Amazon launches $99 ‘Fire TV’ hoping to rival market-leading Apple TV

Amazon’s press release follows verbatim:

Kindle revolutionized reading by making it possible to think of a book and be reading it in less than 60 seconds. Kindle Fire put the world’s largest selection of movies, TV shows, songs, apps, games, books, audiobooks, and magazines in the palm of your hand. In each case, Amazon integrates the hardware, software, and the content into an easy-to-use, seamless, end-to-end service for customers. Today, Amazon is excited to unveil its newest innovation — Fire TV, a tiny box that plugs into your HDTV for easy and instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, SHOWTIME, low-cost video rentals, and much more. Fire TV also brings photos, music, and games to the living room. Meet Amazon Fire TV at

“Tiny box, huge specs, tons of content, incredible price—people are going to love Fire TV,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO. “Voice search that actually works means no more typing on an alphabet grid. Our exclusive new ASAP feature predicts the shows you’ll want to watch and gets them ready to stream instantly. And our open approach gives you not just Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video, but also Netflix, Hulu Plus, and more. On Fire TV you can watch Alpha House and House of Cards.”

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV features:

– Voice search that actually works—simply speak the name of a movie, TV show, actor, director, or genre into the remote, and you’re done. No more hunting and pecking in an alphabet grid.

– All the content—instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, YouTube, and more, plus the largest selection of videos for rent and purchase—over 200,000 movies and TV episodes from Amazon Instant Video. Plus, listen to music with Amazon MP3, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more.

– Powerful performance in a tiny form factor—quad-core processor with over 3x the processing power of Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku 3, a dedicated GPU, plus 4x the memory of Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku 3 for exceptional speed and fluidity. Delivers stunning 1080p HD video and immersive Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. All of this comes in an incredibly small package—Fire TV is 0.7” thin and comes with a simple and sleek remote control with a built-in microphone.

– Simple and easy to use—arrives pre-registered so you can start watching immediately out of the box.

– An exclusive new feature called ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction) predicts which movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and buffers them for playback before you even hit play—instant start.

– High-quality, low-cost gaming—games like Minecraft, Monsters University, The Game of Life, The Walking Dead, NBA2K14, Asphalt 8, Riptide GP2, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, and more. The average price of paid games on Fire TV is $1.85. Play using your Fire TV remote, the Fire TV app for smartphones and tablets, or the optional Fire game controller.

– Amazon FreeTime revolutionizes parental controls—parents can choose what their kids see and set time limits for types of content and times of day—no more negotiating for one more show before bedtime. Customers who subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited—Amazon’s all-you-can-eat content subscription designed for kids ages 3 to 8—will get unlimited access to thousands of movies and TV shows.

– X-Ray for movies, TV shows, and music—see information about cast and crew, trivia, goofs, and synchronized lyrics.

– See all of your photos and personal videos come alive on your big-screen TV—seamless integration with Amazon’s Cloud Drive.

Simple and Easy to Use, with Powerful Performance

Powerful Quad-Core Processor and Graphics Engine

Fire TV features a world-class quad-core processor with 3x the processing power of Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku 3, and a dedicated Adreno 320 graphics engine that processes 57 billion floating point instructions per second, for lightning-fast graphics and excellent fluidity. Fire TV comes with 2GB of memory, 4x the memory of Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku 3, so content loads faster and games run smoother.

Streams in High Definition 1080p with Dolby Digital Plus Surround Sound

With dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi, Fire TV streams in up to full-HD 1080p and supports HDMI and optical audio-out, enabling up to 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus surround sound.

Simple and Easy to Use

Fire TV comes automatically pre-registered so you can immediately get started. No complicated set-up, no hassle—just plug it in and start watching. All of your previously purchased movies and TV shows from Amazon, as well as personalized recommendations and your Watchlist, will be there waiting for you when you turn on Fire TV.

Designed to Disappear

Fire TV is designed to disappear. It is 0.7” thin, so it is easy to hide, and is silent even when running the most demanding applications.

