Amazon

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By Josette Downey
Associate Editor

CES Las Vegas–A new line of TVs powered by the Amazon Fire TV ecosystem and interface made an unexpected debut at CES Unveiled last night.  The new Amazon Smart TV interface is strikingly similar to the previously released Amazon Fire setup box in appearance and usability with just one added bonus: all the set-top box features plus antenna capabilities are now located in one Smart TV and interactive smart home hub. Now consumers can watch local channels via an antenna skipping the need for a third-party app, stream online media and tell Alexa to shut off their home lights with just one interface. The new smart TV interface hosted in models from Seiki, Element and Westinghouse 4K Ultra HD display brands TVs and Amazon states will give users an easy to use enjoyable experience.

“Smart TVs can be cumbersome and difficult to use,” said SungChoi, vice president of marketing, Tongfang Global. “Our new line of 4K Ultra HD Smart TVs – Amazon Fire TV Edition represent an

The new Amazon Fire TV powered sets could be a big winner.
The new Amazon Fire TV-powered sets could be a big winner.

elevated customer experience powered by the highest performance processors in the industry, a unique voice-controlled remote control, and Amazon’s cinematic viewing experience. With Amazon Fire TV built-in and a voice remote with Alexa, access to movies, videos, music, gaming, and more is simple, easy, and intuitive.”

Consumers will have access to over 7,000 apps and games such as Netflix, HBO Now and  Spotify. The Amazon signatures of Amazon Video, music and Alexa’s voice command system are also included in the device. An official release date has not been announced yet, but Amazon states the new TVs should be available for sale later this year on Amazon and other authorized retailers. The price will be announced closer to the release date.

How Do you Change the Channels?
This just an Amazon Fire TV it is an Amazon Smart TV. That means that users will have to be

The new integrated interface includes a digital channel guide.
The new integrated interface includes a digital channel guide.

able to access their TV channels somehow. The TV’s have a number of options to allow users to navigate. First of all there is a channel guide like something you would find with a digital cable package where the channels and programming are listed. If that isn’t easy enough, users can just ask Alexa to change the channel. They can specifically ask for say, channel 5, or they can say Alexa, change to NBC.

Key Features include:

• Sizes: 43”, 50”, 55” and 65”

• 4K Ultra HD 3,840 by 2,160 panel resolution on all models

• The latest Amazon Fire TV user interface, including easy access to over-the-air TV programming (separate HD antenna required), simple TV input setup, and component switching

• Through the included voice remote with Alexa, customers can search for content and programming, control TV inputs and settings, and access Alexa skills to play music, get the news, check weather, sports scores, and more

•Amazon Voice remote with Alexa enabled control of smart home devices from multiple brands, including Belkin WeMo, Philips Hue, Wink, Insteon, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, TP-Link, Ecobee and more • Access to more than 7,000 channels, games, apps and Alexa skills, including over 300,000 TV episodes and movies from Amazon Video, HBO NOW, Hulu and more

•Like with the Fire TV, Amazon Prime customers get unlimited access to Prime Video, featuring thousands of movies and TV episodes at no additional cost to their membership.

• 3 GB memory and 16 GB internal storage • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet connectivity • Streaming resolution at 4K Ultra HD (2160p), 1080p, 720p up to 60 fps • One-year limited warranty and great customer support

• Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet connectivity • Streaming resolution at 4K Ultra HD (2160p), 1080p, 720p up to 60 fps • One-year limited warranty and great customer support

• Streaming resolution at 4K Ultra HD (2160p), 1080p, 720p up to 60 fps • One-year limited warranty and great customer support

Amazon Channels Integration
Prime customers can take advantage of the Amazon Channels features to subscribe to HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ, PBS KIDS, and over 100 more services and be billed directly through Amazon. They only pay for the channels they want—no cable required, no additional apps to download, and easy online cancellation. Once a customer has signed up for a service the TV will create a programming section that pulls together featured shows and movies from the services users have signed up for.

See a quick video take from The Streaming Advisor, Ryan Downey

Man in high CastleAmazon finally has a certifiable hit show to go along with Transparent. The Man In The High Castle which was the runaway hit of Amazon’s Pilot season last year is in the midst of its second season and will continue to show Americans what would have happened had the greatest generation not been up to the task.

The series is available for free to Amazon Prime Subscribers.

