The battle for the living-room has been raging for quite some time, and as of yet there isn’t an ultimate winner. Numerous big players have attempted and are attempting to corner this key market with a wide variety of different approaches.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) (TYO:6758) want you to stream media through next generation video game consoles, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been rumored to be on the verge of launching a television companion to its iTunes service for some time, while smart TV is increasingly popular and prominent. And given the existence of good old fashioned cable boxes, there are a lot of competitors for the living-room space which the world’s biggest consumer electronics corporations know is worth, conservatively, tens of billions of dollars.
Amazon Fire TV launches
Now Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is the latest company attempting to take over your living-room with its Amazon Fire TV service. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has built up such good product penetration and brand awareness with its Kindle Fire that it seems natural and almost inevitable for it to move into other markets. And that is exactly what the world’s biggest provider of cloud computing services is attempting to do with Fire TV.
With Fire TV, though, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is attempting to kill two birds with one stone. Fire TV purports to be a set-top box and gaming console hybrid, meaning that it will directly compete against existing television streaming services such as Apple TV, Roku and Google Chromecast, but will also take on next generation video games consoles such as Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Wii U, and the PC-based Steam Box from Valve.
When Fire TV is released, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) will doubtless be pushing the fact that the new device grants users access to the online retailer’s Amazon Prime Instant Video streaming service. But Fire TV will also deliver content through third-party platforms, with the Amazon device enabling users to access Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX), Hulu Plus, YouTube, ESPN, Showtime and other services as well. Fire TV will apparently run off a forked version of the Android operating system, which will be familiar to those who have used Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets previously.
Video gaming focus
The gaming side of the device will seemingly be a strong focus, with Amazon reporting that there will be thousands of titles available immediately. Major games publishers supporting the Fire TV concept include Disney, Gameloft, EA and Sega, and consumers will be able to purchase a Fire Game Controllers separately. Multiplayer sessions with other Kindle Fire owners will receive full support.
It must be said that the Fire TV looks a very powerful device given its relatively paltry shipping price of $99. Its spec list compares favorably with other similar devices such as Roku 3, Apple TV and Google Chromecast, with the Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) device being fitted with a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM which mean that it will comfortably outperform any of its immediate competitors, while retailing at around the same price point as all but Google Chromecast.
While the chances of any device completely taking over the living-room are slim in this extremely competitive marketplace, Amazon Fire TV looks well placed to at least establish itself as a viable contender to existing entertainment options.