Home > Android, Hardware, Qualcomm Snapdragon > Amazon Launches $99 Fire TV Android Media Player Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon Quad Core SoC

Amazon Launches $99 Fire TV Android Media Player Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon Quad Core SoC

After few months ago, news broke that Amazon was working on an Android STB. The company has now launched Amazon Fire TV media player featuring Qualcomm Snapdragon 8064 quad core Krait processor with 2GB RAM, and supporting Amazon Prime Video, as well as a host of other popular online video and audio streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo, Pandora, and more.

Amazon_Fire_TVLet’s go through the specifications first:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 8064 quad core Krait 300 processor @ 1.7 GHz with Adreno 320 GPU. (Part of Snapdragon 600 family)
  • System Memory – 2GB LPDDR2 @ 533 MHZ
  • Storage – 8 GB internal
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4b output, w/HDCP. Resolution: 720p and 1080p up to 60fps
  • Audio Output – HDMI, optical SPDIF
  • Video Codecs -  H.263, H.264, MPEG4-SP, VC1
  • Audio Codecs – AAC, AC-3, E-AC-3, HE-A, PCM, MP3, Dolby Digital Plus, 5.1 surround sound, 2ch Stereo and HDMI audio pass through up to 7.1
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual-band/dual-antenna 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (MIMO),  Bluetooth 4.0 (profiles: HID, HFP 1.6, SPP),
  • USB -  1x USB 2.0 host port
  • Dimensions  – 115 mm x 115 mm x 17.5 mm
  • Weight – 281 grams

Amazon also included specs for the “Fire TV Remote” provided with their box:

  • Communication Protocol – Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR with support for the following profiles: HID, HFP 1.6, SPP
  • Buttons – Voice, 5-way Directional, Back, Home, Menu, Rewind, Play/Pause, Fast Forward
  • Dimensions – 38.3 mm x 139.9 mm x 16.1 mm
  • Weight 68 grams with batteries (45.5 grams without batteries)
  • Power – 2x AAA Batteries  (included)

The remote supports voice search thanks to two digital microphones.

Fire TV and Remote Description (Click to Enlarge)

Fire TV and Remote Description (Click to Enlarge)

Amazon Fire TV will come with the aforementioned remote, 2x AAA batteries, a power adapter, and a Quick Start Guide. An optional Game Controller is also available. The device runs FireOS, an highly customized Android firmware based on Android 4.2.

Amazon has also provided a comparison table including Fire TV STB, as well as what the company considers as its main competitors, namely Roku 3, Apple TV and Google ChromeCast.

Amazon Fire TV vs Roku 3 vs Apple TV vs ChomeCast (Click to Enlarge)

Amazon Fire TV vs Roku 3 vs Apple TV vs ChomeCast (Click to Enlarge)

When it comes to hardware, Fire TV is clearly ahead, so if the firmware is right you should have a very smooth experience. Fire TV appears to have support for  most of popular online U.S. video and audio services, lacking only HBO GO, and support for a greater amount of games, but it’s quite likely they put aside some others strong points of the Roku, Apple TV, and ChromeCast. I can’t really comment here, as I have never really looked into Roku or Apple TV in details.

Together with Fire TV launch, Amazon also announced FireTV SDK to let developer brings apps to their new device. All information you need should be available on  Amazon Developer’s Fire TV page.

Fire TV is available and shipping now for just $99 on Amazon (US only), and the Game Controller can also be pre-ordered for $39.99 with shipping scheduled for the 7th of April. You may also get a free 30-day trial of Netflix and Amazon Prime when you purchase Fire TV.

Thanks to CSilie for the tip

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  1. adem
    April 3rd, 2014 at 10:04 | #1

    i never owned a qualcom chipset b4 i wonder how it is with the like of xbmc

  2. onebir
    April 3rd, 2014 at 11:22 | #2

    FireOS aka crappy bloatware walled-garden modelled on iOS?

  3. Joe Bucks
  4. Dan
    April 3rd, 2014 at 14:56 | #4

    This is the sort of box Google should have launched in the first place instead of the half-assed products Google has let dominate the Android market.

    They have most of the major streaming video providers on board and it has an app store containing Plex for for you own media so I suspect this is going to be a very popular box.

