Amazon’s disappointing ‘Fire TV’ a complete waste of time

“The Introduction of a set top box by Amazon is a huge disappointment,” Stock Traders Daily reports for Seeking Alpha. “Smart TVs come with internet connection pre-installed, and although Apple’s set top box was timely because there were no alternatives when that was introduced years ago (smart TVs were not popular), Amazon’s decision to get into the set top business is not only ill-timed, but a complete waste of time.”

“Amazon clearly must do everything they can to compete in the streaming media space, but their focus should be on content not on hardware. People who have smart TVs are moving away from additional equipment anyway, so adding equipment is somewhat counter-trend as well,” Stock Traders Daily reports. “The only free movies and television you can find on Amazon now are the ones you can find for free in other streaming media services too, making them all seem similar. The standout is of course Hulu, which is owned by the companies that produce the majority of the television content, but Hulu’s business model is based on running ads, in addition to paying for Hulu Plus of course.”

Stock Traders Daily reports, “My point here is that it is this content that matters in the competitive world of streaming media, not the hardware, and in that respect Amazon whiffed big time.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Analyst: Amazon Fire TV might wow Gary Busey, but Apple needn’t worry – April 3, 2014
Amazon Fire TV vs. Apple TV vs. Roku vs. Chromecast – April 2, 2014
Amazon launches $99 ‘Fire TV’ hoping to rival market-leading Apple TV – April 2, 2014
Apple TV sales topped $1 bilion in 2013, becoming Apple’s fastest growing hardware – February 28, 2014
Tim Cook and Apple TV: A ‘hobby’ no longer – October 7, 2013
Apple TV dominates digital media receiver market with 71% share – May 29, 2013

23 Comments

    1. A lot of people will have so called Smart TV’s but most of them will be absolute junk. How many people actually use Smart TV’s is probably the more relevant number.

    2. Out of the two TV’s I have, one is a ‘smart TV’ and it isn’t connected to an antenna or cable, just the ethernet. The other TV is connected to an AppleTV as well as cable but I hate cable and its scheduled programming and commercials and poorly formatted aspect ratios and its poor choice of content and . . .

    3. We have two “smart” TVs (I think they’re just about all sold that way now).

      I have no interest in using the “smart” features. They’re as bad as the rest of the TV’s user interface.

    4. Sometime this year I plan to replace my TV, so I’ve begun casually looking at them when I’m out. If a TV says “Smart” I don’t look at that one any further. All I want is a TV that has a great picture and plenty of inputs.

      I don’t want a bunch of random crap thrown in so that they can “differentiate.” And I sure don’t want to pay extra because of it.

  1. Amazon’s MO is simply to have as many products on the market as possible. Growth for the sake of growing. Amazon will alway just break even because they carry too many loss leaders. It’s working for them now but sooner or later the market will get bored and move onto something else.

  2. The report is complete bullshit.

    Tell me how one can use cable from any major system in the US and avoid a set top box. No TV with a cable card is made anymore for the US market which leaves you with the Cable Converter box or something that uses a CableCard like a TiVo or a Samsung Tuner.

    I would love to turn off the overpriced bundle of BS called Comcast Cable service, but tell me how to get HBO, ESPN and other such content without it. HBO Go and other streaming services require a cable provider login.

    If you want to watch old reruns and bought content streaming is fine, but do not count on much in season and very little live.

    Comcast will give up the ball and chain lockbox (encrypted content requiring a box) when hell freezes over or a court orders them to and not a minute sooner. The companies that provide the content to Comcast include provisions to keep it from being sold directly to consumers in many instances.

    Sounds like a cartel, but our Justice Department does not seem to be interested in enforcing the law.

    1. I don’t know about your situation, but I have Cox Communication for cable and internet. When Cox started cable subscriptions way back when, they had a small black box that you plugged cable into and then that box cable into the TV and ‘dialed’ the channels from that small black box’s channel selector.

      Then TV’s were built “cable-ready”.

      When I got one of those, I bypassed the box entirely and plugged cable directly into TV. Been like that ever since. I have nosey-top box, nor have never had a cable required set-top box. Of course I can’t DVR 6 shows and skip commercials and have a better TV Guide etc. but don’t really need/want.

      I have cable connected in 6 rooms operated on 5 TV’s and none of the TV’s has a cable box but all have cable viewing capability. It is only the basic cable package and not a “1000” channels or Hi-Def. Maybe to acquire that a cable box is required but again, don’t really need/want.

      Regarding HBO, we subscribed without box and got that programming. However, got bored with their offering and so ditched HBO years ago, so don’t know if times changed and a box is now required.