Fire TV Remote

Fire TV’s remote is small, simple, and intuitive, with familiar controls. Search, browse, play, pause, and add titles to your Watchlist with ease. The Fire TV remote uses Bluetooth so there is no “line of sight” required, which means no reaching or struggling to aim your signal at a tiny target—store your Fire TV in a cabinet or behind the TV.

Voice Search that Actually Works

Gone are the days of searching for a movie or TV show by left-left-down-right-ing through an on-screen alphabet grid using your remote. Simply speak the name of a movie, TV show, actor, director, genre, app, or game into the remote, and the results will appear instantly. Voice search leverages the search data and expertise of and IMDb, and is optimized to understand Amazon’s video, app, and game catalog.

The Best Video Experience

Movies and TV Shows from Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, and More

Fire TV comes with instant access to all of the most popular subscription video services, including Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, VEVO, SHOWTIME, Crackle, YouTube, and more, with additional services like WWE Network, MLB.TV, WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH ABC, and Twitch coming soon.

Prime Instant Video, with Exclusives and Original Shows

Fire TV is seamlessly integrated with Prime Instant Video, Amazon’s subscription streaming service. With tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes, Prime Instant Video is the exclusive premium subscription streaming home for thousands of hours of video, including shows like Downton Abbey, The Americans, Workaholics, Justified, 24, Hannibal, Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob, and more. Prime Instant Video also includes shows from Amazon Studios, the original TV production arm of Amazon, such as Alpha House from Pulitzer-Prize winner Garry Trudeau and starring John Goodman, which debuted last year and quickly became the most watched show on Amazon since its release. Alpha House is now in production for its second season, and Amazon recently greenlighted six new shows, including The After, Bosch, Mozart in the Jungle, and Transparent, which will be available starting later this year.

The Largest Selection of Videos for Rent or Purchase

Rent or purchase over 200,000 movies and TV episodes from Amazon Instant Video, which has the world’s largest selection of videos to rent or buy, including new releases and blockbusters. Amazon is the only nationwide video service that offers rental and purchase, as well as a subscription streaming service, so you can find everything you want in one place—catch up on past seasons of popular TV shows with Prime Instant Video before purchasing the most recent episode of the show as it’s released.

Find the Lowest Price—Even if it’s Not from Amazon

Just like on, Fire TV integrates viewing options on a single page so you can always choose the lowest price. This is available starting with Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and Prime Instant Video, and will expand to other content providers so you’ll see all of your options in one place.


You shouldn’t have to wait 10 seconds for a video to buffer after you press “Play”—it should start immediately. Based on your Watchlist and recommendations, the new ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction) feature predicts which movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and prepares them for playback before you even hit play. This feature is smart—it is personalized based on your viewing habits and adapts as those habits change. The caching predictions get better over time, so ASAP will continuously improve as you use Fire TV.

Fling TV Shows and Movies with Second Screen

Fling Amazon TV shows and movies from your phone or tablet to your Fire TV using Second Screen. This turns your TV into the primary screen and frees up your phone or tablet to provide playback controls, a customized display for X-Ray, or simply a place to email, browse the web, and more, while you watch a movie. Second Screen is available on Kindle Fire HDX and will be available later this year from your iPhone or iPad. You can also wirelessly mirror your tablet display to your Fire TV with Kindle Fire, as well as other Miracast-enabled phones or tablets starting later this year. Fire TV supports standards like DIAL, so app developers can enable multi-screen experiences based on open technologies.

X-Ray for Movies and TV Shows, Powered by IMDb

Using Second Screen on your Fire HDX and later this year on your iPhone or iPad, you can see X-Ray information as your movie or TV show plays on Fire TV. With X-Ray you can see information about cast and crew, the names of songs as they play, as well as a list of all music in the movie or TV show, trivia items in context with the action on the screen, and character backstories so you can easily remind yourself of the character’s history. X-Ray is exclusive to Amazon and is powered by IMDb.