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TV Shows                                                                  Season            Year

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt                                           1             1/9/17
Sneaky Pete * (AMAZON ORIGINAL)                               1             1/13/17
Just Add Magic * (AMAZON ORIGINAL)                           2             1/13/17
Red Rock                                                                         2             1/17/17
The A-Word                                                                     1             1/17/17
America Divided                                                              1             1/26/17
Z: The Beginning of Everything *                                    1             1/27/17
Mercy Street                                                                    2             1/29/17

Movies

13 Hours: Secret Soldiers of Benghazi                                           1/1/17
Across the Universe
Happy Feet
Rent
Hellboy (2004)
Radio (2003)
Stardust 2007
American History X
Norm of the North
Are We There Yet
Are We Done Yet
Maid in Manhatten
She’s All that                                                                                     1/3/17
The Infiltrator 2016                                                                           1/9/17
Where to Invade Next                                                                        1/22/17
The Choice                                                                                         1/23/17
Dirty Grandpa                                                                                     1/27/17
Swiss Army Man                                                                                 1/30/17

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Without providing detailed statistics Amazon announced that the Amazon Channels program, which allows Amazon Prime users to subscribe to partner streaming services and be billed directly through Amazon, has proven to be a very successful for the company and its customers claiming that Amazon Prime members have signed up for millions of subscriptions to partner services like Showtime, STARZ and Acorn. The participating streaming services can be access directly through the Amazon video app multiple devices and allow users to access their entertainment in one place.  

Not surprisingly, STARZ, which has proven to have quite an audience in the premium TV space over the past five years, is one of the big winners in this space proving to be the most watch subscription available through Amazon Channels. Another, not exactly bombshell finding, is that HBO is the fastest growing channel amongst nearly 100. HBO, which jumped in with Amazon only a few weeks ago has been pushing HBO Now to pick up on the 20 million households who do not currently subscribe to cable or satellite services.  HBO has long been the gold standard for premium TV and the extra boost the service gets from being featured by Amazon is likely educating a number of people who never understood the difference between HBO Now and HBO Go, which is the network’s TV everywhere offering for customers who subscribe through a pay TV service.  

Check out the announced findings bellow to learn more.

  • Most watched subscription – Starz
  • Fastest growing subscription – HBO
  • Most streamed Movie – Inside Out (Starz)
  • Most streamed TV show – Outlander (Starz)
  • Most streamed comedy – Shameless (Showtime)
  • Most streamed kids show – Wild Kratts (PBS KIDS)
  • Most streamed exercise video – Burn to the Beat: Brazilian Booty Burn Workout (BeFit)

 

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Well, Christmas is so close you can smell it or maybe that’s just the cider. I’m sure that a lot of people will have something to watch their favorite TV shows and movies under the tree or in the stocking and there is an important question to ask. Should I Buy The Fire TV Or Fire Stick This Christmas?

Why people like the Fire TV Stick

The Fire tV Stick originally did not offer a voice enabled remote.
The Fire tV Stick originally did not offer a voice-enabled remote.

The Fire TV is inexpensive. At the moment the current generation Fire TV Stick costs $39.99. For that price, users get the item and a voice-enabled remote control. The device gives users the ability to access thousands of apps as well as get quick info via Alexa like the weather, sports scores and even integrate Amazon Echo skills. One of the big draws of the device and one that is not even whispered by Amazon is its ability to run Kodi. Because of its low price and quad-core processor the Fire TV Stick is a favorite for those who want streaming apps and Kodi. But it is a better device than the set-top box? Maybe the biggest perk of the stick is that it can be plugged diectly into the TV without the need to use an HDMI cord. This is because the connector for the device is at the end of the stick itself. This give users one less wire to deal with and also means that the device can be used without being seen or taking up any room on a table or wherever the TV is set up.

What About The Fire TV Box
The box is a more expensive option at $89.00. Like the Fire TV stick, of course, the Fire TV box

Amazon's Fire TV offers 4K video and local ap support for only $40.00 more than the stick.
Amazon’s Fire TV offers 4K video and local ap support for only $40.00 more than the stick.

allows users to access thousands of apps directly from Amazon’s app store.
4k Video
The Fire TV Set-top box can open the world of 4k content. It does not deliver what is referred to as “True 4K” but it is a total step up from mere 1080p. That was a little sarcasm. While 4k, is of course, the nicest picture one is going to be able to render on a TV (assuming you have 4k capable TV) it is not as though 1080p is a low picture quality. At the moment the amount of 4K content is quite small but it is growing and the box will be a bit more future proof than the stick.

