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Sound and Vision: The biggest Prime Day deal was one I didn’t expect

Prime Day has come and gone, and according to Amazon, Prime Day 2022 was the most successful ever, raking $3bn over the two-day event. It shows that amidst rising inflation and cost of living crisis, people are hankering for bargains wherever they can find them.

You might, as I had, thought that the items that would sell best would be the big-ticket products. Given that this is a sound and vision column, that would have been TVs, soundbars, headphones, wireless speakers etc. But in the UK at least, that wasn’t the case. From data that Amazon released, people were actually in need of 110 tablets of Finish Powerballs, Rimmel Mascara, Purina Cat food, Garnier SkinActive serum and a Shark Cordless vacuum.

But to bring it back to audio visual products, the top-selling item in the UK was – drum roll – the Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa voice remote. And I’m actually quite surprised.

It’s a surprise because we’re supposedly living in a 4K age (the era I keep trying to bang the drum for), but this particular Fire TV Stick only supports resolutions up to HD (1080p) and HDR. Did people buy it for their HD sets, transforming them into smart TVs? Or was it because the price was so cheap that they decided to throw 4K to the wind and settle for HD instead? Or did they unwittingly buy a streamer that doesn’t support 4K?

If so, they’re missing out on that optimal performance that comes with 4K, but perhaps they’re not subscribed to 4K tiers on streaming services. If that’s not the case then it does seem a little strange that people have plumped for the streaming stick that doesn’t tap into the full offering that they’re getting.

The other surprise is that people bought a streaming stick at all. It amazes me that the Fire TV Stick was a priority for many people during Prime Day, more so than a new TV, a new soundbar or a new pair of headphones (though on that front it seemed as though Bose beat Sony according to Amazon’s reports). It certainly speaks to the increase in couch potatoes over the pandemic, an increase that’s been maintained as we come out of that sedentary time with many people Amazon customers still engaging with the apps that entertained them over the past two years.

But then there’s also Alexa smarts to consider. There’s no point in buying an Amazon streaming stick if you’re not going to make the most of Alexa too, and with option integration with doorbells and heating systems, maybe the popularity of the Fire TV Stick shows that households are getting smarter.

Here’s hoping that people actually bought the streaming stick they were after, or there could be a lot of refunds out of Amazon in the coming days.

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