Some gadget experts believe that if you are considering a TV upgrade, it is better to buy a streaming stick such as the Fire TV Stick rather than buy a new smart TV. A streaming stick is cheaper, it can adapt to any TV with HDMI, and it functions much as a smart TV does.
But what can you expect with the Fire TV Stick when it comes to 4k video resolution?
Here’s What You Need to Know about the Amazon Fire TV Stick and 4K Resolution.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is an HDMI dongle that gives your TV the Fire TV operating system. This streaming stick comes in different models is capable of streaming in different resolutions, including 4K, for select models.
1. Are All Fire TV Sticks 4K?
Not all Fire TV Sticks come with 4K streaming resolution capability.
There are currently three Fire TV Stick models on the market today:
- Fire TV Stick Lite, which comes with Full HD, 1080p resolution
- Fire TV Stick, which comes with Full HD, 1080p resolution
- Fire TV Stick 4K, which comes with 4K resolution
There is another model similar to the Fire TV Stick, the Fire TV Cube. It functions as a set-top box system with Amazon Echo, and also comes with 4K streaming resolution.
2. What’s the Difference Between a Fire TV Stick and a Fire TV Stick 4K?
First of all, the Fire TV Stick can only go up to 1080p, whereas the 4K model can stream up to UHD, 4K resolutions.
Secondly, the Fire TV Stick 4K supports Dolby Vision, which makes sense, considering that it can handle higher resolutions than the regular Fire TV Stick or the Lite version.
3. Is a Fire TV Stick 4K Worth It?
The 4K version of the Fire TV Stick is worth it if most of the video-on-demand platforms you watch streams in 4K and if you have a TV that supports 4K resolution.
To date, there are four video-on-demand platforms that offer 4K streaming resolutions: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, and YouTube.
Note that your Fire TV Stick 4K won’t have any issues displaying content in lower resolutions if that is all that’s available.
But, even without 4K resolution, a nice perk about the Fire TV Stick 4k is the remote control that can adjust the volume of your TV, which isn’t true of the other models.
4. Are 4K Fire TV Sticks Faster?
The 4K Fire TV Sticks are faster than other Fire TV Stick devices due to its on-board 1.7 GHz processor, which Amazon says is faster than the 1.5 GHz quad-core chip found in other FireStick devices.
But remember that this increased speed is reliant on your Internet. 4K Fire TV Sticks need faster Internet to realize its potential for higher resolutions.
5. What Channels Are on Fire TV Stick 4K?
The app selection for a 4K Fire TV Stick is just the same as other Fire TV devices.
They use the same operating system and have the same apps in the app store.
6. Do I Need a 4K TV for a 4K Fire TV Stick?
For 4K streaming quality, you must have a TV with 4K resolution capability.
You can use a non-4K TV with your 4K Fire TV Stick, but you will not be able to get the 4K resolution when streaming videos.
7. How Can I Tell if My Fire TV Stick is 4K?
To help you identify if your Fire TV Stick is the 4K edition, here’s how it differs physically from other Fire TV Sticks:
- The 4K Fire TV Stick is larger than other Fire TV Sticks, probably because of the extra components needed for 4K streaming.
- Unlike other Fire TV Sticks, you won’t find “Amazon” on the logo on the side or on the remote control.
- The remote control also differs from the regular Fire TV Stick, as it features volume controls and a power button.
8. Is the 4K Fire TV Stick Backward Compatible?
Yes, the 4K Fire TV Stick can work with older TVs, as long as it has an HDMI port.
When you plug it into the HDMI port, the Fire TV Stick will check the resolution settings and adapt to it.
9. Will a 4K Fire TV Stick Work with an 8K TV?
You can plug a 4K Fire TV Stick into a TV with 8K resolution, with two possible outcomes, depending on the TV:
- If the TV features upscaling, your content will be upgraded to an 8K resolution.
- Should upscaling not be available, your 8K TV will show content in 4K.
10. How Much Bandwidth Does the 4K Fire TV Stick Need?
The bandwidth needs of the 4K Fire TV Stick depend on the streaming platform.
For example, Amazon Prime Video needs only 1 Mbps for standard definition (SD) streaming and 5 Mbps for HD video streaming, while Netflix recommends at least 3 Mbps for SD resolution, and 5 Mbps for HD video.
All things considered, it is suggested to have at least 5 Mbps for SD streaming, 10 Mbps for HD videos, and 25 Mbps for 4K streaming.
11. Are 4K Fire TV Sticks 64 Bit?
The 4K Fire TV Stick supports apps in 64 bit. It will not have any issues running apps that are 32-bit, either.
12. Are There Buffering Issues with the 4K Fire TV Stick?
Buffering issues can happen with any smart TV—or any streaming stick, for that matter—and that includes the 4K Fire TV Stick.
Buffering is an Internet connectivity problem. It happens due to the lack of bandwidth to support the streaming resolution.
To get the best results, you need at least 5 Mbps for SD streaming, 10 Mbps for HD streaming, and 25 Mbps for 4K streaming.
