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Amazon: Fire TV sellout must mean we're on fire

Amazon says its new box is out of stock. The company blames unexpected popularity, but -- in typical Amazon fashion -- we get no sales figures to gauge for sure.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Amazon's online store is sold out of its new streaming-media box Fire TV until next week, the company said Friday, attributing the problem to unexpected popularity and not supply chain problems.

The difficulty with Amazon declarations of popularity is the company seldom provides hard figures to back them up, and this is no exception. An Amazon representative said that the back-order status was because of unexpectedly high demand and that supply chain problems weren't the cause, but added the company doesn't disclose unit sales figures.

"We're thrilled with the customer response to Fire TV so far -- we're building more as quickly as we can and we're expecting more inventory next week," Amazon spokeswoman Kinley Pearsall said in a statement.

The streaming-media box appears to be available through Staples and Best Buy online stores.

Amazon has a history of pronouncing hits without providing numbers -- it has described its Kindle family of e-readers and tablets as great successes without ever providing sales figures for them, and it has characterized original program "Alpha House" as the most-watched series on its site without releasing numbers of views.

Earlier this month, Amazon unveiled Fire TV as its rival to the Roku, Chomecast, and Apple TV devices that connect televisions to the Internet and stock them with apps and services to play digital video and music. Since its debut, Fire TV has been heavily promoted on Amazon's storefront, and it has been at the top of the company's list of electronics best sellers, putting it above Google's rival device, Chromecast, which enjoyed a No. 1 position on that list for much of last year.