The Amazon gaming system/set-up-box had been rumored for a long time and last week the rumors finally came to an end. Amazon has announced the Fire TV set-up-box which adds to the competition. Like many other boxes the Fire TV will be sold at a price of $99 and has many of the same features. Its hardware is on par or better than the competition in many aspects. But there are differences and in this article we’ll cover them in detail so consumers can make an informed decision.
The Amazon Fire TV is a small box that connects to your home WiFi and outputs to your TV through HDMI. Like many other boxes and smart TV’s it will come pre-loaded with applications like Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Showtime Anytime, Watch ESPN, and much more. Many of those applications can be found on other boxes as well. A full list of applications can be found at this link and at the end of this article. But there are a few features that Fire TV will have that other boxes don’t provide. Lets take a closer look.
Voice Search: Unlike most other devices, Fire TV will have voice search for finding movies and TV shows. That’s a great feature that will probably come to other devices soon. But currently, besides Google TV no other device has this feature. In regards to accuracy, only testing over time will tell how well it works.
Mirroring: Right now there is no device on the Android system that has full mirroring to the TV. Apple TV is the only other device that mirrors the iPad. But Fire TV only does mirroring with the Kindle Fire which is expected but disappointing since there are so many other Android tablets. But if you own a Kindle Fire then this could be a great deal.
Gaming: Another great feature on the Fire TV is the addition of gaming. You can play many of the Android games on the Amazon Appstore through your TV with the addition of a controller. The gaming controller is an additional purchase but well worth it if you are really into playing games. It’s also great to be able to play your favorite Android games on the big screen. Not all games are yet compatible but the initial list includes favorites like Minecraft, Asphalt8, and more. The potential is very huge and this could be a killer feature for Amazon.
Amazon FreeTime: Amazon has always catered to families and added kid friendly features. Just like the Kindle Fire the Fire TV will come with FreeTime to help control how kids use the device. It will have options to limit screen time and create personalized profiles just for kids. If you are a family then this is a great feature that differentiates it from other devices. This feature is not currently part of Fire TV but will be soon.
Although on the surface the Amazon Fire TV looks like many other devices, it does come with some innovative features. Those features may be enough for some to try the device. The competition is getting tough, especially with cheaper devices like the Chromecast. But it’s good for competition and overall for the consumer when newer devices add newer features. This should only push manufacturers to make better devices and lower prices. Let us know what you think about the Fire TV and if you are planning on buying one.