Amazon's new Fire TV Stick comes with Alexa voice commands

The Amazon Fire TV Stick is available for £39.99, is up for pre-order now and will begin shipping in April.

So, what's new about Amazon's new TV streamer?

However, Amazon plans to make the technology near-ubiquitous by including it in other devices and gadgets made by other manufacturers.

It's functionally similar to the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot speakers, meaning users can tell their Fire TV Stick to "find suspense thrillers" or "open Netflix" and expect a response. It isn't always on, listening for that "Alexa" key phrase; instead, it's activated through the new voice remote control, which is included in the box. Amazon has also created new "cards" that appear when you ask Alexa for things such as weather and information on your commute - the screen doesn't stay blank but shows off the relevant information in a nice clean layout.

Can't deal with all the scrolling and menu hopping when it comes to picking a movie on streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime? You can have UHD via the higher-end Fire TV box, which should itself be getting an update to Alexa and the new UI in due course. Don't worry, you can now speak to your TV instead.

Now one of its biggest and best features is joining another of Amazon's most popular products.

It's all much more involving and browsable than the previous UI, and I'm a big fan of the ability now to search across third-party services, which is another key feature.

To go with the new-look hardware, Amazon has given its Fire TV Stick UI a makeover.

Along with voice control, Amazon has also made its Fire TV Stick faster with a powerful quad-core processor and upgraded Wi-Fi tucked inside its small shell. You still have to connect it via micro-USB to a powered USB socket or mains adapter, and it still has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage.

Unlike on the Echo, however, Alexa isn't triggered simply by saying her name out loud. Is it worth the increase?

Amazon's personal assistant Alexa has been integrated with cars, fridges, and smart watches. It will be better value than buying an original and then the voice remote separately.

Netflix subscribers looking for Breaking Bad using voice search, for instance, will be shown the option to jump straight to Netflix, but will also be given the option to buy episodes from Amazon's video store.

Google's Amazon Echo competitor, Home, which is not yet available in the United Kingdom, allows for Netflix and other TV shows to be controlled using voice via a Chromecast.

Amazon has also improved the accessibility options on the Fire TV Stick.

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