Amazon FreeTime—Revolutionary Parental Controls

Now you don’t have to worry about what your kids are watching on the TV—with FreeTime, a parent creates profiles for each child and selects the content they can see. Parents can create time limits based on type of content or time of day. When in FreeTime, the background color and fonts change to a kid-friendly design. Kids only see titles that have been selected by their parents for them, and those who can’t yet read can navigate visually to content based on favorite characters or topics—for example “Dora the Explorer,” “Princesses,” or “Thomas and Friends.” Parents who have already set up profiles and approved content on Kindle Fire tablets will find the settings are automatically synchronized on Fire TV, making it simple and seamless to get started.

Customers who subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited—Amazon’s all-you-can-eat content subscription designed just for kids ages 3 to 8—will get unlimited access to thousands of movies and TV shows. FreeTime Unlimited is available for Prime members to enjoy for a monthly price of $2.99 per child or $6.99 per family. Customers who are not yet Prime members can subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited for a monthly price of $4.99 per child or $9.99 per family. Amazon FreeTime and FreeTime Unlimited will be available on Fire TV starting next month.

Your Photos on the Big Screen

Fire TV makes it easy to view your photos and personal videos on your TV. You can set up and play slide shows, find specific photos, and choose your favorite album for the screen-saver on Fire TV. Photos or videos you take on your phone or tablet can be automatically uploaded to Amazon Cloud Drive, so they appear on your Fire TV within seconds.

Music in Your Living Room

Music from Pandora, Amazon MP3, iHeartRadio, and More

With Fire TV, you can listen to music from popular streaming services like Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn, and watch music videos from VEVO. Starting next month, you can also listen to your full collection of music through Amazon Cloud Player. Simply upload your music or purchase from Amazon and it will be stored automatically in your Cloud Player and available on Fire TV as well as on your phone or tablet.

X-Ray for Music

Lyrics display and scroll line-by-line automatically as the song plays, so you can follow along with songs. X-Ray for Music will be available starting next month.

Bonus—Great Games at Low Prices

Games from Top Developers

Amazon worked with game developers like EA, Disney, Gameloft, Ubisoft, Telltale, Mojang, 2K, and Sega to bring their games to Fire TV. Games available starting today include customer favorites like Minecraft, Monsters University, The Game of Life, The Walking Dead, NBA2K14, Asphalt 8, Riptide GP2, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, and more. Over 100 games are available starting today and optimized for Fire TV, with thousands of additional games coming next month with the Fire TV app, which brings controls for touch-enabled games. These are great games for such a small box and at such surprisingly low prices—the average price of paid games is $1.85.

Fire TV also comes with access to Sev Zero, a new game built exclusively for Fire TV by Amazon Game Studios. Sev Zero is $6.99 and is available for free when you purchase the Fire game controller. Learn more:

Fire TV runs the latest version of Fire OS “Mojito,” which is based on Android, so it’s simple for developers to port their services and games over to Fire TV.

Choose How to Play—Remote, Game Controller, or App

In addition to using the Fire TV remote and the Fire TV app available starting next month, you can also choose the Amazon Fire game controller, which enables more high-intensity and complex gaming with dual analog sticks and a complete assortment of controls. Simple and comfortable to use for hours, the Fire game controller pairs with Fire TV via Bluetooth. The Fire game controller also intelligently manages power by automatically going to sleep when not in use, and waking at a touch of a button, so you get up to 55 hours of gaming on a pair of AA batteries. You can pair multiple game controllers with a Fire TV so the whole family can play together in the same room. The integrated GameCircle button gives you instant access to leaderboards, achievements and friends with a simple touch of a button from any GameCircle enabled game. The Fire game controller can also be used as a remote, with fast forward, rewind, play and pause, so you can control all your movies and music on Fire TV. The Fire game controller is available today for $39.99, and comes with a free copy of Sev Zero and 1,000 Amazon Coins (a $10 value) for purchasing games.

The Features You Expect from Amazon

Fire TV is not a gadget—it’s a seamlessly integrated service that brings together the features customers expect from Amazon, including:

– Whispersync—Amazon’s Whispersync technology saves and synchronizes your video and music library across all of your devices. Start watching a movie on your Kindle Fire or iPhone, and when you get home, pick up where you left off on your Fire TV. For games that support Whispersync, your place in the game will also sync across devices so you can always pick up where you left off.

