FireTV: Roku competitor unveiled by Amazon

Amazon unveiled the FireTV on Monday, giving it a competitor to Roku, Google Chromecast and Apple TV.

The set-top box was unveiled at a press event in New York City. Thinner than a dime, the FireTV features 1080p HD video, 2GB of RAM and a quad-core processor. Amazon says the streaming device offers performance three times faster than Roku 3, Apple TV and Google Chromecast.

Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images Peter Larsen, vice president of Amazon Inc., introduces Amazon FireTV during a news conference in New York.

Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Peter Larsen, vice president of Amazon Inc., introduces Amazon FireTV during a news conference in New York.

Like the company’s Kindle Fire tablets, Amazon’s FireTV will run a modified version of Google’s Android operating system, and give users access to third-party apps like Hulu Plus, Netflix and YouTube.

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Over the last year, Amazon has been ramping up its video offerings with original series like “Alpha House,” a political comedy starring John Goodman. On Tuesday, it announced sole streaming rights to “24” for its Amazon Prime Instant Video service, a big win considering the amount of people who will want to watch before the May 5 debut of the series reboot “24: Live Another Day.”

Currently, Amazon lets users buy and rent TV and movies individually through its Amazon Instant Video service, or access many of them for a $99 annual fee with Amazon Prime, which also includes perks like free two-day shipping and free e-books. Both are available on its Kindle Fire tablets and competing streaming devices, like Google Chromecast and Roku.

—By Keith Wagstaff of NBC News

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