Amazon Attempts World Domination With Fire TV
Anyone who has bought something on the Internet in their lifetime is likely to have heard of Amazon, the heavy hitter in the online shopping industry. Basically, it is now the Walmart of the Internet world, and, like Walmart, it is also permeating nearly every aspect of existence. Amazon has a lot of fingers in a lot of pies. Its latest endeavor? Attempting to get you to cut your cable television cord.
The Amazon Fire TV is an easy to set up, easy to navigate interface running on your Internet subscription. You can control your system through an all-in-one voice command and remote, download Netflix or Hulu Plus apps, and even play games with the purchase of a controller. In theory, it sounds amazing. But news outlets like The New York Times andThe Verge are less than enthused. Simply put, Amazons Fire TV falls short of the promise and hype it generated. Heres how:
The $99 price tag for Fire TV is one of its biggest draws for cable cutters, but what Fire TV purchasers might not realize is that you have to pay individually for each of the pieces of content you would like to watch, even with Amazon Prime. For example, if youd like to watch the show House of Cards on your new Fire TV, it costs $1.99 for just the first episode. That means that watching season one of House of Cardsthrough Fire TV would cost you $25.87. Watching the same on cable TV would only cost you the set amount you pay for your connection every month.
Lets be generous and say you have a Netflix account and want to watchHouse of Cards from there. You can do so, but you will not find the option to view the episode on Netflix through the general Fire TV search bar. The search bar only takes you to Amazon products and, occasionally, Hulu. In order to access a movie or TV show through Netflix, or any application not associated with Amazon or Hulu, you need to go to the application and type in the information yourself. On cable TV, you can find recorded content on your DVR's search function or simply by pressing the menu button.
Even if youre willing to pay the extra couple bucks for a television show, dont expect to see it live. For sports lovers, the fact that Fire TV does not allow you to stream live TV is a big drawback. March Madness fans, for instance, wouldnt be up to date on their brackets because of this issue.
But the cost is only one aspect of Fire TV that is concerning. Though the interface is familiar to Kindle Fire users, it is severely lacking in functionality. Take, for example, the voice control, one of the most boasted featured of the app. While the voice control is accurate, it has its limits. Once youre inside any app in the Fire TVAmazon-affiliated or notyou can no longer use voice control. That means you still have to type in items letter by letter inside apps.
Furthermore, the interface can be jarring or difficult for non-Kindle users. Reports of unnecessarily large titles and multiple clicks required to get a show description are the two main complaints for Fire TV. And if youre looking to control the content your children view, you might run into interface problems. Though it does have parental control settings (like requiring a password in order to buy a movie or TV show), Fire TV does not allow content rating control display. Unlike with cable TV, you cannot block your children from seeing graphic photos from The Walking Dead, which has a rating of TV 14. All you can do is hope your children dont search for that content.
For all that the Fire TV offers in performance and auxiliary features, it doesnt do anything to push the envelope, to truly give you a reason to cut the cord, said Dan Seifert, editor at The Verge. For all intents and purposes, its true. You can find the same content you want to watch and morefor much cheaper, too. Other than a faulty fancy interface, Amazon Fire TV truly does not bring anything worthwhile to the table.
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