At a large announcement event today in New York Amazon officially unveiled its long-rumored streaming set-top box device. Called the Amazon Fire TV, the device is a streaming video and entertainment box priced at $99 to compete with other streaming boxes such as the Roku 3 and Apple TV.
One of the Fire TV features that sets the box apart from those other products is a voice search feature built into the Fire TV remote. The feature allows consumers to search through content on their Fire TV by using only voice commands. Amazon is claiming that the feature "actually works," calling out other voice search software (such as Microsoft's Kinect for Xbox One) that can be rather spotty.
It now appears that the voice search feature of the Fire Tv is the one that Amazon will focus on first in its big marketing push for the box. The company has enlisted actor Gary Busey to star in the first-ever commercial for the Fire TV.
The ad itself is exactly as weird as it sounds. Busey is portrayed as himself, complete with the slightly-insane personality the actor is known for. Busey explains that he loves to talk to inanimate objects and laments their lack of reaction before rejoicing over the fact that the Fire TV actually listens:
Sure, it's an odd marketing plan. Maybe not quite as odd as HTC's hipster troll carwash campaign, but certainly among the most bizarre ads Amazon has ever released.
In addition to the Fire TV's voice recognition capabilities, the device contains all of the features expected of a modern streaming box. The device supports 1080p video and comes with popular apps such as Hulu Plus, Netflix, Pandora, and (of course) Amazon Instant Video.
The device also supports video games that use a Amazon-brand controller. This feature is the truth behind months of rumors that Amazon had been building an Android video game console. It also helps to explain why the company recently acquired prominent video game developer Double Helix Games.