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

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  1. #1
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    Default 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

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    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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    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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    Quote 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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    Quote 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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    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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    Quote 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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    Quote 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?

  9. #9
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    Quote 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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