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Amazon Fire TV Enters the UK Broadband IPTV Streaming Market

Thursday, September 4th, 2014 (4:29 pm) - Score 4,837

First came Apple TV, then Roku (inc. Sky’s NOW TV service) followed by Google’s Chromecast and now Amazon’s Fire TV box has arrived in the United Kingdom to help put your broadband ISP connection to good use by streaming video and TV content instead of just getting it via a Satellite or that ugly antenna at the top of your house.

The new device includes most of the usual content, such as Sky News, Netflix, YouTube, Demand 5 (Channel 5), Spotify and of course Amazon Music / Prime Instant Video (formerly LOVEFiLM) among many other apps and services. But sadly there’s currently no mention of 4OD (Channel 4), ITV Player, BBC iPlayer or even Sky’s NOW TV service.

The lack of NOW TV isn’t surprising since BSkyB has an investment interest in Roku for its NOW TV service. Customers of the latter have been similarly frustrated by Amazon’s inability to put their Instant Video service on Sky’s device (me being one.. won’t be taking Prime again next year). Clearly both have competing interests, which in this case presents itself as an annoyance for consumers.

But the new device, which has gone on sale today for £79 (this compares with £97 for Apple TV, £25-30 for Chromecast, £93.56 for the Roku 3 or £9.99 for NOW TV [without subscription]), is a fair bit more powerful than most of its rivals thanks to a Qualcomm Krait 300 quad-core processor / Adreno 320 GPU (supports 1080p HD video quality), Dual-band/Dual-antenna WiFi, Bluetooth 4, 2GB of RAM (533MHz) and voice activation support (speak your commands). It also has some handy ports, including one for optical audio that we don’t often see on such units.

amazon fire tv uk

On top of that an additional Amazon game controller can also be purchased and naturally the device is powerful enough to display a number of well-known titles, such as Minecraft-Pocket Edition and Asphalt 8 etc. Many games are free and the average price of paid games is under £1.20.

It looks like a solid piece of kit, although the absence of content from some of the major UK broadcasters and NOW TV is likely to be galling for some. Funnily enough Sky chose this week to announce that NOW TV was available on Chromecast.

In terms of the broadband requirements, this tends to vary but it usually helps to have a stable speed of around 5Mbps (more is always beneficial in a larger household) and luckily that kind of performance is becoming fairly normal. The remaining gaps should be filled in over the next few years by Broadband Delivery UK’s scheme.

Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Avatar adslmax says:

    Good device for XBMC.

  2. Avatar Tomo says:

    Put iPlayer, 4oD, ITV Player, NOW TV on it and you’ve got yourself a deal

  3. Avatar Raindrops says:

    From the reviews i have read for XBMC and stuff like iplayer it is pretty poor. There is no google play storeunless you side load it, so any android app you have to side load.

    It is also then a pain to access the sideloaded stuff like XBMC. You have to scroll all the way down to settings, then across to applications then scroll down the list and find what ever it is such as XBMC which you have sideloaded and wish to launch. You can NOT and do not (or didnt) get an icon.

    It also seems to suffer stuttering when using XBMC for 1080p content, does not like dolby sound either.

    If you want a device for iplayer etc a NOWTV box is the cheapest way. Chromecast if you want a cheap streaming stick and If you want an XBMC device then there is plenty better for similar money such as a bottom end Intel celeron NUC or a Minix neo or similar quality android tv box.

    This box is best suited for if you are a netflix user or tied into Amazons eco system for shopping and purchasing (works superb with the Amazon on demand service). Everything else though you are better off with another box. The voice search only works for Amazon related things, you can not use it in other apps. Searching for a movie say “spiderman” with the voice function will just point you to where to buy it on Amazon or their on demand service. It will not search your network or other apps like netflix for the movie.

    Its kinda like an apple TV except tethered to the Amazon eco-system.

  4. Avatar No Clue says:

    You can put an xbmc icon/folder on the main screen now, though it involves a load of messing about with system files. You also have to go through the procedure each time you upgrade xbmc or any other app where you want to keep the icon.

    Specific versions of XBMC also run significantly better than others, testing them all is a PITA. There are far better android boxes under or around £100 for PURE xbmc operation, which will work out of the box with no real problems.

    Netflix on the device is not that good compared to others and the voice search thing is pointless, last time i read you could not even use it in things like youtube to search. Its tied to Amazon services. IPlayer, ITV ondemand you can good as forget about if you want a easy to use no faff device. Best of with a sammy tv or a nowtv box if you want UK catchup TV, a nowtv box will only cost you £10 and have the main 5 catch up services read to go no faffing about with browsers or finding apps.

    Its not bad for under £100 i personally would not buy one though, maybe if i had an Amazon video ondemand account, but for catch up TV and local stored video playback its pretty poor compared to some of the competition.

    Local content still has issues with high bitrate files and DTS audio in XBMC. Id even argue a raspberry pi with a version of XBMC on it will do a better job, sure slower to boot up and navigate but the important bit which is playback that is superior at than this.

    Buy one if you are tied into Amazons ecosystem and you will love it, buy one for flexibility and you wont.

  5. Avatar Bob says:

    Android so likely still can’t play 24p content same as all the other android devices.

    1. Avatar Bob says:

      To clarify, i mean it won’t change your tv to 24p. It will still play those files but likely at 60hz causing judder.

    2. Avatar Raindrops says:

      A couple of android boxes which have hardware acceleration for video can actually do 24p now. This box i doubt is one though as it only has a Qualcomm Adreno 320 @ 400 MHz GPU which is pretty weak compared to the newer 4K capable boxes with a Mali-450MP GPU @ 600MHz.

      The New M8, Tronsmart, Minix X8 and MXIII devices if you want an android box are the best spec wise right now. However before the end of the year even newer boxes with an improved S802 chipsets (which is what these others are based on) is due. Bringing refinements to more dolby variations of sound formats and more 4K refresh rates as well as some other tweaks such as improved 10bit playback, which this Amazon Box can only dream of being able to handle. Prices are about the same as this also.

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