Starting Monday, Amazon Fire TV is a real-time movie encyclopedia. That means anyone watching a show or movie and wondering "What do I know that actor from?" or "What is this song?" will be able to find out, instantaneously, by pressing the up button on their Fire remote.
The new feature is called X-Ray, and was debuted in a tablet-only format in 2012. Finally, it's now coming to regular Fire TV. Through integration with the Amazon-owned directory service IMDb, Fire TV can call up information such as what actors are in what show or movie, and what music is playing either from the soundtrack or in the background of the scene. The integration with IMDb comes with a robust set of data, allowing viewers to interact with little-known trivia from the movie being watched or to browse any actor's entire career while watching them on-screen.
The feature may not be a completely necessary addition to the current viewing experience, but Amazon is counting on it to provide a small edge in an increasingly crowded streaming media landscape. The decision about whether to go with Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Apple for your streaming service is one you can't really get wrong; they all get the job done better than anything imaginable just five years ago. Now, when deciding whether to binge on a show on Amazon versus Netflix, or whether to buy the entire Star Wars saga on Amazon Instant Video or iTunes, a feature like this may just be the deciding factor for some consumers.