04 June 2014
In the recent past there has been a paradigm shift in the ways in which media, including audio, video and games, is accessed and consumed by the public. Increasingly, consumers are looking for one device that can receive this wide range of media, with companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon keen to tap into this new lucrative market. The latter has recently released Amazon Fire TV, a set-top media-streaming box that connects to an HDTV to stream media directly into consumers’ homes. Fire TV is the latest gadget in this product range, with Apple TV, Roku streaming devices and Google Chromecast already offering extensive streaming services. With many media commentators heralding media-streaming services as the future and indeed in some cases the present reality of global media consumption, the public is in need of the facts about some of the features and services offered by the latest entrant to the fray, Amazon Fire TV.
Features and Services
Fire TV’s quad-core processor and 2 GB of memory is the best to be found on the market thus far, with impressively smooth streaming and little buffering/loading time sure to please consumers. Fire TV supports Dolby Digital Plus surround sound and HDMI video out up to 1080p and will connect to the internet via Wi-Fi through a speedy dual-band/dual-antenna connection. The box supports a wide range of streaming platforms, including Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus and Amazon’s own Instant Video service. It also has access to an extensive library of games, with over a hundred currently available and thousands more on the way, which can be played using a dedicated game controller (sold separately). Retailing at $99 in the US, it is likely that Fire TV will sell somewhere near £99 in the UK, as evidenced by Apple and Roku’s similar price conversions.
Exclusive to Fire TV:
The only box so far offering voice search, accessed through a microphone in the Bluetooth remote, Fire TV’s combination of accurate voice recognition and manual arrow key searches have been talked up immensely by Amazon. The voice-recognition technology here is among the best currently on the market, and directing one's voice to the handheld remote rather than across the room towards the TV allows for a more streamlined and less shouty experience. However, as with a great many other products that derive their services from a great number of platforms, the search function is hamstrung by being unable to peruse all media libraries simultaneously. The promised improvement in this regard cannot come soon enough for viewers who are left searching Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and Hulu Plus one after the other when surely one search would have sufficed. Amazon Fire TV does indeed have the best specs, most extensive media library and the most potential areas for even greater improvement when compared to its rivals. But at the moment it is a nuts and bolts issue in the search function that is holding the whole device back.
Rahima Aktar on Wednesday, June 04, 2014 · Leave a Comment