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Amazon launches Chromecast rival, Fire TV Stick

Fire_TV_StickAmazon has launched a HDMI dongle version of its Amazon Fire TV streaming device, going head-to-head with Google’s rival Chromecast TV stick. 

Amazon’s Fire TV Stick will retail at US$39 (€30.70) in the US, marginally more than the Chromecast’s US$35 price tag, however Amazon claims that its device has twice the memory and 50% more processing power than the Chromecsat thanks to its dual-core processor.

Unlike Google’s Chromecast, the Fire TV Stick will also come bundled with a remote control, allowing users to control the device either by using this or from a free mobile app – which supports voice search and is available at launch on Android phones and is due to launch on iPhones soon.

“Fire TV Stick is the most powerful streaming media stick available – a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, dual-band and dual-antenna Wi-Fi, included remote control, voice search with our free mobile app, easy set-up, an open ecosystem, and exclusive features like ASAP for instant streaming,” said Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos.

The Fire TV Stick will include the same interface that is found on Amazon Fire TV boxes, and will allow users to access video and music services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Hulu, WatchESPN, YouTube.com, Pandora and Spotify.

The plug-and-play device supports 1080p HD video and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound, has dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi – compared to Chromecast’s single-band, single-antenna Wi-Fi – and uses Advanced Streaming and Prediction (ASAP) to guess what content a user will watch-next, preparing it for playback in order to eliminate waiting time and buffering.

Other Fire TV Stick features include the ability to “fling” movies and TV shows from a Fire tablet or Fire phone to Fire TV Stick, as well as wirelessly mirroring the display of these devices onto the main screen. Users can also access relevant music, movie and TV show information on the second screen of a Fire tablet or Fire phone.

The Fire TV Stick is available to pre-order now in the US, and will start to ship on November 19. International launch details were not revealed, though Amazon’s Fire TV box is currently available in the UK and Germany, as well as the US.