11 April 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Amazon Fire TV

FireTV is basically just what it sounds like: it turns your TV into a giant Kindle Fire. If you are familiar with other streaming media players, you’ll have an idea of what to expect. FireTV streams video and audio content to your TV from the same providers: Hulu, Netflix, and (of course) Amazon.

So let’s go through my first experience:

Part One: Opening the box (Queue Thus Sprach Zarathustra.)

Ok, I have to say it: Nothing impressive here, sorry Amazon. I have to say that the FireTV is about the most boring looking black box I’ve ever seen. The good news: It completely disappears on your entertainment center.

The remote is pretty bare bones looking. The microphone button grabbed my attention, but otherwise, there are very few buttons. Can I complain that it is both very black and very small? Yes, I know that “Black is the new Black”, but I’ve already lost it once and I’ve had it for about 2 hours.

Ok, enough looky-looky, time to um….hooky-uppy.

Part Two: Setup (Where is my “That was Easy!” button?)

Power: Check!
HDMI Cable: Check!
Turn on TV: Check!
Wait for it to boot…wait…It’s done: Check! (That was fast!)

And done? Check! I’m an Amazon Prime member and my account was already setup on the box and ready to go.

Part Three: Interface (“What does this button do?)

Actually, it’s not rocket science:

The “Home” button takes you back to the home screen.
Click the wheel to scroll through options.
Hit the button to make your selection.

Voice Search: Ok, I will tell you: I am not a big user of voice tech. Really, I hate to use the telephone. I guess I’m afraid the pizza guy is going to tell me “No!” But I can see that with a little getting over my own fears, voice search is going to be awesome! My FireTV correctly heard all three of my queries. One caveat here: Voice Search only pulls up Amazon content. No a huge deal for my family, but maybe for yours. You can always search the old fashioned way like other streaming boxes.

Part Four: Video and Audio

As I said, it was easy to hook up. Just plug it in. Video looked great on my 40” TV. Audio was good over our home stereo. The quality did not seem any better or worse than my other HD set top box.

The services available to stream from are also pretty standard fare both on the video and audio front.

Part Five: Games (“Thousands of games coming…”)

This reminds me a bit of the days when I got the original Kindle Fire. Of course, Amazon made good on their promise there, so I have faith that they’ll do the same here. Just a quick view through the list of already available games tells me that there is already a good mix of “approved” titles for the Fire TV, and more are on the horizon.

Please do not mistake this for a “NextGen” gaming console. It looks like a good choice to be able to play tons of Android games on your big screen.

Overall: 4 stars. Fire TV is a very nice mix of old and new. There are a few puzzle pieces missing, but knowing Amazon, they’ll be filled in quickly!

Amazon Fire TV is a tiny box you connect to your HDTV. It’s the easiest way to enjoy Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, low-cost movie rentals, and much more.

Massive selection—Over 200,000 TV episodes and movies, millions of songs, and over a hundred games

Perfect with Prime—Unlimited access to thousands of popular movies and TV shows including exclusive titles like Downton Abbey and Under the Dome. Get a free 30-day trial

Voice search that actually works—Simply say the name of what you want to watch and start enjoying in seconds.

Tiny box, huge specs—Fast quad-core processor, 2 GB of memory, dedicated GPU, plus 1080p HD video and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound

Easy to set up and use—Pre-registered to your Amazon account so you can enjoy favorite titles and personalized recommendations

Instant streaming—Exclusive new feature ASAP predicts what movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and buffers them for playback before you hit play

Perfect for parents—Amazon FreeTime lets you easily limit screen time and create personalized profiles just for kids (coming soon)

Great for gaming, too—Play blockbuster titles like Minecraft-Pocket Edition, The Walking Dead, and Monsters University, plus free games and Amazon exclusives. Paid games start from just 99 cents

Rating: ★★★★☆

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