Amazon is indeed making a bid to enter living rooms with Amazon Fire TV, a new streaming device that delivers online video, music, and other content to televisions. The company says the $99 device has better speed, performance, and search functions than other streaming boxes such as Apple TV and Google Chromecast. But Amazon is coming late to the streaming device game, and it remains to be seen whether the company is offering enough new and better services to lure customers away from their current streaming methods. We'll know soon enough: It starts shipping today, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The device, about the size of a CD case, runs Google's Android operating system and offers Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming channels in addition to Amazon Prime instant video. It comes with a Bluetooth remote, which lets users search for video by talking to the remote. Customers will get a free 30-day trial subscription to Netflix and Amazon Prime when they buy a Fire TV. They'll also get a range of other services, including channels like YouTube and Pandora and "Free Time," a customizable interface for children. "Clearly, Amazon is trying to repeat part of the success it has seen with its Kindle Fire tablet, which serves a dual purpose as an electronic catalog for Amazon’s products and services, as well as a cheap Android tablet," writes Devindra Hardawar at VentureBeat. "But given the amount of competition out there and Amazon’s tardiness to the market, it’ll be interesting to see if consumers actually bite." (Read more Amazon stories.)