Even though the Fire TV looks like yet another Roku and Apple TV competitor, Amazon packed in a few truly unique features. Most notably, the Fire TV’s voice search should save you precious minutes from typing out movie titles and actor names with a tiny remote.
At its big media event today, Amazon’s marketing vice president Neil Lindsay demonstrated how the Fire TV’s voice commands work. Even in a noisy environment, the Fire TV’s remote was able to pick up Lindsay’s search for “Julia Roberts” (though it did take a second try), which promptly displayed results on the TV. Just like Siri and Google’s voice recognition services, your commands are sent to Amazon’s servers and pushed back to your Fire TV instantly.
Another differentiating feature is Freetime, a safe environment for kids to access content on the Fire TV. It’s basically the same kid-friendly environment Amazon offers on its Kindle Fire tablets, but it’ll likely be a relief to parents who can’t always monitor what their kids are watching.
Nate Glissmeyer, director of product development for Kindle, gave me a brief demonstration of Freetime: