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TVs

Amazon Fire TV drops price on 4K HDR streaming to $70

The new Fire TV, a tiny box that hangs off the back of your actual TV, serves up the highest-quality streaming video for a low price. Your move, Roku.

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Amazon

Amid Amazon's latest flood of Alexa-powered Echo devices, it's easy to lose sight of the tiny new Fire TV. But it could be another big seller for the retail giant.

Called simply the Amazon Fire TV, it costs $70, or £70 in the UK. That makes it nearly twice as much as the similarly sized, yet much-longer-named Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote. That stick is the site's perennial best-seller in Electronics, with more than 100,000 user opinions averaging 4.5/5 stars.

The main difference between the two is 4K HDR video, which delivers improved image quality to compatible TVs as long as you're watching a 4K and/or HDR TV show or movie. The new Fire TV also supports Dolby Atmos audio and has a slightly faster quad-core processor (1.5GHz versus 1.3GHz). That's about it.

Both devices stream video from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and a host of other services. They also include a remote control with voice capabilities that invokes Alexa, Amazon's digital assistant. And there's even a new function that allows a Fire TV to be controlled by Echo speakers, hands-free using your voice.

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Amazon.com

Physically the Amazon Fire TV is kinda weird. Rather than a traditional stick, it's a flat square (2.6 inches on a side) with an attached HDMI cable that dangles behind your TV. The Google Chromecast was the first such dangling dongle, albeit rounder in form. 

The Fire TV does basically the same things as the $180 Apple TV 4K, although that box has Dolby Vision HDR capability the Fire TV lacks. The two more directly competitive 4K players are Chromecast Ultra and in particular, the new Roku Streaming Stick Plus, both of which cost $70. I'm interested in pitting Fire TV and the new Roku against one another in a full review.

And Amazon could have another, more expensive Fire TV up its sleeve. A leak that proved prescient in describing this $70 streamer also mentioned a higher-end, cube-shaped Fire TV equipped with far-field microphones and integrated speaker.

Meanwhile the new 2017 Fire TV is up for preorder now, and ships Oct. 26. Look for the CNET review then.

Updated October 2 with information on Roku Streaming Stick Plus.

'Alexa, be more human': Inside Amazon's effort to make its voice assistant smarter, chattier and more like you.

Amazon: All things Amazon, from Echo to Prime deals.