Amazon Adds Power, Voice To New Fire TV Streaming Stick

Amazon has introduced a new, more powerful version of the Fire TV Stick that’s integrated with a voice remote powered by its Alexa platform that, the company said, can search across more than 90 apps and channels.

Amazon’s new stick, which complements its 4K-capable Fire TV box and sells for $39.99, bakes in a quad-core processor that’s about 30% faster than its predecessor. It’s also outfitted with 802.11ac MIMI WiFi, the ability to stream video at up to 1080p, and the bandwidth-saving HEVC codec.

For consumers who buy and active the new Fire TV Streaming Stick by October 31, Amazon is also throwing in $65 in free content – a month of Sling TV (Dish’s OTT-TV service), two months of Hulu (its hybrid subscription/ad offering), and a $10 credit for rentals from the company’s own Amazon Video service.

Amazon has also teed up a free software update coming later this year that will feature a new on-screen “cinematic” experience that will feature video trailers and screenshots that, it said, will help users navigate and find content. The revised UI will also let users customize which apps show up on the home screen.

Amazon’s new arrival comes ahead of the all-important holiday buying seasons. It also comes on the heel of a revamped device lineup from Roku that includes the $29.99 Roku Express, which supports 1080p video, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, and a remote with a private listening feature. Roku’s Streaming Stick sells for $49.99.

According to a recent comScore study, Roku topped the OTT streaming device market, with a 49% share, followed by Google’s Chromecast adapter (22%), Amazon Fire TV devices (16%), and Apple TV (12%).