Amanda Kondolojy

Amazon Streaming Device Fire TV Released

What different capabilities could an Amazon streaming device bring to the table that Google and Apple haven't already? A lot.

Amazon entered the streaming device competition with its $99 Amazon Fire TV device, which was announced and released on April 2. But what capabilities could an Amazon streaming device bring to the table that Google and Apple haven’t already? A lot.

Voice control
One of the big selling points of the Amazon Fire TV is that users can search and play content simply by talking. Though this might seem like a new feature, owners of the Xbox One video console (and the Xbox 360 with Kinect before it) know all about the convenience that voice control provides. Much like Xbox’s functionality, Amazon Fire TV’s voice control is limited to in-app functions, and users can’t cross-search multiple streaming providers for a specific TV show or actor. However, those who prefer streaming video through Amazon Prime will find this voice control option to be quite useful.

Advanced Streaming and Prediction
Though the voice control feature is already offered by competitors, Amazon’s new Advanced Streaming and Prediction (ASAP) feature could be a game changer for the industry. ASAP is designed to predict what users are going to watch by measuring time spent on show landing pages or previous programs viewed, and then start preloading the prediction in the background. This is supposed to make Amazon Prime videos viewed with Fire TV much faster than other streaming networks such as Netflix and Hulu and eliminate buffering time entirely.

Video games
Another big feature that will set Fire TV apart from the competition is that it will be the first streaming device to feature gaming functionality. Though the games will be played locally, Fire TV will be the first to even offer gaming as an option, giving Amazon an edge over the competition.

Content delivery is key
In order for a streaming service such as Fire TV to be successful, it must deliver both fast and high-quality video. Though this Amazon streaming device has partnered with third-party content vendors such as Netflix, its goal is to push customers toward its own in-house service. The company hopes that customers will choose to stream or purchase something from Amazon without opening another app. In order to achieve this, video content must be delivered consistently through a service that can minimize lagging. As demand for these types of services increases, companies that partner with industry-leading content delivery networks (CDNs) can ensure reliability will be paramount.
Whether this Amazon streaming device could lay claim to the market in a major way remains to be seen, but with its features and low price, it could be the next big thing to hit the streaming world.
Photo credit: Flickr



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