If you watch routine cable television, then you’ve seen the Gary Busey ad. “Hello pants.” That’s Gary talking to his pants. But, then he starts talking to his remote, and with the voice search finds all of his famous roles in the pantheon of his movie history (e.g. Point Break, Big Wednesday to name a few).
This is the new Amazon streaming device: Fire TV.
What you need to know about the Amazon streaming device
Well, it costs $99. That’s a good start. And it’s very similar to a Roku 3 or Apple TV device (not the Chromecast which is a dongle, and only $35). The set-top box connects to your TV, uses your home Wi-Fi and is similar in appearance to a Roku 3, or Apple TV, but is thinner and larger. It also includes a Bluetooth remote, with voice search, like in the Gary Busey advertisement.
The Fire TV addresses three concerns from the streaming video device community: speed, search and accessibility. The Fire TV is “very” fast, with a quad-core processor inside and lots of RAM (1.7 GHZ Quad-Core Processor, 2 GB RAM, 8 GB storage). The interface works very quickly, with little lag time.
And, the Fire TV has plenty of apps such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant (although it is missing HBO GO for now, but that should change very soon). If you’re familiar with the Kindle Fire TV tablet, it shares a similar interface, plus the Fire TV loads content much faster than Apple TV and Roku 3 (a big difference which makes the Fire TV the fastest streaming device available).
But, the big difference? Games. You can buy another controller and play online games from the Amazon library. Load times can be long, but the platform is robust enough that games should get better over time. Here’s what’s missing. No shopping!
The verdict on the Amazon Fire TV
The Amazon Fire TV is a first edition video media streamer and probably the best streaming device for the price. It is best when paired with Amazon’s own content and services. If you love Netflix and Hulu, there’s not much difference between the Apple TV or Roku 3, but if you love Amazon Instant video, this is the player for you. This is not the game changer, cord-cutter device it could’ve been. This is a faster streaming player with games (hint: try a $35 Chromecast and wait for the new improved Apple TV). Happy streaming!