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Amazon unveils Fire TV video-streaming box with gaming features

Amazon.com Inc.EntertainmentGamingApple TVGoogle Chromecast

As expected for some time, Amazon on Wednesday unveiled its Fire TV, an Internet video-streaming set-top box that will compete against the likes of Apple TV, Roku and Google Chromecast.

Though Amazon was expected to announce a small dongle similar to Chromecast and the new Roku Streaming Stick, the company instead revealed a black rectangular box about the same size as the Apple TV and Roku's various set-top devices.

The new box will retail for $99 and is on sale now.

Amazon Fire TV comes with a small control, just like Roku and Apple TV. But unlike its rivals, Amazon Fire TV's remote comes with a microphone that users can speak into to search for content with their voice.

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Like its rivals, Amazon Fire TV streams online content by connecting to users' Wi-Fi networks. It supports up to 1080p HD video. The device can stream content from Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Pandora, several sports leagues and numerous other providers. The most notable exception is HBO GO.

A major focus of Amazon Fire TV is video gaming. Already, numerous games are available, and by next month, there will be thousands, Amazon said. Many games will be free, while others will be available for purchase starting at $0.99. On average, games will cost $1.85.

Users can play on their remotes or on a $39.99 device called the Fire Game Controller. Users will also be able to control the games using their smartphones and tablets next month when Amazon rolls out the Fire TV mobile app.

Additionally, Amazon Fire TV has a feature called FreeTime, which is designed for kids. Parents can choose content that is approved for their children and can also set a time limit for how much children can watch before they are kicked off.

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Amazon.com Inc.EntertainmentGamingApple TVGoogle Chromecast
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