Fire TV: Amazon Unveils its $99 STB-Game Console Hybrid

Amazon announced its new video streaming device called Amazon Fire TV that intends to take on products such as Roku and Apple TV. During a presentation this morning, Amazon’s Peter Larsen suggested that Amazon’s new hardware will address areas in which competing devices struggle including search, performance, and a closed ecosystem. The $99 Fire TV features a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. Larsen claims it provides speeds three times faster than the latest Roku and Apple boxes.

“Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, Vimeo, MLB.tv, and the NBA will be among the apps available on Fire TV,” reports The Verge. “Amazon’s Instant Video takes top billing, but the company says it wants to help customers find the best deal for most videos with a ‘best value buy box.’ This will reveal where a show or movie can be watched cheapest, but only Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus will be included in results at launch.”

“Amazon is also packing in some extras that take advantage of its other online services,” notes the post. “A photos app will display all of the mobile shots you’ve backed up with Amazon Cloud Drive on your TV. Amazon is also pushing the gaming capabilities of Amazon Fire TV. A gamepad for the set-top box was leaked in international regulatory filings last month, and it’s tailored for console gamers, clearly borrowing inspiration from Microsoft’s Xbox controller. The Fire TV gamepad will retail for $39.99 and include 1,000 Amazon coins.”

Amazon Fire TV is available starting today. The product page notes the following features:

  • Massive selection — Over 200,000 TV episodes and movies, millions of songs, and over a hundred games.
  • Perfect with Prime — Unlimited access to thousands of popular movies and TV shows including exclusive titles like ‘Downton Abbey’ and ‘Under the Dome.’
  • Voice search that actually works — Simply say the name of what you want to watch and start enjoying in seconds.
  • Tiny box, huge specs — Fast quad-core processor, 2GB of memory, dedicated GPU, plus 1080p HD video and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound.
  • Easy to set up and use — Pre-registered to your Amazon account so you can enjoy favorite titles and personalized recommendations.
  • Instant streaming — Exclusive new feature ASAP predicts what movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and buffers them for playback before you hit play.
  • Perfect for parents — Amazon FreeTime lets you easily limit screen time and create personalized profiles just for kids (coming soon).
  • Great for gaming, too — Play blockbuster titles like ‘Minecraft-Pocket Edition,’ ‘The Walking Dead,’ and ‘Monsters University,’ plus free games and Amazon exclusives. Paid games start from just 99 cents.