FireTV 4K Experiences?


Fully [H]
Jul 30, 2004
I recently sold my Xbox One and am discovering that all of my other devices seem to have caveats with streaming. Either they don't do Atmos, they don't do HDR, and thanks to DRM my PC is really only worthwhile with Netflix.
On paper it seems like the Amazon 4K stickls are the best option for Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime. Ditto with the networks like HBO and Showtime.
Are there any caveats to these? Seems like I can plug it directly into my AVR via HDMI and it's pretty straightforward to get things going.
Anything I should be aware of? Amazon is sold out, but my local Target has some right now.
I've used one in the past, I keep landing on Roku because it feels much less pushy with ads, but I'm not trying to handle Atmos, too. The death of the HTPC was always going to be DRM (I'm looking at you Broadcast Flag), but at least the new devices feel super snappy.

I'm in the same boat. I had a Shield TV, but it didn't work with voice searching Amazon Prime due to Amazon and Google not playing nice together. I'm probably going to end up with either the Roku Ultra or the Firestick 4K. I haven't decided yet either.
In spite of their websites claiming they had some, seems all the Targets in town haven't had any in weeks. Amazon guaranteed next-week delivery, so I went with that. I'll report back with any quirks.
I honestly never realized how much better of a video player the Xbox One is vs. the PS4. It handles all the audio formats, supports HDR in all the platforms, and just plain works better.
The PC version of the Netflix app > everything, but it's one-of-a-kind. There are no Amazon, Disney+, HBO, Showtime, etc. apps for the PC and apps are the only way to get 4K/HDR/Surround in anything.
Yeah, I tried the HTPC for streaming back in 2013, gave up and went Roku. FireTV is an acceptable alternative, but you get more ads with it.

Now that Amazon and Google have resolved their differences, Youtube is finally available for the platform.
Yeah the YouTube addition has made it easy to recommend FireTVs for friends and family, especially as more of them ditch cable.
Oddly, I don't even watch that much YouTube. Well, I guess I do, but not really in my living room. Incorrect as it may be, I usually associate YouTube with short snippets of user content rather than something I actually sit down and watch. I watch YouTube when I'm jogging on the treadmill or when people send me random links. I don't really think about it in the same context as the paid services. As I watch less and less normal TV I guess that's something I should probably re-think.
Fire-stick 4k and smooth. Can handle h.265 codec. I like it but I have standardized on Fire-sticks and side click remotes.
Mine just showed up and I'm digging it so far. It's easy to use and the remote is super responsive. That's very much unlike the ones for my cable box and built-in TV apps. Both of those have major input lag and latency issues. With my cable box, it seems to either register 3 inputs on none at all.
Telling it what type of audio to use and whether you have specific HDR/color depth settings took only a few seconds. It also set itself up to use my receiver's volume settings without even asking. Atmos and HDR worked fine with Netflix and Disney+ on the first go-round.
I don't really have any complaints at all. Even with the ads for other services and whatnot I wasn't bothered or annoyed by anything.
Probably the most effortless device setup I can recall, and I'm 100% happy with it.
So, consider me a noob with these dongle thingamajigs, but how is this better than the amazon app on my tv? Or is it designed to be used with non-smart tvs (or while traveling, etc)?
So, consider me a noob with these dongle thingamajigs, but how is this better than the amazon app on my tv? Or is it designed to be used with non-smart tvs (or while traveling, etc)?

As far as the Amazon Prime video platform goes, it's probably really similar. The main difference is that it provides the best audio/video options available, which isn't always the case with TV apps. Those also need to use the audio return channel for surround sound. That can be flaky and doesn't usually support the newer audio formats like Atmos. Not a huge difference in that case as I don't even think Amazon has Atmos audio. Could be wrong about that, though.
The real difference is the multitude of other platforms it supports. Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, AppleTV, ESPN+, etc. etc. Basically all of them. All with the highest resolution options available (+ HDR formats) and best audio available. On my TV's app some of them have HDR, some don't. Even if the service supports it. Ditto with surround formats. Some apps do, some don't. The Firestick also has a pile of other services that provide free content that mirror live cable and on demand services. Those are just the apps ready to go by default. There are hundreds of other streaming services you can download apps for as well. There's also the option to side-load things like Kodi as well.
Everything is in one interface and it's super clean/quick/responsive with the best quality options.
The only negatives I have found is that it can be hard to separate prime (free) vs rent/buy. You have to be aware of what is included if you have prime even though Amazon does try to do this for you somewhat. Also, the hardware only supports Dolby digital plus (with or without atmos). My Plex server can’t send any DTS or Dolby TrueHD sound formats to the receiver directly through the Fire TV without transcoding to Dolby digital. Unfortunately, only the nvidia shield can do this, so it is not really fair to blame Amazon. Be aware that some older fire TVs can’t send HDR either.

mother than these, my family has been very happy with the Amazon ecosystem.
Despite the 4K stick saying it has atmos, it only supports it for a few amazon prime movies. Netflix et al don’t work with atmos. The fire cube or whatever it is does allow atmos.

that said, I have gone fire stick and haven’t looked back
Yeah, I'm noticing that Netflix definitely doesn't work in Atmos via the Firestick. I remember for while the PC Netflix app wouldn't do HDR and Atmos at the same time. If you had HDR turned on, the Atmos flag wasn't there. Could be related since the stick definitely does HDR.
Disney+ works with Atmos and it seems to work with files that use Atmos audio. I haven't run into anything on Prime that uses it, probably because I'm only watching the free stuff.
It's a neat device all the way around, though.