Amazon's Fire TV is $99 and available today

After months of waiting for an announcement, Amazon has finally unveiled its latest project at a press event in New York City. The Fire TV is similar to set-top boxes like AppleTV and Roku. However, Amazon has decided to take a different approach to its product by minimizing the convoluted menus, increasing performance of the experience, and making the product more accessible.

Amazon's goal of simplifying the experience has been channeled into the menu system and its unique ability to initialize voice searches by speaking into the remote. The Fire TV will also allow users to enjoy detailed information on the actors and shows as you are watching them. Fire TV will also support music streaming services like Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and music you have purchased from Amazon. Amazon has also created a custom interface for children called FreeTime. This interface will allow parents to limit what their children can watch and set limits on how long they can watch.

Lastly, Amazon Fire TV will have support for gaming. Gaming studios Disney, Gameloft, EA, Sega, Ubisoft and Double Fine are on board to support the device and it will have 1000's of games in the near future. Amazon will also offer a dedicated gamepad for an additional $39. 

Amazon Fire TV specifications:

  • Quad-core CPU with a dedicated GPU
  • ‚Äč2GB of RAM
  • Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi
  • Supports 1080p, Dolby Digital Plus Surroud via HDMI or optical audio-out enabling 7.1 surround

The interface will be simple and feature a column to the left with various categories: 

  • Search 
  • Home 
  • TV 
  • Watch list 
  • Video Library 
  • Games 
  • Apps 
  • Photos 
  • Settings

Naturally, Fire TV will support Netlifx, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, VEVO, SHOWTIME, Crackle, and YouTube. Additional channels like WWE Network, MLB.TV, WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH ABC, Twitch and more will be added in the future. The Amazon Fire TV will be available today for a price of $99.

Source: AmazonImage via Amazon

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65 Comments

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Not what I want. Really I just want something with this that is tiny, and can add a SD card with some movies on for the kids. Maybe even attach a HHD so can put all the movies on. Must be simple come with remote...not buy a separate one. Easy set up. An appliance.

Go to firetv.com

This product branding is such a huge failure it is hilarious.
firetv.com redirects to fyretv.com which is a porn version of exactly this. My gf just told me her company (which owns this) is suing amazon (and also getting a lot of free publicity haha)

Edited by darkpuma, Apr 4 2014, 12:19am :

I'm glad there is more competition coming to the set top space. $99 seems high for what the device is offering compared to its competitors, however. I'm surprised it's not $49 or free with the newly raised price of Prime.

DConnell said,
I wonder if Android XBMC will run on this? I'd be a lot more interested in that than any Amazon serivces.

It runs Plex out of the box. Isn't Plex a fork of XBMC?

It is, but I prefer the original XBMC.

If XBMC ran decently on this, it might be a good replacement for my living room modded XBox that I had to cannibalize for parts a few months ago.

People have already sideloaded XBMC onto it, so it's looking good! Going to keep me eye on it the next few days

Question - does dual band automatically mean it supports 5Ghz wireless networks? I recently upgraded my home router and it now has the 5Ghz band (which is great) and I'm slowly starting to update devices in my home to support it as well. I think in most cases it does mean it supports 5Ghz wireless but I hate to assume, because I've had one or two devices I've looked at that stated "dual-band" but didn't actually support true 5ghz networks. Thanks.

The whole voice thing is cool and all, but Roku has already improved searching immensely over the typical TV or Blu-ray player remote. And I don't want to be yelling my selections when my wife is sound asleep.

frett said,
The whole voice thing is cool and all, but Roku has already improved searching immensely over the typical TV or Blu-ray player remote. And I don't want to be yelling my selections when my wife is sound asleep.

You don't have to yell. The mic isn't on a camera, TV, or bluray player on the other side of the room. It's on the remote so you can just push the mic button and talk right into the mic in front of your mouth at a normal or even low volume.

not bad. I'm not sure it can replace a console if you own it specially given the xbox one, unlike the PS4 will support univeral apps for windows 8 meaning all 200K windows 8 apps are technically portable to the XB1 making it by far the most rich TV ecosystem (assuming devs upgrade them to the universal app template).

neonspark said,
not bad. I'm not sure it can replace a console if you own it specially given the xbox one, unlike the PS4 will support univeral apps for windows 8 meaning all 200K windows 8 apps are technically portable to the XB1 making it by far the most rich TV ecosystem (assuming devs upgrade them to the universal app template).

