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back to article Amazon sets FIRE to your living room in bid to shake up TV streaming

After months of speculation, Amazon has finally released a $99 set-top box that'll tout TV programs, music, and games to subscribers. Amazon Fire TV and controller 0.7-in thick and a rather dull design ... same price as the Apple TV without the gloss “Tiny box, huge specs, tons of content, incredible price -people are going …

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This could be what GoogleTV tried to be

This runs Android and will hopefully accept side loaded "Normal" Android apps (unlike GoogleTV which crashes on 90% of them). This could be great :)

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UK version?

When does it launch in the UK? It's not on amazon.co.uk yet.

And I'm fed up with my Apple TV falling over all the time when I'm trying to stream Amazon Prime videos.

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Unhappy

Re: UK version?

.. and what's the betting that $99 turns into £99?

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Happy

Re: UK version?

Some folks thought Amazon was going to release a Game Console. Still, a so called "Smart TV" adds €200 to €400 price of a TV and this is $99 and does more.

Competition is Roku, Google Chromecast and so called Apple TV (no tuner or screen so how is it a TV?).

Why do people buy an Apple TV or Chromecast rather than a Roku or Tablet + hdmi cable?

Apple TV needs an iThink (iPad or iPhone) to work properly so this is cheaper.

All Smart TVs need a smart phone or tablet to access all features easily.

The Google Chromecast dongle is barely more than than Wireless HDMI as it seems to do nearly nothing without a hosting device (Laptop, tablet, smartphone etc).

If this is usable without paid content, works with your own attic server and comparable to a Roku it ought to do well. Smart of them to put Netflix as well as their own services.

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Re: UK version?

> Why do people buy an Apple TV or Chromecast rather than a Roku or Tablet + hdmi cable?

Because they've already bought into the Apple or Google ecosystem. If you've got an iPad and your video/music is in iTunes on your Mac, an Apple TV is the easiest way to get the content onto your TV.

If you haven't, an Apple TV probably isn't for you. It has limited codec support, so you end up re-encoding everything. I've not used a Chromecast, so that may be better.

The Fire TV sounds like it's a bit more open.

> All Smart TVs need a smart phone or tablet to access all features easily.

My Sony doesn't, but it's not really that smart to be honest. It's got iPlayer, but they've never fixed the bug that means 'Back' doesn't work on the remote.

> If this is usable without paid content, works with your own attic server and comparable to a

> Roku it ought to do well

Apparently Plex is supported on the Fire TV, so it will work well with a local media server. Amazon Prime Instant isn't on Roku (yet), so if you have that the Fire TV may be better for you than a Roku. I think I'll stick with my (Roku-based) £10 NowTV box for now, but the Fire TV looks interesting.

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Re: UK version?

Does being a smart TV really add that much? I mean, that suggests you can get two TVs that are otherwise identical quality/features/etc, apart from one being cheaper without the "smart" functionality. When I looked though, smart functionality is now coming as standard for many manufacturers, except perhaps for the very cheapest (which are often older generations still on sale).

"All Smart TVs need a smart phone or tablet to access all features easily."

Depends - the "magic remote" (Wii-style pointer) works fine with my LG, and the smartphone app simply gives me control of the same mouse pointer, so isn't any easier for many things. On the other hand, getting it to stream local content via DLNA is easier using Windows laptop or Android apps. I'd say other devices complement a smart TV, rather than being a requirement.

It doesn't matter that the Chromecast requires a hosting device, because the whole point of it is to connect hosting device to TV. As you note yourself, selecting content (whether a TV stream or local media) is easier via laptop/tablet/phone, so why not make use of that.

Another cheap option though would be NowTV - although the paid content is I believe restricted to one option, it's cheaper than Chromecast, doesn't need any additional devices, and comes with free content too.

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WTF?

Re: UK version?

"All Smart TVs need a smart phone or tablet to access all features easily."

See icon --------------->

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Too pricy

Most houses either have a gaming device or don't want one. I just don't see where another entrant fits in this marketplace. I have three TVs, I imagine many households are similar. I've put Chromecast on two and will be adding a third and final one.

The disappointing thing is that this likely means no Chromecast support for Amazon Instant Video, not because they cannot but only because they don't want to.

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Re: Too pricy

"Most houses either have a gaming device or don't want one..."

Based on a survey of people aged 18-30?

