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Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and Alexa Voice Remote coming to Australia

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THUMB - 4K FIRE TV STICK.jpgTHUMB - 4K FIRE TV STICK.jpg

Great news!

Amazon is bringing its new media streaming device – the Fire TV Stick 4K and HD device – Fire TV Stick to Australia.

As an owner of the old Fire TV Stick this is a welcome update from Amazon for Australians.

Both devices will arrive with the all-new Alexa Voice Remote.

The remote has dedicated power and volume buttons to control your compatible TV plus preset app buttons for Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and Amazon Music. 

Kate Burleigh, Country Manager for Amazon Alexa and Devices, Australia and New Zealand says, “More than 50 million people globally are using Fire TV monthly, and we’re delighted to give customers in Australia even more choice to enjoy their favourite shows, movies and apps.

“Last year, we brought Alexa to Fire TV and now we are offering customers access to 4K content and an all-new Alexa Voice Remote with device controls and dedicated app buttons to make it even easier for our customers to get the content they love.”

FTV 4K 1.jpg
FTV 4K 1.jpg

Fire TV Stick 4K $99

Fire TV Stick 4K offers resolutions up to 4K Ultra HD, with support for Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10+.

Customers can use the included Alexa Voice Remote to easily find 4K Ultra HD movies and TV episodes.

To do this: press and ask, “Alexa, find 4K movies.”

Fire TV Stick 4K supports Dolby Atmos as well.

Fire TV Stick 4K features a redesigned interface, offering a simpler, more personalised experience with improved content-discovery features, better browsing capabilities and unique user profiles for up to six members of a household. 

FTV 1.jpg
FTV 1.jpg

Fire TV Stick $79

Fire TV Stick is powered by a 1.7 GHz quad-core processor.

It streams 1080p Full HD at 60fps with HDR compatibility.

The dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi supports 5 GHz networks for more stable streaming and fewer dropped connections.

Fire TV Stick also features Dolby Atmos audio support.

All-new Alexa Voice Remote

The Alexa Voice Remote allows you to power on your compatible TV and AV equipment.It has dedicated power, volume, and mute buttons plus the ability to use voice commands to find and control content. It also comes with dedicated buttons for Netflix, …The Alexa Voice Remote allows you to power on your compatible TV and AV equipment.It has dedicated power, volume, and mute buttons plus the ability to use voice commands to find and control content. It also comes with dedicated buttons for Netflix, …

The Alexa Voice Remote allows you to power on your compatible TV and AV equipment.

It has dedicated power, volume, and mute buttons plus the ability to use voice commands to find and control content.

It also comes with dedicated buttons for Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and Amazon Music.

The remote is included with Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Stick.

It will also be sold separately and is compatible with Fire TV Stick Lite and Fire TV Stick Basic Edition. 

Fire TV Interface 

The new Fire TV experience makes it easier to find what you want to watch, with a redesigned Main Menu and a more personalised way to discover new entertainment.

It will be available on all Fire TV devices in Australia by April this year. 

Pricing and Availability 

Fire TV Stick 4K for $99 and Fire TV Stick for $79 are available for pre-order today on amazon.com.au and JB Hi-Fi, and will begin shipping to customers on April 21.

The all-new Alexa Voice Remote can be purchased separately for $54 and is also available for pre-order today and will begin shipping on April 21.

To learn more visit: www.amazon.com.au/firetv and www.amazon.com.au/firetv4k

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Broadband

Vodafone Offers 6 Months of BINGE Access with Hubbl

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Vodafone has partnered with streaming aggregator Hubbl to provide a streaming device and six months access to BINGE.

It’s the first Australian telco to make Hubbl available to its customers.  (Read more about Hubbl here)

“By connecting our customers to a premium entertainment experience with Vodafone’s great value broadband, we are setting a new standard for what Australians can expect from their home entertainment setup,” said Kieren Cooney, Vodafone Group Executive, Consumer.

To celebrate the launch of Hubbl with Vodafone, customers will receive six months of BINGE Standard included on NBN and Home Internet plans. This happens when they include the Hubbl device to their plan at $4.12 month over 24 months which is $99 in total. 

Vodafone is also offering three months of BINGE Standard to all new and upgrading postpaid mobile customers. 

“Hubbl is a unique product that simplifies the TV and streaming experience, so you spend less time searching for something to watch and more time enjoying the content you love. We’re excited to partner with Vodafone to get customers Hubbl’n through this special deal,” said Dani Simpson, Executive Director, Hubbl. 

“With 16 paid and free apps available on Hubbl and more to come, there is nothing like the world of entertainment Hubbl unlocks.” 

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Amazon

Xbox Cloud Gaming Comes to Amazon Fire TV

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If you have the Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2023) or Fire TV Stick 4K (2023) streaming dongle then you also have a gaming device.

From this month (July 2024) Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members will be able to access and play hundreds of cloud-enabled games directly through the Xbox Fire TV app. This will be a similar experience to the Samsung Xbox cloud interface introduced a couple years ago. I’ve played Xbox games on several Samsung TVs and it’s excellent.

