Amazon Throwing Its Hat Into The Streaming Fray With Amazon Fire TV At $99
The often-rumored Android-based console Amazon was hinting at is seemingly coming by way of a set-top box. With a number of set-top boxes already saturating the market, Amazon is looking to top the market with its bevy of exclusive features and technically superior hardware.
During today’s reveal of the Amazon Fire TV, there was a heavy focus on how it does what the other devices do, but better. It plays all of the popular apps on the other devices such as Hulu, Netflix, WatchESPN and Amazon Instant Video. Many more are promised to make their arrival, but it’s a somewhat alarming point to notice the lack of HBO GO. It did take Sony years to get HBO GO on PS3, and it is still absent on PS4 so here’s to hoping. Amongst their usual offering of digital media, Amazon will release, some time in May, Amazon FreeTime. Amazon FreeTime is a service that allows you to customize up to four profiles to filter out media you don’t want your child viewing. FreeTime also comes with a technique that makes it easier for kids to access certain shows by enhancing the interface for a child, namely changing the font and color to a “kid-friendly” design. Amazon FreeTime Unlimited was also revealed and comes with a price of $2.99/ month and allows unlimited access to kids programming, namely PBS, Nickelodeon and the like.
Being developed with 2 GB of Ram and a dedicated graphics card allows Amazon Fire TV the ability to have some nice features absent from the competition. By taking a jab at Microsoft, Amazon explained that their voice search actually works! Amazon claims the search will take seconds; and with their exclusive ASAP technology, you can be watching in seconds. ASAP is a technology that predicts what you will watch, presumably based on metadata, and buffers the media in the background for instant streaming. Amazon has released a simple comparison chart, which will be posted at the bottom of this article, showing its inherent advantages.
Alas the games! Amazon has been buying up game talent left and right and we finally know why. The visual quality of games seems to lie somewhere between that of a mobile game and a handheld. Amazon has its own game studio but also has support from industry leaders such as Ubisoft, EA DoubleFine and TellTale. Many of the titles will be free-to-play, and the average price of games is $1.85. Games can be played via the Amazon Fire TV remote or with the Amazon Fire controller priced at $39.99.
Could this be the all-in-one solution for our set-top box needs for a mere $99? Or is this another box that will be bought with huge expectations only to lie dormant on our shelves? Check back later for a review of the set-top box.