Alongside a gang of new tablets, Amazon today introduced their 2nd Gen Amazon Fire TV. There isn’t much to this one compared to the original when you look at it, but it does gain a few important new features.
One of the most notable is the addition of 4K video support. You’ll get full support for watching 4K videos if you have enough coin to afford such a display to use the Fire TV on. Amazon has a decent selection of 4K content in their own catalog, and Netflix has also built up a sizable collection to date.
The new bits inside include an updated processor (MediaTek Quad-core up to 2 Ghz chipset with PowerVR GX6250 graphics) that’s 75% faster than the previous generation, which is ideal for all the pixels it’ll need to push to your TV. Amazon has also included a microSD slot to expand storage by up to 128GB for those who can’t deal with the somewhat paltry 8GB of internal storage it has. The new Fire TV also includes full 802.11ac MIMO WiFi so you won’t have much of an issue handling all of that 4K streaming (as long as the connection is strong enough on your own end, anyway).
But all of that isn’t even the most exciting change for the Amazon Fire TV. The set-top box now gains Alexa as a personal voice assistant to help you in your day-to-day life and entertainment needs. If you don’t remember, Alexa is the driving personality behind the Amazon Echo, which we reviewed earlier this year.
- Alexa, Play some Jazz
- Alexa, how’s the weather tomorrow?
- Alexa, when do the Seahawks play?
- Alexa, play Hunger Games: Catching Fire
- Alexa, Resume Star Wars
- Alexa, search for drama movies with Matt Damon
These are just a few examples of what you can say to have Alexa help you. Those with previous generation Fire TV devices will get access to Alexa in a forthcoming software update, too, so there’s no need to drop more coin if it’s something you find yourself craving.
Amazon has also refreshed the Fire TV Stick with a new voice-activated remote, a dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, which they boast are all strict improvements over something like the Chromecast. It does cost more than a Chromecast at $49.99, though, so be sure to consider that when you’re shopping. You can also get a version without the voice-activated remote for $39.99.
Those interested in the 2nd Gen Fire TV will pay just $99.99, but you can add just $40 more for the Gaming bundle which includes the Fire TV, a gaming controller with built-in microphone, a 32GB microSD card and 2 games — Disney’s Ducktales and Yacht Club’s Shovel Knight. Be sure to check them out at Amazon’s website if you’re interested.