Amazon Fire TV was announced this week, making official the streaming box plans that we’ve all been anticipating for the last year or so. Taking a quick look at the $ 99 device, we’ve got to say it does have a few things going for it. Firstly, the gaming experience here is much more extensive than what you’ll get via Roku. And while I’m an Apple TV guy, I’ll be the first to admit that a lack of gaming options on the current box is something of a travesty.
Amazon’s new box also includes its Prime catalog, Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and a number of other entertainment options.
Furthermore, the Fire TV scores big with a Voice Search option that removes the need for hunt-and-peck on your other device’s remote control. Now, grant it, Apple TV and Roku have now made it possible to use the keyboard on your phone remote for searching things quicker, but it’s a little odd they haven’t thought of voice-search yet since smartphone features now incorporate dictation. All you’ve got to do with Fire TV is hold down the button at the top of the remote and speak into it for a quick and accurate search.
The X-ray feature on this bad boy is pretty cool as well allowing you to instantly pull up information about the actor or actress who is currently on your screen via Kindle Fire. It’s also got the mirroring function you would expect from a new set-top-box device, meaning that whatever is on your Fire can be thrown out to Fire TV for playback on your television.
Amazon makes little mention of Fire TV’s compatibility to the books in your cloud, but the mirror function should make anything you own TV-ready, so no worries there.
Overall, it’s a lot of the same thing that you’ll get from existing STBs, but if you’ve yet to purchase one, are looking for a second or third box for the other rooms in your house, or are heavily invested in the Amazon ecosystem, this is a great option.