Earlier this week, Amazon revealed its newest innovation – Fire TV. On Amazon’s website it says, “Amazon Fire TV is a tiny box you connect to your HDTV. It’s the easiest way to enjoy Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, low-cost movie rentals, and much more.” My immediate reaction was… isn’t that similar to what Roku does?  The Roku 3 costs the same as the Fire TV – both have a price tag of $99.  The difference starts with Prime members. If you are a Prime member you have unlimited access to over 40,000 Prime Instant Videos. Being a Prime member myself, I was more intrigued with what other benefits I might have. Fire TV supposedly has the “largest selection of videos,” which is a nice change from Netflix in my opinion. With Fire TV you can rent or purchase over 200,000 movies and TV episodes. Amazon said that they are working towards having thousands of games available to play next month, which could bring in a new wave of subscribers. However the game feature is $39.99 in addition to the $99 Fire TV box. Some spectators felt that the creation of the Fire TV is a move to draw more people into Prime. According to Bloomberg, in an interview after the debut of the device Peter Larsen said, ” Fire TV is definitely a better experience if you have Prime.” They even enticed parents by introducing Amazon FreeTime, coming next month. It will allow kids to watch TV “safely” with simple controls for screen limits and personalized profiles set by parents.

Another feature that separates Amazon’s Fire TV from Roku, Google or Apple is the voice search function that is enabled on the Fire TV’s smart remote. Consumers can easily bring up most recent TV shows, search through titles, keywords and more through voice search. Aside from the basic feature functions, the Fire TV has a quad-core processor and 2GB of memory which puts the device a step ahead of its competitors.

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Jaclyn McClellan

Jaclyn McClellan is an assistant financial analyst at AAII and is editor of Computerized Investing, the premiere publication covering the use of personal computers for financial planning, investment analysis and portfolio management. She contributes articles and reviews to Computerized Investing and writes for the AAII Journal. McClellan also serves on the Stock Superstars Report and Dividend Investing advisory committees. She is an honors graduate from DePaul University with a bachelor of science in business with a major in finance.

3 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Wayne Thorp
    Wayne Thorp April 4, 2014 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    I love my Roku 2. I can view my Amazon Prime content with it so I don’t see the need to switch to Fire. My worry is that Amazon will eventually make Prime content exclusive to the Fire, which would make me reconsider my Prime subscription before switching from the Roku.

  2. Jackie
    Jackie April 4, 2014 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    It will be interesting to see the differences as people who have used both try out the Fire TV. I haven’t used Roku, but the price is the same. So maybe for those who already have Prime like me, the Fire TV is worth checking out? We’ll see. It sounds like $99 wouldn’t be the only fee I’d have to pay for content or capabilities.

  3. Wayne Thorp
    Wayne Thorp April 4, 2014 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    $99 will you get the box. There is a lot of free content, but the best is fee-based–Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, etc. You can spend a ton of money if you don’t pay attention. Not really reading about anything that differentiates Fire from Roku, et al.

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