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Amazon Fire TV: 2014’s Killer Product?
The market for streaming TV devices is a crowded one. Many big players in the tech space, such as Google, Apple and Roku, have already released a signature device. Smaller, niche companies are also hot after the streaming media dollar. But despite this heavy product saturation, some observers have argued that none of these devices are the kind of category defining product capable of dominating the market.
Amazon Fire TV could change that state of affairs.
Fire TV, just released to considerable fanfare, has captured the imagination of tech observers. Whether it does the same for the larger buying public remains to be seen, but early returns are encouraging. Amazon has reported its new device is selling so quickly that its own website ran out of stock.
“Fire TV has the potential to be this year’s biggest tech product launch,” said Jason Hope, tech expert (https://medium.com/@jasonhope). “While it has strong competition from established players, Amazon has historically been successful by offering rock-bottom costs and an easy-to-use ecosystem. The company will forego revenue in the short term in order to gain long term strategic advantage, and that’s proven to be a smart approach.”
Let’s take a look at what Amazon’s Fire TV does and how it stacks up against its competition.
Why Fire TV?
The streaming media player category is certainly not lacking for competition. Roku, Google and Apple TV are just a few of the major players in the space. So despite Amazon’s blue chip pedigree, it’s fair to wonder if tech consumers need another media streamer. And for those who do little more than watch Netflix or browse the Web, that’s a fair question. But the market is growing larger by the day, and Amazon’s savvy strategy is aimed at the cost-meets-value sweet spot. Listed at $99, Fire TV is price competitive while boasting an array of powerful features, including top of the line processing power and intuitive and well-designed software. That processing capability gives Fire TV a definite edge on some of its competitors, as it provides the user with a zippy browsing experience. It also offers excellent performance for video, games and other resource heavy entertainment.
Playing with Fire
To stand out in a saturated market it’s important to have a key differentiator. This holds particularly true with video streamers. Almost every device available fills the same functions: Web browsing, video playback and other media consumption. But Fire TV has something of an ace in the hole thanks to its enhanced gaming capability. Consumers can use other devices to play games, but in a somewhat limited capacity. Gaming is front and center on Fire TV. Users can download the standard array of smartphone-style gaming apps or choose from a group of Fire TV-only games. The streamer’s high-end processor comes in handy while gaming, as graphics are rendered quickly and crisply and performance is generally top notch. Users may also pay around $40 for an add-on gaming controller. The controller turns Fire TV into something almost resembling a standalone gaming console, as it provides the kind of responsiveness not found on touch screens or with standard remotes.
Who should opt for the Fire?
For those who already own a Kindle Fire or who are deeply integrated into the Amazon ecosystem, Fire TV is a natural choice. It works seamlessly with other Amazon content, and it comes with a diverse and deep selection of apps and features. Amazon Prime users will find Fire TV especially useful, as the interface makes buying Prime content extremely easy (which was the undoubtedly the company’s intent). Gamers, too, may find Fire TV more to their liking than offerings from Apple, Google or Roku. Finally, consumers looking for a mid-priced media streamer with a full slate of features may also be drawn to the device. The device is attractive and appears to have the kind of solid build quality often found in Apple or higher-end Android products. It’s also visually appealing and sleekly designed. Given Amazon’s massive content library and line of popular, economical devices, Fire TV is likely here to stay, and should continue to improve with each iteration.
About Author: Amy Taylor is a business and technology writer. Amy began her career as a small business owner in Phoenix, AZ. She enjoys writing about business technology trends. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking with her Alaskan Malamute, Sam.
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