Cheap Amazon Alexa 4K HDR Atmos Fire TV dongle is bad news for Apple 4K TV

posted on Thursday, 28th September 2017 by Steve May

4K  HDR  Dolby Atmos  Streaming 

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Amazon has introduced a slew of new Alexa-enabled products, including a 4K HDR version of its Amazon Fire TV box. The new Fire TV dongle supports 4K 60 fps video with HDR10 and boasts Dolby Atmos audio support. It replaces both the FireTV stick and the 4K Fire TV media player.

The new player incorporates 2GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity, and uses an Amlogic S905Z SoC with four 1.5 Ghz ARM Cortex A53 cores and Mali 450 MP3 GPU. It’s powered over Micro-USB. Those that want to hardwire an Ethernet connection will need an optional Ethernet adapter. It comes with Fire OS 6, based on Android 7.1 Nougat.

Unchanged is the a mic-equipped Bluetooth voice remote. It's released on October 25, priced at £70.

Amazon Fire TV Back Crop

The 2GB RAM-equipped Amlogic S905-based platform, is comparable to what’s in Android TV boxes from Xiaomi, Telebee and Foxconn’s Bandott, as well as assorted low-cost Chinese Android players.

According to Paul Erickson, senior research analyst for service provider technology at IHS Markit, the new Fire TV device appears notably slower in graphics and gaming performance than the PowerVR GPU-equipped Fire TV that it replaces. The implication is that demand for gaming on the Fire TV platform has fizzled, allowing Amazon to opt for a cheaper device. “If true, it is a troubling market dynamic for the new Apple TV 4K to face, given that high-quality gaming is one of the product’s value-added propositions justifying its price premium,” says Erickson.

“More significantly, it creates a particularly large competitive chasm for the new Apple TV 4K to cross in markets where the two products will compete head-to-head,” said Erickson. With Siri and HomeKit capabilities notably behind Alexa in both smart home functionality as well as marketing/awareness momentum, and the new Apple TV offering HDR and 4K capability at over 2.5 times the cost of Fire TV, Apple is anticipated to face considerable difficulties in growing the Apple TV available market beyond the core iOS userbase.”

Steve May

Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.

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