Amazon Announces Fire TV

The online retail-juggernaut, Amazon, enters the set-top box ring with a device capable of streaming movies, television, radio, photos and games in a slim package that packs a large punch.

GamesAmazon confirms developers like EA, Disney, Sega, Ubisoft, Telltale and 2K will port their games to Fire TV within the coming month. Consumers can purchase Minecraft, The Walking Dead, NBA2K14, Despicable ME: Minion rush and over 100 games today. Paid games, indicating that there will be free-to-play options, start at $0.99 and the average price per release is $1.85.

Gamers play Fire TV by using the Fire TV remote, app available for smartphones and tablets or dedicated controller. The controller is laid out like an off-brand Xbox 360 controller. The twin sticks are off-set, there is a d-pad on the side, four face buttons and two should buttons on each side. What sets it apart is additional options to control media, dedicated inputs to pause, skip, rewind or access the home screen and menu. The controller is charged with AA batteries and is available at $39.99.

Purchasing a Fire TV controller yields a free download of Amazon Game Studios first title, Sev Zero, which can be purchased individually for $6.99. This experience is built from the ground up for Fire TV. Players set towers along the battlefield during the build phase and then enter the combat as a third-person shooter during the defend stage. The setup is reminiscent of Dungeon Defenders. Additional players can assist by using the companion tablet app, Sev Zero: Air Support. No mention of online play or on-screen co-op is mentioned. As with all games on Fire TV, consumers earn achievements for completing specified tasks.

Amazon boasts that Fire TV contains three times the processing power and four times the memory of an Apple TV, Chromecast or Roku 3. The newest set-box contains a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and a dedicated Adreno 320 graphics engine. Fire TV is the first set-box with dedicated gaming capabilities but it attempting to change the face of streaming.

Fire TV’s exclusive ASAP (Advance Streaming and Prediction) algorithm will intuits which movies or TV episodes consumers want Voiceto watch next and buffers them instantly. Hopefully this service is smarter than Netflix’s Max ever was. The remote available contains standard input options, but also contains a microphone at its base. This will allow viewers to speak commands directly instead of navigating through menu options. An additional option available while streaming video or radio is the X-Ray mechanic. X-Ray, for television and movies, is powered through IMDb and will display cast biographies, character back stories or trivia items in context of the scene. Music X-Ray scrolls through lyrics as the song plays.

Amazon Fire TV is available for purchase immediately, and contains all of the apps every media device does (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Pandora, TuneIn Radio, ESPN) and unique options to set it apart from a crowded market.

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