Amazon today finally took the wraps off on its long rumored steaming media device, the Amazon FireTV.
The new set top box from Amazon is the company’s first entry in to the battle for the living room and it appears the company is bringing some firepower with it. The new FireTV sports 2GB of RAM, a dedicated GPU and a quad-core processor. Connections also shouldn’t be an issue as it will also be sporting dual-band Wi-Fi, supporting a/b/g/n standards.
The new FireTV isn’t going to be just about watching Amazon Prime Instant Video, however. The new set top box will also support games, apps, and photos. Popular third-party services are also along for the ride with Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Pandora, YouTube and more. Sadly though, only Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu Plus will be available at launch, but as the FireTV runs on a mixture of Android and HTML, porting apps over should be simple.
What makes the FireTV different than say the Roku? Voice Search for one. Thanks to a built-in microphone in the remote, you can press a button and speak what you’re looking for, in the case of the demonstration today, John Malkovich, and up pop the movies he stars in. Considering the complexity of his name, no easy feat. Of course, it will largely depend on background noise, so your results may vary in your home, but it’s nice to know it’s there.
Amazon will also be offering a second screen solution which seems to be all the rage these days. Amazon’s X-Ray feature will identify what you’re watching and then pull information from IMDB – which Amazon happens to own – to provide you with more details about the film, and even the particular scene you’re watching at the exact moment.
What of the rumored gaming aspect? It is indeed coming and developers such as Ubisoft, Take-Two, Double Fine, Gameloft and Disney are all saying they will develop titles for the FireTV. And yes, there is a dedicated game controller, the Fire Game Controller which looks like the leaked image from last month. It will be a separate purchase from the FireTV and will cost an additional $39.99, but will come with some Amazon Coins to get your virtual gaming collection started. Amazon stated that the average price of paid games will be a $1.85, but over a thousand games will also be available for free. Amazon also gave some hints to the games its own Amazon Game Studios are developing internally, so it appears that the company has some big plans for this tiny box.
So how much will the FireTV cost you? Well, as Amazon put it, “Premium Products, Non Premium Prices,” which translates to $99 and will be available beginning today.