Amazon launches high resolution box Fire TV
12 October 2015
The Fire TV from Amazon is a tiny box that runs most major video apps, outputs 4K video, and can tell you the weather.
To install the device users simply plug it in and connect to their TV via HDMI. A quick pairing gets the RF-based eight button remote working and then connected users can log in to their Amazon account.
Users can then simply select what they want to watch or download any of the numerous streaming options including Netflix, HBO Now, and ESPN.
Plex and VLC fans can stream video to their devices although larger, higher-res files that might bog down during transmission. However, the apps do not allow users to play back MKVs and other high-resolution movie formats, much to the delight of those who were into those things.
The new Fire TV includes Alexa, Amazon's powerful voice search system as against the earlier version of the Fire TV that allows users to ask very basic things – usually not much more than the title of a movie or TV show. With Alexa users can ask complex requests like ''Show me all the movies with Ed Norton in them'' or ''What's the weather in Paris?''
According to commentators the device reflected Amazon's affinity for highly proprietary and basically functional hardware that spanned categories.
However according to some commentators, Amazon Fire TV was not a patch on Apple TV as the interface felt clunky and confusing.
At $100, the new Amazon Fire TV comes up with the same price tag as a Roku-3, a more versatile set-top box that lacked voice control and 4K support.
The Fire TV is somewhat cheaper than $130-Roku 4 which too has 4K support and voice controls.
All of these devices are cheaper than the new Apple TV which sells for $150.