If you’re already an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate member, you’ll have instant access to stream and play any of the hundreds of cloud-enabled titles in the Game Pass Ultimate library. If you’re not a member, you can sign up via the app. ‘Fortnite’ offers a free trial period without membership.

Once the Xbox app is installed, just sign into your Microsoft account and connect a compatible Bluetooth controller. You can use Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless Controller, Xbox Adaptive Controller, PlayStation’s DualSense or DualShock 4 controllers.

Some of the top titles you can get started with straight away are Starfield, Fallout 4 and Forza Horizon 5.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

Fire TV Stick 4K: A$79

Fire TV Stick 4K Max: A$119

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription: Starts from A$18.95/month (available on Fire TV Stick July 2024)

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Hubbl

Hubbl Now on Sale: So Far So Good

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Hubbl is officially on sale across the country. It’s been called a gamer-changer for the industry. But is it really?

It’s early days but so far so good. I’ve been testing the Hubbl device which is $99 and connects to your TV via HDMI. The idea of Hubbl is to bring all channels, free to air and streaming together, in one, easy aggregated service. 

TV aggregation service Hubbl is now available

The service itself is free, you’re only paying for the hardware and any subscriptions you have or are planning to sign up to.

I not only tested the Hubbl plug-in device, I also tested a 55-inch Hubbl Glass. It’s a 4K TV with Hubbl baked in. As I said on Sky News Weekend Edition above, Hubbl Glass is heavy. But the reason it is heavy is because there is a soundbar built into the frame.

Finding content on your TV has never been easier

I have the black unit but it comes in five colours. The price is A$1,595 for the 55 inch screen – A$1,995 for the 65 inch model.

SETTING UP HUBBL

Hubbl is plugged into a 75-inch Samsung 8K QLED TV

Hubbl looks very similar to an Apple TV device. Just plug in the power, connect the HDMI cable (supplied) and away you go. In my situation Hubbl is plugged into a 75-inch Samsung 8K QLED TV. No soundbar but you can control a sound system via the remote if needed and the TV too. I am using the Hubbl remote to control the TV.

Remote control for Hubbl

The remote feels good in the hand, is backlit when used and Hubbl can ping it when lost. I would have liked the volume buttons to be larger and a dedicated channel selector but I can live with it.

Watch us live on Flash 7:15am every Sunday

You need to create a Hubbl account to get going. You do this through https://hubbl.com.au/register. I already had a streamotion account so it was just a matter of registering the device.

All free-to-air channel apps are available on Hubbl

Once signed in I was able to access my Foxtel related apps immediately, and while the full array of channels and apps populated my menu, I had to sign in to each of them. Which is what you do on any smart TV anyway.

Hubbl’s interface is excellent and will improve over time

But once you finish setting up, Hubbl is excellent. I found the interface pretty responsive, including the voice search. I experienced the occasional bug during the soft launch period but nothing I was concerned or annoyed about.

You can use an antenna input for free-to-air channels or their internet versions

The great thing about Hubbl is finding content you love but don’t know where to start. I asked my wife to try it out and she was blown away by a voice search that found an obscure series she started watching on a recent plane trip. Hubbl instantly identified the right series that was split up between Binge and Channel 7. It was able to show them in order even though the series continuity was broken up over different networks. Pretty powerful stuff.

So for $99 the Hubbl device is worth taking a punt in my opinion.

SETTING UP HUBBL GLASS 

Hubbl Glass comes in two boxes, the smaller one is the stand

If you don’t want the hassle of plugging anything in, aside from a power cable, then Hubbl Glass is for you. Two TV models make up Hubbl Glass. A 4K QLED 55-inch ($1,595) and 65-inch ($1,995) each available in five colours.

Hubbl Glass is heavy due to the built in soundbar

They come in two boxes but are straight forward to put together. As I wrote earlier, the TVs are heavy for a reason, they have a soundbar built in. 

Having all TV stations and streamers in one TV guide is outstanding

Hubbl is part of the TV’s operating system. Having all the live channels in the menu with the streaming channels is excellent. Remember, Hubbl the service is free but it can save you money if you have the right apps.

You can reduce your monthly costs by paying for some streaming apps through Hubbl

The picture quality is good picture for the price. It’s no OLED but it will do the job for most people.

Searching across apps is much better than anything I’ve used before and voice is the killer feature. In fact the TV has a microphone built in so you can launch a search query by just saying, “OK Hubbl” followed by the show or subject.

Sport is easy to find whether its on Kayo or Stan (coming soon)

It’s important to note that the TV is a normal TV too. You can plug in an antenna and other devices, like a gaming console.

Hubbl device like the Hubbl TV includes a socket for a free-to-air antenna

The TV has nice ambient mode too, and knows when you’re in the room.

There’s so much more to cover about Hubbl but that will take time. So I’ll be coming back to you in a couple of weeks with a comprehensive review and roundup as more services are added to the service.

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