If you have been dragging your heels getting a set-top box for streaming content to your TV, the waters have just gotten a little murkier. Amazon has entered the fray with the new fireTV, and it sounds pretty fantastic. The one caveat seems to be that the fireTV is at its best if you are already a player in the Amazon part of the game. There is a good review up at The Verge, and here are some of the highlights.
- It’s tiny and unobtrusive. Look at that piece of popcorn in the photo.
- It has voice search that actually works.
- Integration with the Amazon tablet. If you already have a tablet, it becomes an extension of the fireTV, allowing you to control it, and serving as a second screen for things like x-ray.
- Games, for real. The device plays games, complete with an (optional) actual controller.
- Other services. You’ll find support for Hulu, Netflix, and a host of other service built in from the get go.
- Your existing Amazon stuff. The fireTV arrives preloaded with all of your Amazon purchases, so once you fire it up, they are waiting for you.
- Freaky AI wizardry. The fireTV senses what it is that you are going to watch next and begins pre-loading it, virtually eliminating buffering. That’s awesome, although the better it works the creepier it becomes.
Espresso Book Machines
Here’s a clever bit of tech. The Espresso Book Machine is able to print you a copy of one of several million different titles in just a few minutes, bound, with a color cover. Made by On Demand Books, the device has been around for some time, but I just happened across it in a news release from Bartell Drugs. Bartell is combining the Espresso with Kodak’s Picture Kiosks for a one stop shop that will give customers access to the Kodak photo books and the complete On Demand Books library.
It really is a brilliant piece of tech, as it simplifies the entire book process. There is no shipping… no inventory… no pulping of unsold books… and it opens up the market for self-published authors in a way similar to what we have seen with things like Amazon’s Kindle store.