Amazon is officially entering the streaming video settop box competition.
The online retailer-turned tech company and content provider announced its new Amazon FireTV product today at an event in New York City. Amazon is expected to begin shipping the $99 product today.
The new settop box, unveiled by Peter Larsen, the company's vice president in charge of Kindle, is "very thin, about the size of a small piece of toast," said analyst James McQuivey, author of Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation. McQuivey was among several analysts and tech journalists attending the event, providing updates on Twitter about Amazon's announcement.
The FireTV name "makes good sense, builds on the brand," he said, after noting that the company "sees the millions of set top boxes that they sell, they know this is a hot market."
BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield posted that the Fire TV settop box promises to be three times as fast as competing products. For Netflix, which is a competitor in terms of streaming video content, Amazon's announcement is good news in a way. The "more IP-enabled TVs the better for #netflix - makes it easier to get to their service on the big screen," he noted on Twitter.
Several at the event noted that the remote control lets you use voice to search for content. Among the other services beyond Netflix that are pre-loaded on the device: Hulu, Pandora, YouTube, Crackle and Showtime.
The settop box will also play video games that can be played with a controller.