Consumers in Germany and Austria are about to discover the joys of Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, which goes on sale there this week.
The WiFi dongle, which plugs into the HDMI slots of digital TVs, gives users access to Amazon Prime Instant Video and other Internet video services, including catch-up TV services from German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF, Netflix and YouTube.
After just more than a year in Germany, Amazon Prime Instant Video is the No. 1 SVOD service there with more than 33% of the market. Those numbers could grow even more aggressively as the Fire TV Stick gains traction.
The dongle saw huge demand in the United States that sold out Amazon’s supply months in advance.
At the time, Amazon said Fire TV Stick was “our most successful device launch ever.”
“We built a ton of these, but customer demand still outpaced our supply,” said Dave Limp, SVP, Amazon Devices. “We’re excited by the overwhelming customer response and the team is working hard to build more as quickly as possible.”
Fire TV Stick comes with a Gig of memory (about 6X the processing power of the Roku Streaming Stick), has a dedicated VideoCore4 GPU, and 8 GB of storage (4X Chromecast’s and 32X Roku’s Stick). It supports video to 1080p at 60 fps and comes with dual-band, dual-antenna (MIMO) Wi-Fi, and exclusive features like ASAP for instant streaming.
Fire TV Stick was designed as the answer to Chromecast, which has been a best seller since it launched in July 2013, and as a way to preempt other dongles, like Roku.
Amazon’s device comes with a dedicated remote and, more critically, a dedicated store loaded with content to rent and buy.
With that connection to its Prime and Prime Instant video services, the device stands to generate some serious cash flow for the etailer in the TVOD and EST spaces.
Think of Fire TV Stick as the cheap razor handle Gillette sells you so you’ll continue to buy their pricy razor blades.
The device can be ordered from Amazon for 39 euros. It also will be available in retail chains Media Markt and Saturn.
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