Today, in an online event held exclusively for members of the press, Amazon announced a slew of new devices, including a new entry-level media streamer, the $30 Fire TV Stick Lite.
It joins a new version of the existing Fire TV Stick, the price of which remains $40. Both devices can pre-ordered today and will start shipping on September 30.
Amazon claims that the Fire TV Stick Lite has the most processing power of any streaming media player under $30. It runs at full-HD (1080p), but it can also handle HDR so you can still get the extra contrast and brightness that HDR offers even if you’re not watching content in 4K resolution. It’s limited to HDR 10, HDR10+, and HLG formats — so no Dolby Vision.
It looks a lot like the $30 2019 version of Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, but with one big difference: The included Alexa Voice Remote Lite no longer has a built-in volume rocker or a power button. Amazon didn’t say if the volume can be controlled via the D-pad or if you’ll be able to use Alexa to make adjustments. It’s also possible you’ll be expected to just use your existing TV remote for volume.
The Fire TV Stick Lite now goes head-to-head with the $30 Roku Express. The bar for a $30 device has been upped considerably: The Roku lacks a voice-capable remote and it can’t do HDR.
Amazon also announced a new version of the regular Fire TV Stick.
Amazon claims it’s 50% more powerful than the previous generation which was updated in 2019, and the new model now supports both HDR (HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG) and Dolby Atmos, along with full-HD (1080p) resolution. It’s also designed to use 50% less energy than the previous model.
In fact, Amazon also announced that it will be reducing in-use energy consumption of all of its Echo and Fire TV devices. New models come equipped with the feature, but some existing models will receive the update as an over-the-air upgrade via the Alexa app.
Finally, Amazon also introduced the next version of the Fire TV interface which has been updated to include separate user profiles for each member of the household and an improved home screen that puts favorite apps at the top, where they’re easier to find.
There’s also a new section dedicated to discovering the things you can do with the Alexa voice assistant both on and off of Fire TV devices.
When interacting with Alexa, some responses will only take up a portion of the screen instead of blocking all of the content you’re in the middle of watching. This includes a new picture-in-picture mode.
We’ll provide our thoughts on these new devices and the new Fire TV experience as soon as we get some devices in for testing.