Following much anticipation Amazon has finally entered the internet TV market with its small but smart, Amazon Fire TV. But is it a worthy rival to Apple TV and the Google Chromecast?
With an increasing number of people streaming films and TV programmes from the likes of Netflix, BBC iPlayer and YouTube, the internet TV market is really hotting up. And we’ve seen plenty of new products launched to help get streaming into our living room. The latest Apple TV box has been around for a couple of years, while Google has recently launched its Chromecast stick on our shores. Now Amazon has thrown its hat in the ring.
Like most internet TV boxes, Amazon’s Fire TV lets you access a range of apps, including Netflix and TuneIn Radio, crucially though, it also has a few other tricks up its sleeve. Read on to find out five of its key features.
Internet TV boxes – find out what streaming device tops our tests
[Update] UK customers can now pre-order the Amazon Fire TV for £79, but don’t expect to be able to get your hands on it until the end of October. Amazon Prime customers get a discount, dropping the price to a tempting £49.
Amazon Fire TV – five key features
Voice search - it’s on our phones, it’s on our tablets, now it’s on our internet TV boxes. Simply hold down a button on the remote then speak into it to search for specific films, actors or genres. It’s certainly quicker than navigating to a search page and typing the details in, however its not clear how well the Fire will be able to handle different accents and regional dialects.
ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction) – a handy feature for the more impatient users who can’t wait for content to buffer. ASAP analyses the shows you watch to predict other content you’re likely to be interested in. The Amazon Fire TV box will then make sure they are ready to watch as soon as you press play.
Gaming - this is relatively new for internet TV devices, but Amazon has had a real go at cracking casual gaming. The Fire runs on a unique version of Android and will offers games from studios like Disney, Gameloft, EA and Sega. The standard remote control can be used for gaming, or there is an optional games controller for the more serious game fan.
Amazon FreeTime - by adding parental controls Amazon has made sure Fire TV is as family friendly as possible. Parents are able to set time limits for the amount of TV their children watch, as well as at what time of day they can access the device.
Fast processor – Amazon claims that the processor in the Fire TV box is over three times as powerful as those in its rivals, in theory making it very fast at loading apps and navigating through the menu screens. We’ll be putting these claims to the test in our lab but it sounds promising.
Amazon Fire TV is available in the US for $100, there’s no word on a UK launch date or price yet but we’ll be sure to send one to our test lab as soon as possible for a full test review.
Roku boxes on test – see our verdict on the Roku internet TV boxes
Latest PVR reviews – read all about the latest Freesat and Freeview PVRs
Amazon Kindle Fire tablets – find out if a Kindle Fire tablet is right for you