Smart TVs now dominate the industry, making it increasingly difficult to purchase a TV without at least some internet connectivity. Prime Video is a standard app on most smart TVs, and if you enjoy a Prime membership, streaming Prime on your non-smart TV is something that’s probably on your radar. However, if you own a non-smart TV, this feature may not be available unless you use a Fire Stick.
So long as there is an HDMI port, a non-smart TV can use a Fire Stick. Once the Amazon Fire Stick is set up, users will have access to most of the primary features that come with any smart TV. The Fire Stick’s menu includes downloaded streaming apps and a Settings tab.
The only thing that separates a smart TV from a non-smart TV is that the streaming apps, app store, and other purchase options are built-in. With an Amazon Fire Stick, you essentially convert your TV into something as close to a smart TV as you can get without purchasing the real thing.
Using the Fire Stick with Non-Smart TVs
There are four different iterations of Amazon’s Fire Stick:
All four run versions of Fire TV OS, an operating system based on Android. If you have an Android phone or own an Amazon Kindle tablet—not the reader version—you’ll be familiar with the look and feel. All four devices have the same apps or access to the same apps, so you won’t find too much of a difference among them.
If your TV’s native resolution is 1080p, then the Fire TV Stick Lite and the 1080p Amazon Fire Stick are the ones you’ll get the most out of.
While the 4K version adds little more than a leap in resolution, the Cube comes with some interesting features, especially if you have a smart home. The Amazon Fire TV Cube also doubles as an Echo device. Combined with your TV—along with the voice command feature that comes with all four—the Fire TV Cube serves the function of a smart home hub, giving you control over any compatible smart devices in your home.
Amazon Fire Stick and Fire Cube Features
As mentioned above, there’s not a ton of major features that separate the four devices, but each has a few characteristics that make them different and worth considering.
|1080p Fire Stick||Fire Stick TV Lite||Fire Stick 4K||Fire TV Cube|
|Resolution||1080p HD||1080p HD||4K||4K|
|Smart Home Integration||When combined with an Echo||When combined with an Echo||When combined with an Echo||Smart Home Compatible|
|Ethernet Ports||Adapter – Purchased separately||None||Adapter – Purchased separately||Comes with an adapter|
|Alexa Voice Control||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dimensions||3.3 x 1.0 inches||3.4 x 1.0 inches||3.9 x 1.2 inches||5.6 x 1.5 x 0.64 inches|
Unfortunately, the three Fire Stick versions don’t come equipped to draw power from your TV. A dongle extension can either loop around and plug into your TV’s USB port, or they have to plug into a wall outlet or power strip.
The Fire TV Cube plugs into a power outlet, much like any Amazon echo device or streaming cubes, such as Apple TV.
Is a Smart TV or Non-Smart TV with Fire Stick Better?
This is where things get interesting. It’s a logical argument to make. Why bother with the higher overall cost of a smart TV when you can get the same streaming content with a plugin device?
- Amazon Fire Sticks come equipped with everything Amazon Prime Video has to offer, including the ability to purchase and rent movies. With the possible exception of Apple, Amazon provides more content than any other streaming service.
- Some smart TVs don’t even have Amazon Prime in their built-in lineup. Also, unless you’re just really itching to try out that clunky, smart TV web browser, there’s not much additional that a smart TV can offer.
- Amazon Fire Stick/Cube updates faster, and unless you’re comparing to a 2021 newly released smart TV, the Amazon devices are much more responsive when it comes to the remote control.
- Data privacy is an issue with both. Whenever you access a streaming service, it’s highly likely that your data is shared for advertising purposes.
Now that you know your smart TV can use a Fire Stick, there’s every reason to get one. The prices are very wallet-friendly and much better than forking over hundreds on a smart TV.
With Amazon’s frequent updates, a solid library of available content, a large number of apps, and a great selection of purchase and rental options, the Fire Stick or Cube is the perfect upgrade for your TV.