When I first read Amazon was releasing Fire TV, I think I may have shouted “YESSSSSSS!”. After glancing over the specs, this is probably the most excited I have ever been about a single product for a while. I am not lying when I say this is the single best streaming player available to the U.S. market. The Amazon Fire TV gives consumers the ability to access 100,000’s shows and movies, millions of songs, and hundred of video games. All in the easiest possible format. But how is this relevant to photography?
The Fire TV allows users to instantly upload images and video to cloud services that can instantly be streamed on the TV. This means if you are shooting in studio, you can have the images immediately pop up onto a full resolution HDTV. It is also a very neat way to use a HDTV for not only entertainment, but you can use it to display images to clients during consultations or when delivering images to clients in person. Using the cloud service also double acts as a back up of your images. One idea I had with the Amazon Fire TV is to use the HD slideshow feature as a potential centerpiece for trade shows or studio presentations. I am all about combining the use of things and incorporating different way of using these things into my business. The Fire TV could easily be one of those.
If you are not familiar with streaming media players, they are units that can connect to your HDTV to stream anything from videos, photos, games, etc. Most of these streaming media players come with all of the popular TV Show/Video subscription services installed. These include Nextflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. The Fire TV comes with all of these. Below is a list of just SOME of the subscriptions services, games, music, etc that are available on the Fire TV. The User Interface: A Thing of Beauty
The interface of the Fire TV is unbelievable. A lot of other streaming players I have used have always been extremely slow and not very responsive. Amazon has done a great job at realizing this was an issue for consumers and have given the Fire TV one hell of a user interface. What I enjoy most about this unit’s interface compared to other is you also have the ability to basically customize a few lists so you can always have quick access to your shows and movies. The sleek design and unparalleled attention to details make navigating this system a pleasure. You do not have to go through a million menus to find a show or change a setting. My kind of gig.
We can not talk about user interface without mentioning the remote. Yes, I said remote. The Fire TV’s remote is a thing of beauty on its own. Sleek, simple, and easy. There are 7 buttons, a scrollable track pad (for navigation like the old iPods), and microphone. Thanks to that microphone, being a couch bum just got easier! For all you lazy peeps like myself, you will be excited to know that you can voice search for shows and videos. It’s like having SIRI for your TV and works great. Another mentionable feature of the remote is its bluetooth connectivity. Like the Roku 3, you no longer need a “line of sight” to navigate the TV with the remote. For gaming use, the Amazon Fire TV requires the Fire Game Controller. The only downfall about this is that you have to purchase it separately. Which is nice if your like me and do not play games, then it keeps the cost of the unit down. No worries if you do play a lot of games, the controller is only $39.99 and it is quite impressive. The controller reminds me a lot of the XBOX controller. Smooth, black, and easy to hold. Like most modern game controllers, it is wireless and comes with all of your usual analog sticks and gaming controls.
The Tech Specs
Like I said above, the specs were one of the things that instantly grabbed my attention. Amazon Fire Tv, like other leading streaming players, will stream videos and shows at 1080p and up to 60 frames per second. In the past I have used a Wii and a Roku to stream video. The Wii is absolutely not built to stream anything and the image quality was always horrendous. The Roku did a great job but the Fire Tv is unsurpassed. Why? Unlike the Roku, the Fire Tv comes with Dolby Digital Plus up to 7.1. This provides high definition surround sound. The Fire TV packs a 1.7 GHZ quad-core processor. Something never seen before in any streaming media player. In fact, the processor is 3x fast than the Roku 3 AND Apple TV. This is one of the elements that allows you to navigate the user interface flawlessly without any lag. The unit is also packed with an Adreno 320 graphics card and 2 GB of memory. If I do recall right, the Roku 3 only has half a gig of memory, so you can obviously see the major advantage of the Fire TV. It boasts 8 gigs of storage so you can fit all the games and apps you need. The player is small and weighs under a pound, making it one of the smallest and lightest HD streaming media players available. It also comes with many ports and obviously the ability to connect to Wifi and Bluetooth 4.0.
Compared with Roku 3, Chromecast, and Apple TV
The TV is an ideal solution for several scenarios photographers encounter in the studio, etc. The ability to have a backup of your photos and videos on a cloud server AND the ability to display those in an HD format is pretty sweet. Think about sitting at a consultation and showing your clients images from a large HDTV instead of having to turn a computer around or hand them a small tablet. Not only can you use it for business, but it can easily replace some of your streaming players if you have any.
As you can clearly see from the Amazon Fire TV review and comparison it is by far the best $99 streaming media player available. Should you upgrade from the Roku 3? Well it depends. Do you want all the functions and available features that the Fire TV offers? Compared to every model of Roku, Chromecast, and the Apple TV this new unit is far superior. Upgraded ultra fast hardware paired with an amazing user interface makes streaming movies, shows, playing music, and games very enjoyable. I picked one up the moment I saw it. It is worth every penny. You can too by visiting the link at the top of this article.