Fire TV is a $99 tiny set-top box (shorter than a "dime" apparently) that does everything competing set-top boxes do, but better. During the creation of Fire TV, Amazon looked at all of the weaknesses and complaints with existing connected TV experiences and narrowed down three key areas it needed to improve in order to make its own black box stand out.
If you look at the user interface on today's set-top boxes, it's clear that they're hard to navigate and often slow. Simplification is Fire TV's core objective. First, searching content needed to be easier and faster. The solution: built-in voice recognition in the remote. Second, system lag needed to be eliminated. The solution: powerful specs (quad-core processor, dedicated GPU, 2GB of RAM and dual-band Wi-Fi). And third, Fire TV needed to have lots of content. The solution: a platform built on Android and HTML that allows developers to easily create content apps.
Videos, Music and Games
Like every set-top box, it all comes down to what content is available on it. Fire TV will have the usual video streaming favorites including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video, Crackle, HBO Go, SHO Anytime, and more.
In addition to streaming video, Fire TV will also have access to a variety of music streaming apps such as Pandora, iHeartRadio and TuneIn.
Furthermore, as rumored, Fire TV will offer games that work with a $40 controller (standard remote and a special controller app for smartphones/tablets will also work on some games). During its announcement, Amazon revealed Minecraft, Asphalt 8 (a racing game), a Monsters Inc. endless runner and Sev Zero (a Gears of War-like shooter). Amazon says it's already signed on major game publishers such as Ubisoft to create games for Fire TV.
Fire TV is available on Amazon today. For $99, Amazon's Fire TV offers a lot of content for the same amount of money you'd pay for an Apple TV. You're getting access to tons of video streaming services, music, and games in a cutting-edge set-top box.
Is the Fire TV the only set-top box you'll ever need? That's for you to decide. You can see how the Fire TV stacks up against the Roku 3, Apple TV and Chromecast on Amazon's product page here.