Amazon Releases Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Releases Amazon Fire TV

feature-hero-_v340471340_Amazon has official revealed their Amazon Fire TV, a small media-streaming box sold for $99. Rather than a media dongle as previous rumors suggested, the price and form factor put Fire TV squarely up against Apple TV. The box has a quad-core processor, a custom OS, 2GB of RAM, dual band Wi-Fi, and a remote with seven buttons and a click wheel navigator.

The  platform is HTML and Android-based which should allow easy portability for application developers from web and Google’s mobile operating system. Fire TV also offers streaming videos from Amazon, including original shows and movies from Amazon Studios.

Initial content partners include Netflix, HBO GO, SHOT Anytime, Pandora, Hulu, and ESPN. The Amazon Fire TV is all-inclusive and grants to access to all of your favorite media providers. Other features include an X-ray second screen to look up information while you’re watching movies or to display lyrics while you’re listening to music. As previously rumored, Amazon Fire TV also includes gaming features.

Overall, Fire TV seems a bit like a next generation Apple TV (which has been long overdue for an update). It’s a solid entrant at the high end of an increasingly-crowded field. With recent dongles such as Chromecast selling for as low as $35 though, it remains to be seen whether customers will prefer spending nearly 3x as much for the additional features Fire TV provides. My take is that if Fire TV can replace other boxes such as gaming systems, the $99 will seem like a bargain. But if this is treated as a supplemental box like most of these devices, then at this point price may be a deciding factor for those adding to an already crowded living room.