When it comes to streaming boxes, all eyes are currently on Apple, which is expected to announce the long-awaited fourth generation of the Apple TV in less than two weeks. While we have yet to see just what the upcoming Apple TV has to offer, it almost certainly has the company’s competitors looking to see what can be done to improve their own offerings.
Amazon may already have an updated version of its Fire TV in the works, if stock of the current model of its Fire TV is any indicator. The $100 Fire TV is listed on the Amazon website as “currently unavailable,” and no indication is given of when it might return, with the page simply reading, “We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.”
This is a common occurrence with items on Amazon’s vast online store, but given that the company is itself the producer of the Fire TV, it should know better than anyone when the streaming box will be back in stock. The company hasn’t announced an updated Fire TV, but the timing certainly seems right for such a move.
An Amazon spokesperson speaking to Variety blamed the shortage on “overwhelming customer demand.” The smaller Fire TV Stick – which we have said is the better deal of the two given its $34 price tag — is still in stock.
While the Fire TV’s voice search was a unique point in its favor for some time, the Siri integration in the Apple TV will likely make the limited voice search in Amazon’s streaming box look antiquated by comparison. Adding support to the Alexa cloud-based voice service to the Fire TV could give it greatly enhanced voice control, though there is no indication that Amazon has any plans to add Alexa to devices other than its Echo wireless speaker.
While the Apple TV recently fell to fourth place behind the Fire TV, Roku, and Chromecast, its long lifespan likely has more to do with this than anything. The new model will reportedly sell for anywhere from $150 to $200, giving the Fire TV an advantage in terms of price, but this would still be a good time for an update.
Last month the Amazon Fire TV finally added HBO Now to its lineup, like Google’s Chromecast and the Apple TV before it. Roku has yet to add HBO Now support to its products