Amazon's Fire TV: It's about the off-Prime engagement, e-commerce

Amazon's Fire TV: It's about the off-Prime engagement, e-commerce

Summary: Amazon launches Fire TV and the pricing and lack of initial Prime and e-commerce hooks could disappoint. However, Amazon's Fire TV appears to be courting non-Prime engagement. Can Amazon woo non-believers to its platform?

TOPICS: E-Commerce, Amazon
fire TV box

Amazon's Fire TV effort is notable on many fronts. First, Amazon has lined up a bevy of streaming content partners, plans to launch video games specifically for the platform, and packs decent specs in a $99 package.

But there are some oddities, such as no special deal for Amazon Prime customers who are used to streaming-content access.

As CNET's David Carnoy noted on the live blog, there was no "wow" in Amazon's pricing. Clearly, folks expected lower prices and some hook to e-commerce and Prime. Analysts wanted to see a stronger link between them.

However, it does make sense that Amazon wouldn't merely want to drive more Prime content users. The reality is that Fire TV is for non-Prime customers, with Amazon hoping to expose its services to an audience that may be using Roku or Apple TV. If Amazon can court non-Prime folks, introduce them to games and video and ultimately e-commerce throughput, then the Fire TV strategy makes sense.

Amazon is looking to convert the non-believers; If it lands a few Fire TV customers, it's likely to sell more Kindles and Fire tablets. It's also going to sell more content and, ultimately, land a Prime subscription too.

Time will tell if this strategy works.

For now, there will be disappointment because Amazon veered off course. The Amazon box hits a crowded market and doesn't undercut on pricing. Premium content and specs, with decent pricing, are the sell here.

I'm betting there's some method behind what initially appears to be Amazon's Fire TV madness.

Topics: E-Commerce, Amazon

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  • I like it....

    For the free gaming content and I would imagine that Prime customers will get more benefits over time. Look at the Kindle Fire, it didn't start off with things like a free early release book each month or Kindle Lending Library.

    I have Amazon Fresh and I just ordered one, which should arrive tomorrow.
    • Service Proiders.

      Will they eventually pay service provides like Netflix for bandwidth?
    • No Thanks

      Just what the world needs- another set top box.
      Apple TV offers a high quality device that streams perfectly- never an issue- just a perfect picture everytime. The unit is well built and the solid aluminum remote is a work of art. Local channel 4 network and Smithsonian are wonderful.
      I can stream all my ios devices to the tv- flawlessly. The Netflix interface is beautiful on apple TV.
      For those who aren't ios connected, the Roku is wonderful. Amazon is another copycat device.
      Why pay for prime when nearly every internet vendor now offers free shipping and far better pricing can be found by searching the internet for merchandise- even eBay now offers better pricing, no tax and free shipping.
      Sorry, amazon but there are less and less reasons to use your services.
  • All The Set-Top Boxes Are Missing Something

    Apple TV: Missing a Native Amazon App (Although you can stream from Amazon's iOS app) and Porn

    Roku: Missing Airplay Steaming

    Chromecast: Missing A Purpose

    Amazon Fire TV: Missing Airplay, HBOGO, and Porn

    This is a device looking for a purpose.

    Roku is still the market leader, as there is still no compelling reason for me to buy an Apple TV, Chromecast, or Amazon Fire TV.

    Love my Amazon streaming via Roku, by the way!
    • Not so sure

      "Roku is still the market leader"

      I'm not so sure about that, last year Gigaom pegged Apple's market share at over twice that of Roku (56% to 22%).
      • Roku May Not Be Leading In Marketshare...

        But they are a leader in collective mind share.

        For instance: ROKU had HBOGO a solid year before Apple.

        Also, there are a plethora of apps on Roku, including a native Amazon Prime app, as well as several decent porn apps.

        Food for thought: the cheapest ROKU box is half the price of any box from the competition, and in my opinion, the ROKU performs twice as well.

        I'm so tired of Apple restricting this and not allowing that... it's nothing short of nauseating and childish.

        The ONLY thing the Apple TV has going for it is Airplay, but If you haven't bought into the Apple ecosystem, that pseudo advantage becomes moot.

        For example, I HAVE bought into the Apple ecosystem, and when compared to ROKU, the Apple box is a waste of a hundred bucks!
        • not the cheapest

          The Western Digital TV Live box competes with comparable Roku boxes on features and price.
    • Which of those support streaming from NAS?

      I really like the user interface on my Roku, but it doesn't allow streaming from my Network storage. Perhaps Apple TV or Fire TV support this?

      So far, I've only been able to do this on my TV from my bluray player or to connect directly to my TV from a laptop. It is very cumbersome to navigate from the bluray player and it doesn't seem to support all movies. Connecting from a laptop is even more of a pain. So, if one of these media players supports streaming from a NAS, I would love to know which one to favor.
  • It is a Ver. 1...

