Amazon Fire TV adds to space and bandwidth battle in the home
The push to get more of us using IPTV on our main TV, or for second and third televisions around the home continues with the launch of the Amazon Fire TV in the UK after its US launch earlier in 2014.
The diminutive box (115mm x 115mm x 17.5mm) hides a quad core processor backed up with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. Importantly it includes an Ethernet port to avoid wireless issues (it does support 802.11 a/b/g/n too) and an optical output for sound along with the by now standard HDMI port. Video output is at 1080p at up to 60fps so image quality should be good assuming your broadband connection can through enough data at the box.
Price wise the device is usually £79, but until Monday 8th September Amazon Prime members get a £30 discount.
In terms of content the big names like Amazon Instant Video and Netflix are available, along with Spotify but other services like the BBC iPlayer and NOW TV are absent, the lack of the iPlayer may stifle demand in the UK. There is of course loads of Android games available and a controller (£34.99) to give you games console.
The Amazon Fire is not locked down to the extent of many other devices, which means XBMC can be utilised (assuming the UK version has not been crippled) and this allows you to create a power media centre.
One aspect that might be very interesting is the Fire TV carries out some predictive content caching so that you avoid the tiresome few seconds of buffering at the start of a film. If the Fire TV lets you download content in a similar way to the Fire tablets, those with slow connections will be able to download content and avoid buffering or enjoy it in much better quality than an on-demand stream.