Amazon.com has announced a new settop box that lets you put the Internet on your TV. This isn’t remarkable by itself as there are now quite a few ways to do this. No, what interest me is this shows how easy it is now to create a device to do this for a very low cost.
At a press event in New York Wednesday, Amazon unveiled a new device that allows users to stream content to a TV screen. The flat, black Fire TV has a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and a dedicated GPU, hardware that will help address some of the usual concerns about streaming devices, according to Amazon, and support a push into gaming.
The device comes with a small remote, and its interface puts Amazon content front and center. Customers can access their watch list and scroll through organized sections of movies and TV shows. A separate section for apps is listed in the home interface, where users can access content from partners.
We tend to keep our TVs for much longer than our computers. This is why I never really liked “Smart TVs”. They tended to be slow, and rapidly became obsolete as new products came out. Instead, this method of disaggregating the Smart parts of the TV from the display makes more sense to me. I have had two Roku devices and the release of the Roku 3 was a big reason to get rid of our cable TV. (the birth of my son was the other big reason.) I don’t miss cable. I have an HD antenna, and Netflix and Amazon prime. Between those three I can watch nearly everything I want.
The cost of computers keep dropping rapidly. In a few more years a box like the Fire TV could be free with a subscription to Amazon Prime I bet. This is because the cost to make the box will be almost zero. These boxes are interesting to me from an educational point of view because they are a ready made delivery system for educational content. Couple them with a computer to provide feedback and you have an interesting capability.