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Amazon Fire TV Review


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I have been using a PC for a front end and just got a Fire TV to compare. First of all a very easy setup process as I am a Prime member and all of my content was available. It seems they have hundreds of apps and you can even get Direct TV on this thing if you want to cut the cord. I watched The Hobbit and thought the video and SQ were outstanding. The Fire TV streamed the movie in DD 5.1 which I upsampled using the Atmos upmixer on my Marantz 7702. Video quality was very good 1080P, nice color and detail. I think they use HEVC which seems to be a nice upgrade vs. streaming with the PC. The big surprise was streaming Amazon music. With my PC I upsample music to 192/24 via my Xonar U7 sound card. The Fire TV streamed with no upsampling sounded outstanding and took me a little by surprise, particularly on the fullness and tightness of the bass.

A really nice surprise was a voice controlled remote. My kid can't use a keyboard but he learned really quickly how to pull up content by speaking into the remote. It was amazingly accurate. He almost felt like he was in a conversation with "Alexa".

I did have alittle trouble connecting to the qello app to stream concerts but noticed it is running a firmware update today which will hopefully fix it.

In conclusion I thought using a PC would make this device redundant. Not so, excellent video and SQ, convenience and being able to talk to your remote to search make it well worth the cost of entry. I don't have 4K yet but this thing is even 4K capable:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Fire-TV-Streaming-Media-Player/dp/B00U3FPN4U/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1482759577&sr=8-2&keywords=fire+tv

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Follow up

 

Amazon just did a firmware upgrade and Qello works fine. Here is where I find this device addicting after the upgrade. You can do a voice search for a movie, a director, a musician, whatever and you get search results now not only from amazon but from the apps. It is not 100% but still good. If I say "Rolling Stones" I get concert videos from Amazon, Qello, Netflix etc.

I can also click on the music app and it will bring up results for Amazon music.

I find this feature amazing. I used to have to log into each service and type for results. This is like a search engine for media content across the different apps within Fire TV.

The SQ and picture quality are outstanding as well.

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Update

So two things. As for the voice search it is excellent. I tried saying "Frank Sinatra station" to see if it would bring up a playlist from Prime Music. As an Amazon Prime member I get Prime Music for free, and the first song is Sinatra and the SQ is great, Every song after that is a 10, Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, etc.

Then I tried saying "Sergio Leone movies" and a whole list of movies came up by him and also similar movies in his genre. I ended up watching the original Django from the sixties. The I say "Pixar movies" and like every Pixar movie came up. So voice search is MUCH better than I expected.

 

Next I went to youtube and searched How to Install kodi on fire tv. A great video tutorial came up, I install a Kodi and then a custom build called Wookie and the next thing I know I have access to movies, TV, sports, etc. I love the GUI and the picture quality and SQ are great.

Almost forgot, I also installed Plex and it is great to be able to access all of the media files in my network through Fire TV. I find this incredibly easy to navigate.

I also tried gaming. Their is a USB port on the back of Fire TV, I inserted the wireless dongle for my X Box 360 controller and it worked great.

Bottom line is I find the setup, the convenience, the voice search along with all the apps and Kodi to be a great addition to my system.

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