News

Amazon hopes digital streaming device sets TV on ‘Fire’

Amazon hopes digital streaming device sets TV on ‘Fire’

ON FIRE:Fire TV, which is available on Amazon.com, can access Netflix, Hulu and other providers of streaming video content. It also provides a more prominent showcase for Amazon Prime Video as well as its growing slate of original television shows and video games from Amazon Studios. Photo: Reuters

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc unveiled a $99 video streaming device called Fire TV that the e-commerce company promised would be more powerful and easier to use than rival services by Apple Inc, Google Inc and Roku.

Amazon is a latecomer to the set-top TV market that is dominated by the Apple TV. Amazon customers have a large appetite for film and TV, but many already own similar devices, analysts said.

Fire TV, which is available on Amazon.com, can access Netflix, Hulu and other providers of streaming video content. It also provides a more prominent showcase for Amazon Prime Video as well as its growing slate of original television shows and video games from Amazon Studios.

“It’s the easiest place to watch Netflix,” Amazon executive Peter Larsen said at an event in New York on Wednesday to launch the product. “You can watch ‘Alpha House’ and you can watch ‘House of Cards’.”

Amazon said it decided to develop the device after getting feedback on its website from customers who bought set-top boxes like Roku, Apple TV and Google Chromecast. Common complaints include lagging performance, cumbersome search and closed “ecosystems” on those devices, it said.

“When we look at the living room, how do we make the complexity disappear?” Larsen said.

Fire TV can predict what the user will watch and cue it up instantly, Larsen said. A microphone in the remote enables voice-activated search. A video game controller can be purchased for $39.99.

Seattle-based Amazon said it tried for “lowest price point possible” on Fire TV, which costs about the same as an Apple TV, but substantially more than Chromecast or Roku.

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba and Liana Baker in New York; Writing and additional reporting by Deepa Seetharaman in San Francisco; Editing by Richard Chang)

Recent Headlines

3 hours ago in Viral Videos

Who’s your daddy?

16-overlay-10

When you're a baby and your dad is a twin, life can be confusing.

5 hours ago in Entertainment

Johnny Depp wigs out as Donald Trump in spoof biopic

16-overlay-11

The Hollywood actor dons a Trump-style hairpiece to lampoon the presidential hopeful in the 50-minute comedy for Funny or Die alongside a star-studded cast including Alfred Molina, Henry Winkle

5 hours ago in Entertainment

Another ‘Harry Potter’ book in the works

harrypotter

Fans will have the chance to read another installment in J.K. Rowling's wizard series when her new play is published as a book.

6 hours ago in Viral Videos

WATCH: Oh mother …

23-overlay-3

Is it the worst "Family Feud" answer ever? Judge for yourself.

8 hours ago in Entertainment, National

Shkreli is sued over his $2 million Wu-Tang Clan album

Pharmaceutical chief Martin Shkreli listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, during the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on his former company's decision to raise the price of a lifesaving medicine. Shkreli refused to testify before U.S. lawmakers who excoriated him over severe hikes for a drug sold by a company that he acquired. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Shkreli has bragged that he had no plans to listen to the album, but bought it to "keep it from the people."