On Wednesday, Amazon released its newest device, the $99 Fire TV, that aims to make a better set-top box for streaming video on TVs. It’s not drone delivery, but it does make the leap from offering streaming content with Amazon Prime to offering a piece of hardware that connects to the TV — putting Amazon into the living room in a big way. The device streams video content and music using apps including Hulu, Pandora, Netflix, and, of course, Amazon Prime. It features videogame capabilities as well as voice-activated searching, which differentiate the device from its competitors like Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast. As these devices become more popular and user-friendly, are they becoming a real threat to cable? What kind of place do set-top boxes have in the media consumption landscape? This week, we’ll be joined by Eric Elia, a frequent MediaShift contributor, Janko Roettgers of GigaOm and Streamingmedia.com’s Dan Rayburn. Andrew Lih will host in place of Mark Glaser.
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Andrew Lih is a new media journalist and associate professor of journalism at the American University School of Communication. He is the author of “The Wikipedia Revolution” (Hyperion 2009, Aurum UK 2009) and is a noted expert on online collaboration and journalism. He is a veteran of AT&T Bell Laboratories and in 1994 created the first online city guide for New York City (www.ny.com). Follow him on Twitter @fuzheado.
Eric Elia is President of Cainkade, a product design and development studio based in New York and San Francisco. He joined Cainkade in 2012 after over 10 years as a pioneer in the online video space. Most recently, he was part of the founding team at Brightcove where he first oversaw product design, then founded and ran the in-house consulting business. Previously, he led the design, development and strategy for the Comcast online service. Follow Eric on Twitter @ericelia.
Dan Rayburn is EVP for StreamingMedia.com and is recognized by many as the voice for the streaming and online video industry. He is a sought after analyst, speaker, writer and consultant who’s work has been featured in over a thousand articles by nearly every major media outlet over the past seventeen years. He co-founded one of the industry’s first webcasting companies acquired for $70 million and has his own line of books with eight titles available. He is a regular analyst to the investment community, has his own blog at StreamingMediaBlog.com and is a principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan.
Janko Roettgers writes about the future of TV and music, as well as consumer electronics and other technologies that make that future happen. He has been covering all things tech for more than 10 years. Janko first began contributing to Gigaom in 2007 and joined the staff in 2009.
All of Fire TV’s competitors stream content from Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube and Pandora, but each device has its own add-ons beyond that core set. Chromecast is connected to Google Play, HBO GO, and Rdio, but it can’t access Spotify, Amazon Instant Video, or most sports channels. Meanwhile, Apple TV connects with iTunes, HBO GO, and a handful of sports channels, though it does not connect with Rdio or Spotify. Roku connects with thousands of channels. Amazon’s Fire TV connects with more content providers, including Amazon Instant Radio and various sports channels. However, it is missing HBO GO, Spotify and Rdio. Fire TV and Apple TV are the most expensive devices at $99.99, Chomecast is the cheapest for $35 and Roku sells a range of devices. Fire TV distinguishes itself from the competition specifically with its voice-activated searches and gaming capabilities.
Peabody Awards Media 2014 Honors CNN, CBS, NBC (Huffington Post)
Claire Groden is the podcast intern for PBS Mediashift and a senior at Dartmouth College. You can follow Claire on Twitter @ClaireGroden.