Amazon releases its new 4K Fire TV Box

by on September 18, 2015

Stephan Jukic – September 18, 2015

In the wake of news that Apple’s newest version of their TV box will not after all support 4K ultra HD content, has come out with something that can keep fans of the new resolution happy.

The company is releasing their own second generation Amazon Fire TV box and in the case of this latter set-top device, it will indeed offer full support for 4K UHD content, something which makes a lot of sense considering how invested Amazon already is in the development and distribution of streaming 4K UHD content via its Prime Instant Video platform.

Best of all, the Amazon Fire TV box will offer 4K UHD content, long with regular HD content and other internal goodies for a remarkably affordable price of just $99.99.

According to information released recently from itself, the Fire TV box will have 4K capabilities that let users have access to the Prime Instant Video’s streaming movies and TV shows as their available to regular subscribers of the service who own 4K TVs. However, in addition to this, the box will also offer access to the growing 4K content library of Amazon competitor Netflix. This of course means that those who do get their hands on this new set-top box and also own a 4K TV with sufficient internet connectivity running to it (about 20Mbps) will have in their hands a a constantly expanding library of top-shelf movies and TV shows which amounts to hundreds of hours of viewing already.

And given how both Amazon and Netflix are clearly well committed to expanding their 4K content selections (as a recently released programming schedule for Netflix alone indicates), users of the Amazon Fire TV box can look forward to their UHD entertainment options only expanding further down the road.

Of course, there are a few key requirements for setting up and running the Fire TV box on a given TV if you want to enjoy its 4K capabilities. First of all, the obvious inclusion of an actual 4K TV is a must and going beyond this, the TV itself must come with integrated HDCP 2.2 content copy protection capacity working inside it. Furthermore, there is the internet connectivity minimum we’ve already mentioned and a TV that runs 4K off the Fire box will also have to be HEVC compatible so that it can decompress the H.265 encoded content that comes through Amazon’s and Netflix’s streams.

Amazon is stating that at least 15Mbps of connectivity are required for 4K to work on the box but in reality a broadband speed of at least 20Mbps is much more ideal for steady smooth 4K UHD video flow.

Amazon Fire 4K TV box will offer gaming and apps access in addition to its streaming video options

Amazon Fire 4K TV box will offer gaming and apps access in addition to its streaming video options

The 4K chops of the Amazon Fire box are of course not all that this affordable little machine has to offer. The box also offers access to a massive selection of Full HD programming from both Amazon and Netflix while featuring a newly redesigned processing power that boosts its video and data handling capabilities by roughly 75%. This is thanks to the boxes MediaTek 64-bit quad-core processor and integrated GPU combination. These two together more than rival the A8 chip of Apple’s HD-only TV box and according to Amazon offer as much as five times the processing power of the latest media boxes from Roku.

On the other hand, the Amazon Fire TV box is a bit weak on internal storage and this is a particularly important point given that it deals with 4K media. Instead of the 32 or 64 GB storage options offered by Apple’s TV box, the Amazon Fire only manages 8 GB. However, the addition of microSD cards is possible for storage augmentation to as many as 128 GB.

Finally, Amazon is adding further punch to its $99 box by giving it almost 17 times more apps and games than those that were available in its 2014 Amazon Fire box. This means tens of thousands of new gaming/app options, in comparison to the 3000 that came with the original version of Amazon Fire.

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