Today, Amazon unveiled Fire TV, a tiny box that plugs into your HDTV for easy and instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, SHOWTIME, low-cost video rentals, and much more.
Amazon video streaming is estimated to account for 1.6 percent of viewership in North America. In contrast, Netflix has the majority of viewers at 31.6 percent and boasts 44 million subscribers.
Fire TV features a Qualcomm quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, which Amazon claims is three times faster than the latest set-top boxes from Roku and Apple and eliminates lag.
The remote features seven buttons plus a click wheel navigator. When you press play, content starts playing back immediately. The remote features voice search. To use it, you speak directly into the Bluetooth remote.
The platform is HTML and Android-based, so developers can port their apps over from both the web and Google’s mobile OS. Tech specs include dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi using the 802.11a/b/g/n standard (not 802.11ac), with support for Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI, and Ethernet.
A photos app will display all of the mobile shots you’ve backed up with Amazon Cloud Drive on your TV. And the same X-Ray features that automatically provide cast details when watching videos on Amazon’s Fire tablets are making their way to Fire TV.
Gaming on Fire TV is aiming to compete with consoles, which are too high-priced according to Amazon.