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Amazon Fire TV: A Nice Device For Internet Video Streaming

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  • Amazon Fire TV: A Nice Device For Internet Video Streaming

    Phoronix: Amazon Fire TV: A Nice Device For Internet Video Streaming

    This week Amazon unveiled the Fire TV as a small network appliance primarily for HD video streaming and complemented by some gaming and mobile app capabilities. The Fire TV is powered by Amazon's Android-based Kindle Fire OS so in this weekend review are my initial impressions of this Linux-based media system after using it the past two days.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=20121

  • #2
    Does the voice search work with non-amazon instant video applications such as Netflix? Is there any ability to stream media from a local fileserver/external HD?

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    • #3
      I don't know. I own two Kindle Fire tablets. Except for the Amazon Video content (which is good), they are awful. You can't use Google Play. You can't get regular android apps. It's basically not much better than using an Apple device. And to make things worse, the older of the two (1st Gen Kindle) is having the charging problems that many people reported (it just refuses to charge). Amazon won't help.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by peppercats View Post
        Does the voice search work with non-amazon instant video applications such as Netflix? Is there any ability to stream media from a local fileserver/external HD?
        Nope. Hopefully an update will come out supporting this feature since it is one of the features that is frustrating most customers.

        Don't know about the second question. But I imagine you can side-load content onto the sdcard. For a local fileserver, you'd have the overhead of playing through the Silk browser, but I think it's possible. Can anyone confirm?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by FourDMusic View Post
          Nope. Hopefully an update will come out supporting this feature since it is one of the features that is frustrating most customers.

          Don't know about the second question. But I imagine you can side-load content onto the sdcard. For a local fileserver, you'd have the overhead of playing through the Silk browser, but I think it's possible. Can anyone confirm?
          Oh, that's a shame. Was going to buy one for my mother if it was easily voice navigatable as she gets lost in the roku I got her for Christmas a fair bit.

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          • #6
            That thing has some nice specs:

            Qualcomm Krait 300, quad-core to 1.7 Ghz
            GPU Qualcomm Adreno 320
            Storage 8 GB internal
            Memory 2 GB LPDDR2 @ 533 MHZ

            Not often do you see 2gb ram on an ARM box.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by curaga View Post
              That thing has some nice specs:

              Qualcomm Krait 300, quad-core to 1.7 Ghz
              GPU Qualcomm Adreno 320
              Storage 8 GB internal
              Memory 2 GB LPDDR2 @ 533 MHZ

              Not often do you see 2gb ram on an ARM box.
              dolby digital plus, optical audio out and hdmi 1.4b too. It has nice specs for a very cheap linux box, just buy a card reader with lots of usb ports built in and you have a pretty sweet htpc/linux pc once you have rooted it and installed linux and xbmc.

              It is a shame that it is 10/100 ethernet and not 10/100/1000 but that isn't the end of the world.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by curaga View Post
                That thing has some nice specs:

                Qualcomm Krait 300, quad-core to 1.7 Ghz
                GPU Qualcomm Adreno 320
                Storage 8 GB internal
                Memory 2 GB LPDDR2 @ 533 MHZ

                Not often do you see 2gb ram on an ARM box.
                Ah, that is a good point. Has anyone hacked it to run a vanilla Linux distro yet? Does it even have a Linux friendly BIOS?

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                • #9
                  a bargain? a bargain!

                  The voice is processed within Amazon's cloud but the results were near instant and [..]
                  So you donated your voice profile?

                  To some surprise, the device was already associated with my Amazon Prime account as soon as [..]
                  Surprise? Irony? Please clarify.

                  Soon as the device was connected there was some system updates to be applied
                  Did you receive a plain image or did you feel targeted?

                  for the living room [..] [..] At $99 USD the device isn't a bad deal assuming [..]
                  Yes indeed. But why do you mention its price 6 (six) times in the article? Conventional inteligence would have charged a few bucks (knowing that and when you bought a device, when you're watching, what you're watching, when you switch channels, kindle, voice profile, linking to your Amazon interests. This seems costly. Does the device include a browser? Where can you turn on cookies?) so it's probably common sense that this is not a bad deal.

