Fire TV Torches Competition!

After much anticipation and a little delay, Amazon finally released their streamer yesterday.  It’s called Fire TV (FTV).  FTV, at $99, competes with the Roku, Apple TV, and, to a lesser extent, Chromecast and Ouya.  I predict it will kill them all.  Let’s look at the specs (click to enlarge)…

firecomp

For less than $100, FTV has impressive specs.  With a quad core cpu, 2G of memory, optical audio out, and wired/wireless ethernet, FTV is a pretty expensive box.  Amazon is probably not making much money on the hardware and this is going to be a problem for competitors that rely on hardware sales to pay the bills.

Then there’s the software.  FTV streams almost all of the important stuff — Netflix, Amazon Instant, HuluPlus, WatchESPN, ShowTime, Crackle, and YouTube.  Not enough?  Install the Plex app and enjoy hundreds of internet streams via Plex.   Plus it does flash.

And the accessories.  ATV comes with a bluetooth remote and a bluetooth game controller is available.  Chances are pretty good that your PS3 controller or Kindle keyboard will pair with FTV.  It’s also, apparently, pretty easy to side-load apps.

And everything else.  In advance of yesterday’s presser, Amazon quietly reduced the prices for their Kindle Fire products.  These tablets are a great FTV companion.  The Fire can be mirrored to FTV or used as a second screen as Amazon extends X-Ray to television.  Free Time for television lets parents their kids’ use of FTV.  An integrated microphone allows for voice activated media searches.

The Fire TV comes with a one year warranty.  Compare that to the 90 day warranties of the other products.

All of this is wrapped in a beautiful gui and coupled with Amazon free apps and media.  If you have been considering a media streamer, Fire TV looks like a winner.


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4 comments on “Fire TV Torches Competition!

  1. You are pretty enthusiastic Len let’s hope Amazon lives up to your expectations. It’s interesting to note that we are at a hot point now in streamer box competition. Chromecast, Mohu Channels, “FTV” are all newcomers. That means we’ll probably seem some flops along the way while others survive.

    You make an interesting point about selling hardware at a loss. Google can do that too I suspect. Yest that will make it hard for Mohu and Roku that don’t have of a huge base of followers and a network.

    • Google leaked news of a new product (Android TV) this weekend. Amazon vs Google is pretty exciting. Both are ignoring OTA-first cable cutters. I think that leaves some air for Mohu which is focused on the growing ota niche. Channels brings a PSIP grid to broadcast television. If that works well (as it does with the DVR+), some will buy it just for that feature (which requires no internet at all). Pause/Rewind is a bonus. Putting Netflix and other streaming content on that grid makes channels a compelling product FOR OTA-FIRST cable cutters. I am enthusiastic about this.

      The other products are for OTT-first cable cutters, cable pruners, and supplementers — people who want to watch the internet on their televisions. I like Fire TV in this group because it provides more value for your money. It streams the most popular programming (Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Instant), it plays games, and it runs apps. With USB/BT game controllers and keyboards, checking your email or facebook on a television makes sense. FTV is better hardware, runs cooler, and carries a 1 yr warranty (vs 90 days for the Roku 3 and Apple TV).

      FireTV apps are vetted/supported by Amazon. Roku has 1000+ apps until something does wrong — then it is a streaming device and you need to talk to the content creators. Amazon ‘owns’ their products and takes care of their customers.

      Fire TV is an open product. Apple, Google, and Roku have gone to great pains to manage content creator access to their devices. Amazon has not. Within two days of launch, people were pairing 3rd party controllers and side-loading unapproved apps. Consumer safe + hobbyist friendly has been the mantra for the Fire products.

      For $99, you can hook a Fire TV to a television, pair it with your Kindle Fire keyboard and xbox controller, watch a movie, check your email, update your Facebook status, and play a game. I’m enthusiastic about this.

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