What is Amazon Fire TV? What can you do with a Fire TV? Amazon Fire TV (stylized as amazon fireTV) is a line of digital media players and microconsoles developed by Amazon. The devices are small network appliances that deliver digital audio and video content streamed via the Internet to a connected high-definition television. They also allow users to access local content and to play video games with the included remote control or another game controller, or by using a mobile app remote control on another device.
The device is available in two form factors, set-top box and HDMI plug-in stick with, in general, lesser specifications than the contemporaneous boxes. The current set-top box model is the Fire TV Cube with embedded Amazon Echo smart speaker (which effectively replaced the Fire TV box model, while the stick form factor encompasses four models, the entry-level Fire TV Stick Lite, the standard Fire TV Stick, and the high-end Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Stick 4K Max (the third of which effectively replaced the third-generation Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD “pendant”
The first-generation Fire TV device was unveiled on April 2, 2014. The second-generation version was released in 2015, with additional Fire TV devices released on regular basis since.
What is Amazon Fire TV?
Fire TV works like other media players (such as Roku, Google Chromecast, and the Apple TV). It’s a device that connects to a TV or monitor via an HDMI port and behaves sort of like the TV’s operating system.
It has its own home page and library of free and subscription-based streaming apps that you can use to watch videos and listen to music. In that way, Fire TV turns any ordinary TV into a “smart” TV — or can be used as a replacement for the OS built into a smart TV.
Currently, Amazon offers five versions of Fire TV, from the value-priced Fire TV Stick Lite to the premium Fire TV Cube. In between those two, Amazon offers three other models: the Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Stick 4K, and the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. In general, all five devices work essentially the same and offer the same array of streaming apps, streaming music, and games.
The difference between models is mainly a matter of image quality, sound quality, and connectivity. The Fire TV Stick Lite and Fire TV Stick only display HD, for example, while the other models offer 4K video. Likewise, all but the Lite output sound in Dolby Atmos, and you need at least the Fire TV Stick 4K Max to connect to the new WiFi 6 wireless standard.
What can you do with a Fire TV?
Like any streaming media player, Fire TV is an entertainment device that gives you access to a vast array of content — free and subscription movies and TV shows, as well as music and games — via an internet connection.
The primary focus of Fire TV, and no doubt the main reason most people purchase one, is for streaming TV shows and movies. That means you can connect to countless streaming apps such as Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, and many others including, of course, Amazon’s own Prime Video.
Fire TV does a lot more than just streaming TV and movies, though. It can also stream audio. Using apps like Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Sirius XM, you can listen to music on demand as well as radio stations and podcasts.
It is also a gaming system, after a fashion. You can use Fire TV to play a large assortment of games. Titles range from mobile classics like Candy Crush to a modern version of Pac-Man and GTA Street Fighter. Some games can be played with the Fire TV remote, though for a more satisfying gaming experience you will need to add an optional game controller.
How Fire TV differs from its competitors
The streaming media player field is fairly crowded; you can choose among Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast, and Apple TV, and that doesn’t include several less popular models. Most of these devices have a lot of baseline features and capabilities in common, such as access to a vast library of streaming content and a range of products across all price points. Although, Apple TV is an outlier, with no low-end product to compete with the inexpensive Fire TV Stick Lite.
Fire TV distinguishes itself from competing products in a few important ways:
- Fire TV is built on the Android OS, but Amazon has modified the software substantially, so it cannot run Android apps. That’s in contrast to Chromecast with Google TV, which has access to the entire library of Android apps, including Android’s mobile games.
- Because Fire TV is an Amazon product, it emphasizes Amazon services. You certainly have full access to other channels and apps, but Amazon emphasizes its own services, like Prime Video and Prime Music, by default when you look for content.
- While other streaming players may or may not include voice control, Fire TV has voice control built into every Fire TV model using Alexa, the same personal assistant found in Echo smart speakers.
Market Growth Scope of Fire TV Ecosystem and Apps
The Fire TV App Ecosystem is growing rapidly. Currently, there are 2,305 paid and 15,876 free apps published by 7,618 app publishers. Every day, on average, around 8 apps get published in the Fire OS app store. While these apps are spread across 155 different categories, the top 5 most popular categories are Lifestyle, Movies and entertainment, Games, News, and Sports.
Some of the popular apps available in the Fire TV ecosystem are:
- TubiTV Android App
- TV Cast Pro for Fire TV
- Fire App
- Peacock TV
- Apple TV
In the coming years, as the market size of global streaming media devices grows from US$ 27.69 billion (in 2018) to US$ 89.48 billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 15.9%, the Fire TV app ecosystem is also expected to cross the benchmark of 20,000 applications.
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