Amazon has joined the set top box race by introducing its version called Fire TV today. I ordered a Fire TV when they became available shortly after the announcement. It’s not that I need another set top box or another HDMI cable to plug into my TV. I don’t really. But in long view as I see things, Amazon is going to be one of the major content contenders down the line, and well, it’s time to get in on the ground floor and see what Amazon will offer today and in the future. You can certainly argue that for the most part these small entertainment attachments offer much of the same content as Amazon’s competitors do, and that would be accurate. But, if you’re an Amazon Prime member and use that service for movies and TV, then being able to access that content on a delivery system made my Amazon makes some sense.
I happen to be one of those Amazon Prime members. More importantly in our household, my wife increasingly relies on viewing content that our busy schedules don’t allow us to catch the first time around. She used to be known as the DVR Queen, but now that title is changing to the Streaming Video Queen. But beyond that, here are five reasons I think the Amazon Fire TV would be a good purchase.
I need another remote for my entertainment system is something no one said ever. But the fact that Amazon has taken a cue from the Xbox and beaten Apple and Google to the punch with Voice search through a microphone on the remote sounds appealing. Again, my wife is one the prime reasons I’m making this purchase and you haven’t seen anything until you witness her frustration using a hunt and peck remote control to search for something. On the other hand, I’ll miss those comedic episodes.
What I would love to see in a voice control TV situation someday is the ability to yell back at stupid commercials and content and make that go away.
Amazon, like Netflix is beginning to offer its own self-produced content. As someone who works in the entertainment industry I want to see that continue. In addition to new content, Amazon’s catalog of TV and movies, while on par with other competitors, offers me a chance to search for the best price when I’m renting or making a purchase. I’ve noticed that rental and purchase prices between Amazon, Apple and Google are often the same, that Amazon typically has lower prices on older content. Or at least the content I’m searching for. I also frequently receive Amazon gift cards and credits and this means I’m hardly ever paying cash for rental or purchase.
On the Sony Blu-ray player I have I can access Amazon content. I’ve done that for quite some time. It’s a painfully slow process given the age of the device. The Fire TV promises to speed that up. There’s nothing more frustrating than watching the loading and buffering process when you want to cue something up to watch.
Gaming and Apps
Fire TV is based on Android. Unless Apple surprises us with its next generation of the Apple TV, it appears that we’ll actually have a TV set top box solution that will be able to play Apps. Amazon showed off a few games playing. Did I order a controller? No. I’m not that much into games, but that might change down the road.
No, we don’t have children, nor are planning to. But we do baby sit the nephews from time to time. I may not be into games, but they are. And they certainly are into other content as well. (Guess I’ll be purchasing that controller sometime soon.) Being able to use Amazon’s FreeTime system of parental controls promises to help make those baby sitting chores a bit easier when the nephews want to completely ignore us. It’s a shame that Amazon charges an extras $2.99 a month to subscribe to FreeTime, but then they know the market will bear that extra cost.
If you’re a Kindle Fire Tablet owner then the Fire TV makes sense as an accessory to your Tablet in the same way that an Apple TV makes sense as an accessory to an iPad. I have used and plan to continue to use an Apple TV that way. I also use Google’s Chromecast at times, and while I find that often to be a better alternative for watching movies, Chromecast for some reason doesn’t appeal to my wife as an alternative.