This is not targeted toward anyone who owns and Xbox One or PS4. It's for more casual users who don't want to spend $400+. Also the Xbox One doesn't just automatically support all universal apps. Microsoft has to specifically approve the app for the Xbox One so it will have only a subset. Furthermore anything that requires an internet connection on the Xbox One (such as any streaming app) is behind the Xbox Live Gold paywall where on the PS4 or this device you don't have to pay an additional fee (which Amazon specifically pointed out in their speech and many are calling a shot at Microsoft.) Plus this is available NOW, who knows when Universal apps are going to hit.

i cant figure out why anyone would need this device... it's a cell phone w/o the phone part.

For instance, most could buy a cable and directly hook their phone to the tv. In my case, i could buy a much cheaper dongle and use Miracast to wirelessly display my phone to the tv.

Chromecast is $35, but doesnt support Amazon Video... so do you need to spend $64 more just to get amazon video?

It's an Android device, so it plays crappy cell phone games... who needs this anyway?

Theyre competing against Roku,, but Roku's most expensive offering. You can buy a cheaper version of the Roku w/ all the same functionality...

If it can run the Android version of XBMC, that might be worth the price. Better than throwing money away on a third Raspberry Pi to try to put XBMC on.

Jason S. said,
For instance, most could buy a cable and directly hook their phone to the tv. In my case, i could buy a much cheaper dongle and use Miracast to wirelessly display my phone to the tv.

Because most people don't want to keep connecting and disconnecting their phone from the TV, even if the connection is wireless. Also can your family be watching Frozen miracast to the TV in the living room while you play Angry Birds on that same phone in the bathroom? I haven't experimented with it but I assume when you're streaming from your phone to the TV that your phone can't do much, if anything else. What happens if calls and text messages keep coming in, does that interrupt the stream? What if you want to run to the store? You have to stop the movie the kids are watching or leave your phone?
Jason S. said,

Chromecast is $35, but doesnt support Amazon Video... so do you need to spend $64 more just to get amazon video?

No, FireTV is much more capable hardware. ChromeCast is a great deal at $35 (and you can often get it for less) but you do get a significant hardware and capabilities upgrade for that extra $64 if you want to pay that. Just like you also get another significant upgrade in capabilities if you add $100 on top of the FireTV and get a PS3 (which also has the Amazon Prime App, Netflix, Hulu, etc.) You just have to decide how much capability you actually care about and buy the appropriate device.
Jason S. said,

It's an Android device, so it plays crappy cell phone games... who needs this anyway?

Yes it runs Android. No it doesn't just play regular android games. Amazon is actually building its own game studio. Who needs this? These kind of casual game systems, tablets, and cell phones are were all the Wii gamers are going. If you're a PS4/XB1 gamer this isn't for you. If you're not a gamer at all then of course the game part isn't for you but it's still a nice streaming device (that's why they sell the controller separately, it's not the main point of the device)
Jason S. said,

Theyre competing against Roku,, but Roku's most expensive offering. You can buy a cheaper version of the Roku w/ all the same functionality...

Even the most expensive Roku has significantly weaker hardware. If you want less capability for less money then sure you can buy lower end Roku devices or ChromeCast but this gives them an entry for their Amazon Prime/Kindle ecosystem and it's a competitive entry.

I'm surprised Amazon is charging that much. Not saying it isn't worth it, but Amazon usually advertizes their products as better AND less expensive. I predict a future selling price of $79.

frett said,
I'm surprised Amazon is charging that much. Not saying it isn't worth it, but Amazon usually advertizes their products as better AND less expensive. I predict a future selling price of $79.

I don't think a Kindle is less expensive then a Nexus or Nook. They price competitively but I don't think they always undercut the competition.

acido00 said,
Wondering if it can be better that Apple TV?

It really depends on which ecosystem you've bought into. If you have an iPhone and use iTunes for everything then Apple TV is better for you. If you have a Kindle and/or Amazon Prime then FireTV is better for you. If you have neither and just go by specs then FireTV is better RIGHT NOW but Apple will likely refresh the Apple TV soon and that may or may not be better. If you have a standard Google Play phone/tablet then ChromeCast may be better for you. I don't believe Microsoft has a competitor in this space yet... Sony may try to enter this space with the PlayStation Vita TV. I'm not really sure who the target audience for the Roku is but people in the comments have said they have one so I guess they sell.

I have a feeling this will be a hit. Considering it's at a competitive price with roku and apple TV, it will certainly catch people's attention.

really? I thought if it was priced around $79, it wouldve been a hit. it will be interesting to see how Roku and other boxes react. Personally I own a Roku 3, the gaming aspect of the device is a joke.

timicantisano said,
really? I thought if it was priced around $79, it wouldve been a hit. it will be interesting to see how Roku and other boxes react. Personally I own a Roku 3, the gaming aspect of the device is a joke.

