Amazon Gets Into the Set Top Box Game With Amazon Fire TV

By April 2, 2014

Rumors have been circulating recently about Amazon’s plans to create a new gaming system and a set top box, and it looks like all of those questions have been answered: Amazon announced this morning that they’ve just launched the Amazon Fire TV, a $99 set top box that will directly compete with Apple TV, Roku, and Google’s Chromecast. And this isn’t some developmental project that’s years away – this one starts shipping today.

Let’s get to the details, shall we? Here are all of the Fire TV features, straight from Amazon’s website:

– Voice search that actually works. The old way of searching with a TV remote—scrolling and clicking one letter at a time on an alphabet grid—is painful. With Fire TV you simply speak the title, actor, or genre into the remote and you’re done.

– A powerful quad-core processor, dedicated GPU, 2 GB of memory, and dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi.

– An exclusive new feature called ASAP that predicts what movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and gets them ready to stream instantly. No one likes waiting for videos to buffer.

– With Fire TV you can play blockbuster titles like MinecraftThe Walking DeadMonsters University, the Amazon exclusive Sev Zero, plus great free games. There are over a hundred titles to explore, with thousands more coming soon.

Amazon Fire TV

Sounds pretty impressive. To play games, apparently you have to purchase an additional game controller for an extra $39, but with that purchase you’ll receive a new game called Sev Zero, which “combines a fast-action third-person shooter experience with the calculated strategy of tower defense gameplay.” And as with most internet-connected devices these days, Amazon Fire TV is also equipped to handle streaming music and photos.

The downside? You won’t be able to access HBO GO or Vudu. That might be a dealbreaker for some people.

Ultimately, this is a move that makes a lot of sense for Amazon, especially considering how well their Amazon Prime service is doing since it’s launch in 2011. They just scored exclusive streaming rights for “24” and the upcoming “24: Live Another Day,” pulling all of the old episodes from Netflix so people who want to catch up will have to head to Prime to do so. Meanwhile, check out this new commercial starring Gary Busey, of all people, capitalizing on his crazy persona to try to sell you an Amazon Fire TV.

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at,,,, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.
  • It’s intriguing but doesn’t yet look like something I’d need to replace how I watch my programs already.