Faster Internet performance
IF you do find 4K content to stream you want your data to stream through as fast as possible. Another perk that the box offers that can not be found on the stick is an Ethernet port. If you don’t know what an ethernet port it let me explain. An Ethernet port is a port where users can connect a cable from their modem/router directly to a device. Any modern computer has one because in the end, a physical connection via an Ethernet port gives users a stronger and typically faster internet connection that what can be had from most home Wifi networks. It looks almost like a slightly larger phone jack. Some people can not conveniently connect their device to an Ethernet port but for those who can the extra cash is more than worth it.

Free Time
Free Time is a service/app that is available via Fire tablets and the Fire TV set-top box but not via the Fire TV Stick. What Free Time does is all parents to set up a password protectedkid-friendly environment where they can choose the programming and games that are available to their children. The Interface is colorful and bright and they will not have access to anything you do not

Free Time should be a hit for families with younger kids.
Free Time should be a hit for families with younger kids.

want them too. Filters can be set by age etc to help populate the environment with logical choices with an understanding that a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old are going to have different interests.

USB Port
The Fire TV has a USB port. How helpful this is to some customers can not be understated. With a USB port users can easily side-load Android apps to the Fire TV. This is for more advanced users who want to expand on their apps past what Amazon offers. And because the Fire OS is built on top of Android this works out quite well. Besides loading the apps the USB port allows users to operated them too. With a USB port, users can easily plug in an airmouse, a USB Keyboard or any number of game controllers. While Amazon offers a controller meant for the Fire TV devices a number of people already have USB powered gamepads capable of handling their needs. But without the USB port they are not afforded an opportunity to use them.

At the end of the day, the Fire TV Stick is a perfectly nice option for streaming. But a number of people don’t really understand the difference between the two devices. The popularity of the Fire TV stick is undeniable but for families who want to have more options, especially the Free Time option it is important to note those differences. Don’t worry, if you want it you can still install Kodi on the Fire TV box. In fact you can do so using the USB port in just a few minutes. I have both a stick and the box and my family prefers the box.

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Amazon’s original series “The Man In The High Castle” will goose step back on to the scene this December just in time to remind everyone about what the country could have been if things had gone differently. The Streaming service will also be rolling out a new season of Mozart in the Jungle and lighter fare that will take us on a journey down the yellow brick road as Amazon’s Lost in Oz continues to expand on the contemporary popularity of the Wizard of Oz fanned by numerous TV shows like Once Upon A Time, Broadway Show Wicked and many other projects.

See the full list of what’s new this month bellow.

 

 

Lost in Oz*(Amazon Original)

1 12/2/16
Mozart in the Jungle*(Amazon Original) 3 12/9/16
The Expanse 1 12/14/16
Man in the High Castle*(Amazon Original) 2 12/16/16
Movies Start Date
6 Souls   12/1/16
Blood Diamond   12/1/16
Caddyshack   12/1/16
Choices of the Heart   12/1/16
Cobra   12/1/16
Color Me Perfect   12/1/16
Corregidor   12/1/16
Custer’s Last Stand   12/1/16
The Day of the Wolves   12/1/16
Devil’s Cargo   12/1/16
Devil’s Playground   12/1/16
Diamond Trail   12/1/16
Dixie Jamboree   12/1/16
Down to the Sea   12/1/16
Elizabeth: The Golden Age   12/1/16
Ferocious Pal   12/1/16
The Fighter   12/1/16
Fire Alarm   12/1/16
Fisherman’s Wharf   12/1/16
Flaming Lead   12/1/16
Flying Blind   12/1/16
Forbidden Jungle   12/1/16
Getting Up and Going Home   12/1/16
Green Eyes   12/1/16
Half Shot at Sunrise   12/1/16
Hearts of Humanity   12/1/16
High Powered   12/1/16
Identity Unknown   12/1/16
If You Believe   12/1/16
In Old Santa Fe   12/1/16
Invisible Enemy   12/1/16
The Irish Gringo   12/1/16
Journey to Freedom   12/1/16
Kept Husbands   12/1/16
King of the Sierras   12/1/16
Lars and the Real Girl   12/1/16
Law of the 45′s   12/1/16
Law of the Jungle   12/1/16
Lost in the Stratosphere   12/1/16
Love is Strange   12/1/16
Love Island   12/1/16
Mad Youth   12/1/16
Man with Two Lives   12/1/16
Color Me Perfect   12/1/16
Navigating the Heart   12/1/16
Paperman   12/1/16
Passion’s Way   12/1/16
Peck’s Bad Boy   12/1/16
Phantom Rancher   12/1/16
Range of Motion   12/1/16
Range War   12/1/16
Renegade Trail   12/1/16
Riddle Ranch   12/1/16
Rob Roy   12/1/16
Simba: King of the Beasts   12/1/16
Six Shootin’ Sheriff   12/1/16
Skyway   12/1/16
Take My Advice   12/1/16
The Care and Handling of Roses   12/1/16
They Call It Murder   12/1/16
Tough Kid   12/1/16
When a Man’s a Man   12/1/16
Wrangler’s Roost   12/1/16
The Lobster   12/2/16
Therapy for a Vampire   12/7/16
Daddy’s Home (2015)   12/10/16
Anomalisa   12/17/16
Cafe Society*(Amazon Original)   12/22/16
Mr. Church   12/22/16
Wild Kratts   12/23/16
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot   12/24/16
Gangs of New York (2003)   12/28/16
The Innocents (2016)   12/28/16
Zoolander 2   12/30/16
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi   12/31/16
Key: * = Prime Video is exclusive streaming home
 