Let's see...I don't, my parents don't, my sister does, but her son's PS is in the bedroom, my neighbour doesn't, several of my friends don't.

Many have Sky / VM but bitch about the extortionate prices.

So based on my survey, most people would like something like this.

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Ouya? OuNo!

Bye bye Ouya, it was nice knowing you but Amazon and others invading your space are going to kill you.

First mover advantage is only useful if you're the hare rather than the tortoise, in this case!

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OK? How would this be crusing Apple then?

Because I can't see where it offers anything, other than access to Amazon's catalog, that the Apple TV doesn't offer already.

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Re: OK? How would this be crusing Apple then?

Apple TV, in the uk at least, is good but not good enough. Loads of shows stop being available for rent quite quickly (I don't buy movies as I only watch once). They frequently have 'previews' that are literally a random 30 seconds of the movie even when that same movie has a proper trailer in the US store. These niggles, along with Apple's suggestion that Apple TV is just a hobby for Apple, are enough to encourage me to give the new entrant a shot (I'm already a prime member).

I'll probably use Amazon Instant Video and netflix on the amazon box and use the Apple TV box for the US iTunes Store and Hulu Plus so I don't have to faff around changing the DNS anymore.

Either way this is all good and exciting stuff if you ask me; competition is a good thing and should hopefully result in better products all round. It would be nice to think that one day there would be one open box to rule them all. But until then I'm quite happy to have a toe in each camp.

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Re: OK? How would this be crusing Apple then?

I presumed it meant, as in people might actually buy it...

Does AppleTV also work as a console? If it does, I've yet to hear of anyone making games for it. You might as well say AppleTV offers nothing that loads of generic set-top streaming boxes offer (in which case, true, there's no reason to specifically mention Apple over anyone else in the article).

Or possibly all these ~$99 boxes will lose out to cheaper devices like Chromecast and NowTV.

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Amazon's response ...

Amazon's response to competition from Apple, NetFlix, Hulu, etc:

"Kill it with fire"

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Local DLNA?

Ethernet?

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Re: Local DLNA?

Looking at the photo here: http://goo.gl/Yn9Inq

It does indeed have an ethernet port.

Hate the shape of the remote though, what's wrong with flat backed remotes?

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WTF?

"unlimited content for kids aged 3 to 8 at a cost of $2.99 per youngster"

Are the Clockwork Orange-style eye openers and restraining seat included in that $2.99 price?

How can they know how many children there are in the family or restrict content from kids which haven't got a subscription? Seems a silly way of pricing things.

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Re: "unlimited content for kids aged 3 to 8 at a cost of $2.99 per youngster"

I would imagine that would be "other devices connected on a different account"?

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Obviously differnt in the US!

"To avoid crappy connections, Bezos expounded on said Amazon's Advanced Streaming and Prediction (ASAP) software, which automatically downloads requested material when it becomes available, and shows you may like based on what you've watched and Amazon's huge store of users' buying habits, which the Fire will add to significantly. That downloaded video will be ready and waiting for you to watch straight away, if you so choose."

Broadband must be different in the USA - many in the UK have usage caps and this is not cap-friendly!

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Facepalm

Re: Obviously differnt in the US!

If you stream video, you should not have a usage capped connection....

Even watching a single video on iPlayer a day will drain a small cap...

And unlimited caps are not THAT expensive in the UK, way better priced than the USA...

My annoyance would be the usage of my internet connection randomly....

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Re: Obviously differnt in the US!

And unlimited caps are not THAT expensive in the UK, way better priced than the USA...

Try finding one in what is quaintly called "Market 1" where there are no unbundled services!

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Re: Obviously differnt in the US!

> Try finding one in what is quaintly called "Market 1" where there are no unbundled services!

They seem to actively hide all but the cheapest price, but PlusNet (www.plus.net) should do. I tried it for an address in Aldbourne, Wilts that is Market 1 and it's £16.99 for unlimited ADSL,

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Facepalm

This is clearly a techie site

Who else would think it is relevant what kind of processor is powering the device? As if some crime show is better on a quadcore processor compared to a duocore. Maybe the crime is solved twice as fast with twice the number of cores?

Or the content that is going to be streamed is so goddamn awful that the processor being quadcore is indeed the sole good feature of said device.

