A streaming box has been rumored to be coming from the Amazon camp for quite a while now and the company finally unveiled the details yesterday at an invite-only press event. The product is dubbed the ‘Amazon Fire TV‘ and it is rather impressive, surpassing my expectations as to what I had initially envisioned from the e-commerce giant.
What Exactly Is Amazon's Fire TV?
The Amazon Fire product page defines it as the following:
“Amazon Fire TV is a tiny box that connects your HDTV to a world of online entertainment. With a huge selection of TV episodes and movies, voice search that actually works, plus exclusive features like ASAP and Amazon FreeTime, it’s the easiest way to enjoy Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, low-cost movie rentals, music, photos, games, and more.”
What Does The Fire TV Provide Access To?
Similar to competing products from Roku, the Fire TV provides access to various streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Crackle, iHeartRadio, and much more. They also are one of the first streaming boxes to incorporate full-scale video games into their platform which will already include popular titles like MineCraft Pocket Edition and The Walking Dead Series from Telltale Games.
Amazon Fire TV Technical Specifications
How Does It Compare With Competing Streaming Boxes?
The following chart is produced by Amazon so it may be slightly biased in some areas (aka leaving out some criteria where it may lose to competitors). However, the facts don't lie as the Fire TV does put up some serious competition in the streaming hardware market.
Amazon Founder & CEO, Jeff Bezos' Take On Fire TV
“Fire TV is a tiny box that plugs into your HDTV. It's the easiest way to enjoy Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, low-cost video rentals, and more. With instant access to over 200,000 TV episodes and movies, plus all your favorite subscriptions and streaming services, you can watch what you want, when you want. If you're a Prime member, you get unlimited access to thousands of popular movies and TV shows, including exclusives like Downton Abbey, The Americans, Alpha House, and Under the Dome.
Fire TV has voice search that actually works. The old way of searching with a TV remote—scrolling and clicking one letter at a time on an alphabet grid—is painful. With Fire TV you simply speak the title, actor, or genre into the remote and you're done.
Fire TV may be tiny on the outside, but it has huge hardware specs on the inside. It has a powerful quad-core processor, dedicated GPU, 2 GB of memory, and dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi. With a fast, fluid interface, high definition 1080p video, and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound, Fire TV looks—and sounds—amazing. We also added an exclusive new feature called ASAP that predicts what movies and TV episodes you'll want to watch and gets them ready to stream instantly. No one likes waiting for videos to buffer.
As a bonus, we also added games. With Fire TV you can play blockbuster titles like Minecraft, The Walking Dead, Monsters University, the Amazon exclusive Sev Zero, plus great free games. There are over a hundred titles to explore, with thousands more coming soon. These games are a great value—the average price of paid games is only $1.85.”
Pricing & Release Date Details
The Amazon Fire TV is available immediately via Amazon's website and retails for $99. If you're looking to utilize the Fire TV with premium services such as Netflix or Hulu Plus, you will still need to buy a subscription to the access these premium services which require a monthly or yearly membership fee.
As a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and our Managing Editor, Colt loves testing out the newest tech products/services. His goal is to help better educate other consumers to ensure the most satisfying purchases decisions on consumer electronics and services. When he is not working on creating new content, Colt enjoys spending time with his two Australian Shepherds, Mia and Zoey.