Fire TV buying guide: Every Amazon streaming device explained and which one is right for you

Fire TV buying guide: Every Amazon streaming device explained and which one is right for you
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An Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max next to an Alexa voice remote on a table
The best Fire TV devices include streaming sticks and smart TVs.

The best Amazon Fire TV devices are designed to deliver easy access to all of the most popular streaming services. Fire TV products are some of our favorite streaming devices, and you can choose between stick, cube, and full-fledged smart TV models.

Entry-level Fire TV options, like the standard Fire TV Stick, offer full HD playback, while the best Fire TV models, like the latest Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Stick 4K Max, support Ultra HD video and Dolby Vision for enhanced color and contrast. Amazon also sells its own smart TVs that have the Fire TV operating system (OS) built in. Though these sets don’t rank among the top TVs you can buy, they’re decent budget options for fans of Amazon’s ecosystem.  

But with so many different Fire TV models to consider, it can be tricky to figure out which one is right for your needs. To help you pick the best Fire TV for your entertainment setup, we’ve detailed all the ins and outs of each model.

How to get a great deal on the best Fire TV devices

The best Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks often drop to all-time low prices during sales on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Prime Day, though smaller discounts also pop up throughout the year outside these big events.

When on sale during major holidays, you can snag Fire TV Sticks for as much as 50% off. With Presidents Day and the Super Bowl already out of the way, the next big deal event will likely be Amazon Prime Day, which historically occurs in July. 

Fire TV Stick Lite

The Fire TV Stick Lite is the best Fire TV you can snag on a budget. Like the company’s other stick models, this compact dongle plugs right into your TV’s HDMI port. Once powered on, you can navigate through the stick’s interface to access many of the best streaming services. 

Regarding general performance, the Fire TV Stick Lite matches the quality of the more expensive standard Fire TV Stick. The only notable difference between this model and the regular Stick is its remote. The Lite includes an Alexa Voice Remote Lite, which is missing TV controls, like power and volume buttons. Other than that, both models are basically the same.

The Fire TV Stick Lite can stream videos at up to 1080p resolution, which makes it ideal for an HDTV. The device also supports high dynamic range (HDR) using the HDR10 and HDR10+ formats. This feature delivers enhanced colors and contrast when streaming HDR videos through apps like Disney Plus. That said, most TVs that support HDR are 4K models, and if you have a 4K TV, we highly recommend you pay a bit more for one of Amazon’s 4K sticks.

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If your TV doesn’t support 4K, the Fire TV Stick Lite will suit your streaming needs just fine. Keep in mind, however, that the standard Fire TV Stick occasionally goes on sale for even less than the Lite. When that happens, there’s no reason to consider this model.

Fire TV Stick

The standard Fire TV Stick matches the 1080p streaming quality of the Lite model but has an improved remote with controls for your TV, like power and volume.

The base Fire TV Stick will meet the HD streaming needs of most people unless you own a 4K TV, in which case we recommend spending the extra money on one of Amazon’s more advanced 4K streaming devices.

Fire TV Stick 4K

As the name suggests, the Fire TV Stick 4K streams at a higher resolution than the Fire TV Stick or Stick Lite. With 4K support, you’ll get a sharper, more detailed image when watching 4K videos on a 4K TV. 

This model also carries over HDR playback but adds support for the more advanced Dolby Vision format, which is missing on the Lite and standard Fire TV Stick. Dolby Vision can give your TV more detailed guidance on how to display HDR images, but only when watching Dolby Vision content on a compatible display. 

The latest version of the Fire TV Stick 4K was released in September 2023, and it has a slightly tweaked design with rounded edges, more memory, and an improved processor that Amazon says is around 25% faster than the first-gen model. It also now supports WiFi 6 when used with a compatible router. 

This model is a good fit if you have a 4K TV. However, if you’re willing to spend $10 more, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max offers slightly better performance.

Fire TV Stick 4K Max

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is one of our picks for the best streaming devices you can buy. It carries over everything you’ll get on the regular Fire TV Stick 4K while offering a faster processor and GPU, as well as more storage. This makes navigation a little snappier and lets you save more apps and games.

Amazon released the latest version of its Fire TV Stick 4K Max in September 2023, and compared to the previous-generation edition, this new model has an upgraded processor, double the amount of storage, and new support for WiFi 6E routers. It also has a revised design with rounded edges. And unlike other Fire TV Sticks, the 4K Max supports Amazon’s Fire TV Ambient Experience, which lets you display art, photos, and widgets for things like the weather and your calendar. 

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is typically just $10 more than the standard Fire TV Stick 4K, so we think it’s the best Fire TV option for people with 4K TVs.

