Amazon beats Apple to 4K with Fire TV, Fire TV Gaming Edition
Disappointed the new Apple TV doesn’t support 4K? Then get Amazon’s new Fire TV instead.
Two new versions of the device — Fire TV and Fire TV Gaming Edition — are here with updated internals that make them 75 percent faster than their predecessor, plus Alexa, Amazon’s own virtual assistant that is the brains behind the Echo speaker.
There’s also a new Fire TV Stick that promises the best Wi-Fi performance in a media-streaming dongle.
Since its launch last year, Fire TV has become the best-selling category of Amazon device. Today’s refresh promises to improve upon that with much-improved components and new features.
Fire TV now provides access to more 4K movies than any other device, with support for both Prime Video and Netflix — and now uses the new HEVC codec for 1080p that is around twice as efficient as H246, the current industry standard.
The device also boasts 75 percent more power than its predecessor, and five times the power of the latest Roku. That’s thanks to a new 64-bit quad-core MediaTek processor, a dedicated GPU, and more memory. It also has 8GB of storage as standard, and a microSD card slot.
Perhaps more important than the hardware changes is the introduction of Alexa. Just like any other virtual assistant, Alexa can fetch you sports scores, weather forecasts, traffic information, and find content for you. Just say, “Alexa, play some rock” and that’s it.
Despite all these improvements, Fire TV still costs under $100 — but if you’re using it for gaming, you’ll want the $139.99 Fire TV Gaming Edition.
The Gaming Edition device gives you everything you get from the regular Fire TV, plus a 32GB microSD card loaded with Shovel Knightand Disney’s Ducktales, and the new Fire TV Game Controller, which has a headphone jack and voice capabilities.
There’s also a new Fire TV Stick that now comes with a voice remote and Alexa integration, which is priced at $49.99.
Fire TV and Fire TV Gaming Edition will start shipping on October 5, while the new Fire TV Stick will follow on October 22. All three devices can be pre-ordered now from Amazon.com.