                  And if you look closer there might be a marketing vector in your hand potentially a few times a day:
                  http://www.phoronix.com/image-viewer..._firetv_16_lrg
                  This might be worth one or the other cent in the long run.
                  We know we maybe had better bought some Amazon shares a while ago but I would be enthusiastic if you could give me a tip where to buy some N SA shares?

                  Have a good day!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Price

                    So if I buy stream 10 movies per month from Amazon and have a sub to Showtime then I would be paying the same amount as my DirecTV service which has more channels and movies; I can hear the $$$ rolling in for the IPTV people. The ignorance is stroooong with the Public on this one.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by curaga View Post
                      That thing has some nice specs:

                      Qualcomm Krait 300, quad-core to 1.7 Ghz
                      GPU Qualcomm Adreno 320
                      Storage 8 GB internal
                      Memory 2 GB LPDDR2 @ 533 MHZ

                      Not often do you see 2gb ram on an ARM box.
                      fyi, spec-wise, it is rather close to the inforce ifc6410 board ($149). The inforce board has gigabit ethernet (and 2G of DDR3 vs 2G of LPDDR2), and a SATA connector. Both have wifi/bluetooth. But the amazon-tv has digital audio. According to the inforce web site, there is a ifc6412 coming in near future ($99.. seems to have same apq8064/snapdragon-600 as fire tv and ifc6410, but other than that not sure what the differences are yet).

                      But the amazon-tv will look somewhat nicer next to my TV than a bare arm board + hardrive + bunch of cables. But otoh, if someone actually did make a decent pico-itx case (for the inforce boards), that wouldn't be such an issue. ;-)

                      I get my fire-tv on Thurs.. so I really hope we manage to root it (although, I'm pretty sure amazon has done their best to make this a hard challenge). If rooted, it could make a nice replacement for my current xbmc setup. Once we get it rooted, we should be able to use the same userspace that we already use on various other snapdragon boards and devices (dragonboard, ifc641x, bStem, etc). XBMC already runs nicely with freedreno, and software decode should be fine for up to 720p (as long as thermal throttling doesn't kick in, which shouldn't be much of a problem from what I've seen in the fire-tv teardowns). Hopefully soon someone has some time to work on hw video decode.

                      Compared to a phone/tablet, it doesn't have the USB OTG connector brought out, so getting at fastboot may be, umm, interesting. I'm hopefully that we manage to figure out something, although no guarantees that it isn't a hardware hack. One of my friends already has his and is playing around with trying to solder up the debug UART connector on the pcb, and trying to figure out what that 16 pad connector behind the SoC is. (My guess is some sort of connector for a debug breakout board with JTAG, and maybe if I'm lucky USB OTG.)

                      Fwiw, interesting factoid: amazon's open src code drop for the fire tv (aka the-big-tarball) contains a modified grub 0.97 src tree... which initially had my hopes up, but at this point it seems to be built for x86. Maybe at one point amazon had two competing designs in development in parallel, one x86 based and on with the snapdragon.

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                      • #12
                        Oh, you can actually buy one of those ifc6410 boards. I recall when Qualcomm boards were not purchasable by mere mortals.

                        Case-wise, what good is using an existing standard (pico-itx) and then placing ports on several edges.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by curaga View Post
                          Oh, you can actually buy one of those ifc6410 boards. I recall when Qualcomm boards were not purchasable by mere mortals.

                          Case-wise, what good is using an existing standard (pico-itx) and then placing ports on several edges.
                          yup, mere mortals can buy 'em.. there was a bit of a back order when they first started shipping last year. For ifc6410, all the ports you'd need once everything is installed (assuming you are using hdmi audio rather than headphone jack) are on the back edge.

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                          • #14
                            I've seen multiple online reviews which say 802.11b/g/n yet Amazon's own site says 802.11a/b/g/n. So which is it?

                            Are the reviewers just copying and pasting something Amazon sent them, which is different from what's on Amazon's site?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by linuxjacques View Post
                              I've seen multiple online reviews which say 802.11b/g/n yet Amazon's own site says 802.11a/b/g/n. So which is it?

                              Are the reviewers just copying and pasting something Amazon sent them, which is different from what's on Amazon's site?
                              according to the ifixit teardown, the wireless/bluetooth part is:

                              https://wikidevi.com/wiki/Qualcomm_Atheros_QCA6234

                              so, 802.11a/b/g/n

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