HD channels, apps, and Alexa "skills" will still be enough to satisfy most consumers, and b) people who care about 4K web video streaming will shell out more money for it.
Comes with an Alexa remote, but still no 4K support
The stick costs $40, the same price as the previous model, but now includes the voice remote, which used to cost an additional $10. Amazon says the product will start shipping in late October. The company is also offering a $65 media buying credit to customers who activate their new sticks before the end of October.
Amazon's Fire TV stick announcement comes just a couple days after Roku launched a whole bunch of new streaming media hardware, including a tiny, $30 Roku Express box that competes at the low end of the market. (The Roku stick, which was introduced earlier this year, is the only Roku that didn't get a refresh.) And Google is rumored to soon be releasing a new Chromecast, possibly called the Chromecast Ultra, that would support 4K video streaming.