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Amazon offers ‘Fire TV’ to take on Apple, Chromecast

MUMBAI: Amazon unveiled ‘Fire TV’, a new streaming video product, to take on its competitor Apple and Chromecast.

Fire TV will plug into a television set and allow users to stream video content over the Internet to their screens.

Amazon’s Prime video will take center stage on the device, but it will also support content from third-party providers including Netflix and Hulu Plus (other apps such as HBO Go and Showtime Anytime will be added in the future).

The device will run a customised version of Android, as is the case with Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets.

The new Fire TV is powered by a quad-core processor and it features 2GB of RAM as well as a dedicated graphics processor. According to Amazon, it is three times more powerful than rival devices like the Apple TV. It ships with a tiny remote control that is made of plastic and features just seven buttons and a directional pad.

Another Fire TV capability being touted by Amazon is voice search “that actually works.” The feature allows users to search for content using spoken commands rather than having to type out queries.

Beginning in May, additional third-party apps will begin rolling out to the Fire TV. Included among them are popular music apps such as Pandora, iHeartRadio and TuneIn.

In addition to video streaming and music services, the Fire TV will also support gaming. Since the platform is built on Android, availability of video game content will be in abundance. Early titles repackaged specifically for the Fire TV include Minecraft, Asphalt 8 and a Monsters Inc. game.

Amazon says the average cost of a paid game on Fire TV will be $1.85, though there will also be plenty of free content to choose from.

A video game controller will be sold separately for $39.99, and Amazon has launched a studio internally to develop in-house games.

Amazon’s Fire TV will be available for purchase beginning immediately for $99.