Right now, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is one of the best streaming devices we’ve tested. But you may want to hold off from buying one.
A new FCC filing spotted by Janko Roettgers on Mastodon (h/t AFTVnews) suggests that a new Amazon Fire TV stick has passed through FCC approval. But in fact, it’s not just one streaming stick but two streaming sticks, with one seemingly being a variant of the other.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing in the FCC ID that specifically states that this is a Fire TV stick, but there’s a lot that we can use to infer that these are new streaming sticks. First, they are registered to Amazon.com Services LLC, so it’s clearly an Amazon device. Second, both listings — one is model number M3N6RA and the other is model number K3R6AT — are listed as digital media receivers.
That means they are almost certainly Fire TV streaming devices and given the information we have available in the filings (diagrams, written exhibits, etc.) it seems unlikely that one of these is a successor to the Fire TV Cube, which just got a new version last year. Especially since these two new streaming devices are listed as variants of each other.
Amazon could be consolidating its Fire TV streaming stick lineup
Currently, Amazon offers five Fire TV streaming devices: Fire TV Stick Lite, Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Stick 4K Max and the Fire TV Cube. As previously discussed, these two new streaming sticks are variants of each other and therefore neither is likely to be a new Fire TV Cube.
That leaves us with four Fire TV streaming devices possibly getting an upgrade. And given that one of these possible new streaming devices can support Wi-Fi 6 (M3N6RA) and the other can support Wi-Fi 6E (K3R6AT), it seems likely that one is a higher tier model than the other. Unfortunately, the FCC filing only focuses on signal transmission, so other potential features are still a mystery at this time.
But I think based on this and the current pricing of Amazon Fire TV streaming devices, that Amazon is likely going to consolidate its streaming stick lineup. Right now, every Fire TV streaming stick is on sale except the Fire TV Stick 4K. And the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is currently over 50% off at Amazon for just $26.99, something that has been the case for weeks.
To me, that screams that Amazon is killing off the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. Especially since the Fire TV Stick 4K is still full price and no other devices are close in terms of discount — the next closest is the Fire TV Stick at 38% off.
My expectation is that Amazon consolidates the Fire TV Stick Lite and Fire TV Stick into one entry-level device. The only notable differences between the two are the remote and that the Fire TV Stick gets Dolby Atmos support. So it would make sense to kill off the Lite and just have a Fire TV Stick HD that handles 1080p Full HD content, Dolby Atmos support and Wi-Fi 6.
Similarly, there aren’t a ton of differences between the Fire TV Stick 4K and the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, but the Max is better across the board. It has more RAM, more CPU power and Wi-Fi 6 support. My expectation is that the “Max” branding will disappear entirely once Amazon sells through its stock with the current sale and then offers a single, brand new Fire TV 4K stick that has all the Max features plus Wi-Fi 6E support.
This would leave Amazon with two new offerings — Fire TV Stick HD and Fire TV Stick 4K. Not coincidentally, Amazon’s biggest competitor Google offers two Google TV Chromecast streaming devices — Chromecast with Google TV HD and Chromecast with Google TV 4K. Amazon choosing to match this and go toe-to-toe with Google makes a ton of sense.
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