Analyst: Amazon’s Fire TV Presents No Challenge to Apple TV

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On Wednesday, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) unveiled Fire TV, its long-awaited entry into the video-streaming hardware market. The set-top device will ostensibly compete for customers against the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) TV, Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Chromecast, and Roku’s various media-streaming devices.

Like the devices offered by its rivals, Amazon’s Fire TV allows users to stream Internet-based media to their televisions. However, Amazon attempted to set its device apart by including a voice-activated search feature and the capability to stream video games. Although Apple TV doesn’t currently include those features, at least one analyst believes that the Cupertino-based company has nothing to worry about. Amazon Fire TV “is kind of a run-of-the-mill, undifferentiated offering compared to those other guys,” Forrester analyst Jim Nail recently told MarketWatch. “Technology stuff has nothing to do with it.”

According to Nail, the only reason a customer would pick Amazon Fire TV over Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku was if the customer was already using Amazon’s services, like Prime Instant Video. “What Amazon has that certainly Roku and even Google don’t have are the customer relationships and the credit-card numbers of those tens of millions of people who shop with them already,” Nail told MarketWatch. However, Apple has a similar advantage through its millions of iTunes accountholders.

Customers looking for a low-cost alternative can also get cheaper devices from Google or Roku. Google’s Chromecast retails for around $35, while the Roku 1 costs $50. Amazon Fire TV also failed to match Roku’s content, according to Nail. “It’s a very bland, vanilla device with — at least at this point — a very thin selection of content,” the Forrester analyst told NBC News.

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