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Amazon Brings Streaming TV to the Marketplace With Its Fire Device

Amazon Brings Streaming TV to the Marketplace With Its Fire Device
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There are currently several streaming media devices available on the market, from Roku to Airplay, and now, Amazon has entered the market with their own streaming device: Fire. Amazon Fire TV is a streaming media set-top box that lets you watch video from Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Crackle, and a few other sources. It also lets you play games, with or without a controller (which is sold separately).

Fire TV is easy to set up and use, and offers voice integration.

The Fire TV is very simple. Just plug it in to the wall, install the batteries in the remote, and you are ready to go. It quickly pairs with the included Bluetooth remote: simply hold down the “home” button on the remote for a few seconds, and you are ready to use it. The Fire is different from devices currently on the market because it offers voice integration. This allows you to search for content by speaking aloud, rather than tediously typing in your selection. Also, you can use the remote microphone to begin a series of voice commands, such as, “launch Netflix,” “search new movies,” or “Rocky” if you want a specific title, but you will need to hold down the button the entire time you are speaking so the Fire can pick up your voice. Also, be aware that the box will return results from the Amazon catalog only, even if you are signed in to your other accounts. This means if you want to search through the Netflix catalog, you will have to do so manually.

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Fire TV has better hardware than its competitors.

The Fire is different from the competitors because it gives users the ability to play games. Because of this, it offers a surprising amount of power for such a small box. It utilizes a quad core processor, 2GB of RAM, and a dedicated GPU for playing games. This is the same chipset used in the Galaxy S4 and the 2013 HTC One. But, it is not quite as high-end as the Snapdragon 800 found in the Kindle Fire HDX. It is considerably more powerful than any of the other current crop of set-top box or low-end gaming systems on the market.

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The games portion of the box was heavily rumored leading up to the event, and it turns out they were spot on, as the aforementioned controller costs $40 in addition to the $99 box itself. Amazon has stated, however,  that many games can be played using the media player remote that comes packaged in the box, so there may be no need for the separate controller if your favorite game can be played using the remote.

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Fire TV’s internal memory is limited.

The box does not offer a way to expand the internal memory. This is something I hope they will remedy in later versions of the box, because if you are choosing the Fire over the Roku simply because of the gaming capabilities, games can quickly eat away at your memory storage. One game can be well over 1GB, so if you are an avid gamer, this may not house all of your games. If you are a lightweight gamer, however, this could be a great feature in addition to the streaming media capabilities.

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Fire TV is compatible with HDMI only.

Fire does offer an HDMI port, optical audio output and Ethernet. There is also a USB 2.0 port, although that isn’t enabled to do anything at the moment, except for debugging and interfacing in developer mode. Similar to Apple TV and Roku 3, the Fire TV is HDMI only, so if you have an older TV without an HDMI port, it will not work. By and large this is a great addition to the streaming media products currently on the market, especially given that the Fire offers voice controls and gaming fun.

Featured photo credit: Amazon Fire/Amazon.com via main.makeuseoflimited.netdna-cdn.com

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Last Updated on December 18, 2020

Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?
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Technology has taken a vantage leap in providing solutions for man. Before now, technology used to appear complex and would require a great deal of expertise to handle solutions available. Today, we have technology applicable in the simplest human activities as smart products with intelligent algorithms powering them as they make error-free judgments and provide intelligent and analytic solutions.

Does technology have all the answers?

This article from Credit Suisse, tells us that technology does not have all the answers because it has been found to exhibit “similar biases,” as humans. No one can discredit the impact of technology, but it is not totally free of human input and this is the reason we experience these biases in many areas we have technology holding foot.

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Creating technological solutions transparently

This article suggests that the process of creating technological solutions be made transparent and subject to contribution from many people who would end up as users of the product – male, female, young, old, learned, unlearned and all other preferences as we have them. It also underscores the importance of having women on product development teams. This approach is not sure to eliminate all forms of bias, but it is a good way to start in order to appraise the full benefits of technology.

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Technology as the connecting tool

Technology so far has been a major connecting tool amongst us humans. It is used and appreciated by all regardless of race, language and sex. In order to keep it less subjective to these arguments about human biases. I believe we should gather opinions on products and solutions before making them available to the public. This could be done by gathering input from intended target users and receiving feedback across the stages of production.

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“Recognizing the problem is a start…success will depend on inclusive technologies that meet this vast untapped market.” This cannot be more apt especially at a time when we look up to technology for solutions. We should not muzzle our progress with technology by battling algorithm bias. The first way to avoid this battle is by reading this article here.

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