It is finally here, the Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV

The long rumoured Amazon streaming media box has finally arrived. Meet Amazon Fire TV. The Fire TV is a small, black box that runs on a special operating system, has 2GB ram and a quad core processor.

The box connects through wifi and has a small remote control that also has a small microphone to enable voice search

Content comes from its own Amazon Instant Video library as well as from a large number of partners like Netflix, HBO GO, SHO Anytime, Hulu and ESPN.

But it is not all streaming video that one can watch on the Fire TV. Amazon added a photo app, there are several music services like Pandora, iHeartRadio and TuneIn and Amazon is promising to grant access to thousands of games as of next month.

The media box costs only USD 99 and is already for sale at… Amazon.com

Chromecast is getting more support pretty fast, VEVO, Blip and Devour added, Hulu and HBO Go in development.

Google Chromecast

Both Hulu and HBO Go announced that they are working on apps for Chromecast. Just like Vimeo and Redbox Instant did already, now joined by VEVO, Blip and Devour. With the original sources Netflix, YouTube, and Google Play the support for Chromecast is getting traction.

Chromecast just launched a week ago and is the USB dongle variant of the Nexus Q TV-Box that for now is to co-exist with Google TV. The HDMI-dongle is available for just USD 35, although currently sold-out.

New Apple TV not that new after all, HBO Go coming?

Apple TV

There were some rumours the last few days about a brand new Apple TV coming to the market. Based on a FCC-filing, Engadget thought there was a new version in the making with new hardware in just a few millimeters smaller box. After some good research from TheNextWeb, it turned out to be just a small hardware resfresh.

“We sometimes make component changes which require an updated model number for regulatory approval” an Apple spokesperson told TNW. “The component changes we made don’t affect product features and Apple TV customers will continue to have the same great user experience.”

So nothing new as far as hardware concerned. However a new and interesting rumour about HBO Go emerged. According to Bloomberg, HBO Go will be available on Apple TV sometime this year. Adding HBO Go to the current parnerships with Netflix and Hulu Plus might put them a little bit more in the game with Microsoft XBOX 360, Roku and other set-top box suppliers.

Still, nobody really knows what Apple will do with TV. Apple TV so far is not the groundbreaking revolution for TV as the iPhone was for the smartphone market. And adding a few media partnership or adding a few content libraries will not change that. On the other hand, Apple sold 2 million boxes last quarter. Without much effort. People like it, it’s easy to use and it fits perfectly into the ecosystem. So maybe not a revolution after all.

Free Hulu Plus and Netflix access on XBOX Live this weekend

Netflix House of Cards

Normally a subscription for XBOX Live Gold is needed for watching streaming content from Netflix or Hulu Plus on the Microsoft XBOX 360, but this weekend it’s all free. At least for Hulu, for Netflix is a paid Netflix account is of course still needed.

Netflix is airing it’s new and self produced series House of Cards this weekend, so that might have something to do with it. Creating own content is a very interesting step and seems to be of strategic value for the the streaming and rental giant as it suggested more investments in that field during the last presentation of their financial results.

The reason that Hulu will be available for free has to do with the Super Bowl this weekend. Hulu will grant users of Hulu AdZone a preview of Super Bowl teaser ad’s from companies like Toyota, Taco Bell, Coca-Cola, GoDaddy.com en Cars.com. Fans can also vote for their favorite commercial here. See Hulu’s promo below