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Does Amazon's New FireTV Stick 4K Do It All

Amazon's Fire TV Stick is among the first streaming devices to support HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, as well as Dolby Atmos.
HDR, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos... Yup!

It seems like every year a new format comes along to make all our "old" gear obsolete. For audio video afficionados, those latest formats include Dolby Atmos immersive sound, and three different flavors of High Dynamic Range for enhanced picture quality. The three HDR flavors currently on the market include HDR 10 (the most common), HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision and HDR10+ promise better picture quality than standard HDR 10 by using something called "dynamic meta data." Basically they're able to shift around the required storage bits on a scene-by-scene basis to get the best dynamic range out of movies and TV shows that are encoded in the format.

But good luck finding a single playback device that supports all of the available formats. Until now, that is. Amazon just started shipping the latest version of their streaming stick, the FireTV Stick 4K, which supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, HDR 10 and HDR10+. So whether you get your streaming 4K video fix from Amazon or Netflix, you should be able to take advantage of the highest quality available for 4K HDR streaming. Of course, Dolby Atmos support in a streaming stick can be tricky because most TVs do not include Dolby Atmos support built-in or the ability to pass Dolby Atmos through to a compatible sound system or soundbar using HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel). Some TVs do claim Dolby Atmos passthrough support (like LG's current line of OLED TVs), but many other models do not. But in that case, you could plug the streaming stick into your A/V receiver or Atmos-compatible soundbar directly, in order to get your immersive sound fix.

We plan to get in one of these Fire TV sticks and test its support for HDR 10, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos in the upcoming weeks. But those who want to check it out can get it now:
In addition to support for these advanced audio and video formats, Amazon's Fire TV Stick also includes support for hundreds of different streaming providers and apps. One of the things we like is it built in Dish Anywhere app. This allows us to watch recorded and live TV from our home DVR while on vacation virtually anywhere in the world, just by plugging the Fire TV stick into the back of any TV and hooking it up to local WiFi. The FireTV also supports the most popular streaming apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HULU, YouTube, HBO Now and SlingTV.

The new FireTV Stick 4K is said to offer an advanced new Wi-Fi antenna design, capable of reliable streaming the higher bandwidth streams required for 4K Ultra HD video. The Alexa Voice remote that comes with the stick has also been enhanced and now includes dedicated buttong for power, volume, and mute button to simultaneouly operate a TV, sound bar, and/or A/V receiver. And with built-in support for Amaon's digital assistant Alexa, the Fire TV Stick 4K can be used to do things like dim your lights, check the weather or see who's at your front door (with the purchase of other Alexa-compatible gear, of course). We look forward to checking one of these out soon.


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Amazon Last Minute Christmas Sale Save Big On Tech After Black Friday

It's not too late to pick up tech gifts from Amazon. It's Last Minute Christmas Deals sale has discounts across smart home, laptops, monitors, speakers and other gadgets.

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