Apple and Roku have a new competitor in the living room. Amazon just announced its own video streaming device: the $99 Amazon Fire TV. It starts shipping today.
In joining the feud for the living room, Amazon has really set a higher standard here. Sure there’s not much to tout when you have the same streaming services as other guys, but that’s always the first thing that they need to nail. Amazon instead focuses on ways that it is already ahead of the competition: a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and having a quicker interface than Roku or Apple.
The interesting part about Fire TV is the unique features it has. Taking hints from the Kindle line, Amazon has introduced X-Ray for movies and videos you watch, letting you play along in a “second screen experience” with its tablets, that tells you more about the media you are watching. It also has a voice search feature, which it touts as being a lot faster than trying to navigate a keyboard with a tiny remote.
The Fire TV also has a dedicated gaming controller, and is set to have a couple of partnerships with gaming studios. Minecraft is one of those games, and more are said to be coming. Amazon also says that most of the games are going to be cheap, with $1.851 being the average price.
With this announcement, I really can’t wait for what Apple hopefully reveals in the coming months as an update to the Apple TV. An updated and quicker interface, more media features, and the possibility of games are enough to keep me excited. If they somehow integrated Siri for navigating and controlling the Apple TV, that would be a great improvement to how it is now. I’ve been needing to get one for a while, and the only thing stopping me is the impending update just around the corner. Now all we have to do is wait.