Amazon Fire TV
Fire TV is Amazon’s new $99 media-streaming and gaming box for HDTVs. Like its competitors—such as the Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku—Fire TV can stream from a number of services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, Pandora, and more.
One feature that sets it apart is the remote control’s built-in mic, which allows you to hold a button and search for content simply by speaking. This works for TV shows, movies, actors, directors, and even genres, so you won’t have to clumsily navigate by on-screen text input. Also, Fire TV arrives pre-registered to your Amazon account so all you have to do is plug it in and go.
What’s even more interesting about Fire TV is that it supports gaming, to an extent. The available games (like Minecraft—Pocket Edition) are the kind of thing you’d normally find on a mobile app store, so it’s not so much for hardcore gamers as it is for casual players. Still pretty neat, though. You can play games with the included remote or a Fire Game Controller (sold separately for $40).
Here’s the rub: if you already own a Roku, Apple TV, or even a PlayStation/Xbox, you probably won’t have much reason to switch here. The Fire TV is probably best used by people firmly rooted in the Amazon ecosystem.
If that describes you, go check it out and see if it’s a good fit for your home media setup.