  5. Someone from the other side
    April 3rd, 2014 at 15:13 | #5

    Hardware wise, this is exactly what it should be. Now let’s see if it can be hacked to replace FireOS with AOSP…

  6. Marius
    April 3rd, 2014 at 15:58 | #6

    Now this is something quite exciting and the price is right also. If only this one had SATA.
    It goes without saying that this needs to be hacked to run something decent, at least real Android but better yet, Linux.

  7. April 3rd, 2014 at 16:27 | #7

    Sata And torrent please !

  8. Sakuraku
    April 4th, 2014 at 01:52 | #8

    This has decent specs, but if we want to hack another os like vanilla droid, will it be able to use hardware acceleration for video and games?

  9. Harley
    April 4th, 2014 at 15:25 | #9

    Does it allow you to side-load unsigned Android apps without rooting it?

    I believe that Kindle Fire which also have FireOS does allow you to sideload APK files that are not in any app store, like for example XBMC.

    This could be a much better XBMC media player than the Ouya is today!

    No information if it can decode DTS or at least pass-through DTS audio?

  10. anonymous
    April 4th, 2014 at 16:47 | #10

    @Harley
    From http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CX5P8FC Fire TV supports Dolby Digital Plus, 5.1 surround sound, 2ch Stereo and HDMI audio pass through up to 7.1.

    So DTS pass-through supported at least which already makes it better than the Ouya. Hopefully it also decodes DTS and if not then soon.

  11. Harley
    April 4th, 2014 at 16:56 | #11

    Amazon posted instructions on how to sideload unsigned apps on Fire TV:

    https://developer.amazon.com/sdk/asb/app-install.html

    To test and debug your Amazon Fire TV app before submitting it to the Amazon Appstore, use Eclipse or the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) to install it on the Fire TV device. This is sometimes referred to as “sideloading” an app. This document describes how to install, run, and uninstall your app on the device, with Eclipse and ADB on the command line. You must have already used ADB to connect your development computer to Fire TV for the Eclipse- and ADB-specific instructions to work. See Connecting ADB.

  12. Harley
    April 4th, 2014 at 16:59 | #12

    anonymous :
    @Harley
    From http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CX5P8FC Fire TV supports Dolby Digital Plus, 5.1 surround sound, 2ch Stereo and HDMI audio pass through up to 7.1.
    So DTS pass-through supported at least which already makes it better than the Ouya. Hopefully it also decodes DTS and if not then soon.

    No you misunderstood that as “DTS” is not the same as “Dolby Digital”.

    “Dolby Digital” and “DTS” are competing formats and are not the same.

    Doesn’t specifically mention DTS pass-through then assume no support

  13. anonymous
    April 4th, 2014 at 22:12 | #13

    @Harley
    No, I didn’t misunderstand anything. I was referring specifically to the “HDMI audio pass through”. This WILL pass DTS through to your TV and from there into your receiver where it gets decoded, exactly the same as a Blu-ray player connected to your TV does.

  14. Joe Bucks
    April 6th, 2014 at 13:55 | #14

    Harley :
    Does it allow you to side-load unsigned Android apps without rooting it?
    I believe that Kindle Fire which also have FireOS does allow you to sideload APK files that are not in any app store, like for example XBMC.
    This could be a much better XBMC media player than the Ouya is today!
    No information if it can decode DTS or at least pass-through DTS audio?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHL42krl7IA

  15. Harley
    April 7th, 2014 at 23:52 | #15

    @anonymous
    No I doubt it will, as it does not specifically mention “DTS”, and DTS does require the manufacturer to pay a license even for pass-though. So since they do not mention “DTS” support then we can assume that they choose not to pay that DTS license, and therefor there is no DTS support at all.

  16. The Cageybee
    April 8th, 2014 at 04:29 | #16

    Way too little storage for the kind of download heavy games they’re showing in their promo stuff. If using as a console you’d only get maybe 3 of those games.

  17. anonymous
    April 8th, 2014 at 19:11 | #17

    @Harley
    I’ve heard that a license isn’t required for pass-through/bitstreaming. I’d like a definitive answer for this recurring question to settle this once and for all. Anyone?

  18. April 8th, 2014 at 21:18 | #18

    @anonymous
    Several years ago, DTS/Dolby pass-through did not require a license, but this changed, and I remember the SoC company (Sigma Designs) made us pay an extra license to support Dolby or/and DTS pass-through. I’m not really up-to-date with this, but this could be the reason for the license confusion.

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