The battle of the sticks is on. Amazon has announced the Fire TV Stick to directly compete with Google’s Chromecast.
The $39 streaming stick plugs right in to a HDMI port and will run the full Amazon television interface that debuted with the Fire TV earlier this year. You can start pre-ordering it today and it will ship on November 19. Amazon Prime members can get it for $19 over the next two days.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos calls the Fire TV Stick “the most powerful streaming media stick available.” The specs back it up. 8GB of internal storage and 1GB of RAM trump the 2GB of internal storage and 512 MB memory the Chromecast offers.
The Fire TV Stick also comes packed with a dual-core processor and dual band Wi-Fi. Compared to the Roku Streaming Stick, Amazon claims it has six times as much processing power.
The Fire TV Stick also comes with its own remote. It should be noted it’s not the same remote that shipped with the Fire TV. That one had a microphone built-in for voice search. Want that one? You’ll be buying it for $29.99 separately.
The Fire TV Stick will also play video games. Amazon describes playing “your favorite casual games like Monsters University, Ski Safari and Flappy Birds Family.”
Purchase of a Fire TV Stick also nets you 30-days of Netflix and Amazon Prime. Kind of weird for Amazon to add Netflix in there, but it’s great for consumers.
Why the move into a streaming stick? Google’s Chromecast has proved insanely popular as it holds the #1 spot in Best Sellers in Electronics on Amazon. A spot Amazon would like to see their Fire TV Stick in.
I can see the Fire TV Stick being a popular stocking stuffer this holiday season. And, at $19 for Amazon Prime members, it turns into an impulsive buy. I don’t even really need one and I’m thinking about picking one up.