New 3rd Generation Fire TV announced by Amazon with 4K and HDR

Amazon just announced new mid-range Fire TV dongle. It is capable of playing 4K video at 60 frames per second which makes it the most capable device Amazon has on the market. 2nd-generation Fire TV maxed out at 30 fps when playing 4K video. It also supports HDR content which is limited to HDR10 and does not include Dolby Vision HDR.

Here are the specs for the new 3rd-generation Fire TV model:

  • 1.5 GHz Amlogic S905Z quad-core CPU
  • Mali-450 MP3 GPU
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 8 GB of internal storage
  • 802.11ac dual-band MIMO Wi-Fi – optional Ethernet adapter which is also compatible with 2nd gen Fire TV Stick
  • Bluetooth 4.1 BLE

Form factor is very similar to Google Chromecast Ultra and due to that ports are limited to an attached HDMI cable and a micro USB port used for power. Amazon also announced an official Ethernet adapter that plugs into the micro USB port so now you don’t have to be dependent on the wireless connectivity only. New Ethernet adapter also supports 2nd-generation Fire TV Stick.

Similar to other recent Fire TV models like 2nd Generation Fire Stick and 2nd Generation Fire TV it supports H.265 HEVC hardware decoding with a Main 10 profile level 5 and both 8-bit and 10-it color spaces, as well as the usual rangeof  H.264, H.263, VP8, and VP9 codecs. On the audio fron it is the first Fire TV to support Dolby Atmos for 7.1 surround sound audio.

Software will be the first Fire TV to have Fire OS 6 which is based on Android 7.1. Some of the features to look forward to include Android TV’s Picture in Picture, Content Recording, and Time-shifting capabilities. What would be great if ability to add OTA antenna was added and full guide. Obviously they cannot use Android TV Live Channels but Amazon’s own implementation would be more than welcome.

Release date for the new Fire TV is set for October 25th and pre-orders are currently open for $69.99. You can also bundle the new Fire TV with an Echo Dot for $79.99 ($30 savings)

 

Nvidia drops the price of Shield TV to $180 while removing game controller.

We’ve all been waiting for this and Nvidia finally delivers. Same device, no controller and $20 less. I expected more of a price drop (controller costs $60 by itself) for the removal of the controller but when you consider what you get for your money it’s still a very good deal. This is an extremely powerful device that can “also” stream.

Other tiers of Nvidia Shield will be kept. So you can choose between:

Apparently this was done in response to the new Apple TV which is now finally 4K capable. There are quite a few more boxes coming in the next month or so but if you are looking for one box to do it all look no further.

Here is the recap of all the features that separate Nvidia Shield TV from the other Android based boxes out there. I think all of you cord cutters will appreciate the additional features. Obviously you can stream from majority of services but on top of that you can do following for all of you cord cutters out there:

  • Android TV Live Channels – FREE OTA DVR service with no subscription – more about it here and here
  • PLEX server – if you have local media just plug in external hard drive and you’ll be able to stream to other devices from anywhere.
  • PLEX OTA DVR and Live TV – with PlexPass – lifetime sub costs $120 (you can also pay monthly and yearly subscription) and allows you to time-shift and record live OTA TV. You’ll have to add the tuner (HD Homerun Connect or Extend) in order to take advantage of this option.
  • Tablo DVR – subscription based DVR service from Tablo – subscription costs $4/mo or $40/year
  • Amazon Video – as far as I know this is the only Android TV device that works with Amazon Video out of the box.

So if you’re looking for Over the Air OTA DVR and also want to serve up local content to other devices Shield with Plex and HDHR tuner will fulfill all of those needs and more. When you add it all up it will be around $400 but it pretty much takes care of all of my needs in one simple box and is inline with the price of Tivo Roamio OTA yet delivers so much more.

So who wins in the Shield TV vs Tivo Roamio OTA battle? If you’re ONLY looking for OTA DVR Tivo is still an easier to use device but once you start adding streaming, local media and also gaming Nvidia Shield TV is a clear winner.

The new remote-only streaming Shield is available online for pre-orders now to ship on October 18th, and will expand to select retailers at a later date.

Now we wait to see what Amazon will come up with on the new Fire TV boxes.