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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

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.

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 November 5, 2019

5 Best Language Learning Apps to Master a New Language

5 Best Language Learning Apps to Master a New Language

Learning a new language is no easy feat. While a language instructor is irreplaceable, language learning apps have come to revolutionize a lot of things and it has made language learning much easier. Compared to language learning websites, apps offer a more interactive experience to learn a new language.

The following language learning apps are the top recommended apps for your language learning needs:

1. Duolingo

    Duolingo is a very successful app that merged gamification and language learning. According to Expanded Ramblings, the app now counts with 300 million users.

    Duolingo offers a unique concept, an easy-to-use app and is a great app to accompany your language acquisition journey. The courses are created by native speakers, so this is not data or algorithm-based.

    The app is free and has the upgrade options with Duolingo Plus for $9.99, which are add free lessons. The mobile app offers 25 languages and is popular for English-speaking learners learning other languages.

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    Download the app

    2. HelloTalk

      HelloTalk aims to facilitate speaking practice and eliminate the stresses of a real-time and life conversation. The app allows users to connect to native speakers and has a WhatsApp like chat that imitates its interface.

      There is a perk to this app. The same native speakers available also want to make an even exchange and learn your target language, so engagement is the name of the game.

      What’s more, the app has integrated translation function that bypasses the difficulties of sending a message with a missing word and instead fills in the gap.

      Download the app

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      3. Mindsnacks

        Remember that Duolingo has integrated gamification in language learning? Well, Mindsnacks takes the concept to another level. There is an extensive list of languages available within the app comes with eight to nine games designed to learn grammar, vocabulary listening.

        You will also be able to visualize your progress since the app integrates monitoring capabilities. The layout and interface is nothing short of enjoyable, cheerful and charming.

        Download the app

        4. Busuu

          Bussu is a social language learning app. It is available on the web, Android, and iOS. It currently supports 12 languages and is free.

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          The functionality allows users to learn words, simple dialogues and questions related to the conversations. In addition, the dialogues are recorded by native speakers, which brings you close to the language learning experience.

          When you upgrade, you unlock important features including course materials. The subscription is $17 a month.

          Download the app

          5. Babbel

            Babbel is a subscription-based service founded in 2008. According to LinguaLift, it is a paid cousing of Duolingo. The free version comes with 40 classes, and does not require you to invest any money.

            Each of the classes starts with with a sequential teaching of vocabulary with the help of pictures. The courses are tailor made and adapted to the students’ level, allowing the learning to be adjusted accordingly.

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            If you started learning a language and stopped, Babbel will help you pick up where you started.

            Download the app

            Takeaways

            All the apps recommended are tailored for different needs, whether you’re beginning to learn a language or trying to pick back up one. All of them are designed by real-life native speakers and so provide you with a more concrete learning experience.

            Since these apps are designed to adapt to different kinds of learning styles, do check out which one is the most suitable for you.

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            Featured photo credit: Yura Fresh via unsplash.com

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