Amazon updates Fire TV streaming sticks and launches first Fire TV soundbar

Shawn Knight

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In brief: Amazon has introduced a pair of new streaming sticks and an all-new soundbar to boost your TV-watching experience. The flagship Fire TV Stick 4K Max is powered by an upgraded 2.0 GHz quad-core processor, which Amazon claims makes it the company's most powerful streaming stick to date. The streamer is also Amazon's first in this form factor to support Wi-Fi 6E.

The new stick additionally features support for Dolby Vision, HDR, HDR10+, and Dolby Atmos, and packs 16 GB of built-in storage – twice as much as the model it replaces.

Amazon has also brought over its Fire TV Ambient Experience from its Omni QLED TV Series to the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. The experience transforms your TV into a smart hub of sorts that displays helpful information as well as a growing collection of artwork. With it, users can see calendar notes and reminders at a glance and even leave sticky notes for family members or control smart devices like a connected doorbell or thermostat.

A new standard Fire TV Stick 4K, meanwhile, ships with a 1.7 GHz quad-core chip that's more than 25 percent faster than the CPU in its predecessor. Other amenities include support for Dolby Vision, HDR, HDR10+, HLG, and Dolby Atmos. You also get Wi-Fi 6 support, but only 2 GB of local storage.

Amazon's new Fire TV Soundbar boasts a dual-speaker (2x20W) design that delivers "room-filling sound" and supports Dolby Audio and DTS Virtual:X. It measures 24 inches wide x 3.5 inches tall x 2.5 inches deep and has a full complement of physical control buttons on the top. The soundbar connects to your TV via HDMI or optical but you can also use Bluetooth to wirelessly stream audio from your phone or tablet.

Amazon's new Fire TV Stick 4K Max is available to pre-order now priced at $59.99. The standard Fire TV Stick 4K, meanwhile, will set you back $49.99. Both are scheduled to ship on September 27. The Fire TV Soundbar is available from today for $119.99.

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Now if only they’d let me customize my start page so I’m not forced to see their “recommendations”.

Also, still only 2 GB of memory… really?

One other thing I really wanted them to fix was Bluetooth speaker volume control via the remote. I have a Bose Soundlink Mini II that I wanted to use as a poor man’s sound bar, but could never get the remote to control the volume. Reading Internet posts, it sounds like this was on a lot of people’s wish list and never got fixed. I’m willing to bet that this doesn’t get fixed at all now that there’s an Amazon-branded sound bar available.

(As an aside, I bought a new LG TV last fall and its remote does let me control the sound on my Bose speaker)
 
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