Amazon have just announced during a live event their first video streaming device: Fire TV set-top box. The event started with Peter Limp on the stage saying that Amazon is looking forward to solve three major issues of current video streaming devices: search, performance, and “closed ecosystem”.
On a first look Fire TV has a huge potential as it’s packed with a fast processor and a GPU, it comes with voice search and it’s bringing numerous partners(Netflix, HULU, Youtube, Vimeo, etc.). Besides this it’s also packed with the usual Amazon stuff: Movies, Music, Apps and even Games.
Amazon claims that in the past the regular set-tob box had a performance problem, so this was why the content was loading slow. In a way they are right, but you still need a good Internet connection to play high quality content like a 1080p movie. As I told you before, Fire TV comes with a quad-core CPU that is is paired with an Adreno 320 graphics engine and 2GB of RAM which will make it the fastest set-top box ever made.
I was a bit surprised when I saw that Amazon added the Adreno 320 graphics engine, but few minutes later we find out that Fire TV set-top box will also be used as a Gaming Console. Yes, gaming console. Amazon partnered with EA, Disney, Gameloft, Ubisoft, Telltale, Mojang, 2K, and Sega to bring their games to Fire TV. Starting today you can play games like Minecraft, Monsters University, The Game of Life, The Walking Dead, NBA2K14, Asphalt 8, Riptide GP2, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, etc. Amazon said that on average the cost of a paid game on Fire TV will be $1.85, though there will also be a lot of free content to choose from.
As an accessory for the set-top box, Amazon also announced a video game controller, Fire game controller, which will be sold separately for $39.99 and launched a studio internally to develop in-house games.
Now back to the set-top box idea, the Fire TV costs just $99 and has the connectivity features: Wi-Fi, HDMI, optical audio, Ethernet and USB. Fire TV will also come with a nice remote control, which is “small, simple, and intuitive, with familiar controls”. The remote uses Bluetooth technology, which means that its range and usability it’s improved compared to the regular remote controls. But on of the great things about this remote and Amazon Fire TV is that it features the voice search option. With a simple button and your voice you can search and find a movie, TV show, actor, director, genre, app, or game and so on.
ASAP(Advanced Streaming and Prediction) is another great feature Amazon Fire TV brings. As the name suggests it means that everything will load instantly because it predicts what you will want to watch and cache it for later.
X-Ray for Movies and TV Shows, the feature introduced on Kindle devices will also work on Fire TV. “With X-Ray you can see information about cast and crew, the names of songs as they play, as well as a list of all music in the movie or TV show, trivia items in context with the action on the screen, and character backstories so you can easily remind yourself of the character’s history. X-Ray is exclusive to Amazon and is powered by IMDb.”
Kids also have a place on Fire TV set-top box as Amazon made a special feature for them, called FreeTime, where their parents can choose what is best for them to watch, listen and play.
We don’t know on what OS is Fire TV built, but we know that this new and powerful set-top box is available starting today for just $99. According to Amazon some customer might also get a free 30-day trial of Netflix and Amazon Prime when they purchase Fire TV.