Stimulus checks: Biggest takeaways to know about your first and second payment

Here’s what’s happening with a second stimulus check.


Angela Lang/CNET

Washington legislators continue to bicker over the details of another stimulus package, one that is almost guaranteed to contain a second stimulus check. There is nothing simple about the back-and-forth situation, or about the checks themselves, and everything they have to do with your taxes, your kids and even if you’d receive your payment weeks before or after your extended family and friends.

While there are still unanswered questions, we know a bit about how a second direct payment could work based on the first stimulus payment, revised ideas from previous stimulus proposals supported by both sides of the aisle and the latest details of a White House-authored stimulus bill.

Here’s our 2,000-foot view of what you need to know. We frequently update this story with new information.

1. Negotiations are still happening

Here’s the quick version: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will continue to negotiate through the week. 

The longer version: Both sides of the aisle are weighing the White House’s $1.8 trillion offer, which arrived Oct. 9 and includes another direct payment for up to $1,200 for individuals

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Amazon Fire TV Stick 2020 review: Stuck in the middle with TV control

Streaming TV continues to grow in popularity, with new services and options every day, and to keep up most of the major device makers released new 2020 products you can hook to any TV. Roku has a new Streambar and an Ultra, Google has the Chromecast with Google TV and Amazon has the cheapest new streamers of the bunch: the $30 Fire Stick TV Lite and an update to the $40 Fire TV Stick. I review the Fire Stick TV Lite in depth here, so for this review I’ll be concentrating on the more-expensive Fire TV Stick.

Like

  • Inexpensive
  • Remote offers Alexa voice and TV control
  • Wide range of streaming apps
  • Integrates well with Echo speakers

Don’t Like

  • The cheaper Lite is a better value
  • The step-up 4K stick is better for 4K TVs
  • More complex menus than Roku

Compared with its 2019 Fire TV Stick predecessor, the latest Fire TV is 50 per cent faster and 50 per cent more efficient, according to Amazon. I don’t test power consumption but I can report it’s plenty quick. Like last year’s version, the Stick’s remote has buttons for volume, mute and power, allowing you to control

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Roku Streaming Stick Plus review: All of the 4K HDR streaming goodness, none of the fluff

Streaming device leader Roku has a whopping seven streamers in its 2020 lineup from the $30 Roku Express and all-new $100 Roku Ultra. Yet despite this influx of new blood, the company’s best model is one of its oldest. The Roku Streaming Stick Plus debuted in 2017, but three years later it maintains its spot as our favorite Roku device — and our favorite media streamer overall. It streams 4K and HDR video from Netflix, Amazon, Disney Plus, Vudu, Apple TV and others, comes with worthwhile features like a voice remote with buttons that can control your TV and runs Roku’s best-in-class streaming system. It has all of the stuff you need and none of the fluff.

The Streaming Stick Plus’ closest competitors are the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K from 2018 and the brand-new Chromecast with Google TV, both of which also cost $50. Both offer Dolby Vision HDR and superior voice support, thanks to Alexa and Google Assistant, respectively. Their menu systems are more modern-looking than Roku, with TV shows and movies on the home pages as opposed to just app tiles, but they’re also more cluttered and potentially confusing.

If

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