Amazon launches Fire TV Stick to take on Chromecast
Michelle Clancy
| 28 October 2014
Continuing its video hardware initiative, Amazon has launched the Amazon Fire TV Stick a direct challenge to the Google Chromecast dongle and the Roku stick.

The $39 HDMI dongle is slated to ship on 19 November and offers the option to add a voice-controlled remote for an additional $29.99 unlike Chromecast, which requires users to use their smartphones to control the experience. Eligible customers get a free 30-day trial of Netflix and Amazon Prime with the purchase.

"Fire TV Stick is the most powerful streaming media stick available a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, dual-band and dual-antenna Wi-Fi, included remote control, voice search with our free mobile app, easy set-up, an open ecosystem and exclusive features like ASAP for instant streaming," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO. "The team has packed an unbelievable amount of power and selection into an incredible price point Fire TV Stick is just $39."

Amazon said in its third-quarter results that the Amazon Fire TV set-top is now the best-selling streaming box on Amazon for the US, UK and Germany beating the likes of Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast.

Content-wise, Fire TV Stick offers Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, NBA Game Time, Twitch, Showtime Anytime, Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, Vevo, Plex, A&E, PBS, PBS KIDS, WATCH Disney Channel, and others.

"The number of video services and games available on Amazon Fire TV has tripled in just seven months, with more services and games being added every week," the company said. "You can also rent or purchase over 200,000 movies and TV episodes from Amazon Instant Video, which has the world's largest selection of videos to rent or buy, including new releases and blockbusters."

Amazon last week made ten episodes of the second season of Garry Trudeau's critically-acclaimed political comedy series Alpha House available on Prime Instant Video in the US, UK and Germany.

Additionally, two more original pilots, dramatic thriller Hand of God and coming-of-age comedy Red Oaks, will return for full seasons following rave customer reviews.

Amazon Studios has also green lit five additional kids' pilots for 2015: The Stinky & Dirty Show; Buddy: Tech Detective; Niko and the Sword of Light; Table 58; and Just Add Magic.

For the fourth quarter, the e-tailer said that net sales are expected to be between $27.3 billion and $30.3 billion, growing between 7% and 18% compared with fourth quarter 2013. Losses should be between $570 million and $430 million, compared to $510 million in fourth quarter 2013.