Moore’s law, which has some definite implications for the differences between Firestick and Firestick 2, states that technology doubles every two years. So, that means the Firestick 2 (2016) is twice as good as the Firestick (2014), right? Not quite, but it is close.

Gordon Moore based his 1965 prediction on anticipated developments in seminconductor technology. As a result, the principle is a little outdated. Today, most people wound’t recognize a seminconductor unless it shows up at a party with one of those “Hello” badges which includes an inscription like “I am a semiconductor.”

Apropos of nothing, if you understand the movie reference in that link, leave a comment below and you may be eligible for one of our many ostentatious bonus prizes. Or, your remark may simply mean that you happen to like Rob Reiner films from the 1980s (hint, hint).

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Before you read about Firestick and Firestick 2..

Got a Firestick or Fire TV?  Did you know you can quickly & easily install third-party apps on it like Kodi, Terrarium TV, and Freeflix HQ?  YES, you can (on both 1st Gen Firestick and 2nd Gen Firestick).

The Firestick 2’s Processor

Back to the blog. The biggest difference between Firestick and Firestick 2 is that the former has a dual-core processor, and the latter has a quad-core processor. Many people who are in the streaming stick market just like movies, and so this distinction means very little. They don’t really know what a processor is and they are often too embarassed to ask. So, before we sojurn further, a brief aside is in order. If you are a dot-com billionaire, feel free to skip this section.

When Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone in 2007, he supposedly had several devices behind the podium set on several different homescreens. That’s because the first iPhone’s processor was too slow to move quickly from game to internet to texting screen to music player and so on.

On streaming TV sticks that support several different services, this problem comes up a lot. If users browse through a few Amazon Prime screens, don’t see anything they like, and try to switch to Netflix, they may wait a few seconds while the slow processor catches up with their fast viewing habits. Kodi greatly minimizes this difference between Firestick and Firestick 2, but does not make the issue go away entirely.

Processors also affect in-app speed on things like the Firestick 2. There was much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth over the first iPhone’s slow-loading internet pages and other lags. Streaming services often have issues with buffering (involuntary playback pauses). Sometimes, the processor is simply not fast enough to project the incoming digital images onto the screen in real time, especially if you are watching HD video.

It is very difficult to quantify things like processor speed in the Firestick 2. Amazon claims that it’s 30 percent faster than the original Firestick. If you add an “up to” qualifer, that’s probably true. Regardless of the specifics, the Firestick 2’s more advanced processor makes it noticeably faster, and that’s what counts.

Just Ask Alexa

If you are sick of pushing buttons on a remote, the Firestick 2 may be for you. On a more serious note, voice-activated remotes are also ideal for people with arthritis or other physical limitations. This difference between Firestick and Firestick 2, which is very accurate and precise, not only sets the Firestick 2 apart from its predecessor, but also from the other available streaming TV sticks as well.

AI (artificial intelligence) is borderline sci-fi stuff. Remember the way Captain Picard just called out “Computer…do thus and so,” the computer did thus and so, and we all thought that was really cool? Now, the Firestick 2 brings that same capability to your living room.

  • One of the real issues with streaming TV services is the sheer number of options. It’s almost impossible to navigate some of these sprawling sites. Alexa cures this problem. Just say something like “find suspense movies,” “access Hulu,” or “find Martin Scorsese films.”
  • The same thing applies during playback. Almost exactly like Deckard in Blade Runner’s enhancement scene, you can tell Alexa to stop playback, go forward two minutes, or go back thirty seconds. Liquor bottle and mood lighting not included.

When you’ve had enough screen time, Alexa will also hail an Uber, order a pizza, and do about a zillion other things. Again, AI is a really neat feature for people with physical or other impairments.

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Some Other Differences Between Firestick and Firestick 2

The Firestick 2 has a much stronger WiFi capability. Better WiFi helps with the aforementioned buffering and speed issues. Stronger WiFi also means better range, which is a big plus for man-caves and other rooms that may be pretty far away from a home’s central WiFi router. There’s also a new Ethernet adapter for people who prefer wired connections for whatever reason.

The Firestick 2 is also Bluetooth compatible for things like wireless headphones, but there are some sticking points. Bluetooth connectivity works best over a wired internet connection or a 5GHz wireless router. There’s also a rather limited five-foot range.

The Down Side

The Firestick 2 is significantly better than the Firestick, but it’s not the Great Leap Forward. If you were completely unsatisfied with the Firestick, which isn’t very likely, you will probably be moderately unsatisfied with the Firestick 2. Moreover, all Amazon products, like the Firestick, steer users towards Amazon services, like Prime Video. That souldn’t come as a suprise to anyone. After all, you’ll never see a subtle Justice League plug in an Avengers movie. The good news is that the sales pitch is not as strong as it was before.

One of the most noticeable differences between Firestick and Firestick 2 is that the latter has no automatic Overscan adjustment. Many older TVs do not automatically shrink screens to accommodate different playback formats. The Firestick made these adjustments, but the Firestick 2 does not. There’s a pretty easy work-around in the main Settings menu or on the streaming Video Settings menu.

All in all, the differences between Firestick and Firestick 2, especially since the price did not change, make the Firestick 2 a great entertainment option for your family.

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