It arrived yesterday, certainly exciting because I fixed my mistake of not getting in on the pre-order of the Chromecast.
When you turn on the Fire Stick, it first makes sure that it can find the remote, this tells me that it’s RF instead of IR (I guess the stick is on the back on the TV, so that makes sense), then you setup your home wifi, it connects, and downloads the latest update.
Once the stick reboots, you’re welcomed to Prime / Fire, it detected all of my Amazon settings for me (they must have preloaded it, I wonder if they will do this for everyone)
The Remote Is Key
Amazon’s Fire Stick comes with a remote, not to dissimilar from Apple TV’s reote (except it has +4 buttons) and it’s key to making it feel like a typical TV appliance, your standard dvd player type of setup. Using the remote is a drastic improvement of the download required to install ChromeCast. I suppose that it’s really a traditional thing, but the remote is key to being comfortable. Maybe one of these days, using my phone as a remote will feel normal, but I don’t use the IR blaster remote on my Android device, and launching apps on my tablet is less easy than just turning on the Amazon Fire Stick.
I really like the app concept and I installed a large number of applications, Pandora, a Fire Place, Bloomberg TV, and ESPN are just where I started at. These apps on the stick makes it a standalone device, and an extendable one at that (giving me hopes for HBO GO, CBS TV, and perhaps CWTV to come if Amazon can push the adoption.)
One of the nicer aspects is the Amazon Video support that I’ve not had, only my iPad Mini could watch high quality TV – Amazon limits you from streaming HD to my MacBook Pro (which I would plug into my TV – not often an issue, but there is a nice difference.). If Prime continues to get decent free videos available, it really brings the value out in Prime.
PS. The power brick is a lot nicer than the Chromecasts, it has an Apple-esque design.