When it comes to Android, Amazon's always gone its own way, first with its own app store, then with the Kindle Fire tablet and now with Fire TV. Think Amazon's FireTV, the company's first real set-top box, as a logical extension of everything it's built thus far. First Amazon built up its app repository. Then it gave us a device of its own to make the best use of it. Add into that Amazon Instant Video — which has yet to be released to any proper Android devices outside of Amazon's ecosystem — and a wealth of other apps, and Amazon has quickly become a digital force to be reckoned with.
And with Fire TV, Amazon has made a huge play not just for your television, but for your living room and bedroom.
At its heart, Fire TV is an Android device, running Amazon's on a customized version of Google's open-source operating system, powered with the same internals you'd find in smartphone or tablet. A quad-core processor and dedicated graphics processor keep things humming along and position the Fire TV as a proper gaming console as well, playing some of your favorite Android titles.
In addition to the Android Apps you can find in the Amazon Appstore, Fire TV has access to more 200,000 movies and TV shows, millions of songs from Amazon's MP3 store, and more than 100 games. Amazon video content is designed to stream immediately, and you can search it by voice.
A few of the content apps available on Amazon Fire TV are Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Pandora, VEVO, Vimeo, Plex, Minecraft, TuneIn Radio — and a host more.
On September 17, 2015, Amazon introduced the next-generation Fire TV, which now includes an Alexa Voice Remote for the price of $49.99, allowing the owner to use their voice while searching for movies and TV shows. It can also access Alexa to get information on the weather, traffic, sports scores and more. The Amazon Fire TV set-top box has a MediaTek 64-bit quad-core processor and a dedicated GPU which the company claims gives it a 75% performance boost compared to the first Fire TV. It also supports 4K video streams for the first time.
Amazon is also selling the Amazon Fire TV Gaming Edition for $139.99, adding a custom game controller and a 32GB microSD card.