The Amazon Fire TV became available for purchase for the first time in the UK yesterday, less than five months after it was launched in the US. Amazon’s Game Controller accessory, which helps the platform double as a games console, is also available now in the UK.
In addition to Amazon’s own services such as Prime Instant Video, Fire TV comes with other streamlining streaming platforms including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, and Spotify. Following its launch on Amazon Fire tablets, TVPlayer has also now been made available on the big screen, within the Fire TV appstore.
The Amazon Fire TV has an HDMI output, Dolby Digital Plus surround sound support, optical and Ethernet ports, and comes with a Bluetooth remote control featuring voice control allowing command and search functions. The voice search is supported for the entirety of Amazon’s video, app, and game catalogue, plus for Hulu Plus, Crackle, Vevo, and Showtime Anytime. The company has promised to continue to integrate additional content partners and their titles over time.
The 17.5mm box plugs into a TV via HDMI and delivers 1080p HD video. Amazon Fire’s ASAP (Advanced Streaming And Prediction) service aims to predict what films and TV programmes a user wants to watch, and buffers content, meaning it is ready to play instantly.
The box can be linked to a user’s Amazon account, and can also mirror a phone or tablet, which can be used to search and control the Fire TV. Amazon’s new offering boasts a quad core processer and 2GB of memory, so is a strong competitor to the Roku 3, Apple TV and Google Chromecast. Fire TV also benefits from iPlayer, which is lacking in Apple’s offering. However, many viewers may still favour Sky’s Now TV, which gives users access to Sky Movies, Sky Sports and other Sky channels for a small extra monthly charge.
Fire TV features hundreds of games and has similar specs to a tablet or smartphone, running Android-based Fire OS. The Bluetooth remote included with Amazon Fire serves as a controller, though more dedicated gamers can also purchase a wireless bluetooth Amazon Fire Game Controller, which almost doubles the amount of games users can play on the box.