As competition among manufacturers of gadgets that let consumers stream content to their televisions heats up, prices are falling.
The latest vendor to announce cuts is Amazon.com, which over the weekend slashed the price of its Amazon Fire TV to $79. That’s about $20 cheaper than competing products like Apple TV and Google’s Nexus Player. Roku, meanwhile, has taken $10 off the price of its players, with the Roku 3 currently selling for $89.99.
Even without the discount, Amazon retains at least one advantage over its rivals. In addition to hardware, it has its own streaming service, Amazon Instant Video, which works in conjunction with the Amazon Fire TV and is also available through the competition, including Roku.
While customers can purchase TV shows and movies from the Google Play Store and Apple app store, much of the content on Amazon Instant Video is free with a subscription to Amazon Prime, which is $99 yearly and includes other perks, such as free two-day shipping for Amazon purchases.
Most set-top boxes have the standard streaming applications, including Netflix, Hulu Plus and HBO Go, but only the Amazon Fire TV has Prime Instant Video. The streaming service features a host of exclusive television shows and movies in addition to many Amazon originals such as “Alpha House,” “Transparent,” “Tumble Leaf,” and “Creative Galaxy.”
Additionally, Amazon boasts that the Fire TV is technologically more advanced than other set-top boxes, with features including voice search, surround sound and Optical audio out. As Amazon establishes itself as a mainstay in streaming, competitors will need to respond. Expect the price cuts to continue into 2015 as more options emerge.
Apple TV may even be coming to the Apple Watch, according to Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster.