UltraHD for $100 With Amazon

Amazon has been active in the TV STB/dongle space for more than a year now, and is stepping up its game to challenge the new Apple TV. The company’s newest Fire TV STB not only includes gaming features (like Apple TV), but supports UltraHD content, too. The Fire TV Stick has also received new features, such as Alexa – a voice-activated digital assistant.

Amazon claims that users of the new Fire TV box will have access to more UltraHD films than any other streaming media player. Content is supplied by Amazon Video and Prime Video, naturally, as well as Netflix. HEVC is supported, as well.

Processing power is around 75% higher than in the original Fire TV box, due to a new 64-bit Mediatek quad-core processor. A dedicated GPU is also built in. The unit features WiFi connectivity and microSD storage, up to 128GB. Thee ‘Mayday’ screen sharing feature is also built in.

As for gaming, Amazon has produced a new dedicated game controller for the Fire TV, which will cost £30 ($45) ex VAT. The controller includes voice search, an audio hack and up to 90 hours of battery life. It will also be available bundled with the Fire TV box, with a 32GB microSD card and two games, for $140.

The Fire TV STB is available to pre-order now, for $100; it will be shipped on the 5th October.

Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is its fastest-selling device ever, and the new model features voice control. It is said to be the only streaming stick to be shipped with an included voice remote. Owners ask the new digital assistant – Alexa – to show information such as weather, scores or traffic.

Much like Microsoft’s Cortana, Alexa supports natural language recognition. Asking, “Alexa, when do the Seahawks play?” will show when the next game is on, for example. An OTA software update, for both Fire TV and the Fire TV Stick, will enable content searching with Alexa next year.

In addition to the above, the Fire TV Stick supports all of the features from the previous version; these include Whispersync (synchronises content across devices), ASAP (pre-buffering for content you are expected to watch) and a free month of Amazon Prime. The Stick has a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, WiFi and Dolby Audio.

The Fire TV Stick can be pre-ordered today for $50, and will begin to be sold on the 22nd October.

Analyst Comment

UltraHD for $100 (plus TV price)? Yes please! We are seeing the industry really getting behind the format to promote it to customers, with prices coming down every month. (TA)