If you encounter buffering issues, you can reboot your Fire TV Stick and router by unplugging and reconnecting them after two minutes.
13. Does the 4K Fire TV Stick Automatically Adjust Resolutions?
The 4K Fire TV Stick gives you the option to lock resolutions or adjust the streaming resolution based on your Internet speed.
When used with a 4K TV that upscales, you can still enjoy Ultra HD streaming with the Fire TV Stick. The TV will bring up the throttled streaming and make it close to 4K. That is why a 4K TV is highly recommended with the 4K Fire TV Stick.
14. Is 4K Fire TV Stick Better than the Roku Streaming Stick+?
The 4K Fire TV Stick and the Roku Streaming Stick+ are similar in many ways. They both feature 4K and HDR quality content and plug into HDMI ports.
Now, deciding which is better depends on your preferences.
- When it comes to menu and user interface, the Roku Streaming Stick+ has a better, cleaner home screen. You can rearrange your apps and put your most-used apps upfront.
- The 4K Fire TV Stick has an interface that promotes a lot of content on Amazon Prime; it’s cluttered and feels spammy.
- The 4K Fire TV Stick allows for the sideloading of apps. Since its operating system is based on Android, you can install compatible apps that are not found in the app store.
- Meanwhile, the Roku Streaming Stick+ tends to be more agnostic with its apps. It tries to make itself more available to different platforms.
- When it comes to audio connectivity, the 4K Fire TV Stick works with any Bluetooth device. You can pair your favorite soundbar or headphones without any problem.
- The Roku Streaming Stick+ only works with Roku speakers. This is quite limiting. You do have the option of plugging headphones into the remote control for silent listening or using your Bluetooth headsets through the Roku app for smartphones.
Another feature worth noting is that the 4K Fire TV Stick has OTG-capabilities through its Micro USB port. You can plug in other USB devices, including a compatible Ethernet connection.
The brief comparison above shows how both devices have respective strengths and weaknesses. Deciding which is better for you depends on what you are after in a streaming stick.
15. Does the 4K Fire TV Stick Have Bluetooth?
The 4K Fire TV Stick has Bluetooth connectivity.
The remote control of the 4K Fire TV Stick connects via Bluetooth.
Some other devices you can connect to the 4K Fire TV Stick include Bluetooth Keyboards, Mouse, soundbars, and headphones.
16. Can You Use Your Smartphone as a Remote Control?
You can use your smartphone as a remote control for your 4K Fire TV Stick.
There is an app available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store which lets you navigate the Fire TV Stick with your phone.
It is worth noting that the smartphone app does not have volume control, which is available in the 4K Fire TV Stick’s default remote control.
17. Is the 4K Fire TV Stick Compatible with All TVs?
The 4K Fire TV Stick is compatible with all TVs that have an HDMI port.
That means that even TVs that don’t have 4K resolution can enjoy the benefits of the 4K Fire TV. TVs with lower resolutions cannot display in 4K, but they can still use the 4K Fire TV Stick. The 4k Fire TV Stick can adapt to the resolution of the TV without problems.
18. Does the 4K Fire TV Stick Have a Sleep Timer?
The 4K Fire TV Stick, like other Fire Sticks in the market, does not have a sleep timer.
But it does have a screensaver that activates after a certain period of idleness.
The timer for the screensaver is set in milliseconds, and the default is set to 300,000 ms (five minutes). If no action happens after 1,200,000 ms, or 20 minutes, after the screensaver is launched, the 4K Fire TV Stick will switch to standby mode.
Note that in standby mode on the Fire TV Stick, the display will be black, but your TV is still on.
19. Does the 4K Fire TV Stick Have an Ethernet Port?
The 4K Fire TV Stick does not have an Ethernet port. But Amazon has an option for a dongle for Ethernet connection.
This Ethernet dongle plugs into the micro-USB port of the Amazon 4K Fire TV. Having an Ethernet option can give your Fire TV Stick a more stable connection.
20. What Can You Plug into the Micro-USB port of the 4K Fire TV?
Aside from using the Micro USB for powering the Fire Stick, you can use the OTG functions of the device to attach other USB devices, such as flash drives, keyboards, and mice.
For some OTG dongles, you also get the option for an Ethernet connection.
Should you plan to buy an OTG dongle for the 4K Fire TV Stick, make sure that the dongle is powered or can accept a standard USB adapter, which will provide power to the Fire Stick.
21. What Is the Difference Between the 4K Fire TV Stick and the Fire Cube?
The 4K Fire TV Stick and Fire Cube are both products from Amazon that can provide up to 4K streaming.
The most notable difference between the Fire Stick and Fire Cube is the Amazon Echo Speakers built into the Fire Cube that serves as a hub for your smart home system.
The Fire Cube also has more storage space. It has 16 GB, whereas the Fire TV Stick has 8 GB. You can install more apps with the Fire Cube.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is an exceptional choice for those who want to upgrade smart systems.
Instead of buying a new TV, you can give your existing HD TV a new life through the Fire TV system.
And it does the job at a fraction of the price.