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The Little Black Box: Amazon’s Latest Product

Amazon has released its latest innovation – a small box called the Amazon fireTV, an Internet streaming device. It allows users to access online services, such as video games and Amazon Prime subscriptions, via their televisions. Of course, music and photos are easy to access via the fireTV as well – photos and videos that have been saved to the cloud can be viewed and even used to create screensavers.

The new product is comparable to the streaming equipment distributed by Apple and Microsoft. The qualities of fireTV that are expected to improve on competitor’s products include efficient performance, searching capabilities, and an advanced app network. According to Amazon’s vice president, Dave Limp, it will also boast a high-quality processor and optimal connectivity. He reports that it is “super fluid and very responsive, which we didn’t see in other devices in this category.”

Photo Credit: USA Today Article

The little black box operates as a gaming unit, too. Users have access to thousands of games – some at low cost and others at no cost at all. Amazon advertises an easy set-up, plus the ability to view 200,000 television episodes and listen to millions of songs.

Although the fireTV’s streaming capabilities don’t compare to its superior, Netflix, there are some similarities. Much like Netflix produces original programs (“Orange is the New Black,” among others), Amazon will also introduce its own (“Alpha House,” for instance). Don’t worry – they may be competitors, but Netflix will be accessible via the fireTV. YouTube, Hulu, Pandora, and a plethora of other services are also available.

Next month, Amazon is expected to release yet another feature. Amazon FreeTime is designed specifically for children aged 3 to 8. Kids will be able to safely access appropriate TV shows, games and movies, and parents and caregivers can enable time restrictions. The cost will be $2.99 per month.

The Amazon fireTV comes equipped with an intuitive remote control that is programmed with a voice-activated search feature. A user must simply recite the name of a desired program, category, or actor for the device to initiate its search. FireTV costs $99 and is now for sale. The gaming controller is available for $39.99. Both will soon be available via retailers like Staples and Best Buy.

Internet streaming equipment is not new to the tech industry, but there is no sign of it losing popularity any time soon. It is likely that gadgets with internet streaming features will eventually replace the cable and satellite boxes that are currently used in most American homes.