Internet electronics and everything else retailer Amazon has taken a carefully aimed shot across Apple TV’s bow. The newly refreshed Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick have plenty of hot features to talk about, and include some capabilities that the new Apple TV lacks.
First of all, the new Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick come with a voice remote capability, featuring one of my favorite virtual assistants: Alexa. You can check sports scores or the weather, play music, and search for TV shows and movies using a voice remote, without needing to do any typing. It’s not clear just yet how extensive the voice search will go: will it include all of the available services and apps within your Fire TV or Fire TV Stick, or just the Amazon library?
Perhaps most impressive is the fact that the Amazon Fire TV now supports 4K Ultra HD, providing you with true-to-life picture quality, if your television set supports the resolution. No other set top box currently supports 4K Ultra HD, and the soon-to-arrive Apple TV lacks that capability, so Amazon is the first out of the gate to offer such amazing picture quality.
Like previous generations, the Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick offer the ability to watch live television on NBC News, NBA Gametime, along with Sling TV, which includes ESPN, CNN, HDTV, AMC, A&E, Cartoon Network, and more. The devices also allow you to enjoy more than 250,000 TV episodes and movies on Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO Go, Showtime Anytime, along with games, music, and apps.
Competition is definitely a good thing, and I look forward to adding an Amazon Fire TV to my growing collection of set top boxes. The Amazon Fire TV is available for preorder now, and will be released on Oct. 5, and I hope to offer up a review of the set top box in the coming weeks. The Amazon Fire TV Stick is also available for preorder, and will be released on Oct. 22.