As if we expected anything else, Amazon today announced its set-top box experience. Taking aim at devices such as Apple TV, Roku, and even Chromecast, the Amazon FireTV is a hardware and software solution for today’s living room. Designed for movies, TV shows, music, and even games, it’s bound to be one of the year’s most talked-about products.
In terms of content, the FireTV features stuff from a variety of partners. Familiar names are present here; Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, MLB.TV, and Vimeo are some of the apps offered. Naturally, Amazon’s own Instant Video is the key player and main draw. Like we have in similar devices, the FireTV also has Pandora, iHeartRadio, and other streaming music options.
- Movies and TV Shows from Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, and More – Fire TV comes with instant access to all of the most popular subscription video services, including Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, VEVO, SHOWTIME, Crackle, YouTube, and more, with additional services like WWE Network, MLB.TV, WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH ABC, and Twitch coming soon.
- Prime Instant Video, with Exclusives and Original Shows – Fire TV is seamlessly integrated with Prime Instant Video, Amazon’s subscription streaming service. With tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes, Prime Instant Video is the exclusive premium subscription streaming home for thousands of hours of video, including shows like Downton Abbey, The Americans, Workaholics, Justified, 24, Hannibal, Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob, and more. Prime Instant Video also includes shows from Amazon Studios, the original TV production arm of Amazon, such as Alpha House from Pulitzer-Prize winner Garry Trudeau and starring John Goodman, which debuted last year and quickly became the most watched show on Amazon since its release. Alpha House is now in production for its second season, and Amazon recently greenlighted six new shows, including The After, Bosch, Mozart in the Jungle, and Transparent, which will be available starting later this year.
- The Largest Selection of Videos for Rent or Purchase – Rent or purchase over 200,000 movies and TV episodes from Amazon Instant Video, which has the world’s largest selection of videos to rent or buy, including new releases and blockbusters. Amazon is the only nationwide video service that offers rental and purchase, as well as a subscription streaming service, so you can find everything you want in one place—catch up on past seasons of popular TV shows with Prime Instant Video before purchasing the most recent episode of the show as it’s released.
- Find the Lowest Price—Even if it’s Not from Amazon – Just like on Amazon.com, Fire TV integrates viewing options on a single page so you can always choose the lowest price. This is available starting with Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and Prime Instant Video, and will expand to other content providers so you’ll see all of your options in one place.
Switching gears, the Fire TV will also play host to games from players such as Sega, EA, Disney, and others. Starting next month we’ll see thousands of new games debut in the AppStore. An optional Fire Game Controller can be purchased for $39.99 and comes with 1,000 Amazon coins worth $10 in app purchases. Seeing as how the average price of a game today is only $1.85, the FireTV could become the next killer console experience. So, not only does this take a swipe at Apple and Roku but it also aims at OUYA and other products.
Shipping immediately, the Amazon Fire TV is available for $99.
Will it be able to play media stored on your home network? I have a NAS that contains our family pictures. There are also DVDs we made from converting old 8mm movies and those are saved as ISO images of the DVD. I have a Western Digital player that can handle those, but would like to replace it with a single unit that does it all and not keep adding to the player collection.
It shows Plex as being available for the FireTV… perhaps setting that up to work with your NAS might be what you need?
I just tried installing Plex to see if it would work. It doesn’t recognize the .ISO files so that isn’t going to work. I can convert them to .MP4 files and Plex does recognizes those. I’ve had problems in the past with audio getting out of sync. Going to try a new converter and see if it does better. Thanks for pointing Plex out.
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