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Amazon Launches $99 Fire TV Set-Top Box with Quad-Core CPU and Game Support

Posted by Jim Tanous on April 2, 2014
Amazon Fire TV

As expected, Amazon on Wednesday unveiled its living room set-top box, officially called Fire TV. The $99 box aims to compete directly with offerings from companies like Apple, Google, and Roku, and gives customers access to a wide range of entertainment content from both Amazon and third parties.

In addition to the expected 1080p and multichannel audio support (up to 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus), the Fire TV features a quad-core processor, a dedicated GPU, dual-band and dual-antenna Wi-Fi with MIMO support, 2GB of memory, and support for Bluetooth remotes and game controllers. Most of these specs easily beat the current competition, although companies like Apple are expected to update their own hardware soon.

Amazon Fire TV Comparison Chart

Beyond the hardware, Amazon hopes that custom software will be the true advantage of Fire TV. A new ‘Advanced Streaming and Prediction’ (ASAP) feature learns which movies and TV shows a user prefers and automatically queues content to prevent buffering when watching a subsequent episode or re-watching a film. The company is also integrating built-in voice control via a microphone on the included remote.

Amazon-exclusive features such as X-Ray, which provides users with IMDB information on the actors and events in eligible movies and TV shows, and FreeTime, which lets parents set content and usage limits for their children, are also built-in to Fire TV. Both features made their debut on the company’s Kindle tablet line.

Amazon Fire TV Specs

Games will be a major feature of Fire TV. With its Bluetooth controller support and an optional $39 wireless game controller, Fire TV will support hundreds of Android-based games from studios such as Gameloft, EA, Disney, Sega, and Ubisoft. To facilitate the creation of more games optimized for Fire TV, Amazon is launching its own game studio and has created a new developer portal for the device.

Fire TV and its wireless game controller are shipping now. We’ll have one in the office later this week for a full review.

One thought on “Amazon Launches $99 Fire TV Set-Top Box with Quad-Core CPU and Game Support”

Typeaux says:
Review biased toward Amazon?

No mention of the on-remote headset feature on Roku, and not shown as a feature on the Amazon box. Such omissions of real-world, desirable features tends to make one think there is some unfair favoritism at play. If you are going to show head-to-head feature comparison charts, show ALL the features. Not that the Amazon box isn’t impressive — it certainly is. As a long-time Roku user, it is the first rival product to come along that I might take seriously. But the headset jack on the remote (Roku only, as far as I can tell) might be the deal maker for me. That’s why I think that particular feature should be included. I don’t think I’m alone in this, either.

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TekRevue says:
Typeaux, this is in no way a review. This is coverage of a product announcement. As we state in the article, we’ll have a Fire TV in the office later this week at which point we’ll conduct a review with comparisons to products from Roku, Apple, Google, WD, and so on.

You can find our reviews under the Review tab at the top of the page. Thanks for visiting; check back in a few days for the review.

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