In the comments of the various articles I’ve written so far about the new Amazon Fire TV 3, I keep reading concerns that the device’s size and hanging form factor is going to damage the TV’s HDMI port. Amazon says it won’t, and I believe them.
I too had concerns that the pendant form factor of the Fire TV 3 would strain the HDMI port, but those concerns were gone once the device arrived. While it might look like Amazon took the old Fire TV set-top box and hung it from its corner, that’s not the case. The Fire TV 3 is much smaller in person than it seems in photos and it is deceptively light.
The Fire TV 3 is as thick as the Fire TV Stick and it’s shorter across than the Fire TV Stick is long. It’s not much bigger than Google’s Chromecast Ultra. More important than the size though is the weight. It’s much lighter than it looks. To give you an idea of how much it weights, if you connect it to an HDMI port coming out of the side of a TV, it’s not heavy enough to overcome the elasticity of its short HDMI cable, so it ends up hanging slightly cocked with its bottom corner not pointing straight down.
If my thoughts aren’t enough to put you at ease, Nilay Patel from The Verge mentions in his review that he too was “worried about the weight pulling against the HDMI port” so he asked Amazon about it and they told him “it was tested on a variety of TVs, and it’s well within the HDMI spec for connector strength.”
Nilay Patel went into more detail about his conversation with Amazon regarding the Fire TV 3 in episode 280 of The Vergecast podcast. He says that Amazon showed him the HDMI port specification and that HDMI ports need to have a wrenching force tolerance of 40 newtons. The new Fire TV only exerts a wrenching force of 1 newton.
If you’re planning to attach multiple external peripherals via a USB OTG cable, you probably shouldn’t let the weight of everything hang from your TV’s HDMI port. However, if you’re just connecting the Fire TV or the Fire TV with an ethernet adapter, like most people will, you shouldn’t be concerned about straining your HDMI port. It will be well within what an HDMI port can handle without being damaged.