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Inside

I've reviewed a lot of products and it's rare that you'll see the manufacturer list the components for the products. But Amazon did and here they are:

SOC Platform Qualcomm Snapdragon 8064
Processor Qualcomm Krait 300, quad-core to 1.7 Ghz
GPU Qualcomm Adreno 320
Storage 8 GB internal
Memory 2 GB LPDDR2 @ 533 MHZ
Wi-Fi Connectivity Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (N600 class)
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0 with HID, HFP 1.6, SPP profile support
Table 1: Amazon Fire TV components

For our interior PCB photos, we often use the photos on the FCC.gov site that accompany the documentation for FCC certification . Unfortunately, the photos for the Fire TV weren't yet available. However, iFixit did a great teardown of the Fire TV, so I created the composite images below from their posting.

Amazon Fire TV PCB - iFixit detail photo

Amazon Fire TV PCB - iFixit detail photo
(Image credit: iFixit)

Similarly, here's iFizit's photo of the components for the remote control.

Amazon Fire remote control PCB - iFixit detail photo

Amazon Fire remote control PCB - iFixit detail photo
(Image credit: iFixit)

Setup

As with all media streamers, setup is quite simple. You just connect an HDMI cable (not included) to a spare HDMI input on your HDTV, plug in power, and connect it to an Ethernet port on your router. Wireless connection isn't quite as easy, because Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) is not supported. So you'll have to navigate to the Settings menu, choose a network, then enter your password as shown below.

Amazon Fire TV wireless password entry

Amazon Fire TV wireless password entry

For my initial setup, I used a wired Ethernet connection. As with the HDMI cable, the Ethernet cable isn't included. However, that's the case with many media streamers, including the Roku 3.

Probably the largest stumbling block in setting up the Fire TV will be remembering to switch the HDMI input port on your HDTV to connect to your streamer. After the initial boot up and connection test, the Fire TV immediately downloaded several firmware updates. For a device purchased on the first day it was for sale, I was surprised that it had to download several updates.

After successfully installing the updates, a first-run animated welcome video ran to introduce key device features. During the setup process, the Fire TV searches for and pairs with the Bluetooth remote, so be sure to install the batteries in the remote before installing your Fire TV. With the setup complete, you land at the home page shown here.

Amazon Fire TV Landing Page

AmazonFire TV Landing Page

The home screen is arranged with menu selections on the left side of the screen. You use the navigation keys to move to the right to select choices, or scroll up or down to change top level menus. The most recently used apps appear at the top of the screen. You'll note that the second line points you to recently added content for Amazon's Prime video service. Compared to the Roku 3 interface, I found the Fire TV a little less intuitive to use. The Fire TV doesn't have a "My Channels" screen like the Roku 3 and you have to scroll towards the bottom of the screen to get to the Apps section of the interface.

For comparison in this review, I hooked up the Roku 3 I reviewed last year and downloaded the latest firmware updates. Here's the landing page screenshot of the Roku 3 landing page. Note how my nine favorite channels appear on my home screen. I can also rearrange the order in which "My Channels" appear; something that you can't do on the Fire TV. Similar to the Fire TV, Menu choices appear on the left, with corresponding choices available on the right.

Roku 3 Landing Page

Roku 3 Landing Page

My Amazon Fire TV was automatically registered to my Amazon account. Since I have an Amazon Prime membership, my device was ready to start streaming Amazon Prime video immediately. For my other subscribed services, I had to either log into my accounts using either on screen keyboard (Netflix and Pandora), or, for Hulu Plus, use my computer to log into a device activation page an input a code supplied by the Fire TV.

To install additional apps or games, you just scroll down to the corresponding menu and start browsing. The Fire TV arrives with a minimal number of apps installed, but you can easily download additional content to your device with just a single click. For items that you purchase or in-app purchases, Amazon uses their 1-click technology to facilitate purchasing.

To give you a better idea of how the Fire TV UI looks for the different menus, I've included a short gallery. Also included in the gallery is an image showing the Roku 3 Channel store for comparison. Again, I preferred the Roku 3 Channel Store to the Fire TV app store. Their categorization seemed to make more sense to me than the separate Games and Apps entries each with a Popular List, and Spotlight sub menus.

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