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

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?
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor
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.

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