[UPDATE]: Don’t forget to check out more Amazon Fire TV coverage, including details about pricing and availability, more on their gaming aspirations, everything you need to know about Fire TV and a comparison chart that pits the Fire TV up against the rest of the competition!
Amazon’s Video press event is currently underway, and the company has just announced a solution that should help quell all the pitfalls of most companies’ video streaming options. They’re calling it the Amazon Fire TV, a device made to inspire change ina market that doesn’t always get the attention and care it deserves.
This small media box packs a lot of power, with Amazon opting for a quad-core CPU and GPUs that are found in today’s most powerful smartphones. Here’s a full list of its specs:
- Quad-core CPU and GPU (make and model TBA)
- 2GB of RAM
- dual-band WiFi
- Shorter than the height of a dime
- Based on Android and HTML to make porting apps easy
Amazon says that combination is important to offering an experience that has a smooth user interface, which is one of the frustrations they want to solve compared to other products. Comparable devices tend to skimp on specs to keep costs down, but that typically comes at the cost of smooth performance.
Amazon Fire Features and Content
Amazon will undoubtedly look to push their own collection of video through Prime Instant Video and Instant Video rentals and purchases — you will be able to browse and buy content from Amazonright from the Fire TV — but they won’t be the only sources of content.
The Amazon Fire TV will support apps and games all the same, making it easy for developers to port their wares over.
The platform will be open for any content provider to port their apps over. Some confirmed music apps are iHeartRadio, Pandora and TuneIn. For video? Apps like Netflix, Hulu+, ESPN, HBO Go and NBA GameTime will all make an appearance, as well as tons more.
Voice will be a big part of the experience, as Amazon will allow you to search their catalog by simply speaking out the name of whatever you’re looking for. You could say something like “Along Came Polly” and have it pop right up, or do a general genre or topic search to get a list of all the movies and shows related to whatever category you’re looking for.
Other features include Amazon FreeTime for parental controls, second-screen experiences for delivering info about whatever you’re watching, and ASAP which can predict what you might want to watch so you can just turn the box on and go.
Amazon Fire TV Gaming Controller
And this is where Amazon finally introduces their gaming initiative. For an extra $40 (which comes with 1,000 Amazon Coins — roughly $10 — to help get your games collection started), you can get yourself a nice controller that can be hooked up to the box to play some of the many games Amazon’s looking to feature.
One of those games is Minecraft, which Amazon tells us has been specifically crafted for their platform (no pun intended) and not ported from others. They’re also talking about Gameloft’s Asphalt 8, and an endless running game themed after Monsters Inc.
Amazon will also push games of their own, such as a new third-person shooter called Sev Zero. There’s no telling if this is the game that ex-Killer Instinct developer Double Helix was acquired to work on, but we at least have confirmation of Amazon’s reasons for purchasing them.
The controller won’t be the only thing you can play games with, though. Some games can be used with the remote that comes packaged with the Fire TV, while others can be controlled using a controller app on your smartphone or tablet.
Pricing and Availability
These are the details you’re likely waiting for. Amazon is offering all of this at a very attractive price point of just $99, and it will be available starting as early as today. You can find it for sale right here. Don’t forget to add $40 for that gaming controller, if you want that. Stay tuned to Phandroid for continued coverage of the Amazon Fire TV throughout today!