The most significant difference between the two models is the Max’s Wi-Fi 6 capabilities. Wi-Fi 6 (aka 802.11 ax) makes for smoother streaming in 4K when multiple Wi-Fi 6 devices are accessing the internet at the same time. This ensures the best quality adaptive video streams. Netflix will stream at 4K HDR when available. You would likely have to simultaneously stream more than two 4K HDR movies and an online game before noticing the difference between Wi-Fi 6 and earlier 802.11 standards.
Amazon reports that the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is 40% more powerful than the Fire TV Stick 4K. It has a new quad-core 1.8 GHz processor with 750 MHz GPU, compared to the previous model’s quad-core 1.7 GHz processor with 650MHz GPU. Regardless of the specs, the experience is that navigating menus is snappy and starting apps or playback is immediate.
The 4K Max, like the Fire TV Stick 4K is capable of 4K video streaming with HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos audio.
The newest Alexa Voice remote is better than earlier models, and it still requires a press of the Alexa microphone button to listen for commands. Handy new buttons include a button to display the live TV guide and direct access app buttons for Prime Video, Netflix, Disney +, and Hulu. The remote can now be set up to control the TV’s power and volume, soundbar, or AV Receiver.
If you want to fill your room with more sound than from your TV speakers, you can choose to pair Echo speakers with your Fire TV to create a wireless “Alexa Home Theater.” The speakers must be the same model (i.e., 4th generation Echo Dots). For richer home theater sound, add an Echo Subwoofer.
To set up Alexa Home Theater. The Fire TV 4K Max must be connected to the audio return channel (ARC) HDMI port. While this will create a stereo home theater experience when viewing the Fire TV, it will not play TV sound from other inputs or devices. If you are watching something on broadcast TV, a cable box, or another streaming device, you’ll have to change the TV back to the TV speakers.
Alexa home theater works with:
- Echo Dots (3rd generation and newer) or Echo Dots with Clock
- Echo (2nd generation and newer)
- Echo Plus
- Echo Studio
- Fire TV (3rd generation and newer)
- Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Stick 4K Max
- Fire TV Cube
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is the first Fire TV that can stream Live View Picture-in-Picture. A Ring or Blink video doorbell or camera can be displayed using the Fire TV with a quick button to take it down to a minimized PIP Watch a video while keeping an eye out for when the Uber Eats driver arrives.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is listed at $55, but frequent sales and specials have reduced the price to $35. While you probably wouldn’t want to upgrade if you already have the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, if you don’t yet have a 4K streaming player, the 4K Max is a solid choice, plus you get Alexa control of your smart home.