Amazon unveils Fire TV, a streaming device to rival Apple TV and Chromecast

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Amazon wants its consumers to keep their media streaming all in the family.

The online behemoth unveiled Fire TV on Wednesday, the company’s own device set to rival Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku in the online streaming game. That’s right — you can now watch an Amazon original series, exclusive to Amazon Prime Instant Video, via Amazon hardware.

Fire TV retails for $99, the same cost as Apple TV (Chromecast, meanwhile, is $35, while Roku starts at $49.99). For the price tag, you get access to Amazon’s catalog of more than 200,000 movies and TV shows, with even more titles available to Prime members (who pay a soon-to-be $99 annual subscription fee). Fire TV owners can also access other subscription streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, on the device.

Amazon is touting the voice search capabilities of its new product, declaring the old type-and-search method “painful.” Fire TV users can simply “speak the title, actor, or genre into the remote and you’re done.” Another hyped exclusive of the small set-top box is ASAP — short for Advanced Streaming and Prediction — a feature that predicts what the user will want to watch next. Because, according to Amazon, “you shouldn’t have to wait 10 seconds for a video to buffer every time you press ‘Play.’”

And because all electronic devices are expected to multitask these days, Fire TV also doubles as a game console. Popular titles such as Minecraft are already available, with thousands more expected to be added to the Amazon library. The Fire TV remote can be used as the game controller, or users can pick up the wireless Amazon Fire controller for $39.99.

Fire TV is available to ship today.

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