The battle for the living room just got a little more crowded today as Amazon finally revealed their long-rumoured set top box at a press event in Santa Monica. The Amazon Fire TV will cost $99 and it starts shipping as of today. The device is mainly intended as a delivery device for their Amazon Instant Video service and their own slate of upcoming Amazon Studios TV shows but will also come with other popular streaming apps including Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Vimeo, MLB.tv and the NBA. Obviously they’re hoping to compete with the Chromecast, Apple TV and Roku, but they are also going head to head with various video game consoles by developing a video game controller add-on that will be available for $39.99. The question is, are they already too late to the party?
The Amazon Fire features a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, which makes it three times faster than the latest Roku and Apple TV boxes. It also has voice search capabilities that “actually work” and are said to be an improvement on Microsoft’s Xbox One and the Kinect. There is also a nifty feature called ASAP, which “predicts which movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and prepares them for playback before you even hit play.”
The kinds of games that will be available for the system are aimed at casual gamers, but they will also be fairly cheap at an average price of $1.85 with many free-to-play options as well. It does seem like this is something that would be worth picking up if you have access to Amazon Instant Video via an Amazon Prime subscription, but unfortunately for those of us here in Canada that service is not yet available. Are you planning on ordering an Amazon Fire TV? Check out a promo video for the device below.