Amazon Unveils the Fire TV Set-Top Box
Amazon isn’t just competing with the likes of Apple and Google in the tablet market. Amazon is now going after those two companies and Roku by making a move into the set-top box market with their new Fire TV streaming box.
The Fire TV is designed to try to beat the likes of Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast to be the best set-top device on the market and Amazon claims the Fire TV is three times faster than its competitors. From a hardware standpoint, it comes with a quad-core processor, a dedicated GPU, 2 GB of RAM and dual-band wi-fi. The result is a box that can stream at resolutions up to 1080p at 60 FPS with surround sound via the HDMI port. It also comes with a small remote that connects via Bluetooth and has a mic for voice searching.
Where the Fire TV might have a downside for some is that, while it comes with plenty of apps that you’ll want, it doesn’t come with HBO Go. With HBO pumping out hit after hit, including Game of Thrones (returning this weekend), this will be a big missing app. Still, you can get all the other big apps, including Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Twitch and the WWE Network (WrestleMania is also this weekend).
In addition to all the video apps, the Fire TV is trying to take on the Ouya as a $99 console. Well, actually, you need to buy a Fire Controller for $40 but that also comes with 1,000 Amazon coins for game buying. Unlike the Ouya, the Fire TV will be supported by game publishers with the likes of EA, Sega and Disney all signed up to publish games on Fire TV. So far, big hits Minecraft and The Walking Dead are coming to Fire TV with Amazon working on their own games for the device.
The big surprise is that Amazon won’t be the lowest-priced device on the market. The Fire TV will set you back $99. While the Apple TV is $10 more than Amazon’s entry and it’s level with the Roku 3, it’s still more than the $35 Chromecast and $49 Roku Streaming Stick. Even with all the bells and whistles, that price might be a sticking point that gives their competitors an edge.