Amazon's Fire TV Could Disrupt Smart-TV Market

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NEW YORK — Amazon’s Fire TV system could disrupt the smart-TV market in the same way the company disrupted the e-reader and tablet markets with its Kindle products.

Fire TV, formally introduced here last Wednesday, is a tiny set-top smart-TV box targeted to compete not only against other set-top devices, like Chromecast, Roku 3 and Apple TV, but against some of the most advanced all-in-one smart TVs as well.

Priced at $99.99 through the online merchant’s website, the device measures just 0.7 inch thin and supports Wi-Fi to stream up to 1080p FullHD video to a TV via an HDMI connection.

Peter Larsen, Amazon Kindle VP, said the Fire TV was designed for simplicity of use. “We [have] created an experience that uses state-of-the-art power and performance in the service of simplicity.”

The Fire TV includes a quad-core processor and Adreno 320 graphics engine that processes 57 billion floating point instruction per second for three times the processing power of the Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku 3, according to Amazon.

The device streams up to FullHD 1080p with Dolby Digital Plus Surround Sound.

The box will access Amazon’s own movie- and video-streaming services, including Amazon Instant Video and Amazon Prime Video, as well as a large stable of popular competitive services: Netflix, Flixster, Hulu Plus, Vevo, Showtime, YouTube, Crackle and WatchESPN, and music services Pandora, Amazon MP3, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and more.

In addition, the box will offer an extensive collection of affordable video games, including some developed by Amazon’s own in-house studio, like “Sev Zero,” a third-person sci-fi shooter. Among the third-party titles available will be such popular games as “Minecraft.”

Games can be played with an optional $39.99 controller or with the supplied remote or a Fire TV app for smartphones and tablets.Amazon said the average cost of paid video games on its platform is $1.85.

The remote includes a built-in mic to support voice control to find and select entertainment content by spoken commands.

The voice-control feature allows skipping the hunt-and-click keyboard method employed by most other smart-TV adapters.


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