Amazon launches Fire TV

Move over Ruku, Amazon is making a bid to enter living rooms with a new video-streaming device called Fire TV.

The company introduced a set top box that allows streaming of online video content to televisions.

Once upon a time, consumers simply relied on cable and/or satellite set top boxes for access to a bundle of TV channels.  But these days, there is this whole new parallel universe of streaming TV available on sites like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.

There are also several streaming media devices that try to connect the internet to your TV sets: Google Chromecast, Apple TV and Roku.

Amazon has entered that space and claims its device has better speed, performance and search functions than anything else on the market.

One of the interesting features of this new device is voice recognition.  You can hold the remote control to your mouth and speak the name of a TV show or an actor you want to watch –then up pops a list of all of your options.

Another very interesting feature is gaming.  There’s a whole library of free and paid games like Minecraft and Disney Pixar’s Monsters University.  Games can be played using the remote. An optional Fire game controller will be available for $39.99.

This means Amazon is not only competing with streaming devices like Chromecast, and Apple TV, but also with video game console makers like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.

Fire TV is about the size of a CD case and comes with a Bluetooth remote.  It also offers music channels like Pandora and “Free Time”, a customizable interface for children.  Plus a free 30-day trial subscription to Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Amazon Fire is on sale for $99. You can find the device at stores like Best Buy, Staples and Amazon.com.

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