5 reasons Amazon Fire TV can take on Chromecast and Apple TV

Amazon Fire TV
Streaming in the US starting today

Amazon announced its app-filled Amazon Fire TV set-top box as a simplified method of delivering movies, TV shows, music and games to your living room television.

To that end, it's a major competitor to video streaming rivals Apple TV, Roku 3, and Google's Chromecast, with a few exclusive features that make it stand out from the pack.

The world's largest online retailer promised to improve in three areas: search, performance and the openness of its Android-based ecosystem.

Here are a few reasons to consider adding Amazon Fire TV to your already cluttered home entertainment system.

Voice search

Amazon promised to deliver faster search with Amazon Fire TV, noting that typing out a movie title or an actor's name on a Roku is a slow and tedious process. The wear on our Roku 3 directional pad proves it.

Voice search means you don't have to use a D-pad to hunt down individual letters or even a QWERTY keyboard to misspell a name.

Simply talking to your remote searches through the set-top box for what you want and what you need. We already talk to our remotes in an angry voice when it doesn't work properly anyway.

Powerful specs

Amazon Fire TV is late to the game compared to Chromecast and the third-generation Apple TV, but its no slouch when it comes to tech specs.

The little set-top box packs capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 8064 System on a Chip with a Qualcomm Krait 300 quad-core to 1.7 Ghz processor as well as a dedicated Qualcomm Adreno 320 graphics chip.

That should help alleviate buffering times. The 2GB of RAM should help in the area too.

That's four times as much memory as the 512MB Chromecast, which is probably why Amazon chose the larger set-top box form factor over a streaming stick clone.

Games from the get-go

Games from the get-go

Games and a controller

Amazon is promising thousands of games by next month thanks to notable partners like EA, Disney, Take 2, Ubisoft, Sega and Gameloft.

Minecraft is skipping out on Oculus Rift due to what the developer called its "creepy" Facebook acquisition, but the indie game is coming to Amazon's Android-based set-top box.

The company also demoed Asphalt 8, proving that the racing game can be on every single platform possible, and a Monsters University endless runner game.

Amazon Game Studios is also getting in on game development with a tower defense-style third-person shooter called Sev Zero.

You won't be forced to use the Fire TV remote to play these game either. Phones and tablets are compatible with Amazon Fire TV games.

We also got our first look at the Fire game controller. It's going to be sold separately for $39.99 (about £24, AU$43).

It's priced competitively

Amazon Fire TV won't break your bank. Its $99 (about £60, AU$106), which matches the price of the Apple TV and Roku 3.

Chromecast and the new Roku Streaming Stick are cheaper, but their tiny thumb-drive-sized bodies don't have specs on par with Amazon Fire TV.

Best of all, the online retailer hit the sweet spot in terms of cost and it'll be able to deliver it within two days with free shipping via Amazon Prime.

Matt Swider