Chromecast and ROKU now have another competitor in the Streaming Stick market. The Amazon Fire TV Stick retails for an attractive $39 and is ready to plug into your HDMI slot and stream 1080p video with Dolby Digital Plus sound. Streaming comes from a slew of services, apps, and channels (YouTube, Netflix, Showtime Anytime, Hulu to name a few) and renting movies from Amazon Instant Video has never been easier. The Fire TV Stick also enables causal gaming for titles such as Flappy Bird Family. Releasing November 19th, this new device seems to be selling like hotcakes – orders placed today won’t arrive until January 15th – so order yours soon!
Amazon stepped into the ring of the streaming device battle and is now a fierce competitor of Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Roku. Amazon Fire TV is a tiny box connected to your HDTV with 2 GB of memory and ready to stream Amazon Instant Video (duh), Hulu Plus, Netflix, Showtime Anytime, and much more. Plus, it also features voice search (just say what you want to watch) and supports an Android-based platform allowing you to play games on your big screen (gaming controller sold seperately).
After using Google Chromecast for a few weeks, I’m hard-pressed to think of a tech product I’ve purchased with a better value. For only $35, Chromecast turns your HDTV into a wireless streaming machine by simply sticking the device into an HDMI slot. Even if you already have a smart TV with integrated apps for much of your video content – you can also throw anything in a Chrome Browser tab up on your big screen with the click of a button. Currently supports Android, iOS, Chrome for Mac, and Chrome for Windows and is fully integrated with Netflix, YouTube, and Google Play content.
Onlive, a new player in the gaming market, will allow you to play top brand games on your PC, Mac, or HDTV. Their high-speed cloud based gaming service allows you to stream games on demand, basically making Onlive the Netflix/pay-per-view of video games. Playing from your PC or Mac will require no additional hardware, and the “system” for your high def television will only set you back $99. It seems like a no brainer for gaming, but it does however lack the motion element that exists with Wii, Playstation Move, and Xbox Kinect. Onlive is new, but it’ll be interesting to see how many games are added to their library and if they incorporate new motion-sensing controls in future hardware updates.