Updated models with AMD graphics options expected in early 2017.
Amazon's Fire TV Looks A Lot Like the Rumored Apple TV Update
While gaming on a media streaming box is nothing new, as Roku has allowed users to play games like Angry Birds on its devices, Amazon has gone through great lengths, including purchasing Killer Instinct game developer Double Helix and reaching out to third-party publishers like EA, Disney, Ubisoft and Minecraft creator Mojang, to bring 133 high quality games to the Fire TV, with more arriving in the future. In addition, they've launched a $39 Xbox-like controller to make it easier for users to play advanced games on the box.
Apple has long been rumored to be including gaming support on the next version of the Apple TV with support for gaming controllers. More recently, Apple and third-party hardware manufacturers have begun shipping iOS 7 game controllers for iPhones, but they've been poorly received due to build quality issues and high price tags.
To power these high quality games, Amazon has outfitted its Fire TV with a quad-core processor, which Amazon says boasts 3 times the power of Apple TV, a dedicated graphics engine and 2 GB of RAM, which is four times the amount in the Apple TV.
While its unclear what specs the new Apple TV could sport, it's likely it gets a significant improvement over the currently used A5 chip to the much more powerful A7 chip, which is used in the iPad Air and would allow developers to easily port over their best-selling iPad and iPhone games and vice versa.
Other rumored changes for the new Apple TV include a brand new interface that blends TV listings with apps and video from the web rather than a the current setup of a grid of app icons. Amazon's Fire TV does something similar according to a hands-on report by The Verge, displaying various movies and TV shows next to apps and games when the device is turned on.
In addition, Apple has been rumored to want to include some sort of Siri-like voice control to allow users to easily navigate through the interface without a remote control. While Roku already had voice control on their media streaming box, Amazon has included voice control "that just works" on its Fire TV remote control, allowing users to bypass typing for voice searches.
However, the largest difference between the new Apple TV and Fire TV could be content. While Amazon says its streaming device is "open" and has an app store, Apple has been long rumored to also include an App Store to allow for a greater variety and quicker access to more "channels" than ever before. While that would put the two boxes at parity, Apple has also been rumored to be discussing a possible partnership with Comcast for a streaming TV service on the new Apple TV, allowing users to switch between live TV via Comcast, a Hulu-like on-demand video service and third-party apps like HBO Go, YouTube and Netflix.
Apple has been rumored to be launching their new Apple TV as early as April.