Fire TV Cube

The Fire TV Cube is the best Fire TV device for pure processing power. It incorporates all the features of the Fire TV Stick 4K Max but has a beefier CPU and is meant to be a more traditional home theater device. Instead of a dongle that hangs out of your TV’s HDMI port, the Cube is a compact box that sits on your TV stand. 

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One of the Fire TV Cube’s biggest benefits is its support for hands-free Alexa voice control without using a remote. In other words, the Cube can act like an Echo device. The newest model also has an HDMI passthrough port to control cable boxes, twice as much storage space as the stick models, 4K upscaling to make HD videos look better, and overall faster performance.

The Fire TV Cube is a premium streaming box designed to compete with devices like the Apple TV 4K and the Roku Ultra, so it’s best suited for home theater enthusiasts who want the absolute best quality and fastest technology.

Fire TV 2-Series

Amazon also sells its own lineup of full-fledged smart TVs, which all use a built-in version of the Fire TV OS. This means you can stream your favorite apps without an extra device. Though Amazon’s displays don’t make our guide to the best TVs, they’re still worthwhile budget options if you’re a fan of the Fire TV ecosystem. The 2-Series is Amazon’s entry-level HDTV model designed for people who just want a basic smart TV for casual viewing. 

The 2-Series is available in 32 inches with a 720p screen or 40 inches with a 1080p screen. Both models support HDR processing using the standard HDR10 format, but the 2-Series can’t deliver the brightness or color performance needed to really take advantage of high dynamic range playback. For this reason, we only recommend this model for people who want a cheap TV that doesn’t take up too much space.

Fire TV 4-Series

The 4-Series steps things up from HD to Ultra HD with a 4K resolution screen. Models are available in 43-, 50-, and 55-inch screen sizes. 

Though it supports 4K playback, the 4-Series is still limited to very basic HDR performance and lacks advanced features like wide color support and Dolby Vision. It’s a decent TV for buyers who want a smaller, affordable 4K display for a bedroom, but it’s not suited for home theater use.

Fire TV Omni Series

The Omni Series Fire TV adds built-in support for hands-free Alexa voice control without needing to use the remote. You can control power, volume, navigation, and search with spoken commands through the TV’s built-in microphones. And the TV can also serve as an Alexa smart home hub even when the display is off. 

Models range in size from 43 to 75 inches. Every model supports 4K resolution and HDR10, and the 65- and 75-inch models add support for Dolby Vision.

Unfortunately, the TV’s picture quality and navigation speed are underwhelming for its price. There are simply better-looking smart TVs from brands like TCL, Hisense, and Vizio in this price range. That said, the Omni is a decent buy when it’s on sale during deal events like Black Friday and Prime Day. We only recommend picking up the 65-inch model when you can snag it for under $500. 

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Check out our Amazon Fire TV Omni review.

Fire TV Omni QLED Series

Amazon’s Omni QLED is the best Fire TV display you can buy, and it offers a big step up from the regular Omni Series. It carries over hands-free Alexa support while adding advanced picture features like quantum dots and local dimming. These features enable it to deliver much better color and contrast performance. 

The TV also has a smart ambient mode that can display art and widgets when it senses someone has walked into the room. Sizes range from 43 to 75 inches, but the 43-inch model does not include local dimming.

The 65-inch model’s list price of $800 is a bit high for what you get, and the set doesn’t match the overall performance of the very best 4K TVs in this class. However, we’ve seen it drop to $600 during big sales events, and it offers much better value at that price. 

Check out our full Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review.

Fire TV Soundbar

Amazon’s latest Fire TV-branded product isn’t actually a streaming device at all. Instead, it’s a soundbar.

The Fire TV soundbar is a compact 2.0-channel speaker designed to rest in front of your TV. It features an HDMI eARC and optical port for easy connection to most modern displays, and it also supports Bluetooth for wireless music playback from a mobile device.

At 24 inches wide, the soundbar is relatively small, which should make it easy to set up on most TV stands. Though it doesn’t include a subwoofer or offer advanced features like up-firing audio drivers with Dolby Atmos support, the Fire TV Soundbar does support DTS Virtual:X to simulate surround sound. That said, at this price range and performance class, buyers shouldn’t expect too much from this feature.  

And despite the Fire TV branding, this is a soundbar only. It does not feature built-in support for streaming video apps. The base model only includes a standard remote, but you can pay more for a package with an Alexa Voice Remote Pro. 

Based on the specs and affordable $120 price tag, it looks like Amazon is positioning this as an entry-level soundbar for people who just want a simple, compact, and inexpensive upgrade for their TV’s speakers.

But if you’re looking for something with more oomph, check out our guides to the best soundbars, best Dolby Atmos soundbars, and best budget soundbars. 

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