(Skip to the next paragraph if you want to get right to the product itself…lol)
I was having issues with my bedroom TV. It’s a Vizio “Smart” 4K tv and recently it has been freezing up when using certain apps. The Netflix app was the biggest offender. It would freeze up, no remote function worked and I’d have to get up, physically unplug the tv and plug it back in just to reboot it. Apparently, this is a common issue with app incompatability with the Vizio and certain apps. Even with all of the apps and the TV’s software and firmware up-to-date, the problem persisted. I decided the best work-around was to take the TV’s software out of the picture and let the Fire TV Stick be the “Smart” part of my “Smart TV” setup. And it’s awesome!
The first thing I noticed was how easy the setup was. It paired effortlessly with my tv, Echo Dot Speaker w/Alexa and even my Blink cameras. Sure, you have to go through all of the usual stuff like download the streaming apps that you use that aren’t pre-loaded and sign in to them all, but that’s an expected pain in the butt and I only had 2 that weren’t already there.
The voice commands are also very intuitive. Whether I’m using the remote, my Echo Dot or the app on my phone, I get what I’m looking for.
What I wasn’t expecting was the much better picture quality! I have a Vizio 4K Ultra TV and I’ve noticed some of what I watch the quality is definitely not 4K but that’s more to do with the quality of the content not being 4k (like my live TV streams using YouTube TV for instance….I don’t pay for the 4K option). As soon as I got the Fire TV stick up and running, I noticed a much sharper picture (even the YouTube TV). I’m not a techie or videophile by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m guessing there are a few factors at play that contribute to the better image quality: Fewer resources being used by the TV itself having to run the apps whereas the Fire Stick has ample memory and fast processor to handle the bandwidth better, and there might even be some “upscaling” being done by the Fire to emulate 4K. Not true 4K but sharpened to nearly mimic the end result. Whatever it is, I was actually expecting a drop in quality so an increase isn’t an optical illusion on my part. lol
After a few days, I decided that I needed one thing that this was lacking….a remote with back-lit buttons. I’ve become spoiled by my universal remote with buttons I can see at night in my bedroom (and the remote is now defunct because it’s infrared and doesn’t work with the Fire Stick).
So I threw down $34.99 for the Alexa Voice Remote Pro. Yes, I paid more for a new remote than I did for the Fire TV Stick and remote just to have lighted buttons. LOL BUT the remote has a bunch of other features that make it a little more useful and some features are just cool (you can use both remotes so I have a backup now). It has a “Find my remote” feature, additional, programmable buttons that are super easy, etc. so I’m in Fire TV Stick heaven with this remote plus the Fire TV Stick 4k.
I highly recommend this Fire TV Stick. I considered getting the 4K MAX even though I don’t have the latest wifi system that it takes advantage of, but I don’t think I’ll miss it even if my ISP upgrades it’s service