– Watch on over 300 devices—When you buy a movie or TV show on Amazon, you can watch it on over 300 devices.

– Worry-Free Archive—Automatically backs up your Amazon digital content in the cloud so you never need to worry about losing your collection.

– Top-Rated, World-Class Customer Service—When a customer shops on Amazon, buys a Fire TV, or buys digital content from Amazon, they know that they are also getting Amazon’s world class customer service. Customers with a Kindle Fire HDX can also use the Mayday button to receive free, live, on-device tech support.

– Free Month of Amazon Prime—Amazon continues to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to bring Prime members new movies, TV shows, and books to enjoy at no additional cost. Prime members enjoy unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes with Prime Instant Video. Eligible customers get a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime when they purchase Fire TV.

Pricing & Availability

Fire TV is available starting today for just $99—order at

Eligible customers get a free 30-day trial of Netflix and Amazon Prime when they purchase Fire TV.

Source: Amazon

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “antmeeks” for the heads up.]


    1. Apple TV can’t access Xbmc unless it’s atv2. The 3 won’t do it. And 2 doesn’t do 1080p. I need both 1080p and Xbmc and it would be nice to have amazon prime too.
      You really don’t know what your missing till you have Xbmc. Free live TV free movies, TV shows and tons more. I ditched cable a year ago and have not paid a dime since and still get all TV and movies I want

    2. How can you not appreciate the features of this thing? C’mon man! The voice search alone blows Apple TV out of the water. It’s such a pain in the a**. I have 3 Apple TV’s and am long time aapl investor but Apple is totally dragging their feet on this.

      1. @JoeBob
        get the Remote app for iPhone or iPad. Then speech to text is flawless and astonishing. Use your iDevice as a remote – you’ll never go back. I don’t have the Amazon device, but I’m guessing that the Apple speech solution crushes the Amazon one.

        1. Yes gets a little boring hearing on one hand Siri getting slammed despite being demonstrably the best currently available while on the other someone can make the comment that such a function on Amazon makes it a must have without any knowledge of how well it works. Gotta laugh.

  1. Sounds good if we can overclock it and also run Xbmc and do more with it. Since amazon prime is not available on Apple TV or android set top boxes.

    I would like to have amazon prime movies along with Xbmc.

  2. Cue the articles that clearly explain how this is better/same/worse than AppleTV. I wouldn’t mind reading a few of them, as to me this is looking pretty ATV-like, apart from the remote & voice access…

  3. This definitely gives the current ATV a run for it’s money. I think they’ll sell a huge pile. Especially to those who already have Amazon Prime. And while we’re at it, my wish list for ATV redux:
    1. App Store with a la carte cable channels (no cable subscription required), video games and other 3rd party apps
    2. Ability to stream OTA DTV (like Aereo)
    3. Full integration with Siri via dedicated remote AND iDevice
    4. Facetime integration
    5. Consolidated search for programs across ALL apps
    Extra: Allow the Amazon Instant Video app in order to eliminate any reason why someone with a Prime membership would want to get the Amazon set-top

    1. Totally agree. Other than a little additional content here and there, the Apple TV has been, for the most part, pretty stagnant for several years, now. I sincerely hope it’s because they’re working on a really awesome new version for release this year. The competition’s offerings are very good, and save for AirPlay, in most ways, they’re better. This from a big Apple fan with three Apple TV 3’s in my house.

  4. I expect Amazon’s new fire TV to be very popular. It seems to come closer to what clients have been asking for than any other product currently on the market.

    I’ve already had clients call and ask about getting one.

    Apple, the ball is now in your court. Here are a couple of suggestions from clients:

    Allow video to be played from websites. Ice Pilots & Dangerous Flights for example have video libraries. It would be nice to watch them on tv instead of iPad or computer.

  5. The Amazon box has the same deal-breaker for me that the AppleTV has – HDMI-only outputs. The biggest Netflix watcher at my house still has a perfectly-good 30-inch tube TV with no HDMI inputs. For that reason alone I got her a Roku.