People don't buy a Roku for the game part of the device. People will not by the Amazon firetv to pay games on it. Its a gimmit. Good video player with voice control device. That's it. Nothing new but with the amazon brand to it. Surprise there is no free one year prime to it.

timicantisano said,
really? I thought if it was priced around $79, it wouldve been a hit. it will be interesting to see how Roku and other boxes react. Personally I own a Roku 3, the gaming aspect of the device is a joke.

I agree. I just posted the same price below before I saw your comment. You are dead on. Thanks for the article, too.

Lord Method Man said,
Wondering if this supports local file playback, network shares, and DLNA.

I've been searching everywhere for this. If they don't post anything about this or acknowledge it then this will be a problem. I don't care if its android and I can side load it or all that nonsense. This is made for consumers and the living room. This is the biggest negative point versus the roku and apple TV. Which they are comparing themselves to on there website

Lord Method Man said,
Wondering if this supports local file playback, network shares, and DLNA.

it wont. it's a cell phone.

Lord Method Man said,
Wondering if this supports local file playback, network shares, and DLNA.

I don't think so but it does support Plex if that does anything for you.

Lord Method Man said,
Wondering if this supports local file playback, network shares, and DLNA.
Does it not allow Android apps that enable these things? If it's for online streaming services only and doesn't allow direct access and playback (without a separate media server running) of media in various formats on my network (PC, NAS etc.) then it's useless for me.

Edited by Romero, Apr 3 2014, 7:20pm :

Ha, I said it before when they also announced their event was scheduled for April 8, that any announcements will be buried deep with all the tech sites covering build conference.

I don't get what they mean by a dedicated GPU. From the specs it looks like it's running a pretty standard Snapdragon 600 SoC.

Asmodai said,
I don't get what they mean by a dedicated GPU. From the specs it looks like it's running a pretty standard Snapdragon 600 SoC.

Huh? It has a Qualcomm Krait 300 (quad-core 1.7 Ghz) and the GPU is a Qualcomm Adreno 320.

frett said,

Huh? It has a Qualcomm Krait 300 (quad-core 1.7 Ghz) and the GPU is a Qualcomm Adreno 320.

EVERY SINGLE Snapdragon 600 has a Qualcomm Krait 300 Quad Core CPU and an Adreno 320 GPU, that's what makes it a 600.
This compared to a Snapdragon 800 that has a Qualcomm Krait 400 Quad Core CPU and an Adreno 330 GPU.
They say "dedicated GPU" which makes it sound like it has a stand alone GPU instead of the one built onto the chip the but Adreno 320 is the standard built-in GPU on every Snapdragon 600 SoC out there. There doesn't seem to be anything special about the chips they are running, they are standard Snapdragon 600s that have been out since last year and are on tons of phones. Getting one for $99 is a great deal but I just don't get why they call out "dedicated GPU" like they do.

Nice. Forget about ouya and other android game consoles!

This can be the solution that will bring android games to TV masses.

I assume this is based on android, right?

panacea said,
Nice. Forget about ouya and other android game consoles!

This can be the solution that will bring android games to TV masses.

I assume this is based on android, right?

Currently it will have only two games. They are in talks with Gameloft to bring 8 Airborn and with Disney to develop an exclusive endless runner game based in Monster Inc. world.

AsherGZ said,

Currently it will have only two games. They are in talks with Gameloft to bring 8 Airborn and with Disney to develop an exclusive endless runner game based in Monster Inc. world.


What are you talking about? It has 95 games RIGHT NOW:

http://www.kotaku.com.au/2014/...fire-tv-can-play-right-now/

And Amazon is not only making deals to get more but actually creating it's own game studio to make exclusive titles for the platform. like "Sev Zero" out now. They've actually hired good talent too not just trying to build of from scratch:

http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/...perience-across-all-genres/

It uses standard streaming services so yeah you have to have a Netflix or hulu or amazon prime or whatever other service you want account. They don't charge you an extra charge on top of that though so if you buy the box and you subscribe to Netflix you don't have to pay Amazon anything else. You don't get Amazon Prime for free because you bought the box though if that's what you're asking.

Nice. But When Gary Busey is your spokesman you are pretty much doomed from the start

Unless it ..
is a swiss army knife of video formats
Supports NTFS
USB hard drives

It's dead to me..

Sony BDP-S3100 FTW (it also supports Prime)

Edited by warwagon, Apr 3 2014, 5:18pm :