Amazon Fire TV was announced last week. Amazon is very good at keeping consumers on their toes. They often are on the forefront of technology, and Amazon Fire TV is exactly what we would expect from Amazon. The company is steadfast that the set top box is not a gaming console, but they’ve spent quite a bit of investment in game development for Fire TV and provide a very good game pad. Even still, Amazon insists the games are a bonus.
Amazon Fire TV may be the next step for the company as it builds out their portfolio of products, but they enter an already crowded streaming media market. Consumers question ‘do we need a new streaming media product? With satellite, cable and fiber and Apple TV, as well as Google’s ChromeCast, a new player in this arena may not be received very well. Amazon Fire TV will attempt to boot competitors to the curb with the jaw dropping low $99 price and a knack for releasing products that work very well, are intuitive and open source.
Amazon Fire TV is very nicely designed with a clean feel. A simple matte black box with a tiny logo etched on top and just one white LED on front indicating power. No rounded corners, no eye popping color. Even the back is understated; only four options, HDMI, Ethernet, optical audio jacks, and a USB connection which is not yet activated. For those looking for a box that can be well hidden, this one is the best of the bunch being only.7 inches tall and the remote uses bluetooth and not IR, so Amazon Fire TV can be hidden anywhere.
Amazon Fire TV most closely compares to Apple TV with the content offerings with one exception; Amazon Prime Instant Video. The company had been building its own video content library and this is where the obvious advantage comes into play. Amazon Fire TV is basically part Apple TV and part Netflix with its Instant Video offering. On top of instant video through Amazon Prime, the set top box also offers gaming, photo sharing and music into the living room.
The main goal for Amazon Fire TV is to be all encompassing. While the games are just a ‘bonus’ for now, Amazon obviously wants you to turn on Fire TV whenever you use your television. What else can we expect from the big streaming video providers now that Amazon Fire TV has come onto the scene?