Up for review today is Amazon’s Fire TV and have I enjoyed reviewing this item. Amazon has dipped into the tablet and e-reader market, successfully, now they are trying to get more and more inside our living rooms. Who can blame them? I believe out of all the companies, I trust Amazon the most.
The Fire TV is a feature-rich Amazon experience that provides those with a Prime Membership the opportunity to stream Prime Content and HBO GO (recently updated) content along with all your standard entertainment apps from Netflix to Watch ESPN. Now the Fire TV is $99.00 but easily blows away other media hubs in that area, such as the Apple TV ($99.00) or the Roku 3 ($84.99). You will find out exactly why the Amazon Fire TV is such a user friendly and all around enjoyable experience for anyone using it!
The Fire TV is nothing fancy, shiny, purple or any of that nonsense, it is meant to blend in and go unnoticed as you stream content at your leisure. The Fire TV is about 5 inches long and almost 1 inch tall weighing about 10 ounces. The top of the device has a glossy black Amazon logo and on the front of the Fire it has a single LED to show it is on. On the back of the Fire TV we are greeted with a plethora of options with HDMI, Optical Audio, Ethernet, USB ports and power. It also has built in wireless as well and packs a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Krait 300 CPU with an Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM. It has 8GB of built-in storage which about 6GB is for users, however this is irrelevant because we don’t care about storage, just streaming. The Fire TV is never lacking in the power department, you tell it to do it and it is done! Along with Fire comes the almighty remote which is small and has the same matte black finish as the box. It has your standard navigation features, but one of the nicest features is Voice Search. This simple feature allows you to search for related content that you requested. It works very well.
Because Amazon preloaded my account on the Fire TV, everything is already setup once I plugged it in and put in my Wi-Fi password. When you first turn it on, it launches a video demonstrating many features of the Fire TV and no you can’t skip it. Once, through I was greeted by all my TV shows and movies I have purchased and all my photos that I have uploaded to Amazon. You really couldn’t ask for an easier setup.
Once at the home screen you can choose what kind of content to look at or if you want to download games and other apps such as Netflix, Hulu, etc. Now, if you plan on using a Fire TV without a Prime membership, you are under utilizing the entire purpose of the Fire TV. Sure you can still have Netflix or Hulu to stream content, but Amazon has so much content exclusive to Prime members that you would be selling yourself short. You might as well get a Chromecast. However, Amazon offers a 30 day free trial, which can be found here, where you can try out the service and see for yourself! When it comes to the remote it is your basic wireless remote that uses Bluetooth technology to talk to the Fire. It has your basic buttons for play/pause, fast-forward, rewind, menu, back, and home. At the top of the remote you have the “Universal Search” button which is voice controlled. For example, if I hold the button and say “Robert Downey Jr”, it will show all content related to him, however this is currently limited to Amazon or Hulu. This isn’t a major disappointment, but it would be nice to search all my apps and show related content as well. Overall the voice search is fast and recognizes my voice with no issue.
Overall, the Amazon Fire TV is a great product, but for all you cord-cutters out there, I know there are other devices that are just as capable, however Amazon’s Prime content is rapidly expanding! If you use Amazon and want the best way to utilize Amazon’s services, there is no better way than a Fire TV. Along with the capable game playing, great performance, simplistic user experience, the Fire TV is a great option. Check out the Amazon Fire TV and many other reviews on Amazon’s site, here!