Amazon Fire TV Review, A Competent Media Streamer

Introduction and Specifications

The ability to stream movies and other content to your TV is relatively commonplace thanks to set top boxes such as the Roku 3, Apple TV, gaming consoles that support streaming, and built-in functionality that comes with many of today’s Blu-ray players and TVs. Even so, there’s always room for additional competition, right? Amazon believes there is, and recently launched its Fire TV to prove it.

Amazon Fire TV provides access to a number of popular services including Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, Showtime Anytime, Pandora, tunein, YouTube, Vimeo, Crackle, and much more. You can also rent videos, view photos, stream music, and play games using the Fire TV.

Recognizing there’s plenty of competition from other streaming boxes, Amazon has managed to differentiate its Fire TV in a few ways. For example, the Fire TV remote features a built-in mic that enables voice search functionality. The hardware found inside the Fire TV is also notable, especially in comparison to competitive systems. While the Roku 3 featurs a dual-core processor and 512 MB of RAM, the Fire TV ups the ante by including a quad-core Snapdragon processor and 2GB of RAM. Even with these specifications and additional features, the Fire TV costs $99, which is the same as the Roku 3.

Before we dive into the full hands-on review, let’s take a look at the full specifications of the Fire TV and its remote and a quick hands-on demo tour of the device here for you.

Amazon Fire TV
Specifications & Features
4.5" x 4.5" x 0.7" (115 mm x 115 mm x 17.5 mm)
9.9 oz (281 grams)
SOC Platform
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8064
Qualcomm Krait 300, quad-core to 1.7 Ghz
Qualcomm Adreno 320
8 GB internal
2 GB LPDDR2 @ 533 MHZ
Wi-Fi Connectivity
Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) for faster streaming and fewer dropped connections than standard Wi-Fi. Supports 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi networks.
Bluetooth 4.0 with support for the following profiles: HID, HFP 1.6, SPP
Cloud Storage
Free cloud storage for all Amazon content
5.5 mm DC Jack
Type A HDMI 1.4b output, w/HDCP
Optical Audio (TOSLINK)
10/100 Ethernet
USB 2.0 Type A
Support for Dolby Digital Plus, 5.1 surround sound, 2ch Stereo and HDMI audio pass through up to 7.1
Content Formats Supported
Video: H.263, H.264, MPEG4-SP, VC1
Audio: AAC, AC-3, E-AC-3, HE-A, PCM, MP3
Photo: JPG, PNG
Output Resolution Supported
720p and 1080p up to 60fps
System Requirements
High-definition television, HDMI cable
TV Compatibility
Compatible with high-definition TVs with HDMI capable of 1080p or 720p at 60/50Hz, including popular HDCP-compatible models from these manufacturers: Hitachi, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, NEC, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio, Westinghouse
Warranty and Service
1-year Limited Warranty and service included
Closed Captioning
Watch videos and TV shows with closed captioning displayed. Captions are not available for all content.
Included in the Box
Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Fire TV remote
2 AAA batteries
Power Adapter
Quick Start Guide
$99 direct from Amazon

Fire TV Remote
Specifications & Features
1.5" x 5.5" x .6"(38.3 mm x 139.9 mm x 16.1 mm)
68 grams or 0.15 lbs with batteries (45.5 grams or 0.10 lbs without batteries)
2 x AAA (included)
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR with support for the following profiles: HID, HFP 1.6, SPP
Voice Search
Dual digital microphones with noise suppression technology integrated
Voice, 5-way Directional, Back, Home, Menu, Rewind, Play/Pause, Fast Forward

Next, let's take a closer look at design and functionality of Amazon's new set top streamer...

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