Amazon Debuts Fire TV, a Set-Top Box for Streaming and Gaming

Article Featured Image

Amazon entered the set-top box market today with the introduction of the $99 Fire TV. At a time when the living room streaming market is being led by smaller devices and lower prices, the Fire TV's size and price tag at first seem a surprise. But the Fire TV doesn't just want to replace people's set-top boxes, it also wants to replace their gaming consoles.

The Fire TV has some power under the hood, with an Android-based OS, a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and dual-band Wi-Fi. The device can play content from a user's watch list with no buffering, something that Amazon demonstrated at the New York City launch event earlier today. The Fire TV also comes with a 7-button remote that includes a microphone for voice commands.

Besides Amazon Instant Video, buyers can get content from Netflix, Vimeo, MLB.tv, Showtime Anytime, ESPN, Hulu Plus, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn, among others.

Extras include a watch list, a photo app that works with CloudDrive to upload and share smartphone photos, a rich metadata lookup called X-ray that works with a smartphone or tablet, and time-limiting parental controls.

Amazon is aiming to provide a gaming experience that can compete with consoles, and will debut thousands of titles next month. One of the first will be Minecraft. Amazon will sell a gaming remote for $39.99 that includes 1,000 virtual coins for game purchases. The company promises thousands of free games, with an average price of around $1.85 for paid games.

Amazon Fire is available today for $99. With purchase, buyers get a 30-day trial of Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Streaming Covers
Free
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues
Related Articles

Amazon Intros Fire TV Stick, Competes with Google Chromecast

The TV device market is getting crowded, but that didn't stop Amazon from unveiling its second device, this one a compact stick with remote.

Comment: Is Fire TV Really Just Home Shopping Network in a Box?

As a connected device for viewing content, the Fire TV is nothing special—at least not yet. But as a way to get you to buy more stuff from Amazon, it could be the ultimate Trojan horse.