Folks with regular HDTVs can take advantage of the Fire TV's support of HEVC (high efficiency video coding) for higher quality 1080p streams at lower bit rates. Amazon says that HEVC is roughly two times more efficient than the standard h.264. If you live in an area where your streaming video quality is on par with an 8-bit video game, HEVC might help.
The new box also supports 802.11ac for better long-range performance, has 75-percent more processing power and a GPU that's twice as fast. All that extra silicon strength is for the company's updated focus on making the Fire TV a low-cost console for mobile games on your TV. To further convince you to start playing games with the device, Amazon not only updated its game controller with a more ergonomic design, voice control and headphone jack, but it also introduced the Fire TV Gaming Edition. The $139.99 pack comes with a Fire TV, controller, 32GB microSD card and two games (Duck Tales and Shovel Knight). It will also only be available in the US.
While the Fire TV Stick got some update love with its new Voice Remote, the regular $39.99 (£35) version will let you use the Fire TV Remote app for iOS and Android to chat with your TV.
Though, the Alexa-powered voice feature on the now TV-connected boxes is nice, unfortunately it won't be as robust as what's available in the Echo. For example, you won't be able to tell your TV to turn off your lights. But during a briefing, Amazon spokespersons said that while not available in this release, the company does see the TV as an IoT hub.
All this new Alexa-powered chit chat will also be available via an upcoming OTA Fire TV OS 5 update for to current Fire TV and Fire TV Stick owners that will also bring Amazon's tech support feature Mayday to your TV.
The new hardware is available now for pre-order with the Fire TV shipping on October 5 and the Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote heading out on October 22.