Amazon wants to make Fire TV personal, adds video-editing app

Amazon's new Fire TV includes Magisto, an automated, online video-editing tool, so you can spruce up your home videos and watch them on TV.

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Amazon introduces Fire TV on April 2, 2014. Sarah Tew/CNET

Amazon's new Fire TV comes with a slew of apps, including one that lets you edit your personal videos and share them on the TV screen.

Magisto, which popped up briefly on the TV screen during Amazon's presentation on Wednesday, is an app made by a fast-growing company of the same name that deploys online automated video-editing technology. The app allows you to upload any video you shoot, choose a general theme for it -- say, "cute" for baby videos or "party beat" for a frenetic clip -- and it automatically identifies key moments and important people using artificial intelligence to automatically edit, guss up, and score your movie. Magisto does not have an app for Roku or Apple TV currently.

Reid Genauer, chief marketing officer at Magisto, told CNET that Magisto addresses the problem that has resulted in the overwhelming majority of personal videos never making it off the device.

"Prior to five years ago, you'd be hard pressed to find somebody carrying around a high-def video recorder," Genauer said. "These days everyone has one. We're drowning in our own personal media."

Peter Larsen, Amazon's vice president of Kindle, briefly talked about the Fire TV's capacity for sharing personal media. Though Larsen didn't feature video editing in his talk, he demonstrated how quickly he was able to take a photo and have it show up on the big screen.

Similarly, Magisto receives any video in the cloud, and after a few customer directions and 5 minutes to process, sends back an edited and packaged movie you can share with a click on social networks like Facebook.

"There is this absence of personal content on the Smart TV," Genauer said. "We think there's been a conspicuous absence of personal content everywhere."

Magisto's growth, as Genauer put it, is "ridiculous." At the beginning of 2013, the service had 3 million registered users; at the end of the year, it had reached 20 million. In the just-finished first quarter -- January to March -- Magisto registered another 10 million people, bringing it from 3 million to 30 million in just 15 months.

Much of that growth has been organic or through referrals, with some stoked by marketing and partnerships with companies like Sony music, Discovery digital networks, Zappos, NBC Sports, and others.

 

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