I'm actually pretty impressed
We live very near a GEO rental store, and recently I have a little tradition with Alyssa that we walk down there and choose a DVD to watch together. It's fun and not-new DVDs are only about 100 yen to rent. We watch them in English too, which is helping to keep her English skills on life-support.
However, the last four or five disks we rented have all been damaged: either skipping or freezing halfway through. Even worse, when I talked to the shop about it, they admitted that they just try to clean damaged disks and then put them back on the shelves.
Unacceptable! Try telling a four-year-old halfway through Shrek 2 that the DVD is broken and we can't finish watching the film... I had to find another solution.
I've tried the free trials of Netflix and Hulu in the past, but didn't renew them and remembered I had free films from Amazon Prime, so got interested in the Fire TV devices. We have Apple TVs at my wife's language school to connect laptops to the TVs, but I haven't been particularly impressed with them (connectivity issues and functionality), so I wanted to try something different.
Reading up online, there doesn't seem to be much difference between the Fire TV box and the Stick, apart from the former costing more than twice as much (and being slightly better for playing games, something I'm not interested in).
So over New Years I ordered a Fire TV Stick from Amazon Japan. It arrived a couple of days later.
The first thing that surprised me is that it needs a power cord. It looks like a big USB, so I had assumed it would just plug into the TV, but apparently HDMI doesn't provide power. Not a huge thing, but makes it a bit less portable and compact.
The second thing that surprised me was when I plugged it in and it said "Welcome, Ben Shearon". It also connected to my Amazon account automatically. Very clever. There was an option to change accounts if you buy it for someone else.
Once it was plugged in, it just worked. I use it to watch movies and TV shows from Amazon Video, and to stream music from Amazon Music. It has apps for Youtube, and Hulu and Netflix if you have accounts with them.
So far I'm very happy. No streaming issues (it caches content apparently) and an easy interface. So far I've managed to avoid Alyssa figuring out how to use it, but it's just a matter of time.
So the Fire TV Stick is a cheap, simple solution for streaming content to a TV. I haven't tried the new Apple TV (we have old ones) or the Google Chromecast. I assume they are also decent options.
Anyone else using these new-fangled things? Have a strong opinion?