Join The Discussion

 

New arena at Will Rogers takes shape


The proposed Will Rogers Memorial Center arena continues to take shape as voters head for a Nov. 4 election to decide whether to approve new taxes to help pay for the $450 million facility.

read more >

Ex Rangers manager Washington apologizes for 'breaking wife's trust'

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Former Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington says he is embarrassed for 'breaking his wife's trust.'

read more >

Cooking Class: Fort Worth chef brings home the gold

Toques off to Timothy Prefontaine. The executive chef at the iconic Fort Worth Club is currently the best in the nation, according to the American Culinary Federation. Prefontaine earned the title of 2014 U.S.A.’s Chef of the

read more >

Fort Worth firm 'simplifies' advertising

Reaching customers requires more than price slashing and flashy ads. In today’s competitive marketplace, machines – not men and women – are essential to tapping new markets and

read more >

Trinity Valley School leader to leave in May 2015

Gary Krahn, head of school for the past eight years at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, will leave his position in May 2015 when he and his wife Paula will move

read more >

Amazon unveils streaming media device

Brian Stelter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Amazon wants to be the brain -- and the heart -- inside your big-screen TV.

On Wednesday the company introduced a small black box called Amazon fireTV that enables television sets to access Internet programming, including streaming shows from its Amazon Prime subscription service, and a giant library of video games.

The device will cost $99 and will start shipping immediately.

With it, Amazon will compete head-on both with streaming gadgets like Apple TV and console makers like Microsoft and Sony.

All of these companies, in various ways and for various reasons, want to supplement -- and, over time, possibly replace -- the set top boxes from cable and satellite companies that sit in most living rooms.

Amazon's fireTV has a couple unique features, including a remote control with a voice recognition search feature, so a user can speak the name a show, actor or topic and find that content.

Perhaps most importantly, the device doubles as a casual gaming console; the company says it will have a library of thousands of games available to users, some free and others that exist as paid apps. Amazon announced a gaming controller that will sell for $39.99.

The device may help advance Amazon's streaming TV ambitions. The company has started to introduce original shows, like "Alpha House" and "Betas," and has spent handsome sums of money to secure exclusive rights to other shows, like past seasons of Fox's "24." But its streaming service is a fraction of the size of Netflix.

At a press event in Manhattan, Amazon differentiated fireTV by reading snippets of negative user reviews of other streaming media gadgets from Amazon.com. The complaints called out competitors like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Samsung and Vizio by name.

The company said it identified three big issues that make streaming devices "too frustrating:" inadequate search tools, sluggish performance and closed ecosystems of apps.

Peter Larsen, an Amazon vice president, said fireTV specifically addressed gripes with dongles like Google Chromecast and boxes like Apple TV.

He called the new device "tiny" and "incredibly powerful."

One feature, called ASAP, predicts what TV episodes a user might watch next, and "queues them up so that they start instantly," Larsen said.

To underscore the point that fireTV doesn't just exist to support its Amazon Prime service, the demonstration showed off non-Amazon programs like NBC's "Chicago Fire."

"It's the easiest place to watch Netflix," Larsen said pointedly.

But the event also included a highlight reel for Amazon Studios' original shows, including a second season of "Alpha House," which is in production now.

"Customers are loving these shows," Larsen said.

Amazon also highlighted fireTV's easy access to its children's programming interface, called FreeTime, and music and photos.

< back

Email   email
hide
Arena
What do you think of the new plans for a new Will Rogers arena and changes at the Convention Center?