Amazon’s newest business: manufacturing smart TVs
The latest line of Fire smart TV devices from Amazon includes the first TVs the e-tail giant has ever built itself.
Never shy about diversifying its portfolio of products and services, Amazon is now adding “TV manufacturer” to its description. The company is introducing an all-new assortment of Fire TV devices that includes the first-ever Amazon-built smart TVs - the Amazon Fire TV Omni Series and 4-Series smart TVs - and the Fire TV Stick 4K Max.
The Fire TV Omni Series integrates Fire smart TV capabilities and far-field voice technology directly into the TV, providing a single device for activities such as streaming, cable TV, music, and gaming. Hands-free Amazon Alexa voice controls are available whether the TV is on or off, or when using an HDMI input.
Users can ask Alexa to tune to their favorite show and instantly receive the program they’re looking for, without needing to remember which channel name, streaming service or input device to switch to. Customers can also use voice to control playback, closed captions, and brightness, as well as manage TV or soundbar volume, and switch inputs. In addition, users can set up a routine so when they say, “Alexa, kick off my day,” their Fire TV and smart lights turn on, and Alexa will share the weather, read their calendar, and tune to the news on live TV.
The new Alexa Conversations for Fire TV feature allows users to ask Alexa for tailored TV show and movie recommendations, allowing them to refine searches by genre, actors, award-winning movies, and more. “Alexa, what should I watch?” will launch in beta this year.
Exclusively available on Fire TV and debuting this fall, Netflix members will be able to say, “Alexa, play something on Netflix” from the Fire TV home screen and Netflix will launch a show or movie they might enjoy.
In addition, Fire TV was the first to support TikTok videos on streaming media players in the U.K., Germany and France, and soon, will provide access to TikTok content in the U.S. and Canada. Users will be able to say “Alexa, play TikTok” to get started.
Prime Video members can use X-ray, an exclusive feature that allows them to ask Alexa for information in the moment, such as “Alexa, who is this actor?” to see details about the actors in that scene appear at the bottom of the screen. Viewers can also get bios, filmographies, facts, trivia, character backstories, photo galleries, and bonus video content.
The Fire TV Omni Series also provides Live View Picture-in-Picture, which allows them to check your smart cameras without interrupting TV viewing, and shows their Amazon Ring video doorbell view when someone is at the door. Later this year, the all-new smart home dashboard will allow users to view and control connected devices throughout the home by voice, and view a new row on Fire TV that is specifically dedicated to smart cameras.
Other features include Alexa Calling, which enables video calling by plugging a webcam into the Fire TV Omni Series. For the first time on any smart TV, Zoom video calling will also be available later this year on the Fire TV Omni Series.
In addition, Amazon and Best Buy have announced a new lineup of smart TVs with Fire TV built-in from Pioneer; and an upcoming Toshiba series featuring far-field Alexa voice capabilities which is expected by spring 2022. The Pioneer series will be available in 43” and 50” at Amazon and Best Buy.
The 43” will begin shipping in late September and the 50” will ship early November in the U.S. and Canada. Customers who purchase their Fire TV smart TVs on Amazon can pick them up at their local Best Buy store.
“We’ve reimagined what a TV can do by building it with two of our most popular experiences at the core—the intelligent always-available power of far-field Alexa, and Fire TV’s content-forward approach to entertainment,” said Daniel Rausch, VP, Amazon entertainment devices and services. “Our new Fire TV Omni Series smart TVs, with hands-free access to Alexa, make controlling your TV faster, simpler, and more natural.”
[Read more: Amazon introduces Fire TV]