Amazon Fire Stick


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No RJ-45 wired ethernet port === no sale.

Using precious wireless bandwidth for things that already have bundles of wires connected to them is dumb. Your TV presumably has at least a power cord, and probably at least one other set of wires. It’s better to save wireless bandwidth for the things that actually move around, like phones and laptops and the like. Keep in mind that if you’re in meduim- to high-density housing (apartment, flat, dorm, whatever) you’re already competing with all your neighbors for bandwidth; it makes sense to treat wireless as a shared commons.

So if you don’t already have a wire running from your router to your TV, run a wire and/or move the devices to be next to each other. It’s actually pretty rare to be in a situation where it’s impossible (rather than just inconvenient) to use a wired connection to feed a TV. And don’t purchase TV-connected devices (blue-ray, chromecast, etc.) that only have wireless connections if you can possibly avoid it - we’ll all be better off in the long run if the market works against such devices.


Yes, that model seems much more likely to work reliably in the actual Amazon.


I think reducing the number of wires running to the TV is worth the “precious bandwidth” - it significantly reduces cable clutter and, for folks who have their TVs on a movable mount, it means less problem of dealing with wires that have to stretch or dangle. With this I could get my TV down to just one power cord, and that would be much easier to hide, and make it possible for me to have a swinging mount.

As for the bandwidth issue, I run a few devices simultaneously and don’t have any problems streaming Amazon while surfing the web.

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Well, that was a pleasant surprise – just (pre-)ordered 2, and the price charged at checkout was only $19 each. According to Gizmodo, Prime members can get this deal until 6am Wednesday.

Looks like our families’ traditional Thanksgiving arguments this year are going to take a back seat to the Great Chromecast vs. FireStick Bake-Off.

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Well, that’s what we call “the tragedy of the commons”.

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C’mon, it’s not that tragic. You talk about it like it was unspoiled rain forest or something. Feel free to explain to me how me having a wifi chip in my phone, iPad, and TV leads to the downfall of humanity though.

Doesn’t one of the later HDMI specs (1.3, maybe) have ethernet?

When I had my ISP installed, I ended up with ethernet in my living room-- to things like bluray and AppleTV and a network printer, and wireless to everything else, including an iMac.

The world has a finite amount of bandwidth. It’s why we need to move on to new spectrums periodically. Some say the old ones got too crowded but they are wrong. And now we’re using the 802.11a/b/g/n pretty quickly that some say we’ll be moving onto 802.12 much sooner than planned. This is why many Brooklyn hipsters are moving back into the 14.4 baud spectrum and running CAT5 cable as much as possible, to limit their impact.

Return to the Earth. Return to dial up.


IEEE 802.12 isn’t a wireless standard. Perhaps you’re thinking of 801.11ac (which still uses the same 5 GHz band that 801.11n and 801.11.a use) or 801.11ad which uses the new 60 Ghz band.

Nope, I do not. And I stand by my first sentence just as strongly.

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As a Brooklyn hipster myself I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know about this problem. I guess I’ve been so obsessed with finding the right mustache wax that I haven’t been keeping up on other, just as important, world problems. I certainly don’t want to leave the world with less bandwidth for the next generation, so I’ll do my part and reduce my wifi footprint. Thanks for being patient and explaining the problem.

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That’s what you get for only being concerned about your axes and seltzer bottle delivery for your hand-crafted sodas. My children appreciate your kindness and appreciate the fact that they’ll be able to do their history project when the library is closet the night before it’s due.

The tragedy of the commons is the idea that people, acting independently and rationally according to each individual’s self-interest, will behave contrary to the whole group’s long-term best interests by depleting some shared resource.

In your earlier post, you explicitly did exactly that. You pointed out that you personally don’t like cable clutter, presumably for aesthetic reasons (my TV is on a gimbal that can reach three feet from the wall, and has about a dozen cables, all of which are invisible, BTW) and that you personally can run your devices simultaneously just fine. That’s you acting rationally on your own beliefs and knowledge, in your own self-interest, right? But you don’t actually know what the requirements of other people are going to be in the future, so you haven’t accommodated them, even though you know full well that wireless bandwidth is a finite resource. So once everyone in your immediate physical area has acted in the same way that you have, you will no longer be able to stream Amazon wirelessly while surfing the web, and neither will they.

In my son’s college dorms, the wireless is basically unusable. They’ll sit down and plug in an ethernet wire to a laptop to use gmail, I am totally not kidding. It’s because every student has a half dozen devices fighting for the wireless all the time, and none of them ever get enough bandwidth to succeed.

The categorical imperative is the cure for the tragedy of the commons. Always act in such a way that it would not impose any hardship on anyone if everyone in your position acted in that way.

Disagree entirely. What you’re saying makes sense, but it’s not a solution. Wifi just needs more channels to be added to the spec. I’m not going to spend my days tripping over cables because a insanely short-sighted section of bandwidth has been allocated to wifi. When I want responsiveness for things like gaming I’ll run a cable but for everything else I’m using wifi.

Furthermore, where are they going to put a port on a thing that’s as thin as an rj-45 jack?

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Make sure you ride your fixie to the wholetech shop to buy fair trade cat5 cable or I’m going to have to penalise you 5 invites to ello.

2 power cords most likely. The Amazon device (like the chromecast) requires a power plug, the specs say “Fire TV Stick cannot be powered directly by your HDTV and should be plugged into your wall.” (Unlike the Chromecast which can be plugged into a TV usb port.) although it is a microusb plug that is providing power, but the illustration of the power plug don’t show the cable being separate from the plug.

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Amazon says

1 Type A HDMI 1.4b output, w/HDCP 1.4
1 Micro USB for power only


For best results, use the included HDMI extender for improved WiFi. Fire stick cannot be powered directly by your HDTV and should be plugged into your wall.

Yeah… about that. Are you sure that this form factor has any advantages?

Thanks for pointing that out. That’s disappointing - I’ll return it if that’s the case. The fact that the chromecast can be powered by USB on the TV makes it super easy to set up and travel with. A wall wart would make the Fire Stick significantly less elegant and mobile, even if it does promote USB port conservation - you know, for future generations. Won’t someoone think of the children!?