Amazon’s a pretty divisive company; some people loathe it and all it stands for, while others – like myself – actually rather enjoy the service they provide.
I’m what you’d call ‘ALL IN” when it comes to Amazon; I have Prime Membership, an Amazon Echo and an Amazon Fire TV. I use Prime for everything from house hold stuff to whisky – seriously, whisky!
I know, £79 sounds like a lot of dosh. But when you factor in what you actually get – TV, Film, Music, Kindle Lending Library AND free, next day delivery – it kind of pays for itself.
I’m pretty careful with money, always have been, but I have no qualms about paying my yearly subscription to Amazon. I use it ALL the time for purchases and most evenings for TV and movies.
If you’re new to the Amazon ecosystem, though, it is now very easy to dip your toe in and see what all the fuss is about. The best way is to grab an Amazon Fire TV Stick, as they’re dirt cheap and super-useful.
I mean, just look at these specs and features:
- The next generation of our bestselling Fire TV Stick. The most powerful streaming media stick, with the fastest Wi-Fi and most accurate voice search-now including the Alexa Voice Remote.
- Over 7,000 apps, games and Alexa skills, including Amazon Video, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Netflix, YouTube and more.
- Launch apps and control content with the included Alexa Voice Remote. Simply say "Launch Netflix" or "Skip ahead 5 minutes" and Alexa responds. Plus, play music, search for local restaurants and more. Just ask.
- 8 GB of storage and 1 GB of memory for apps and games, a quad-core processor, plus 802.11ac Wi-Fi for fast streaming and smooth performance.
- Easily find what you want to watch with search results from Netflix, Amazon Video, Prime Video, and other third-party apps.
- Amazon Prime members get unlimited access to Prime Video, featuring thousands of movies and TV episodes, including The Grand Tour, at no additional cost. Plus, Prime members can add over 40 premium channels such as Discovery and Eurosport Player. Channels are available as individual subscriptions so you only pay for the TV channels you want.
- Pick up where you left off. Bring hit shows and movies with you when you travel. Plug your Fire TV Stick into a TV's HDMI port, connect to Wi-Fi and continue watching.
- Play current favourites or quickly discover what to watch next directly from the Home screen.
I got mine for £39 via Amazon. Since then, I haven't looked back; these things are truly amazing (especially if you have an Alexa-powered gizmo like Amazon Echo or the cheaper Amazon Dot)
You can install Kodi on Amazon's Fire TV Stick, for instance, which is amazing, and all new Fire TV Sticks now come with Amazon’s extremely impressive Alexa AI built in.
To be fair, even if you don’t end up paying for Amazon’s Prime services, you still get a ton of value from the Fire TV Stick running things like Kodi.
Personally, I really like Amazon’s film and TV selection; it’s grown a lot over the years and since you can no longer access US Netflix in the UK, I find myself using Prime Video more and more.
You can get a free, 30 day trial of Amazon Prime, however, and experience the joy of free, next day delivery as well as Amazon’s impressive array of TV, Film and Music.
If you like Prime membership, keep it. If you don’t, stop the payment, keep the Fire TV Stick and use it for Kodi.
If you order a lot of stuff online, Prime membership kind of pays for itself, though. I’ve been using it since it first came to the UK. But you do need to use it a lot to justify the £79 a year outlay.
Personally, I don’t know anyone that has got Prime Membership and cancelled it. Now, that could be because everyone I know is a serial consumer, which they are, but the service is constantly evolving and is super-useful whether you’re talking about groceries or electronics.
I don’t know how Amazon’s buy-out of Whole Foods will change things or make stuff better, but you can bet your bottom dollar that it will have some kind of effect on Amazon’s products and services, as the buy out gives the company more physical stores in the US than Apple.
“This deal is potentially terrifying for other grocers,” said Neil Saunders from retail analysis firm GlobalData. “Although Amazon has been a looming threat to the grocery industry, the shadow it has cast has been pale and distant. Today that changed: Amazon has moved squarely onto the turf of traditional supermarkets and poses a much more significant threat.”
The bottomline here, though, is simple: the Amazon Fire TV Stick, for the price, is easily one of the best and most cost effective media streaming devices on the planet right now.