The streaming video player market got a little more crowded this week with the release of Amazon’s Fire TV Stick. The HDMI dongle echoes the Chromecast in form factor and mirrors Amazon’s own Fire TV set top box in functionality.
The Fire TV Stick is priced at $39 but for the moment you can snag it for just $19. The sub 20 bucks price point makes this a great buy for the holiday season.
Easy to setup and use
Comes with a remote control
No audio input (can’t connect to home theater system)
No ethernet port (must connect the device to your network via wifi)
Slower processor than the larger and more expensive set top boxes
Cannot access content purchased through iTunes or on Apple TVs
Who is it for?
Anyone interested in streaming video content from services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video (which includes both paid and “free” with Amazon Prime membership content).
Grab it as a stocking stuffer, for the office secret Santa thing, or as a great Hanukkah gift for your friend who relies on her laptop to watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix.
Update from Amazon: “Due to popular demand, orders placed today are expected to arrive after January 1, 2015. See delivery date at checkout. Limit one per customer. This item will be released on November 19th.”
My household once had a Roku and currently has two Apple TVs, two Amazon Fire TVs and a Chromecast. Of all of those devices the Amazon Fire TVs are the most frequently used. We subscribe to both Netflix and Hulu (we don’t have a cable tv subscription) and buy individual episodes and seasons of shows through Amazon Video. We still occasionally use the Apple TVs for content we can only get through Apple. But our strong preference is for the Amazon Fire TV user interface and experience. The Fire TV Stick, from what I’ve seen, is nearly identical to the Fire TV box experience.
Earlier this year I shut down my long running and arguably successful blog called Consuming Louisville. At the end of the site’s run I was burned out. Burned out on blogging, burned out on writing primarily about Louisville, burned out on chasing inside or breaking info about restaurants opening or closing. I was kind of burned out on restaurants too. To this day trying to pick what restaurant to go to makes me jittery. It’s not an overstatement to say that Consuming Louisville was the major component of my life outside of my wife and my dog. It was the work I was best known for and the work I was most proud of. And yet I wasn’t sad to let it go. It was time. The site had run it’s course and I felt that I was no longer delivering a site that was compelling for my readers.
But as the months passed I noticed that I missed blogging. I missed publishing something that I was pleased to share with people. I missed having a site that my wife could send to people to say “Michelle does this.” Tim Berners Lee help me, I even missed the comments. But I didn’t miss Consuming Louisville. I’d had an idea for how Consuming Louisville might live to see another day but after months of toying with the idea I realized my heart wasn’t in it and I shelved the concept. But I still missed blogging.
During this same time I started working on some other projects, including joining ThinkUp as a part-time community manager. My work with ThinkUp has been inspiring to me on many levels. It’s such a pleasure to work with “internet people.” You know what I mean? People who live and breath the internet as much as I do. People who use Slack for work communication instead of insisting on conference calls. People for whom an animated gif is a perfectly acceptable answer to a work related question. Collaborating with people like that makes for a great work experience. And it doesn’t hurt that the founders of ThinkUp, Gina Trapani and Anil Dash, are people I have admired and whose work I have respected for over a decade. But perhaps the most inspiring thing about my time with ThinkUp so far has been reconnecting with a kind of work I really enjoy: helping people with tech and media issues.
ThinkUp users are incredibly smart and savvy so I’m not saving the day or resurrecting their iPhone or anything like that. But my work, a combination of support and communications (check out the ThinkUp blog!) is deeply satisfying. It’s that work that inspired me to host a Let Them Tweet Cake meetup again after a nearly six month hiatus. And it’s that work that has inspired me to start blogging occasionally about tech, gadgets and social media issues here. Well that’s only partly true. The other inspiration for this site is my wife. My wife is a brilliant doctor but she’s not, in her words, a geek. So I’m the gadget buyer, network admin, tech support, data backup, find the best apps, etc person in my family. And sometime’s other people’s families. I got a text from my wife’s boss the other day about a problem with her iPhone because she’s “not married to a geek.”
I like helping people with their tech and gadget issues. I also like writing about tech and gadget issues. I also think it’s totally possible to write about those issues without snark and to have a civil comments section. I kept the comments civil on Consuming Louisville for years and will do the same here. It’s my sincerest hope that the ladies of Let Them Tweet Cake and everyone else who makes their way to this site will find it to be a welcoming environment where they can ask questions or leave comments and know that they’ll get sincere and helpful responses. I also think it’s important to have a tech site that’s primarily geared toward women that doesn’t focus on pink gadgets or infantilized gadgets that are supposedly “for women.”
I don’t promise that posts to this blog will be super frequent. I mean there’s The Verge and thousands of other sites for daily, quick breaking tech/media stories. This is a labor of love so I’ll post when I feel I have something interesting or helpful to share. Maybe once a week, maybe once a month. I recommend adding the site to your favorite RSS reader (let me know if you’d like suggestions on RSS readers!) and follow @tweetcakelou to keep up with the posts. I’ll probably add an option for signing up for updates via email soon as well.