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Amazon.com Inc unveiled a $99 video streaming device called Fire TV that the company promised would be more easier to use than rival services by Apple Inc, Google Inc and Roku.
Amazon is a latecomer to the set-top TV market that is dominated by the Apple TV. Amazon customers have a large appetite for film and TV, but many already own similar devices, analysts said.
Fire TV, which is available on Amazon.com, can access Netflix, Hulu and other providers of streaming video content. It also provides a more prominent showcase for Amazon Prime Video as well as its growing slate of original shows and games from Amazon Studios.
“It’s the easiest place to watch Netflix,” Amazon executive Peter Larsen said. “You can watch ‘Alpha House’ and you can watch ‘House of Cards’.”
Amazon said it decided to develop the device after getting feedback on its website from customers who bought set-top boxes like Roku, Apple TV and Google Chromecast. Complaints include lagging performance, cumbersome search and closed “ecosystems” on those devices, it said. “When we look at the living room, how do we make the complexity disappear?” Larsen said.
Fire TV can predict what the user will watch and cue it up instantly, he said. A microphone in the remote enables voice-activated search.