Amazon Fire TV adds 4K Ultra HD support


Michelle Clancy

| 18 September 2015

Amazon is launching its latest Fire TV product, with 4K HD.

The $99 Amazon Fire TV will start shipping on 5 October and will provide access to a wide stable of 4K Ultra HD movies, with 4K content from Netflix, Amazon Video and Prime Video.

Already available in 4K are shows and movies from Amazon Video such as Transparent, Better Call Saul, American Hustle, and Amazing Spiderman 2, as well as shows and movies such as Narcos and Marvel's Daredevil from Netflix.

"The team has packed an incredible amount of technology and innovation into a tiny package," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. "The new Fire TV includes 4K support, more processing power, Alexa integration, the largest selection and exclusive features for less than $100."

The box is also built to support High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC). HEVC is roughly two times more efficient at encoding video than the current industry standard, H264, so less bandwidth is needed to deliver HD streams.

The new iteration of Fire TV also adds Mayday-powered customer service and the Alexa digital assistant for content recommendations and search.

"The battle for the home continues to intensify among the leading online giants, especially for the living room," said Paolo Pescatore, director of multi-play and video at CCS Insight. "As Amazon launches its new Fire TV, 4K support will give the company early mover advantage in a cut throat and increasingly competitive market."

Awareness of 4K in the UK is growing strongly with the launch of BT Sport's ultra HD 4K sports channel, he added.

"Amazon Fire TV's new features coupled with a strong content offering elevates it over rivals," he said. "However, the lack of Now TV in the UK is noticeable and must be addressed. Fundamentally, Amazon has done a great job of repackaging its assets. Consumers are now spoilt for choice with Amazon, Apple, Google, Roku and others all fighting for viewer's attention."