At a very large press-conference earlier today Amazon announced Amazon Fire TV, which the company calls, “The Easiest Way to Watch Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, and More on Your Big-Screen TV.”
A bold claim yes, the new device simply plugs into your HDTV, giving the user instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, SHOWTIME, low-cost video rentals, more. You can also use the Fire TV to stream your photos, music, and games to the living room.
“Tiny box, huge specs, tons of content, incredible price—people are going to love Fire TV,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. “Voice search that actually works means no more typing on an alphabet grid. Our exclusive new ASAP feature predicts the shows you’ll want to watch and gets them ready to stream instantly. And our open approach gives you not just Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video, but also Netflix, Hulu Plus, and more. On Fire TV you can watch Alpha House and House of Cards.”
Under the hood Fire TV features a quad-core processor with 3x the processing power of Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku 3, and a dedicated Adreno 320 graphics engine that processes 57 billion floating point instructions per second, for fast graphics and “excellent fluidity”. Fire TV comes with 2GB of memory, 4x the memory of Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku 3, so content loads faster and games run smoother. With dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi, Fire TV streams in up to full-HD 1080p and supports HDMI and optical audio-out, enabling up to 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus surround sound.
Fire TV’s remote will allow you to search, browse, play, pause, and add titles to your Watchlist.. The Fire TV remote uses Bluetooth so there is no “line of sight” required.
Fire TV is also seamlessly integrated with Prime Instant Video (as you should expect it to be), Amazon’s subscription streaming service. With tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes, Prime Instant Video is the exclusive premium subscription streaming home for thousands of hours of video, including shows like Downton Abbey, The Americans, Workaholics, Justified, 24, Hannibal, Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob, and more. Prime Instant Video also includes shows from Amazon Studios, the original TV production arm of Amazon, such as Alpha House from Pulitzer-Prize winner Garry Trudeau and starring John Goodman, which debuted last year and quickly became the most watched show on Amazon since its release. Alpha House is now in production for its second season, and Amazon recently greenlighted six new shows, including The After, Bosch, Mozart in the Jungle, and Transparent, which will be available starting later this year.
With the new ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction) feature predicts which movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and prepares them for playback before you even hit play. This feature is smart—it is personalized based on your viewing habits and adapts as those habits change. The caching predictions get better over time, so ASAP will continuously improve as you use Fire TV.
Customers can also use Fling, working with Amazon TV shows and movies from your phone or tablet to your Fire TV using Second Screen. This turns your TV into the primary screen and frees up your phone or tablet to provide playback controls, a customized display for X-Ray, or simply a place to email, browse the web, and more, while you watch a movie. Second Screen is available on Kindle Fire HDX and will be available later this year from your iPhone or iPad. You can also wirelessly mirror your tablet display to your Fire TV with Kindle Fire, as well as other Miracast-enabled phones or tablets starting later this year. Fire TV supports standards like DIAL, so app developers can enable multi-screen experiences based on open technologies.
In the past we loved FreeTime, free software from Amazon that helps control mature content for kids and the Fire Tv also will implement it on this device. A parent creates profiles for each child and selects the content they can see. Parents can create time limits based on type of content or time of day. When in FreeTime, the background color and fonts change to a kid-friendly design. Kids only see titles that have been selected by their parents for them, and those who can’t yet read can navigate visually to content based on favorite characters or topics—for example “Dora the Explorer,” “Princesses,” or “Thomas and Friends.” Parents who have already set up profiles and approved content on Kindle Fire tablets will find the settings are automatically synchronized on Fire TV, making it simple and seamless to get started.
Customers who subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited—Amazon’s all-you-can-eat content subscription designed just for kids ages 3 to 8—will get unlimited access to thousands of movies and TV shows. FreeTime Unlimited is available for Prime members to enjoy for a monthly price of $2.99 per child or $6.99 per family. Customers who are not yet Prime members can subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited for a monthly price of $4.99 per child or $9.99 per family. Amazon FreeTime and FreeTime Unlimited will be available on Fire TV
Amazon Fire TV features:
- Voice search that actually works—simply speak the name of a movie, TV show, actor, director, or genre into the remote, and you’re done. No more hunting and pecking in an alphabet grid.
