Select the directory option from the above "Directory" header!

Amazon jumps into set-top media business with voice-enabled Fire TV

Amazon jumps into set-top media business with voice-enabled Fire TV

Amazon released the Fire TV set-top media streaming device today at an event in New York, stepping squarely onto the turf of the Apple TV, Roku and Google Chromecast with a small, feature-heavy package about the size of an old CD double album.

The Amazon Fire TV costs $99 the same as Apple TV and is already available online. It packs similar hardware to a high-end smartphone, including a quad-core CPU, 2GB RAM, dedicated Adreno 320 GPU and dual-band Wi-Fi antenna.

+ALSO ON NETWORK WORLD: Google asks US Supreme Court to review ruling on Wi-Fi packet sniffing | Cisco reveals OpenFlow SDN killer +

Users of the Fire TV can link a number of online services to the device for living-room viewing including Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, and WatchESPN, along with Amazon's own Instant Video and Prime Instant Video. Notable in its absence, however, is HBO Go.

A predictive queuing feature, called ASAP, pre-loads content that it thinks users are more likely to view, so that it plays immediately when requested. Amazon's whispersync feature lets users resume a program from where they left off, even if they were watching on a different device.

The Fire TV remote, which works via Bluetooth instead of the usual IR blaster, includes a robust built-in voice search capability and, when the device is used to stream games from a special online library, the ability to act as a controller. (A dedicated gaming controller is available for $40. Games average $1.85 each.)

Fire TV is the latest entrant into a living-room streaming market that's being influenced by a number of different device types everything from cable company-issue DVRs to dedicated media PCs to gaming consoles provides some subset of features. If the endgame, however, is unifying all living-room entertainment and connectivity in a single device, Amazon has just made itself a major player.

Email Jon Gold at and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

Follow Us

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GoogleApplesoftwareSAPData Centeryoutubehardware systemsnetflixHBOHuluConfiguration / maintenanceESPNRoku

Show Comments