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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:27 AM   #1
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Amazon's Fire TV Is Powerful, but Voice Search Limitations Hamper User Experience




Earlier this week, Amazon launched its Fire TV media streaming box, entering a crowded market with devices from Roku, the Chromecast from Google and the Apple TV. With the Fire TV delivering a number of features rumored for a future Apple TV, reactions to Amazon's new box have certainly been of interest to Apple fans.

With an immediate launch for Fire TV, the device has already landed in the hands of reviewers and at popular repair shop iFixit, which promptly tore the device down. Early analysis of the Fire TV suggests the device has market-leading hardware that is hindered by less-than-perfect software.

On the hardware front, iFixit confirms the Fire TV is a powerhouse with a quad-core, 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Krait 300 processor, Qualcomm Adreno 320 dedicated GPU, 2 GB LPDDR2 RAM clocked at 533 MHz, 8 GB internal storage, 802.11a/b/g/n MIMO Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. The Fire TV has the power to play back HD videos, with extra to spare for games.

Though the hardware is impressive, early reviews suggest the device's blazing performance is overshadowed by a poor search experience that makes finding content on the Fire TV a chore, says Dave Smith in a review for ReadWrite. While Voice Search offers an improvement over typical manual input, its results are limited to Amazon services.
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Due to the extreme limitations of Voice Search, browsing through Netflix -- where you'll probably spend most of your time, considering Amazon's rather limited library of quality movies for free streaming -- is, once again, manual labor.

In time, applications like Netflix and Hulu+ could support Voice Search--maybe even through a simple software update. But since searching is so important on this device, Amazon has really hung early-adopters out to dry. Even when Voice Search works, it can't filter the results by movies or programs you can stream for free.
Because of its high-end hardware, Amazon couldn't undercut its competition and had to release the Fire TV at a price point that is on the high-end of the market as noted by Leslie Horn of Gizmodo.
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"More features and more horsepower are rarely a bad thing, but in this case it's driven the price of Fire TV much higher than one might have expected from an Amazon product. In a world full of $35 Chromecasts and $50 Roku sticks -- which definitely can't do as much as Fire TV, but can arguably do more than enough -- forking over $100 for the ability to play some biggie-sized tablet games is a tough sell."
Scott Stein of CNET
focused on the gaming feature of the Fire TV, saying it isn't groundbreaking and doesn't offer a compelling alternative to existing smartphone, tablet, or console games.
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Don't expect anything more than what Android/iOS already offers: the Fire TV's initial offerings, while better than I'd expected, cover a lot of familiar bases. Terraria, Badland, Asphalt 8, Riptide GP 2, Dead Rising 2, The Walking Dead, even Minecraft Pocket Edition...you can already get all these in many other places.
To help set it apart from its competitors, Amazon included an app store, gaming and wireless controller support to Fire TV. Earlier rumors suggest Apple will bring similar features to its next generation Apple TV, adding support for games and Apple's iOS 7 controllers to the media box. Other rumors point to a device with the router features of the AirPort Express as well as a possible cable TV tie-in with partners such as Comcast.

Article Link: Amazon's Fire TV Is Powerful, but Voice Search Limitations Hamper User Experience
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:29 AM   #2
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Seems like they're nitpicking to me.
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:31 AM   #3
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As I said days ago, there's a reason why Apple hasn't launched App Store on Apple TV: they still haven't figured out how to deliver the rich experience we demand. Fire TV is just a rush first to market type product that will fail epic style.
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:32 AM   #4
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While the hardware is there, it's the ecosystem that will ultimately determine if this is really better than a typical set-top box like the Apple TV.

I have no doubt that opening an App Store for Apple TV would attract tons of developers, but I'm not sure if Amazon has enough mindshare to do the same.

We might have another Ouya on hands.

