Amazon Fire TV Review: Hands-on and Unbox Experience

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Amazon announced their latest and greatest product, the Fire TV streaming box at a press event April 2nd 2014, this morning in New York City.

Amazon emphasized that the Fire TV will improve search, performance as well as, gaming capabilities over the competing models, such as, Roku and Apple TV.

Fire TV is available on Amazon for $99, and there is also a gaming controller for $39.

Fire TV Review

A New Gaming Experience

Initial reaction from techies supports the fact that the Fire TV will improve the gaming experience when compared with other models, such as, Apple TV and Roku’s boxes.
It comes with a Bluetooth remote that can play limited games, but the real wow factor in improving the gaming experience cones from the Fire Game Controller (sold separately) that will facilitate a much more console like gaming experience.

Amazon is planning to add thousands of games to their library by working with popular gaming developers, such as, Sega, EA, and Disney, as well as, some mobile gaming developers.

Also, Amazon Game Studies will be working to create new games for the Fire TV, one of the highlights will be a third-person shooter called Sev Zero.

Fire TV: Search Capabilities

Another unique, and quite frankly very useful feature, is the voice search, which, will be a welcome change to typing in searches that’s often an irritating activity and how other models, like Roku do it.

Supported Apps

Fire TV supports various services and apps, some highlights include:

  • Netflix
  • YouTube
  • Pandora
  • Hulu Plus
  • Watch ESPN
  • Showtime
  • MLB
  • iHeartRadio
  • Disney

Performance Review Of Amazon Fire TV

To upstage competitors, Amazon loaded the Android powered Fire TV with a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. When compared with models from Apple, Roku, and Chromecast. Amazon claims that their model is 3 times faster.

Additionally, Fire TV boasts the new “ASAP” feature which will stream movies and TV shows much faster and will cut down on buffering.

The Design

While Fire TV looks like the typical set top box, itís actually thinner than most, and Amazon stated in their press release that itís actually thinner than a dime.


Connectivity is plentiful with the Fire TV, including:

  • HDMI
  • Optical audio output
  • Ethernet
  • USB
  • Dual band Wi-Fi is built-in
  • Bluetooth remote

What’s in the Box of Fire TV?

Whats in the Fire TV box?


Price Review Of Fire TV

As hard as Amazon has apparently worked to compete with other models in the industry by offering features that exceed current market offerings, the price is something of a mystery at this point since the Fire TV costs quite a bit more at $99 versus Roku or Google Chromecast, which, can be purchased for $35 and $49 respectively.

So, the pressure is really on Amazon to make sure the Fire TV will offer a high enough quality experience to justify the price.

Fire TV Reviews Online

Cnet reported its initial hands on test impressions as they got to look at the Fire TV after Amazonís press conference. Initial impressions about speed is that while Fire TV is super fast, but, it has its limitations.

Amazon instant content streams super fast, along with videos, which loaded faster than any other model tested in previous times.

Amazon Fire TV Unbox Experience is very cool!

Cnet also reported that Fire TV offered some limited multitasking capability where you can jump from app to app instantly and not have to wait for the other app to load, much in the same way that apps load on smartphones.


Overall, the final impression is that Fire TV loads all Amazon content instantly, but, speed is similar to competing models when loading videos from Netflix and Showtime.

Interface and Layout

The user dashboard and layout is comparable to Roku’s, where of course, Amazon content is the most prominent selection on the menu, in fact, the movies, TV and video library only show Amazon content. Another interesting aspect of the Fire TV review is that the voice search, which, is great, only works with Amazon content.

Amazon Fire TV Home Screen

This can be problematic when needing to find your favorite apps, though recently used apps do show up on the top of the home screen.

App Selection

Cnet reports that there are plenty of apps to choose from, and lots of high quality services. The list is long, but some of the highlights are, Hulu, Netflix, Vevo and Bloomberg TV. It also supports the Plex media server, which supports the streaming of personal video from a PC that runs Plex’s software.

While it’s missing services, like, HBO Go, Vudu and Time Warner Cable, which are available on Roku TV, it leaves it room to grow and it does offer a wide selection of games, more games, in fact, that comparable models.

Is it surprising that the Fire TV is so Amazon focused?

Of course, not, it’s Amazon’s product and it’s something they have done with their book readers and tablets, such as, the Kindle Fire. A smart move that will greatly stimulate sales of their vast digital offerings.

Amazon Officially Unveils Amazon Fire TV, A Tiny $99 Media

The ecommerce giant Amazon has delved even further into the hardware space with the launch of a long-rumored streaming media device called the Amazon Fire TV. It said that it has watched these devices sell on its …

Interesting, Tech Crunch reports that Fire TV has 2GB of RAM, which, is 2 to 4 times more than competing models.

Amazon launches Fire TV, an Android-powered streaming – Engadget

We’ve been waiting for it for quite some time, but now Amazon is finally ready to make its play for the living room. Fire TV is not a barebones device like the Chromecast; it’s a powerful Android-driven platform with ties to the … Read more on Engadget…

Engadget mentions that the user interface is image based, meaning that it’s shown as a collage of movie posters that are presented in a moving 3D bar. This is a good thing because it makes it much easier to identify and choose watch to watch. They also mentioned that scrolling was extremely fast and seamless.

If you haven’t been able to decide yet between the myriad options for streaming boxes, Amazon has yet another new option for you: Fire TV. Read more on AndroidCentral about Amazon announces Fire TV, yet another streaming box.

I’m not very surprised that Amazon comes up with its own TV setup box. Given Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and hundreds of Media Box for Netflix in the market. However, this Fire TV has interesting voice search feature on the remote, and I am a Prime user myself. I definitely would consider getting one for my Living room. My LG SmartTV supports Amazon Prime Video and I am happy with it, but this Fire TV offers even Gaming, FreeTime (Hour control) for my kids. I’m sure that I will appreciate more “unified” Amazon media experience with my Kindle Fire.

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2014-04-05T18:49:26+00:00 By |Tablet Reviews|0 Comments

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