Amazon’s annual products and services event is always a dizzying carousel of shiny new Alexa-enabled gadgets. But with services becoming a bigger focus for tech giants competing in the ever-crowded streaming wars, it was a pretty safe bet that Amazon would have a couple of new Fire TV products in store.
Sure enough, Amazon today debuted new streaming hardware as well as an overhauled Fire TV experience, complete with user profiles. As was rumoured leading up to the event, Amazon has added a new Fire TV Stick Lite to its lineup of streaming devices. At $59, the Lite offers HDR streaming, Alexa-enabled voice commands from the remote, and is 50% more powerful than previous Fire TV Sticks, the company said.
Meanwhile, a next-generation Fire TV Stick that supports HDR streaming and Dolby Atmos will retail for around $US40 ($57). Amazon says that this new stick comes equipped with a 1.7 GHz quad-core processor that makes it far more powerful than previous generations of the streaming device, all while using 50% less power. As with previous generations of the Fire TV Stick, this one will also come with an Alexa-enabled remote designed to control TVs, soundbars, and receivers.
As for its Fire TV experience, users will be getting an overhauled version later this year that will finally give them user profiles as well as a personalised main menu with easier navigation for pulling up their preferred streaming services. Up to six user profiles will be supported in the new experience, with Alexa voice command support for things like quickly switching accounts.
With this major update to Fire TV, users will also be able to make video calls with Alex using the Fire TV cube (which has far-field voice control and a built-in speaker). Amazon said while video calling will be limited to Alexa at first, services like Zoom would “be added over time.”