Amazon has launched its much-anticipated TV streaming device, Amazon Fire TV, taking on the likes of Apple TV and Roku with its own internet-connect set-top.
Available to order now in the US, the small US$99 box makes it easy for viewers to access Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service from their TVs – as well services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Watch ESPN and Showtime.
Among the features of the device is voice search, which users can activate by pressing a button and speaking into their remote. The box can also be paired with an Amazon Fire Game Controller, letting users play video games from major firms including EA, Disney and Ubisoft.
“Tiny box, huge specs, tons of content, incredible price—people are going to love Fire TV,” said Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos. “Our open approach gives you not just Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video, but also Netflix, Hulu Plus, and more. On Fire TV you can watch Alpha House and House of Cards.”
Amazon claims that the set-top includes a quad-core processor that has three times the processing power of Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku 3 devices.
It also comes with 2GB of memory – four times the memory of these rivals, allowing content to load faster and games to run smoother, according to Amazon.
At launch Amazon said that the device will offer more than 200,000 movies and TV episodes from Amazon Instant Video alone. More than 100 games are also available with “thousands more” coming in the next month.
A feature called ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction) will also help to predict which movies and TV episodes viewers will want towatch and pre-buffers them for playback so that they will start instantly.
Users can also use Amazon Fire TV to view their own photos and personal videos on their TV, and to access music streaming services like Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn.