Amazon announced a new device for streaming video to TVs, dubbed Fire TV, Wednesday morning at a press conference in New York.
In addition to video streaming, it can also be used for a number of different multimedia services like playing music or games from mobile devices directly on your television or laptop.
The $99 set-top—a slick black box the height of a dime—allows people to access Amazon Prime’s vast inventory of films, TV series, and music in addition to content from direct competitors like Netflix or Hulu. Its “open ecosystem” platform automatically syncs with your other subscriptions to present the lowest-cost platform to watch a show.
The “tiny box” comes with a Bluetooth-enabled remote control that’s tricked out with voice-enabled search, so you can speak to your remote to find content more quickly, Amazon VP Peter Larsen said.
You can play games with the little remote, but for serious gamers Amazon has also released the Fire Game controller, a $39.99 accessory that comes with 1,000 Amazon coins to purchase titles from its library of content. Games will cost an average of $1.85 to purchase, but those with the controller can also access up to 1,000 free games with Amazon’s library. The controller will be available next month.
Amazon also announced its intention to beef up its own original gaming content, a trend we’ve already seen in terms of the company’s original video series. Since the release of Amazon’s Instant Video service in 2011, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has focused on bulking up the company’s original TV shows. On Monday, it announced the release of six new original shows that will come out in 2014.
The grand unveiling of this set-top box is seen as the company’s answer to Google’s Chromecast, Roku, and the Apple TV. The Fire TV will cost $99 and will be available immediately.