Fire TV: Amazon reveals Android-based set top box

Screen shot of Amazon Fire TV press conference.
Screen shot from YouTube video excerpt of Amazon Fire TV press conference, April 2, 2014.

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2014 – While details are still a little sketchy, Amazon announced this morning its newest hardware product, a long rumored set top box dubbed “Fire TV.”

Unlike the somewhat larger Apple TV and Roku STBs, and unlike the minimalist Google Chromecast dongle, this smallish new black box packs a quad core processor with 2 GB of RAM, according to this morning’s presser. The device will run on Google’s Android platform and will reportedly include I/O ports for Ethernet, optical, and HDMI.

The announcement and demo this morning highlighted the device’s highly image-centric interface which also can operate via voice commands, although how this feature will interface with existing home systems is not completely clear.

Judging from YouTube videos excerpting the Amazon presser, downloads are lightning fast. But what remained unspoken during the unveiling was the obvious fact that your own mileage may vary considerably depending on any number of variables, something to which Comcast and Verizon FiOS customers will readily attest.

The device comes loaded with Amazon Prime streaming video (of course) and YouTube, with Hulu, Netflix and other partners available TBA but likely not to include Apple.

According to the announcement, Fire TV (also spelled “FireTV” on some sites) will also have a feature that allows users to bring up their cloud-based photo albums on the telly.

Screen shot of Fire TV price.
Screen shot of Fire TV price via YouTube video.

According to available YouTube video excerpts of the event, Fire TV will sell for $99. A compatible video game console will also be available for the product for an additional $39.

What we can’t uncover, as of 12:15 EDT today, however, is when Fire TV devices may be available for consumers to purchase. Searching for information on the device on provides no information on the product as yet, bringing up entries only for current Amazon products.

This is a breaking story, however, and further information will likely be forthcoming fairly soon.


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Terry Ponick
Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17