Last week Amazon took the stage to unveil their entry into the set-top box market with their Amazon Fire TV. Aligning with the "Fire" moniker, Amazon brought a similar experience as other set-top boxes like Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku with a sleek user interface that immersed the user in Amazon's proprietary content. That's all fine and well but there's just one question on my mind, why now? In a world where set top boxes are still not a replacement for a standard cable box nor a substitute television with unique and innovative features built in (I'm looking at you Apple, where's the illusive 'iTV'?), Amazon's entry seems a bit odd for the timing. Currently, Roku and the Apple TV are both great solutions for individuals invested in either ecosystem. Apple TV requires more of an investment in the iTunes ecosystem than Roku requires of their ecosystem, but both are still viable solutions to these TV-enhancing products.
Enter Amazon Fire TV. A product that sucks you into Amazon's content which is already available to Amazon Prime subscribers for $99 annually. Amazon Fire TV is also $99, directly competing in price with the Apple TV. Here's where things begin to confuse me: you cannot make use of the full potential of Fire TV without an Amazon Prime subscription. This means you're spending around $198 + tax just to be able to make use of the device. This is not including the price per movie / TV-show that an individual can accumulate over time. This becomes quite the investment in a world where opportunities to give companies money for the same or better content already exists.
TL;DR - Amazon Fire TV does not add any value for consumers that isn't already available from other, less or equally as expensive, devices. Most people already have purchased either a Chromecast, Roku or Apple TV. These three devices dominate the set-top box market and are already invested in their respective ecosystems. Amazon has not yet garnered enough people in their ecosystem for their entrant to make much of a difference. Amazon did not deliver anything unique with the Fire TV; had they released a TV with Amazon features built in, it might have had more of an impact in the long term than it did.
What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments below.