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.
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 Amazon.com 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.