Amazon Fire TV

There’s no mistaking the popularity of streaming video, which is quickly overtaking traditional cable and satellite options as the go-to choice for home entertainment. There are dozens of options on the market for streaming video to your televisions. Each option has its own pros and cons, and now yet another company is throwing its hat into the streaming ring: Amazon.

Amazon Fire TV is the latest set-top device for streaming video, music, movies, games and more, and it launched in early April at a media event in New York City. According to the company, Amazon Fire TV – which connects to HDTVs for 1080p HD video and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound – has one of the largest selections on the market – 200,000 TV episodes and movies, millions of songs, and more than 100 pokies online games.

One of the benefits of using an Amazon product is being able to connect more easily with Prime, Amazon’s instant video app. Through Prime, you can access more than 40,000 Prime Instant Videos, including exclusive content like Downton Abbey.

The box, like many others, is easy to use. Registered Amazon users can log in immediately and enjoy personalized recommendations based on previous searches, as well as access favorite titles. ASAP, a feature exclusive to the device, predicts your favorite movies and TV shows, and buffers them for immediate enjoyment. Gamers can access titles like Minecraft and The Walking Dead, as well as Amazon exclusives through the Amazon Fire TV.

The feature that sets the Amazon Fire TV apart from other set top boxes like Roku and Chromecast is the voice search feature – the Fire TV is the only streaming device with voice activation. According to the company, voice search is as easy as pressing a button and speaking into the remote. If you’ve used a remote or controller to search for programming by hunting and pecking letters, you’ll know why this is such a huge advantage.

The technology and product is still very new, and the voice activation feature does have some limitations. Currently, the feature only works with Amazon Prime and Vevo, which is owned by Amazon. The company announced the voice activation feature would extend to Hulu Plus, Crackle and Showtime Anytime this summer.

Amazon Fire TV is available now through Amazon.com and some electronics retailers, and costs $99.

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