Amazon Fire TV
Amazon has just released the Fire TV, the company’s Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku competitor. In short, it’s a $99 Android based set-top box for streaming movies and TV shows as well as playing games with the dedicated Fire Game Controller (sold separately for $ 40). The Fire TV has integrated voice search and being an Amazon product, extra care has been taken in order to make the company’s Prime Instant Video streaming service run smoothly on the device. The other usual suspects such as YouTube, Hulu and Netflix are also available. HBO Go is however currently missing from the lineup.
Update: In it’s first impressions, Android Central writes that the Fire TV makes for a compelling experience, and yet another great way for Amazon to have its content in front of as many people as possible.
On streaming content:
With or without [Amazon] Prime, you’ll be greeted by a bevy of Fire TV-optimized Android apps that are set up to use the full screen and work properly with your remote. Pandora, Hulu Plus, Netflix, YouTube, Plex, WatchESPN and the like are offered to you front-and-center, and while it’s clear that Amazon can (and will) do more to grow the number of Fire TV developers, its out-of-the-box app catalog is quite full-featured. Apps run well, and we’ve yet to encounter any weirdness that would make you think these are simple Android mobile apps ported to a larger screen. The interfaces, buttons and experiences seem like they were made natively for the TV.
Amazon boasts that over 100 games in its Appstore are already compatible with the Fire TV, with thousands more on the way. The couple of games we’ve tried play perfectly with the controller, and seem to have been customized appropriately for the larger screen and controller experience — a tough feat that other Android consoles have struggled with. There aren’t many similar cheap consoles to choose from, but right now the Fire TV looks to be a leader for casual Android games on your TV at a low price.
If sideloading apps from Google Play is as easy as it is on Kindle Fire tablets, the Fire TV looks very promising.
Photo: The Verge