Amazon has revealed its own streaming media box, the Fire TV, which is an impressive box of tricks that will face off against rivals such as Apple TV and Roku.
This doesn’t come as a big surprise, because it had previously been rumoured – although the last we heard was that it would be a streaming dongle, Chromecast-style.
In actual fact, it’s a more traditional box which sits in your TV stand, Apple TV-style.
As expected, it runs a forked version of Android, and the rumour mongers were also right about Fire TV arriving early April, as well – you couldn’t get much earlier, and the device is shipping today over in the US, priced $99 (£59).
Fire TV (that’s a cool sounding name, by the way) will be driven by a quad-core processor, backed by 2GB of RAM, so lag won’t be an issue, Amazon asserts. Full 1080p streaming will be supported, as will Dolby Digital surround – and gaming is being pushed, another point that speculation had picked up on previously.
Amazon’s box of tricks will have an optional $40 (£24) gamepad to play games with – largely casual affairs, of course, with the emphasis on cheap and cheerful, or indeed free and possibly hysterical (with over a thousand free titles promised).
The media content, of course, is the central aspect, and as the Verge reports, when unveiling the device, Amazon’s Peter Larsen promised it would come with “a ton of content.”
Naturally, the list starts with Amazon’s own video service, but other content mentioned for the US included Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo, YouTube, and of course sporty bits like MLB.tv, and the NBA.
Fire TV will also tell you where a show or movie can be grabbed cheapest among content providers, and comes with other whistles and bells built in, such as the X-Ray features as seen in the firm’s tablets (which identify actors and other pertinent details about a film, while you watch). It also predicts what you’ll likely want to watch based on viewing habits, and pre-prepares relevant shows.
Throw in a remote with a built-in microphone that offers voice controls for slicker searching through films and TV shows, and, well… you’ve got a pretty compelling sounding package which is going to be ruffling a few feathers over Cupertino way.
When will we see it in the UK? At this point, your guess is as inaccurate as ours, frankly – we can but hope we don’t have a long wait ahead as has been the case with some Amazon products in the past.
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