Amazon Unveils Fire TV, Its Video Streaming Device

Apr 3, 2014
Originally published on April 3, 2014 6:53 am
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Online retailer Amazon is the latest tech company out with a console that can deliver streaming video services from the Internet to your television. The Amazon Fire TV device joins a crowded field vying for that coveted spot next to your flat screen.

NPR's Joel Rose reports.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Amazon unveiled the Fire TV in New York on a stage set designed to look like a fancy suburban living room. But in real living rooms, Apple, Roku and Google are already there, with devices that let you stream movies and shows from the Internet, directly to your TV. In fact, Amazon vice president Peter Larsen told reporters assembled for the launch that his company has sold millions of those other devices.

PETER LARSEN: And because we're selling millions of them, we hear from customers every day. We hear about what's working, and we hear about what's not working.

ROSE: Larsen boasts that Amazon's Fire TV offers better performance, interface and video-gaming options than the competition, with a similar price-tag of $99. The roll-out comes a few days after Amazon announced new investment in original TV series, adding to the library of shows and movies available through its Amazon Prime service. Still, Fire TV appears unlikely to replace Netflix or your local cable company, says James McQuivey, a media analyst at Forrester Research.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHATTER)

JAMES MCQUIVEY: Amazon is not interested in TV or gaming. Amazon wants to have a deep relationship with you, the customer, so they can sell you stuff. And this helps build a deeper relationship, so they can sell you even more things.

ROSE: McQuivey says the day is not far off when you will buy that stuff with a click - without having to look away from your TV screen.

Joel Rose, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.