Amazon has just introduced its $99 Fire TV, a video and game streaming device that wishes to rival Xbox One and Apple TV. The small flat box with a remote control is Internet-connected and uses voice search which helps users navigate faster through the vast content of over 20,000 movies and TV episodes. Although the company’s executives stated that Fire TV is three times faster than Apple TV, what sets it apart from the competition is its thousands of games from top developers such as Electronic Arts Inc.
Amazon has fully entered the video hardware business with its new $99 Fire TV and wishes to rival not only Apple TV and Google Chromecast, but also Xbox One. During a press conference on Wednesday, the company debuted its new streaming video product which plugs into a television set and allows users to stream video content via the Internet and choose from over 20,000 movies and TV episodes that buffer in less than ten seconds after the user hits “Play.”
Pro & Cons
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos guarantees that “people are going to love Fire TV” because it unites four irresistible characteristics like price, lots of content, huge specs and a tiny box which can be easily deposited behind the television set. However, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter believes that the company has “created a product we didn’t need.”
Strategy Analytics is more optimistic with regard to Amazon’s $99 Fire TV which aims at rivaling Xbox One and Apple TV and states that the device has entered a market which is believed to grow by 24 percent in 2014. Still, the bad news is that Fire TV cannot compete with game consoles from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, and even smart TVs and DVD players. While Amazon’s Kindle e-reader enjoyed sound success thanks to its decision to enter a nascent market, Fire TV is a latecomer to both gaming and home entertainment.
Kindle unit vice president Peter Larsen stated that Amazon’s new product has the ability to predict what the user wants and search for it and, with time, it gets better and learns its owner’s tastes. Fire TV also comes with a feature which extracts data from IMDB in order to identify the actors, movies and whatever the user wishes to know.
Although Amazon Fire TV already offers low-cost, high-quality games like Asphalt 8, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, The Walking Dead, Monsters University and Minecraft, by next month users will be able to play thousands of video games. The separate controller for gaming costs $39.99.
Amazon Free Time also takes parental control to a new level, because parents can choose what their children see and they can even set time limits for times of day and types of content. Moreover, users who subscribe to Free Time Unlimited, a content subscription for children aged three to eight are offered unlimited access to thousands of TV shows and movies.
The company’s vice president Peter Larsen suggests that “Fire TV is definitely a better experience if you have Prime,” but even without, Amazon’s $99 video and game streaming device wishes to rival not only Apple TV and Google Chromecast, but also Xbox One.
By Gabriela Motroc