These days if you want to watch something on your telly you have to put something in your telly.

Smart TVs are coming pre-loaded with all kinds of apps and services but until these sets become the norm, people with other TVs (dumb TVs?) have a variety of boxes and sticks to choose from if they want to increase the choice of what they can view.

Online retailer Amazon has been establishing itself as a major media brand with its video streaming service then latterly its Fire TV products, and it’s just released the niftiest version of its plug-in gadget yet.

Croydon Guardian:

The small device goes into the back of your TV in the HDMI slot and then, after a few simple set-up steps including linking it to your Amazon account and home wifi, it provides access to a vast selection of content such as Amazon Video, BBC iPlayer, Netflix, ITV Hub and YouTube. Sky’s Now TV is a notable albeit unsurprising absentee but otherwise just about every TV platform you could ask for is on there.

The big addition with the latest generation of stick is the Alexa voice remote which operates it. This is great if you think Alexa’s got a sexy voice, you’re a bit lonely or you’re just too lazy to push buttons.

Holding down the mic button on the remote, you can ask Alexa to find a particular show you want to see, to select movies or shows from different genres and to fast-forward or rewind shows you’re watching.

Alexa’s abilities extend far beyond the playing of films and programmes. She can also play music, place food orders and control smart home devices such as your lights and thermostats.

Games are part of the Fire TV stick as you can download and play all sorts of fun things on your telly such as Crossy Road, Tetris and Minecraft.

As well as offering a huge amount of content, the stick is also portable as it can be plugged into any HDTV wherever you are.

Croydon Guardian:

So, the all-new Fire TV stick does a lot of things but is it actually useful? That will depend on a couple of things.

Firstly, it depends how well you get on with Alexa. If you’ve already formed a good relationship with her through one of Amazon’s Echo devices you’ll be absolutely fine with the TV stick. If you’re new to her, then she might take some getting used to. It can be frustrating as you try to find the right words or phrases that will get her to perform the action you want.

Personally speaking, I’ve found it can take a few goes to get Alexa to do what I’m asking or find what I’m looking for. I accept my share of the blame with how I’m wording my requests, but it’s sometimes easier just to do things the old-school way and use the buttons on the remote to navigate menus and give commands.

Secondly, the usefulness of the Fire TV stick will depend on whether you already have ways to watch the TV services such as Amazon and Netflix. I’ve already got access to everything I need through my BT TV box and PlayStation, so the Fire stick doesn’t provide anything extra.

If you’ve got a standard TV with just the basic Freeview channels, this gadget can massively increase your entertainment options. Likewise, if you’re subscribed to various media services and want to consolidate them in one place, the Fire stick could really help with that. And if you’re got an existing Amazon device and you want the extra novelty and potential convenience from having Alexa on hand, the upgrade is well worth considering.

Stick it in your telly and see where it takes you.

Available now for £39.99.