With more than 100 million devices sold globally, Amazon proudly boasts that its Fire TV customers are streaming billions of hours each month.
Now, Amazon has announced its has made its Fire TV "even better for customers in Australia, by announcing the all-new Fire TV Stick Lite" for $59, available to pre-order now and due October 6. It is "a reimagined Fire TV experience that is more personal and customised, and the introduction of Alexa on Fire TV in Australia for the first time."
Kate Burleigh, Alexa and Devices Country Manager for Australia and NZ said: “We’re passionate about inventing on behalf of our customers to make it easier to enjoy the best in entertainment.
“Fire TV Stick Lite and the redesigned Fire TV experience with Alexa will bring a more personalized, intuitive streaming experience to Australian customers, so that it’s even simpler to enjoy the shows you love.”
Well, we're told that the Fire TV Stick Lite delivers 50% more power than Fire TV Stick Basic Edition and features an enhanced 1.7GHz quad-core processor, delivering quick app starts and fast streaming in 1080p at 60fps.
"The dual-band, dual-antenna WiFi supports 5 GHz networks for more stable streaming and fewer dropped connections."
And what about the new Alexa Voice Remote Lite capabilities?
Amazon says its Fire TV Stick Lite "will ship with Alexa Voice Remote Lite, a new remote that allows customers to access the power of voice with the simple press of a button.
"With Alexa, customers can ask for music, weather, news, and information—and now with Alexa on Fire TV, customers can open an app, search for a show, and more, all through voice. Discovering something to watch for family movie night is as easy as asking “Alexa, find comedies”, “Alexa, open ABC iview”, “Alexa, play The Test" and more."
We're advised that Prime Video features additional voice functionality allowing customers to begin watching a show by simply saying “Alexa, play The Boys.”
Even better is that "Customers can also use their voice to easily control playback, so you can quickly fast-forward, rewind, pause or play the next episode".
Prime Video will be available with in-app voice controls, with more apps having this functionality soon.
That's not all though. Amazon says its customers can pair compatible Echo devices with Fire TV, allowing them to navigate the Fire TV experience without picking up the remote. Just say “Alexa, find dramas on Fire TV.”
Expecting even more?
Sure, Amazon is confident that Alexa can deliver. You can check the weather, your calendar, or ask where the nearest Thai restaurant is, and Alexa will respond with visual search results.
And as you'd expect, you can also ask Alexa "to control lights, smart plugs, and other compatible smart home devices. Alexa is always getting smarter, meaning Alexa on Fire TV will continue to receive updates even after purchase, with new Alexa skills, software features, and apps added regularly".
So, what about a bit of personalisation from our algorithmic overlords?
Fire TV in Australia "now includes an updated, content-forward interface that makes finding the shows and apps you love even easier".
But later this year, Amazon explains that Fire TV will receive an even bigger update, "with a redesigned experience that is more intuitive, simple, and customisable".
When this happens, the Main Menu will be "at the centre of your screen and makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. You can now jump into your favourite streaming service directly, or scroll over supported apps to quickly peek at what’s inside and begin playback. A brand-new Find experience makes it easier than ever to discover great movies, TV shows, and more, with browsing capabilities that allow for broad and specific searches based on genre (e.g. comedies, action), helpful categories (e.g. free, sports, and more)".
As you'd expect from a 2020 Amazon device, "Alexa is at the core of the new Fire TV experience, featuring improved voice controls that give you greater control of your entertainment. Just say “Alexa, go to Library” to browse shows.
"With user profiles, Fire TV now delivers a personalised experience for up to six members of a household, providing individual content recommendations, viewing history, watch lists, preferred settings, and more. Changing user profiles is simple by saying “Alexa, switch to my profile.” After initial set up, Alexa will automatically recognise the voice and switch to your profile".
So, it all sounds pretty amazing, and a great update that competes against Android TV, Apple TV and smart TVs in general, allowing people to get more years out of existing TVs, upgrade older ones in different parts of the house or add extra smarts to the new one you might already have in the living room.
When is the new Fire TV Stick Lite available?
Amazon says it is "available for pre-order now for $59" at the Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite page and also at JB Hi-Fi. Pre-orders will begin shipping to customers on October 6. The redesigned Fire TV experience will begin rolling out globally later this year, starting with the new Fire TV Stick Lite.
Also, for the first time in Australia, Amazon says the Fire TV Stick Lite will have ABC iview, 9Now, 10 play and SBS On Demand available for customers. This is in addition to Prime Video, Apple TV, Stan, 7plus, Red Bull TV, Tubi, Disney+, and Optus Sport already available to Fire TV customers in Australia.