Amazon Announces Streaming Video Device Fire TV

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos
 Jonathan Fickies/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Amazon has made its entry into the set-top box game, unveiling the much-anticipated Fire TV on Wednesday in New York.

The small black box will cost $99 and will begin shipping Wednesday, Amazon Kindle vp Peter Larsen told a crowd of reporters. 

That's a premium price point in line with Apple TV. Roku, meanwhile, costs as low as $50 and Chromecast retails for $35. 

Much like the Kindle Fire, the Fire TV offers access to Amazon's Prime Instant Video service, which offers more than 200,000 titles to stream and rent to subscribers for a $99 annual fee. Amazon is bolstering the content on the device with its new slate of original programming, announced Monday.

The Fire also features apps for competing streaming services including Hulu, Netflix and Crackle. Television networks such as ESPN and Showtime also have apps.

To stand out in a competitive market, Amazon has introduced special features for the Fire TV including voice search and the ability to upload photos via Amazon's Cloud Drive app. Fire TV also overlays information about a show's stars (gathered from Amazon-owned IMDb) on the screen. KindleFire users can sync the device to pull up that information on the tablet while they watch TV.

Near the end of the presentation, Amazon also revealed that it has struck deals with several mobile game publishers including Sega, EA and Disney to bring gaming to the device complete with a $40 Amazon game controller. Fire will offer more than 1,000 games that are free to play and Amazon Games Studios will also develop games specifically for the Fire TV and Kindle devices.

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