- All the content—instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, YouTube, and more, plus the largest selection of videos for rent and purchase—over 200,000 movies and TV episodes from Amazon Instant Video. Plus, listen to music with Amazon MP3, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more.
- Powerful performance in a tiny form factor—quad-core processor with over 3x the processing power of Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku 3, a dedicated GPU, plus 4x the memory of Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku 3 for exceptional speed and fluidity. Delivers stunning 1080p HD video and immersive Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. All of this comes in an incredibly small package—Fire TV is 0.7” thin and comes with a simple and sleek remote control with a built-in microphone.
- Simple and easy to use—arrives pre-registered so you can start watching immediately out of the box.
- An exclusive new feature called ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction) predicts which movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and buffers them for playback before you even hit play—instant start.
- High-quality, low-cost gaming—games like Minecraft, Monsters University, The Game of Life, The Walking Dead, NBA2K14, Asphalt 8, Riptide GP2, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, and more. The average price of paid games on Fire TV is $1.85. Play using your Fire TV remote, the Fire TV app for smartphones and tablets, or the optional Fire game controller.
- Amazon FreeTime revolutionizes parental controls—parents can choose what their kids see and set time limits for types of content and times of day—no more negotiating for one more show before bedtime. Customers who subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited—Amazon’s all-you-can-eat content subscription designed for kids ages 3 to 8—will get unlimited access to thousands of movies and TV shows.
- X-Ray for movies, TV shows, and music—see information about cast and crew, trivia, goofs, and synchronized lyrics.
- See all of your photos and personal videos come alive on your big-screen TV—seamless integration with Amazon’s Cloud Drive.
- Simple and Easy to Use, with Powerful Performance
With Fire TV, you can listen to music from popular streaming services like Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn, and watch music videos from VEVO. Starting next month, you can also listen to your full collection of music through Amazon Cloud Player. Simply upload your music or purchase from Amazon and it will be stored automatically in your Cloud Player and available on Fire TV as well as on your phone or tablet.
Amazon worked with game developers like EA, Disney, Gameloft, Ubisoft, Telltale, Mojang, 2K, and Sega to bring their games to Fire TV. Games available starting today include customer favorites like Minecraft, Monsters University, The Game of Life, The Walking Dead, NBA2K14, Asphalt 8, Riptide GP2, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, and more. Over 100 games are available starting today and optimized for Fire TV, with thousands of additional games coming next month with the Fire TV app, which brings controls for touch-enabled games. These are great games for such a small box and at such surprisingly low prices—the average price of paid games is $1.85.
Fire TV also comes with access to Sev Zero, a new game built exclusively for Fire TV by Amazon Game Studios. Sev Zero is $6.99 and is available for free when you purchase the Fire game controller. Learn more: www.amazon.com/pr/SevZero.
Fire TV runs the latest version of Fire OS “Mojito,” which is based on Android, so it’s simple for developers to port their services and games over to Fire TV. In addition to using the Fire TV remote and the Fire TV app available starting next month, you can also choose the Amazon Fire game controller, which enables more high-intensity and complex gaming with dual analog sticks and a complete assortment of controls. Simple and comfortable to use for hours, the Fire game controller pairs with Fire TV via Bluetooth. The Fire game controller also intelligently manages power by automatically going to sleep when not in use, and waking at a touch of a button, so you get up to 55 hours of gaming on a pair of AA batteries. You can pair multiple game controllers with a Fire TV so the whole family can play together in the same room. The integrated GameCircle button gives you instant access to leaderboards, achievements and friends with a simple touch of a button from any GameCircle enabled game. The Fire game controller can also be used as a remote, with fast forward, rewind, play and pause, so you can control all your movies and music on Fire TV. The Fire game controller is available today for $39.99, and comes with a free copy of Sev Zero and 1,000 Amazon Coins (a $10 value) for purchasing games.
The new device will also work with Whispersync, Amazon’s Whispersync technology saves and synchronizes your video and music library across all of your devices. Start watching a movie on your Kindle Fire or iPhone, and when you get home, pick up where you left off on your Fire TV. For games that support Whispersync, your place in the game will also sync across devices so you can always pick up where you left off.
Fire TV is available starting today for just $99—order at amazon.com