Meet the Amazon Fire TV : Great for Prime users, OK for gamers

amazon fire tv 1After months of speculation, Amazon has finally unveiled its entrant in the media streaming arena – the Amazon Fire TV.

The Fire TV is a small, streaming device that comes with its own remote.  Amazon is not shy in comparing its new device to what the competition offers, bragging of a “quad-core processor with 3x the processing power of Apple TV and Roku, a dedicated Adreno 320 graphics engine, and 2 GB of memory—4x that of Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast.”

The Fire TV is priced at $99 and offers over 200,000 TV episodes and movies, millions of songs, and over a hundred games for you to enjoy. Fire TV promises to be the easiest way to access Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, low-cost video rentals, and more.  If you’re a Prime subscriber, you get unlimited access to thousands of popular movies and TV shows, including exclusives like Downton Abbey, The Americans, Alpha House, and Under the Dome.

Amazon knows how important it is for users to enjoy a new device right out of the box, so if you’re an Amazon subscriber, Fire TV ships pre-registered with your account. Just connect it to your television set via HDMI, then to your home’s WiFi network.

Fire TV comes with a Bluetooth remote, which you can use to search, watch, navigate, and even play games like Minecraft-Pocket Edition, Asphalt 8, The Game of Life, The Walking Dead, Monsters University, and Amazon’s own exclusive title, Sev Zero.  There are already hundreds of games available from Mojang, EA, Disney, Ubisoft, and other game creators, and you can expect more titles to be available in the future.  Many games are free with paid games averaging at $1.85.  You can use the remote that comes with Fire TV to start gaming, or get the wireless Amazon Fire Game Controller for $39.99 for a deeper gaming experience.

Stand out features

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Voice Search

Amazon made Fire TV’s interface easy to use and intuitive for search.  The remote also has a built-in mic for voice-activated searches and commands.  The voice commands could prove useful when you know what you want to watch, play, or listen to.

ASAP

Don’t you hate it when you have to wait for your video to buffer before you can watch it? With Fire TV there is no more wait time, thanks to ASAP – Advanced Streaming and Prediction.  This feature learns what movies and shows you like to watch and gets them ready for you ahead of time.  The more you use Fire TV, the better it learns, and the more accurate ASAP becomes, dynamically adapting to your viewing habits.

FreeTime

If you’re worried that you won’t be able to stop your kids from watching TV with Amazon’s new streaming service, Amazon’s got your back with FreeTime.  This add-on is an all-you-can-eat content subscription designed for young kids that brings together movies, TV shows, apps, and games for kids and parents alike.

This service  allows parents to limit TV time, restrict channels, as well as create up to four profiles for kids. With FreeTime, parents can choose which content kids can access. FreeTime only displays content they are permitted to watch.  This service is coming next month for an additional $2.99 per month.

Mirror mirror on the wall

Got a Kindle Fire HDX?  You can now use it to share movies, TV shows, music, and even photos via Fire TV.  You can also use your tablet to control the display on your TV.  Everything you see on your tablet, others will also see on the big screen.

Second Screen, enhanced with X-Ray

If you’re not into mirroring but want to share content from your tablet, just tap the “fling” icon on your Second Screen-enabled tablet to send video and audio to your big screen.  This allows you to stream content to the television but still be able to do other things on your tablet, such as checking email, perusing Facebook, browsing the web, or online shopping.  When you’re done, a simple touch of a button brings everything back to your tablet.

Second Screen is enhanced with X-Ray, a feature powered by IMDb which allows you to further explore what you are watching to learn more about a program’s characters, actors, music used, and other useful information.

About Mellisa Tolentino

Mellisa is a staff writer for SiliconAngle, covering social and mobile news. She is fascinated by technology and loves imparting what she learns through her journey as a writer. Got a news story or tip? Send it to mellisa@siliconangle.com