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Amazon Introduces $99 Set Top Box

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 by | Filed Under: Android, TV Tech

Amazon is ready to take on Roku, ChromeCast and Apple TV with it’s own streaming device for your TV. Amazon has been in the video on demand business for a while now with its Amazon Prime subscription. Those videos have been mostly viewed on Kindle Fire tablets, though you can watch on computers or through apps on other devices like an Xbox 360.

Kindle Fire TV will bring those videos directly to your television and will include other video services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and WatchESPN.  Amazon says users will be able to choose from more than 200,000 TV episodes and movies from across all of the services available.

Among the services offered on the new Fire TV box.

  • Amazon Instant Video
  • Netflix
  • HuluPlus
  • Watch ESPN
  • Pandora
  • Showtime Anytime
  • HuffPost Live
  • iHeartRadio
  • Vevo
  • Vimeo
  • NBA Game Time

Amazon is very proud of the voice search function which it calls “Voice search that actually works.”  The company says, “Simply speak the name of a movie, TV show, actor, director, genre, app, or game into the remote, and the results will appear instantly. Voice search leverages the search data and expertise of and IMDb, and is optimized to understand Amazon’s video, app, and game catalog. “

Users will also be able to play games like Minecraft, Walking Dead and Minion Rush on their televisions. There are 100 games available now, but the company promises that thousands more are coming soon from top developers like EA, Disney and Sega.

Fire TV will also allow you to stream music from you Amazon account as well as Amazon MP3, iHeartRadio and other music apps.

Amazon also promises that Fire TV will find the lowest-priced viewing option when you search for a video even if the content doesn’t come from them.  Fire TV will come already registered to your Amazon account, much in the way Kindles arrive.

An App called Fling will allow you to use your Kindle Fire HDX as a controller for Fire TV and iOS versions will be coming later in the year. The same Amazon Free Time parental controls that restrict content on Kindle Fire tablets can also be used on Kindle TV to restrict content and time spent watching videos. If you already have a profile set up for a child on a Kindle tablet, it will transfer to Fire TV.

You don’t need a subscription to Amazon Prime to use Fire TV, but the device is designed to take advantage of the $99 per year prime membership.

The device is small,  less than an inch thick and 4.5 inches square. It features a quad-core processor, Dolby Digital surround sound and HDMI video up to 1080p. Included with the device is a remote with built-in microphone to operate the voice control. A game controller will also be available separately.

Fire TV will cost $99. That does not include the cost for Amazon Prime or for any other video service that requires a subscription.

~ Cynthia

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2 Responses to “Amazon Introduces $99 Set Top Box”

  1. Doug says:

    what sort of rates will Amazon be charging for access to these sources?

    • cynthia says:

      An Amazon Prime Video subscription is $99 per year. As for the other video services, the rate would be determined by the providers. Some may be free, others like NetFlix require a subscription and that’s determined by the individual app.

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