NEW YORK (TheStreet) Amazon's (AMZN) Fire TV was revolutionary in that it was the first set-top box streaming device to include voice search when looking for content, among other features. Now, its revolutionary voice search is about to get a whole lot better.
Amazon today announced that Hulu Plus, Crackle, and SHOWTIME ANYTIME are joining VEVO in integrating their full catalogs into Fire TV's unified voice search.
"We're excited and energized by the momentum we're seeing with Fire TV," said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Devices in a press release. "Customers are telling us they love it, developers are building for it, and we're working hard to expand existing features and build new ones. We're thrilled to have Hulu Plus, Crackle, and SHOWTIME integrating their full selection of movies and TV shows into Fire TV's unified voice search."
Seattle-based Amazon noted that the above content will start to integrate voice search for their content starting this summer. Right now, voice search, which allows users to search for content via title, actor or genre, only works for Amazon Prime Instant Video, but Amazon is working hard to add more in the coming months.
The company also announced that it's working with a slew of developers on adding services and games available for Fire TV, including Telltale Games, Halfbrick, Pixowl, Disney Interactive, Minority Media, Paradox Interactive, Gaiam, AllRecipes, and Twitch.
Amazon also said that it would be adding new features to the $99 set-top box, which TheStreet described as "the real deal." In a separate review, TheStreet said "Amazon's Fire TV is the streaming video device for the others to beat."
Included in the new feature set will be a New Prime browse that makes it even easier to find movies and TV shows included in Prime Instant Video, Amazon FreeTime and Amazon MP3 integration, and more games coming soon. Right now, there are over 100 games available on Fire TV, which was unveiled in earlier this month. In addition to the games available already on Fire TV, Amazon said users can "play touch-enabled games with the upcoming Fire TV app for your phone or tablet."
The company has been working hard to improve its hardware for users, and these announcements show Amazon is serious about the user experience. Traditional set-top boxes from Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL), and Roku do not offer voice search, instead having users type in the name of an actor or movie they're looking for. By adding these apps and additional ones in the future, Amazon is furthering its lead in this area.
At the unveiling in New York City's Milk Studios, Amazon's Peter Larsen stressed the fact that Fire TV is faster and more powerful than what's out there. It features a quad-core processor, a dedicated GPU, and can handle 57 billion floating point operations per second, to go along with 2GB of RAM. It also features dual band, dual Wi-Fi with Mimo to help stop buffering, a problem other set-top boxes have had issues with. Larsen noted the Fire TV has three times the performance of Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku 3.
Larsen noted that consumers' most frequent complaints about streaming devices include difficulty in searching for shows, performance and buffering, and closed ecosystems.
--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York
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