  6. /sigh… It can utilize an Xbox style controller (sold separately). Amazon has just leap-frogged Apple into the set-top box gaming space by doing one simple thing.

    C’mon Apple, why no controller for games already? Apple TV is desperate for a UI overhaul. Hurry the hell up and get the Apple TV store up and running. Make developers want to make and sell apps for Apple TV. Sure iOS for iPad and iPhone is OK for certain games. However Apple TV could be an awesome platform where you can have a nice big screen and not have to spend so much on an Xbox One or Playstation console.

    1. Sadly, it probably does. The competition has upped their game, and Apple just isn’t innovating in this area. Their product has been pretty stagnant for quite some time. I saw this as an owner of three Apple TV’s.

  7. No mention of the USB port? I have all my movies and TV shows on an external HD that is now served by a MacMini. Would be nice to have it plugged in to my 🍎TV. Hoping Apple opens up that port in the next iteration.

    1. The Amazon Fire TV has 1 USB port, I’m not sure what you can do with it, but I’m getting mine tomorrow and will check that out first thing (if I remember, I’ll post back here).

      1. It turns out you can’t do anything with the USB (yet). No apps currently support it.

        There is a Plex App so you could serve your videos from your Mac Mini via Plex.

        Overall I have mixed fillings about the Amazon Fire TV. There are so many great things about it, but so many things they really got wrong… like no Infrared remote as an option. Browsing shows totally sucks. The voice search is really great though, but if you want to browse instead of search, the interface sucks.

      2. I received my fire TV yesterday. On a lark at setup time I plugged in a USB keyboard and it turns out they work just fine, you can enter your passwords and search and so on. I didn’t get the amazon controller but I played several games you’d normally play with the remote using the arrow keys of the USB keyboard which is easier on the hands.

  8. I’ll stick with the AppleTV as I use Airplay heavily from my iPhone 5, iPad Air and Macbook Pro. I also have a ton of iTunes content that I access which I could not access from Fire TV. My girlfriend enjoys using iTunes radio.


    Apple should open up the AppleTV to the app store and it would blow away competition instantly with access to over a million apps. Apple should also create a game controller (Pippen 2.0?) and allow a bluetooth keyboard to work with it.

    1. Apple TV has supported Bluetooth keyboards for quite a while now. Check under Settings | General | Bluetooth. I’d certainly love apps on it as well; I hope they’ll open that up too.

  9. … and it sounds like it is marketed like AppleTV SHOULD be marketed, if Apple didn’t see it as a hobby, or side-show, at least for awhile.

    The marketing sounds like Apple.

  10. Impressive array of features.

    I continue to be impressed by Amazon hardware. While shopping for my Mom’s Christmas iPad took some time to check out the high end Amazon tablets.

    The display blew me away and about $150 cheaper. Prefer iPad, but the competition is not resting and we continue to see new releases year round on an array of gadgets.

  11. I’m getting mine tomorrow, so I’ll reserve some thoughts on it until I’ve had a chance to play with it, but I can’t believe Apple didn’t release something like this (and better) a long time ago. The current Apple TV is still worth having for AirPlay and content from the Apple Store, but other than that, this has so much more going for it. If nothing else, simply the Amazon exclusive content makes this worth it alone.

    That wouldn’t have been an issue if Apple TV had an SDK, as Amazon would’ve jumped on that.

    That being said, there’s still room for Apple to leapfrog the Fire TV if Apple has an SDK, content deals, and perhaps a deal with Comcast. Exclusive content wouldn’t hurt either. As much as I hate the general philosophy of exclusive content, the reality of it is what keeps me a customer of HBO, Netflix, and Amazon.

    The real death blow here from this announcement is Roku It will also put a dent in Chromecast sales as well as possibly impact PlayStation and Xbox sales.

    1. If by “copy of Apple TV”, you mean that it’s another piece of hardware that looks similar, but duplicates much of the same functionality while offering the user some much more advanced functionality and more choices of content, then yeah… It’s a “copy of Apple TV”.

  12. Looks like a very decent product. This competition should be good for everyone. I have an Apple TV and have no plans to switch but it definitely has some features I would like the Apple TV to have, like games!

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