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Re: This is clearly a techie site

Given that Amazon are going to be offering games, it's very relevant - OK it's not going to replace a PS4, but might give Nintendo a few sleepless nights.

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Indeed

See also the Adreno.

Not as if software decoding of your film was going to hammer your battery.

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Stop

Re: This is clearly a techie site

Yeah, the clue is at the top of the page - "The Register: Sci/Tech News for the World

Also, it's not just for watching TV shows, from the article tag line "gaming and media console".

Muppet.

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Re: This is clearly a techie site

Would it matter to you that since we know it also runs an Adreno 320 that the list of processors is narrowed to a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (APQ8064), S4 Prime (MPQ8064) or one of the 600 series. We could go into a quite detailed analysis trying to figure out which exactly however most of the fun is lost given that Qualcomm has come out and said it runs a Snapdragon 600.

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Two Questions,

Does it do DLNA? Does it do MiraCast?

If the answer is yes, then this is great, if the answer is no, then its still not a viable option for me :-/..

That is where the Chrome Dongle failed for me..

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I see a USB port..?

Access to local storage?

If so, I'm sold (once available in the UK)

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Coat

0.7 inch?

What's that in Linguini?

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ETOOLATE Error, device too late on market

ENOHDMIFREE, Error, no hdmi sockets free on T.V.

I already have a Chromecast, a bluray player and a satellite receiver so my TVs HDMI ports are all used up, and if I want I can plug in an MHL adaptor and use my phone with the TV, I could also get a Miracast wotsit as well.

I don't know why Amazon haven't made it possible to run their Love Film app on all android devices and not just their android-based kindle fire OS. I wouldn't buy a kindle as it's too single-purposed and these days they can't easily be hacked to install the full Google Play services, so no thanks.

I see what Amazon are trying to do, creating their own ecosystem just like Sony and Samsung and Nokia have all tried to do and *failed*. Amazon's clever use of android as a base layer gave them a useful head start. I note Nokia are now trying to use Android as a base in the same way.

I think Amazon are big enough to make a dent in Google Play and iTunes, but do consumers really want to embrace yet another ecosystem, especially when you can have some of Amazon's offerings on your Android device already?

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"I note Nokia are now trying to use Android as a base in the same way."

Not true, Nokia X supports 3rd party app stores, and so works with anyone. True, it doesn't ship with Google Play, but that's because Google Play is closed, and they charge for it - it's not part of AOSP. So yes, it's because of a closed ecosystem, but Google's, not Nokia's. Consider that there's nothing stopping Google putting Google Play on Nokia X (just like Amazon have put theirs on Google Play).

"I think Amazon are big enough to make a dent in Google Play and iTunes, but do consumers really want to embrace yet another ecosystem"

Of course not, it would be so terrible to have a whole three shops to buy things from. The Internet would be so much better if it was just like the old days, when there was only one shop in town that sold things.

Seriously - when someone says "ecosystem", read "vendor lock-in". Companies want "ecosystems", I just want to buy from where I want. I might buy music from Amazon, put it on Google Music, then stream it via either Windows, or perhaps via my Android tablet that pretends to be a Chromecast device, and sends it via DLNA to my LG TV (I'd rather stream direct from Google Music to my TV, but again, that's the downside of an ecosystem lock-in).

I don't want a rainforest, I want my devices to work together.

I take the point that, if closed ecosystems are bad, adding another one isn't a good idea either. But I think the more systems there are, the more chance that companies are forced to work together. People might say "I don't like this new device, that doesn't work with anything else", but I hope people won't say "I don't like this new device, because I enjoy being locked into this other ecosystem".

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I don't know why Amazon haven't made it possible to run their Love Film app on all android devices and not just their android-based kindle fire OS.

Amazon have let me know that my Prime next-day delivery subscription has gone up to £79 and now includes Instant Video. Having Linux PCs and stock Android phones and tablets this means that they've added a compulsory surcharge to my next-day delivery service to pay for videos that they won't allow me to watch. I shall let the Prime subscription lapse when it runs out.

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Anonymous Coward

XBMC?

If it can run XBMC, i'm in, otherwise i'll wait and see what else there is.

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Anonymous Coward

Major drawback...

No VPN.

With a PC connected to your TV you can watch Amazon Prime Videos from the UK/UK/Wherever.

This box won't have that possibility.

I can also watch iTunes and XBox Videos on the same PC.

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