Amazon Fire TV will take on Google and Apple

Apr 3, 2014

More than 200,000 films and TV episodes will be instantly available on Amazon Fire TV

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

AMAZON has unveiled a new set-top box that will deliver instant access to a library of 200,000 movies and TV episodes.

The palm-sized device, called Amazon Fire TV, will cost $99 (£59) and will make Amazon's enormous library of content, including games, apps, TV shows and films, available to users.

Fire TV connects directly to Amazon Instant Video's vast content bank, including films such as Frozen and Gravity, as well as popular TV series such as Game of Thrones and Sherlock which users can either rent or buy. The device also connects to media players from Netflix and Hulu, which allow single-payment access to multiple titles.

The device was launched last night in New York by Amazon Kindle executive Peter Larsen. Fire TV promises to serve high-definition video via high speed dual Wi-Fi. It also has an inbuilt microphone for voice control, and works with Kindle devices, which can be used as a remote for the set-top box. Fire TV will also anticipate what you might want to watch next and pre-load content to prevent buffering. 

The new device will go head-to-head with the Apple TV box and Google's Chromecast dongle.

David Watkins of Strategy Analytics told The Guardian: "Amazon's move is essentially the final piece in a three-way battle between America's internet heavyweights for tomorrow's TV screen. It's like Dr Pepper challenging Coke and Pepsi's empire.

"Apple's there already, Google joined last year, now all will be up against the incumbent pay-TV providers. To thrive, however, they'll probably have to do partnership deals as Apple has been trying."

The comparatively cheap set-top device will aim to boost the electronic commerce company's profits in the same way the Kindle tablets has done, by driving sales directly to Amazon. Business Insider notes that during a single year, Kindle owners spend $443 more buying from Amazon than the average Amazon shopper who does not own a Kindle.

Apple currently dominates the streaming device market in the US with 43 per cent of all sales. Another device called Roku has 24 per cent and Google's Chromecast 14 per cent.

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