Amazon has at last confirmed the rumours that have been floating around the internet for some time: it’s going to be launching a 4K HDR version of the Amazon Fire TV stick. The streaming dongle, which will cost £70 ($70 in the US), was announced alongside an entire range of new Alexa-enabled products on 28 September 2017, including a revamped, more powerful version of the bigger Amazon Fire TV.
READ NEXT: Amazon Fire TV Stick (2017) review
It isn’t the first time Amazon has released a 4K streamer, but it’s the first time the firm has offered the higher resolution in a dongle like the Fire TV Stick. Alongside the higher resolution, the “stick” has had a redesign: it’s now square and, just like Google’s 4K-capable Chromecast Ultra, plugs directly into an HDMI port on your TV and hangs there, taking power from a USB cable.
Just like the existing Fire TV, the Fire comes with an Alexa voice remote and also supports HDR (high dynamic range) content for superior colour reproduction. Amazon has chosen to support only the HDR10 standard, however, and not the superior Dolby Vision, which both the Apple TV 4K and the Chromecast Ultra do. Oddly, though, there is support for Dolby’s object-based audio format – Dolby Atmos.
The new dongle has an improved 1.5GHz quad-core processor backed by 2GB of RAM, dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi with “extended range” and 8GB of storage for games and apps.
Amazon Fire TV 4K HDR UK release date: When is it coming out?
We’re used to new Amazon’s new TV products taking a while to hit the UK, but this year we’re getting the Fire TV 4K HDR at the same time as our American cousins.
The Fire TV 4K is available from today to preorder and the products themselves will start shipping to customers on 25 October.
Amazon Fire TV 4K HDR: What content does it support?
Just like the Fire TV stick, the new Fire TV 4K HDR supports all the big streaming video services – including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and My5 – with the added bonus of Amazon Video, of course, much of which is already available in 4K. And, unlike Netflix, Amazon doesn’t charge extra for streaming in 4K.
Amazon Fire TV 4K HDR: Early verdict
It’s taken its precious time about it, but the new Fire TV is great news, and the final piece in the 4K content puzzle. Now that Google, Apple and Amazon have current-generation, 4K HDR capable products available, it’s only a matter of time before the format becomes the de facto standard for streaming services and movies.
All we’re waiting for now is the broadcast giants such as the BBC to make their services available in 4K as well.