The 3rd generation of Amazon’s Fire TV Stick features five different models, ranging from the budget-friendly Fire TV Stick Lite, to the top-of-the-line Fire TV Cube. With so many choices, it can be difficult to know which one to buy.
Which features are important? What differences are worth the extra cost? In this article, I will break down the key differences between the most popular models – the Lite and the 4K. I’ll explain the basic features that you get with all Fire TV Stick’s. Then the important differences between the 4K and Lite will be detailed. Finally, I’ll make a final recommendation on which one you should go with.
Are all Fire TV Stick models the same?
The concept behind Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is pretty simple. It’s basically an internet streaming hub. It connects to any TV with an HDMI port, and uses the internet to deliver content from wherever you want. All Fire TV Stick’s give you the same basic functionality of being able to stream your favorite movies, shows, and music from a variety of sources.
The difference between the models comes down to specific audio, video, and control features. In addition to the features, there are some performance and physical differences I will detail later. But all Fire TV Stick models give you:
- High-definition video
- Tons of streaming service and app choices
- Easy setup and operation
- Phone app for remote control
Lite vs 4K – Key differences
When it comes down to choosing between the Fire TV Stick Lite or the Fire TV Stick 4K, I’ve narrowed down seven key differences.
Max video resolution
The Lite supports a maximum video resolution of 1080p (HD) at 60 Hz. The 4K supports a much higher max resolution of 2160p (4K) at 60 Hz. If you have a 4K TV, the Fire TV Stick 4K will give you more detail and quality compared to the Lite.
Although the Lite doesn’t support 4K, it is important to note that 1080p is still the standard when it comes to streaming. 1080p is the most common format. You may have a 4K Fire TV Stick, but if your content isn’t in 4K, the extra resolution might not be worth it over the Lite version.
The Lite comes with Amazon’s Alexa Voice Remote Lite. It does not have TV controls for power, volume, or channels. The 4K comes with the standard Alexa Voice Remote, which does have TV controls for power, volume, and channels. Both versions have Alexa voice control for opening apps, pausing, etc.
Besides video resolution, the 4K also includes some other picture features, such as Dolby Vision, and live picture-in-picture. But both the Lite and 4K support HDR.
The Lite has HDMI passthrough for surround sound and Dolby encoded audio. So if you have a compatible soundbar or home theater receiver, it can accept the Dolby encoded audio. The 4K, however, has native support for Dolby Atmos, 7.1 surround sound, and stereo audio. HDMI passthrough of up to 5.1 surround sound is also available.
To put it simply, both the 4K and Lite will give your home theater system high quality audio signals if you are connecting the Fire TV Stick to the receiver. But only the 4K is capable of native Dolby Atmos and other audio formats that it can send directly to compatible speaker systems.
See also: How To Get Dolby Atmos On Fire TV Stick 4K
The Lite comes with 1 GB of memory, while the 4K has 1.5 GB. It is important to understand that this is RAM memory, not storage. Both the Lite and 4K have 8 GB of internal storage. The extra memory on the 4K just means that it will run faster and smoother while browsing through apps and the menus.
The Fire TV Stick 4K comes with a 1 year limited warranty, vs a 90 day limited warranty for the Lite. For longevity and peace-of-mind, the 4K offers a much better warranty.
I’ve saved the biggest consideration for last. Now that you understand the rest of the key differences, you can understand the price difference. The 4K has an MSRP of $49.99, while the Lite has an MSRP of $29.99. The 4K is nearly double the price, which is why so many people are wanting to know if it’s worth it over the Lite.
Note: This article may contain affiliate links for the products mentioned
Which Fire TV Stick is the best value?
In my opinion, the Fire TV Stick 4K is a much better value compared to the Fire TV Stick Lite. The Lite, although a little over half the price, is missing some crucial features. First, there is no TV power or volume controls on the remote. I found that always needing two remotes to control the TV to be very annoying. Second, most TV’s sold now are 4K. And while a lot of content is still in 1080p, I believe the 4K Fire TV Stick allows you to take advantage of the current 4K content, and also future-proof’s you for when more 4K content comes out.
The Lite is a decent streaming stick if you want the bare minimum features, at the lowest possible cost. For example, if you have an older 1080p TV, and just need something to get you by until you can invest in a new Smart TV. But with frequent discounts on Amazon, I feel that most people are better off with the Fire TV Stick 4K.Check Price on Amazon
Do you agree with my analysis? Which Fire TV Stick do you have, and do you recommend it? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!
Related: Using A 4K Fire TV Stick On An Older TV