Amazon on Wednesday unveiled Fire TV, a new media streaming device, ramping up its challenge for the living room against rivals such as Netflix.
The Amazon Fire TV device, which fits in one's hand and connects to television sets, aims to boost the US online giant's efforts to capture viewers for its Prime Video service.
Fire TV can access content from Netflix Inc, Hulu and other providers of streaming video. The device also offers a platform for Amazon's streaming video service and its original television and video games.
"Tiny box, huge specs, tons of content, incredible price—people are going to love Fire TV," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. "Voice search that actually works means no more typing on an alphabet grid. Our exclusive new ASAP feature predicts the shows you’ll want to watch and gets them ready to stream instantly. And our open approach gives you not just Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video, but also Netflix, Hulu Plus, and more. On Fire TV you can watch Alpha House and House of Cards."
The small device is powered by a quad-core processor with over 3x the processing power of Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku 3, according to Amazon. It also packs a dedicated GPU (Adreno 320), plus 4x the memory of Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku 3. It supports 1080p HD video, HDMI and optical audio-out, enabling up to 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. It has also dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi connectivity
Fire TV's remote features a microphone that enables voice-activated search. Fire TV is integrated with Hulu Plus so users can see Amazon shows from their Hulu account, and Amazon said it may bring in other partners soon..
The box along with a remote control device also allows users to listen to music or to play games with a separate controller device.One of the features highlighted by Amazon is voice search, allowing consumers to search for films using their voice.
The Fire TV box goes on sale to US consumers for $99, with the game controller sold at $39.99. The device puts Amazon on track to challenge Google's Chromecast stick and the streaming media boxes from other groups such as Roku or Apple.
Amazon added it has worked with game developers including Electronic Arts, Disney, Gameloft, Ubisoft, Telltale, Mojang, 2K, and Sega to bring their games to Fire TV.
"These are great games for such a small box and at such surprisingly low prices -- the average price of paid games is $1.85."