The Fire TV is also a gaming console. Some games can be played using the included remote control. But expect more titles to use the optional $40 controller as time goes on. The Roku 3 remote can be turned sideways and used as a game controller as well but there's no serious controller option available for that platform. With the quad-core processor and 2 GB of RAM, Fire TV is capable of some pretty amazing gaming. Amazon boasts there are more than 100 game titles available now and "thousands more coming soon."
If you choose a Fire TV over the competition Amazon assumes you're probably well invested in the Amazon ecosystem. As such, Amazon is adding added value to those people with its X-Ray feature.
X-Ray turns your Amazon Fire HDX tablet into a second screen for the Fire TV, providing users with additional information, photos, etc. about the programming they're viewing. There's also an on-screen tablet button which allows you to put the content on the second screen, and move it to your big screen, using the tablet for other things.
Also See: Amazon Kindle Fire HDX review
So far, the time spent with Amazon's Fire TV has been terrific. I've been able to browse though the program choices available through my Prime account and begin watching movies within 5 second of pressing the "Play" button.
The voice search feature gives the Fire TV device the largest advantage over the competition. No one has anything that comes close - yet. I don't expect Roku to sit still for long, and an Apple TV refresh is overdue. While Chromecast is a great $35 device, we know that Google is quite adept at including voice functions in other products, particularly with Google Now. Users can expect to see that kind of technology in future TV streaming devices - such as the rumored Android TV.
At this moment, Amazon's Fire TV is the streaming video device for the others to beat.
--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.
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