New in December – Available for Streaming on Amazon Video

TV Season Start Date
Clarence 10 12/2/16
The Secret Agent* 1 12/6/16
800 Words* 1 12/13/16
Britains Bloodiest Crown* 1 12/13/16
Close to the Enemy* 1 12/13/16
Jericho of Scotland Yard* 1 12/13/16
Key: italic = show available day after it airs on broadcast; * = new series for Amazon streaming
 

Movies

Start Date
Pete’s Dragon   12/6/16
The BFG (2016)   12/7/16
Howards End   12/8/16
Oddball   12/9/16

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Amazon has added HBO and Cinemax to its group of partner channels referred to as Amazon Channels. The major premium networks will cost the same as the standalone apps HBO andCinimax Go, $14.99 and $9.99 respectively. The addition of HBO and Cinemax may appear to be

A look at Amazon's IOS app displays HBO as a subscription option.
A look at Amazon’s IOS app displays HBO as a subscription option.

redundant considering that HBO Now is already available on streaming boxes like the Fire TV, Roku or Apple TV, but the innovative thing is that it allows users to combine put more bills in one place. Instead of having to add and or drop the service via the interface that they origionally signed up on as they do with “HBO Now” etc all of it will be in one place. It sort of replaces cable companies as the organizer or the services. It also means that HBO will be available to more customers who have the Amazon app on their smartTV’s. There are 650 compatible devices on the market at this point and would only be logical to expect that number to grow. 

The truth is that while HBO Now has been met with a lot of enthusiasm it has not approached near the level of subscribers that Amazon Prime and Netflix enjoy, This exposes the idea of signing up for HBO outside of the standard pay TV ecosystem to millions of potential new customers.

Additional Details
Subscribers will have access to:

  • All episodes of the newest and most popular HBO series such as Westworld, Divorce, Insecure, Ballers, and Game of Thrones
  • Blockbuster and award-winning movies like Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Revenant, Deadpool, Joy, The Martian, Ride Along 2, Sisters, Straight Outta Compton and more
  • Topical, news-focused content from John Oliver, Bill Maher and VICE
  • All seasons of favorites like The Sopranos, Sex and the City, True Blood, The Wire and Deadwood
  • Epic limited series, including The Night Of, The Pacific,and The Jinx
  • Acclaimed documentaries including Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, 3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets, Everything is Copy, Jim: The James Foley Story, Three Days of Terror: The Charlie Hebdo Attacks, The Ties that Bind
  • Hilarious original comedy specials from Louis C.K., Amy Schumer, Billy Crystal, Sarah Silverman, Ricky Gervais and the late Robin Williams

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If you have been trying and failing to mirror your Windows laptop on a Fire TV box or stick and failed its not your fault. The Amazon Fire Stick Does Not Support Windows Mirroring. Amazon’s Fire TV products in general no longer support Windows mirroring using Miracast. Fire TV devices previously did support the functionality and, in fact, we have videos demonstrating this. Unfortunately when Windows updated from Windows 8 to Windows 10 problems began to occur. It became an issue on forums and discussion groups not only concerning Amazon products but the majority of  Miracast enabled devices. Essentially Microsoft broke the functionality. Amazon has apparently decided not to tape it back together. 

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We had a chance take a look at the brand-new fire TV from Amazon. The new device performs faster than the original model  due to its new quad core processor and comes with a voice remote standard. See what you get in the box  as well as a video overview in our latest review.

 

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Is Amazon taking a shot at the Nvidia Shield with its gaming centric bundle?

The CW released its app for Fire TV today. The app like the one for Roku will allow users to access all of the network’s programming during the season. The CW app which is free on a number of platforms is the only legal way to watch its programming besides its website. Unlike other network TV apps the CW app does not require users to verify a pay TV provider.

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