    I am hardly an Amazon fan boy. But, Amazon is not stupid. This looks like a hybrid between a Roku and an actual media/gaming computer. I would be vaguely worried about the compromises made, but I would not be surprised at Amazon figuring out ways to spin the flywheel on this. (Ala, ecommerce and prime). Really, who is probably leery are Amazon's partners (e.g. Hulu) on this device. The long term goal is no doubt to make them obsolete. The partner of today is the fallen competitor of tomorrow.

    Remember, Amazon is getting into the content business too (just as they got into the publishing business after dominating the retail side of books). If every time you connect to the Internet it is via Amazon, then it ties to ecommerce. If you really enjoy the sound (for music) and the streaming better than Roku, or others and slightly more than casual games ... then they have succeeded.

    $99 probably doesn't even cover the cost of the hardware. I won't rush out and get it, but it is well within the savvy realm from a business perspective. Wait for version 2 :-).
  • Interesting idea for this Prime customer

    My big beef with Amazon Fire is the device itself. I don't want a tablet of any kind. Until lately, I've loved my Kindle books -- but currently, Kindle's program is EXTREMELY annoying to use, and they won't listen to my complaints, pretending not to understand the clear emails I give them about what's wrong.

    So to maybe add Fire to my TV, might be a good idea. Depends on what the services and features might be. I'll have to check.

    Prime is already a good deal for me, and it streams to my TV just fine. I have no complaints about the price going up in April 2015 for me. Right now, it's still $80, a bargain: for I order a lot of stuff shipped from Amazon, the delivery guys know me well.

    Just as the article states, the Fire TV is probably aimed at non-Primers. So for me, maybe not worth getting also, but for them, maybe worth getting.

    The hitch here, is that if you need internet, you're already paying over $100 a month, and you have to have some version of TV subscription. If Amazon would offer its own internet connection service at 1 GB, plus unlimited phone, I'd subscribe there instead of Comcast Xfinity. So it seems the hitch is really the fact that someone subscribing to Fire TV is already paying for TV elsewhere, in order to have an internet connection. Where a customer doesn't have to do so, then Fire TV might make a lot of sense.
    • Think of the annual cost savings of NOT having a TV Subscription.

      "The hitch here, is that if you need internet, you're already paying over $100 a month, and you have to have some version of TV subscription"

      I like your idea of Amazon providing internet access as part of a service.

      I actually canceled my Cable TV (basic) and kept the internet access over 3 years ago. My bill went from 110.00 to 49.99 mo. I get content via Hulu (free), via other internet options and free HD Broadcast (Over the Air) channels. There is life after cable and it allows me to keep more of the money I earn.

      I've saved over at least $2,100. Its probably more, but I'm being conservative in my timeline.

      ~Best wishes keeping what you earned.
      • I read all of the people that have gotten rid of their

        cable for these set top boxes. I don't get it, how do you watch sports or march madness or soccer or live games - you can't. I tell I'm not paying .99 to watch a syndicated TV show. I think these are geared toward people that watch movies only I don't get it.
  • " no special deal for Amazon Prime customers" an important fact is...

    "Prime members enjoy unlimited, commercial-free streaming of tens of thousands of popular movies and TV shows including The Hunger Games, Marvel's The Avengers, Under the Dome, Downton Abbey, Justified, SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Amazon exclusives like Alpha House, and many more at no additional cost."

    Source: Amazon
    • Since the Specs were NOT provided.....for those who want details.

      a quad-core processor with 3x the processing power of Apple TV and Roku, a dedicated Adreno 320 graphics engine, and 2 GB of memory—4x that of Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast.
      • Which would be important if a Roku

        or AppleTV couldn't handle 1080 video without any issues. But since it can, the overpowered specs are meaningless for watching movies. And the graphics card is underpowered for serious gaming.
  • I'm sure it's nice, but...

    Having just plugged in my new Roku Streaming stick 3 days ago, I can't see where this offers any different content that would make me want it.

    I'm sure the gaming thing is nice, but it's probably going to appeal more to families with young kids.

    It'll be interesting to see how it all pans out. I sure hope cable companies are taking notice and wise up. It's obvious that people are tired of getting bent over to pay for commercial television.
  • another streaming box...

    meh. None of them are great. Still say HTPC all the way. Chromecast is quite easy to use aswell. pz
  • DLNA Support

    doesn't seem to be listed anywhere in the specs. That's a show stopper as far as I'm concerned.
  • Sorry don't get it...

    sports news series etc. I'm not getting nickled and dimmed to death... How are your march madness teams doing? Premier league in the UK
  • fire

    I'm still waiting for my mini hdmi to hdmi{normal} so I can plug my amazon fire in my tv I'm sorry I rver got bit