      But nonetheless, watching cable TV right now with no box from Cox, but not sure if you’d call them a ‘major system’ or not.

      1. There was previously a law that required cable companies to offer all “basic cable” channels encryption free, but that law was overturned by the FCC thanks to pressure from Comcast.

        Some cable companies still offer basic cable without encryption and can be used with “cable-ready” digital tuners – I know TimeWarner still does in my area.

        1. Yes, _very_ few cable companies no longer offer unencrypted ‘basic’ anymore. If yours does, chances are they will stop it soon, and, guess what- they won’t tell you about it when they do.

        2. You couldn’t be more wrong, but that is the mentality of low-info people these days. Hear one version of something and by-God that is the way it is.

          Basic channels were offered in analog format. This, just like broadcast signals, was very wasteful of bandwidth. Since more info can be sent digitally, cable companies allocated most of their bandwidth to this. Congress required analog basic to be kept as a ‘sunset’ clause while older TVs were phased out and expired in 2012.

          Now cable companies are allowed to go all digital, reclaim bandwidth and add more choices without having to upgrade their entire plant for the added bandwidth.

          Most smaller town will keep analog for awhile. The cost to upgrade is unreasonable for the sub count. Larger towns do it to compete with fiber and satellite.

          As far as encryption, that is to keep theft down. Some companies will actually send all signals in clear-QAM to bypass the cost of set-top boxes for basic and use frequency traps to keep the other programming out.

          Cable, just like most businesses, is a little more complicated than the ‘oh, they are just greedy’ knee-jerk.

      2. Before Digital Cable most cable systems encrypted only HBO and similar channels. Now Comcast encrypts all but local pass thru channels on their system.
        I have a number of EyeTV devices with digital cable tuners and when Comcast put everything behind encryption I had to migrate to a TiVo- which uses a Cable Card.

    2. That law was changed.

      And I’m thinking this is what those “talks” between Apple and Comcast were all about – either a license to develop a CableCard compatible device, or developing a method of decrypting the signal without needing the card (tying your cable account with your iTunes account).

      Or Apple could just make a pass thru device that sits between the TV and cable box (I think the Xbox does this?).

      1. CableCard uses components of Windows Media for DRM. Any device that uses a CableCard would have to license components of Windows Media and I think that may have been the issue with Steve Jobs and putting a DVR into Apple TV.

        The technical side is no big deal.

  3. Prior to 2013 the smart tv modules in Samsung “smart” TV’s were completely useless, because they are so damn slow and frustrating.

    It is only recently that TV makers have been “smart” enough to put fast processors into their TV’s. I hear the experience is much better now. Can any one confirm?

  4. On average, people update their televisions every 7 years or so, so Yesterday’s ‘smart TV’ isn’t as smart as Today’s Apple TV or Roku.

    What I want in a HDTV is the best possible picture and I’ll update the external box as they come along.

    1. Yeah, I quit reading at “we have smart TVs now so set-top boxes are lame”. It’s not a big deal to upgrade to a better set-top box every couple of years. It is a big deal to replace a perfectly good television set. It’s stupid to put the streaming functionality inside the TV, where it can’t get a hardware upgrade without replacing the whole thing.

      ——RM

  5. As far as my TV is concerned, it’s effectively just a dumb monitor, connected to my Sky TV satellite box and my Mac Mini. It’s a 40″ Bravia, around seven or eight years old, and if I ever have to replace it, it won’t be with anything ‘smart’ if I can possibly avoid it; the last thing I want is built-in ‘ware that can be intruded on by the manufacturer.

  6. After Comcast decided to encrypt basic cable, I gave up on ’em and am watching only broadcast OTA channels. Nice thing about that- they are mostly HD and plentiful (30+ stations) in my area.

  7. Yeah, this report is kind of ridiculous. Amazon will sell that set top box and it will make a profit from it. This is legitimate competition for apple. Some of these features such as type an actor and you will find what they have done, voice commands, and some games are all nice additions to what is a content provider. I’m still just going to use my atv, but they gotta update that guy with either more content or bring an OS update to it. This is a tough market for these devices, because all of them have strong reasons to buy it.

  8. What this guy missed is that Amazon does have content… exclusive content… good exclusive content.

    Meanwhile smart TVs suck, as do most other smart devices that connect to TVs like DVD players. For many people, $100 is not a bad investment in a decent product.

    Amazon isn’t going to make a lot of money of the Fire TV, just like Apple isn’t gong to make a ton of money off the Apple TV (as it currently exists), but it extends their ecosystems.

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