Personally I don't really care for now given that it's a US-only product.
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:32 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Nunyabinez View Post
Seems like they're nitpicking to me.
Sounds like one person commented on Voice and yet MR is making that an "issue"

The same comments about this device could be said by all of the streaming devices. None are perfect, none have all the features one wants and there's a lot of overlap.
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:32 AM   #6
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Fire TV is just a rush first to market type product that will fail epic style.
REALLY - Apple TV continues to be an EPIC disappointment to many of us.
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:33 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Nunyabinez View Post
Seems like they're nitpicking to me.
Agreed. This device looks like it is far beyond anything else currently on the market.
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:33 AM   #8
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2014 with no 802.11ac. Nice. If any Apple product gets launched without it this year... I'm going to be in shock.
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:33 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by pgiguere1 View Post
We might have another Ouya on hands.
Doubt it. Gaming may not take off exponentially - but as a streaming device alone, Amazon has plenty of customers and potential customers to do very well.
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:34 AM   #10
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well it does have plex and mkv
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:34 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by dumastudetto View Post
As I said days ago, there's a reason why Apple hasn't launched App Store on Apple TV: they still haven't figured out how to deliver the rich experience we demand. Fire TV is just a rush first to market type product that will fail epic style.
Please explain how this product was rushed. This isn't the first time you've attempted to speak as if this is some fact.

And how is Amazon first? There's already a market...
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:35 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by samcraig View Post
Sounds like one person commented on Voice and yet MR is making that an "issue"

The same comments about this device could be said by all of the streaming devices. None are perfect, none have all the features one wants and there's a lot of overlap.
Voice is a big deal so it's unfortunate that it doesn't work across all apps. I hope whatever we get from Apple vastly improves the search capability on ATV. Don't bother releasing anything if they haven't been able to improve the UI and search functionality.
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:36 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post
Voice is a big deal so it's unfortunate that it doesn't work across all apps. I hope whatever we get from Apple vastly improves the search capability on ATV. Don't bother releasing anything if they haven't been able to improve the UI and search functionality.
I'm still waiting for Apple to have on onscreen search or jump to letter when viewing my ~800 video library list of titles.
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:37 AM   #14
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REALLY - Apple TV continues to be an EPIC disappointment to many of us.
What is it with the word 'epic'? And 'epic fail'. Both are overused to the point of being meaningless. It's just something said to sound cool, even though it sounds just the opposite - stupid.
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:38 AM   #15
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I wish Apple would have unlocked the app store.
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:38 AM   #16
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Apple needs to push the envelope to stay in the streamer competition. We can see where this is headed with the streaming and gaming systems. The competition is only going to get more extreme.
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:39 AM   #17
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Gary Busey & Amazon Fire Voice Search

According to Gary Busey the voice search feature is great!
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:40 AM   #18
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The user experience will be the key. I really don't think anyone has cracked it yet.
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:42 AM   #19
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Doubt it. Gaming may not take off exponentially - but as a streaming device alone, Amazon has plenty of customers and potential customers to do very well.
Yeah, my perception of Amazon is probably not the same as an American.

In Canada, Amazon.ca is nowhere as popular as Amazon.com in the US. They have a very poor product selection and prices aren't particularly good. We always get products like Kindles very late and I've yet to see a Kindle Fire in the wild, or find any person who subscribes to Amazon Prime.

But from what I understand Amazon is really big in the US, so people might buy this set-top box just because they already have an Amazon Prime subscription.
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:44 AM   #20
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iPhone controllers? So which device are you meant to look at when looking to press that specific button? An app is no substitute for good old physical buttons.
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:45 AM   #21
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If this thing can get xbmc and the video add ons I use(1channel, Icefilms, Project Free Tv etc) I will sell my jailbroke Apple TV 2
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:46 AM   #22
samcraig
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Originally Posted by pgiguere1 View Post
Yeah, my perception of Amazon is probably not the same as an American.

In Canada, Amazon.ca is nowhere as popular as Amazon.com in the US. They have a very poor product selection and prices aren't particularly good. We always get products like Kindles very late and I've yet to see a Kindle Fire in the wild, or find any person who subscribes to Amazon Prime.

But from what I understand Amazon is really big in the US, so people might buy this set-top box just because they already have an Amazon Prime subscription.
I, also, should have qualified my comment to be US biased.
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:46 AM   #23
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Voice is a big deal so it's unfortunate that it doesn't work across all apps.

I have been saying the same about SIRI for a long time.....
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:47 AM   #24
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Really!

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REALLY - Apple TV continues to be an EPIC disappointment to many of us.
Several million Apple TV owners would disagree with you.
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Old Apr 4, 2014, 11:49 AM   #25
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2014 with no 802.11ac. Nice. If any Apple product gets launched without it this year... I'm going to be in shock.
Why? The 'n' (or even 'g') is more than fast enough for any streaming purposes, and 'n' has got all that MIMO goodness. What operational benefit do you think you'd get from having 'ac'?
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