Amazon Unveils New Streaming Media Device

Amazon unveils streaming media device

Amazon wants to be the brain — and the heart — inside your big-screen TV.


On Wednesday the company introduced a small black box called Amazon Fire TV that enables television sets to access Internet programming, including streaming shows from its Amazon Prime subscription service, and a giant library of video games.

The device will cost $99 and will start shipping immediately.

With it, Amazon will compete head-on both with streaming gadgets like Apple (AAPLFortune 500)TV and console makers like Microsoft (MSFT,Fortune 500) and Sony (SNE).

All of these companies, in various ways and for various reasons, want to supplement — and, over time, possibly replace — the set top boxes from cable and satellite companies that sit in most living rooms.

Amazon’s Fire TV has several unique features, including a remote control with a voice recognition search feature, so a user can speak the name of a show, actor or topic and find that content.

“Voice is the next platform battleground,” the Forrester analyst James McQuivey wrote on Twitter. He noted that Microsoft on Wednesday announced its answer to Apple’s Siri and Google Now, a voice-activated assistant feature called Cortana.

Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said Fire TV “has voice search that actually works.” In a promotional letter on the Amazon home page, he wrote, “The old way of searching with a TV remote — scrolling and clicking one letter at a time on an alphabet grid — is painful. With Fire TV you simply speak the title, actor, or genre into the remote and you’re done.”

A remote with a microphone won’t be enough for Amazon to win the streaming device wars, though.

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Source: CNN Money | Brian Stelter

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