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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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'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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 :

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.

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