Amazon Fire TV released in UK on 23rd October
Staff Reporter | On 04, Sep 2014Reading time: 3 mins
Amazon Fire TV will be released in the UK on 23rd October.
The set top box was introduced to the US in April this year, but now the retailer has confirmed the Fire TV UK release date, which will see the Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV rival arrive just in time for Christmas.
The box, which plugs into your telly and turns it into a smart TV, will come with a wide range of apps, including Prime Instant Video, Demand 5, Spotify, Sky News, Curzon Home Cinema, YouTube and – crucially – Netflix.
How much is Amazon Fire TV? The box will cost £79, but new and existing Prime members can buy it for £49 for the next four days.
Even with the discount, though, the price tag is considerably higher than its rival Roku Streaming Stick and Google Chromecast – although it remains cheaper than the more expensive Apple TV.
The features and specs, though, are quite impressive compared to the other, more affordable competition.
The box boasts a quad-core processor (over 3x the processing power of Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku 3), a dedicated GPU, plus 2GB RAM (4x the memory of Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku 3). The box delivers 1080p video and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound where available.
The selling point, though, is its search. 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, while a voice search allows you to speak the name of a movie, TV show, actor, director or genre into the remote and it will display results for you – judging by US reviews, this actually works, which could make a lot of difference when you’re sitting on the sofa at 11pm and don’t want type in “The Walking Dead”.
It will also use Amazon’s Cloud Drive too show your photos and personal videos on the big screen, while those with Kindle Fire tablets can “fling” TV shows and movies from your Kindle Fire HDX to your Fire TV using a Second Screen feature, leaving your tablet with playback controls and other operations – Amazon’s response to Chromecast.
Why the huge processor and memory, though? Because Amazon also wants to establish Fire TV as a gaming device.
Fire TV runs Fire OS, which is based on Android, which is designed to help developers port their games over to the platform. Indeed, hundreds of games— such as Minecraft, Asphalt 8, NBA 2K14, and The Walking Dead – are already available through the Fire TV store.
Amazon has worked with game developers such as Mojang, Gameloft, Sega and Ubisoft to bring their games to Fire TV. It also comes with access to Sev Zero, a new game built exclusively for Fire TV by the new, in-house Amazon Game Studios. Sev Zero costs £4.99 and will bbe available for free when you purchase the Amazon Fire Game Controller.
The price for controller? £34.99. It looks like this – and can also be used to control playback of videos and music.
The total cost, then is just over £110, unless you take advantage of the limited Prime membership offer.
Can Amazon kill off Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV in one fell swoop?
We’ll bring you our verdict near the launch date.