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Amazon enters TV and gaming market with new gadget

08 April 2014 - 09:41 by Paul Tissington

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This month, Amazon announced that it would be launching a new product called Fire TV, which is a set top box designed to sit in your living room and offer access to video streaming services from a variety of providers.

This is not a complete replacement for traditional TV broadcasts, because the box does not support Freeview or any of the UK's dedicated subscription services. Instead, it is a direct rival for Apple TV and Google's Chromecast platform, with a low asking price of $99 (£59) placed on the box to attract curious consumers.

Whether or not you will be able to use the gadget to carry out safe shopping online from the comfort of your sofa is unclear, but it will definitely be tied into Amazon's existing media delivery services, such as Prime Instant Video. This means that renting and buying digital copies of movies and TV shows should also be possible further down the line, if additional features are enabled.

The Fire TV box itself takes up no more space than a couple of stacked CD cases and has full support for HDMI, enabling high-def playback of content on compatible TVs.

What is especially interesting about the box is that Amazon has built in gaming capabilities, endowing it with a powerful quad core processor and selling a separate wireless gamepad, which lets players enjoy a range of titles.

Up to 1,000 games could be available on launch, since under the skin it runs a modified version of the Android OS. This also means that users will be able to pick up more digital titles via safe shopping online without having to worry about physical discs and other detritus.

Fire TV could change the state of the living room if Amazon is able to get it off the ground this year.