Amazon has been long term part of the UK’s streaming market with its LoveFilm brand but has recently switched to the US style Prime Streaming bundling delivery, library services and videos together. There have also been persistent rumours of a streaming box or stick and today they announced the Amazon FireTV.
The device is a small black box with a standard looking remote control and has a quad core processor, 2GB of Ram and outputting 1080p . In the US it is to launch with Prime Video, Hulu, YouTube, Netflix and an interface to let you access your Amazon Cloud Drive photos. There is no subscription for usage of the box, although if you need a subscription for something like Netflix this will be required. Parental controls are built in that can override apps letting shows be either white listed or blacklisting specific shows. It runs Android – probably a similar version to the FireOS that is used on the Kindle Fire tablets.
The FireTV also has a gaming angle with a separate controller that looks a lot like the Xbox controller being sold for $39.99 and coming with 1000 of their Amazon Coins that will also be used to purchase games. There is no word if there will be an on device app store but it would seem a logical step as Amazon already has their own Android App store. The games seem to be somewhere in-between a full blown console and what you would normally find on a streaming box with recognisable titles such as Minecraft being available at launch and studios like DoubleFine, EA, 2K and Disney announcing titles.
Finally there is integration with Amazon’s Fire Tablets, letting them be used as media controllers or game controllers via an app to be launched in May and voice control and search using a microphone built into the controller.
The FireTV will be available for $99.99 in the US immediately but further launches, such as in the UK have not been announced. We may have a long wait – Prime Instant Video was launched in the US in 2006 and only came to the UK this February.