News

Amazon hopes digital streaming device sets TV on ‘Fire’

Amazon hopes digital streaming device sets TV on ‘Fire’

ON FIRE:Fire TV, which is available on Amazon.com, can access Netflix, Hulu and other providers of streaming video content. It also provides a more prominent showcase for Amazon Prime Video as well as its growing slate of original television shows and video games from Amazon Studios. Photo: Reuters

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc unveiled a $99 video streaming device called Fire TV that the e-commerce company promised would be more powerful and easier to use than rival services by Apple Inc, Google Inc and Roku.

Amazon is a latecomer to the set-top TV market that is dominated by the Apple TV. Amazon customers have a large appetite for film and TV, but many already own similar devices, analysts said.

Fire TV, which is available on Amazon.com, can access Netflix, Hulu and other providers of streaming video content. It also provides a more prominent showcase for Amazon Prime Video as well as its growing slate of original television shows and video games from Amazon Studios.

“It’s the easiest place to watch Netflix,” Amazon executive Peter Larsen said at an event in New York on Wednesday to launch the product. “You can watch ‘Alpha House’ and you can watch ‘House of Cards’.”

Amazon said it decided to develop the device after getting feedback on its website from customers who bought set-top boxes like Roku, Apple TV and Google Chromecast. Common complaints include lagging performance, cumbersome search and closed “ecosystems” on those devices, it said.

“When we look at the living room, how do we make the complexity disappear?” Larsen said.

Fire TV can predict what the user will watch and cue it up instantly, Larsen said. A microphone in the remote enables voice-activated search. A video game controller can be purchased for $39.99.

Seattle-based Amazon said it tried for “lowest price point possible” on Fire TV, which costs about the same as an Apple TV, but substantially more than Chromecast or Roku.

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba and Liana Baker in New York; Writing and additional reporting by Deepa Seetharaman in San Francisco; Editing by Richard Chang)

Recent Headlines

7 hours ago in Music

Lady Antebellum to host televised ACM Honors show

ladyantebellum839354649795

Grammy-winning country group Lady Antebellum will host the 10th annual ACM Honors show, which will be televised for the first time.

9 hours ago in Entertainment

Judge rules Bill Cosby must stand trial on sexual assault charges

15-overlay-11

A Pennsylvania judge ordered entertainer Bill Cosby to stand trial on sexual assault charges over allegations that he drugged and assaulted a woman in 2004.

9 hours ago in Entertainment

Video gaming returns to TV with new league

gamingREUTERS

Competitive video gaming returns to TV with the launch of a 10-week gaming league that will be broadcast on TBS.

10 hours ago in Entertainment

Changes are coming to Twitter

twitterREUTERS

User names and attachments - including photos and videos - will no longer count towards the length of a tweet, but the 140-character limit will stay.

10 hours ago in Entertainment

‘Pink Panther’ star Burt Kwouk dies at 85

burtkwoukREUTERS

He also starred in numerous films, among them three James Bond movies including "Goldfinger."