Amazon on Wednesday announced Fire TV, a smart box that will connect to various web video services and offer consumers access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video and Hulu etc. The gadget, which will compete with similar other products in the market including the Apple TV, will cost $99 to consumers in the US.
“Tiny box, huge specs, tons of content, incredible price — people are going to love Fire TV,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. “Voice search that actually works means no more typing on an alphabet grid. Our exclusive new ASAP (advanced streaming and prediction) feature predicts the shows you’ll want to watch and gets them ready to stream instantly. And our open approach gives you not just Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video, but also Netflix, Hulu Plus, and more.”
With a lot of young consumers looking to the web for their entertainment fix, many companies are trying to reinvent the way people watch videos on their televisions. While Apple and Amazon are offering consumers Apple TV and Fire TV, which can download videos through services like iTunes and Amazon Instant Video, Google last year came out with a small dongle called Chromecast that allows users to stream videos from YouTube and several other services on to their TVs using an Android tablet or phone.
Though Fire TV looks similar to Apple TV and Roku’s streaming box, it packs in a few unique features. The remote of Fire TV has a microphone in which a user can speak the name of the show he wants to watch and the TV will switch to that show. The Fire TV has parental control features and allows parents to create different viewing profiles for up to four children. The TV can also stream music from services like Pandora and TuneIN radio.
Amazon will also sell an Amazon Fire game controller along with Fire TV. The controller will cost $39 and allow consumers to play casual games on their TV using Fire TV.
Fire TV is powered by a quad-core processor running at 1.7GHz. It has 2GB RAM and 8GB internal storage. It weighs 281 grams.