Less the five months after launching the Fire TV in the US, it's now coming to the UK. Here's everything you need to know about the set-top box which is set to take-on the Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku's players, using Amazon's own Prime Instant Video service (previously called Lovefilm) and selection of casual games. See: 6 best media streamers UK: What's the best media steamer 2014?

Amazon Fire TV streaming box: release date and where to buy

The wait is over as the Amazon Fire TV streaming box is available to purchase from Amazon's website. The first UK units start shipping on 23rd October.

Apart from Amazon, you can also get the Fire TV at Argos, Dixons and Tesco.

Amazon Fire TV streaming box: price

The UK price for the Amazon Fire TV streaming box is £79, which is the same as the Apple TV.

Other streaming boxes such as the Chromecast and Sky Now are sold cheaply in order to win buyers over and make money when they subscribe to video services, so Amazon is clearly going for Apple's model (it even claims the Fire TV has three times the processing power of the latest Apple TV).

How does the Amazon Fire TV streaming box work?

The small black box plugs into your TV with an HDMI cable and is able to stream 1080p content over its built-in dual-band Wi-Fi. Speedy performance is touted by Amazon with a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM - the kind of specs you'd find in a high-end smartphone.

Amazon says a feature called 'ASAP' means content will start playing immediately after you press play with no lag. It's an intelligent system that predicts if you will click the play button, and buffers content so it's ready to go instantly.

Amazon Fire TV: specifications

The Fire TV has an HDMI output, Dolby digital surround sound support, optical and Ethernet ports.

A Bluetooth remote control features a microphone so you can control the Fire TV with voice commands and search. "There's no shouting across the room at your TV, which is irritating," said Amazon's Peter Larsen.

It has dual-band, dual-antennae Wi-Fi, and has an Adreno 305 graphics processor built into its quad-core chip.

How does the Amazon Fire TV work: what can you watch?

The Fire TV is runs on Android and as you would expect is hooked up to the firm's Prime Instant Video service for films and TV shows. However, you can also access other services from the little black box including Netflix, Sky News, YouTube and more, plus videos for rent and purchase. It also lets you listen to music with Amazon Music, Spotify, TuneIn and more.

It's surprising that Netflix is supported with Amazon taking aim at rivals for their 'closed ecosystems' - particularly the Xbox which requires an annual Xbox Live GOLD subscription to access such services.

Amazon Fire TV streaming box: games

As well as video, the Fire TV also lets you play games. It has similar specs to modern smartphones and tablets and since it runs Fire OS - which is based on Android - you can play many of the titles available on a Kindle Fire tablet such as Minecraft, Asphalt 8, The Walking Dead and more. You can buy a Bluetooth controller which lets you play more complex and "high-intensity" games for £35, and it comes with Sev Zero - otherwise a £4.99 game. You don't have to buy it - the bundled Bluetooth remote control can be used for many games.