Amazon debuted an all-new line of Fire TV devices on Thursday, a lineup which now includes the company’s first-ever branded TVs in the U.S.
The new offerings, which will be available exclusively at Best Buy and on Amazon beginning in October, will include two lines of Amazon-built smart TVs: the Amazon Fire TV Omni Series and the Fire TV 4-Series, both of which will utilise Amazon’s proprietary Alexa far-field voice technology and 4K Ultra HD picture quality. In addition to the TVs, Amazon also announced an update to its Fire TV Stick, the 4K Max, which boasts 40% more power than its predecessor and includes a new quad-core 1.8GHz processor and 2GB of RAM to make apps launch faster and the browsing experience more fluid.
Business Insider had previously reported on rumours that Amazon was launching a line of TVs in the U.S., a project that sources close to the company said had been kept as “a closely guarded secret” for nearly two years. Although Amazon has long sold TVs made by other manufacturers that come pre-loaded with its Fire TV software, the new offerings will mark the first time Amazon will stamp its own branding onto the backs of its devices — and the first time that Amazon will put its own line of TVs in direct competition with those made by other manufacturers, including Samsung, LG, and Sony, which sell their products in its online marketplace.
“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, the vice president of 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.”
The Fire TV Omni Series, which features support for HDR10, HLG and Dolby Digital Plus, will start at $US410 ($556) and will be available in 43-, 50-, 55-, 65-, and 75-inch model sizes. The two largest models also reportedly feature “a slim bezel that blends seamlessly into your home décor,” and will also include added support for Dolby Vision.
The Omni Series also includes neat smart home integrations, like live picture-in-picture viewing that will let you watch your shows uninterrupted while you check your smart home cameras. Amazon says that sometime later this year, it will also be rolling out an all-new smart home dashboard, which will allow you to view and adjust connected smart devices throughout your home.
For those on a budget, the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series offers 4K smart TVs with more affordable prices. Starting at $US370 ($502), the lineup includes models at 43-, 50-, and 55-inch sizes, and offers many of the same smart home and Alexa capabilities that the Omni Series offers (though you’ll have to access them through the remote, as the 4-Series doesn’t offer Alexa integration into the TVs themselves).
Those Alexa voice controls themselves are also getting an update, which will make content selection easier and more dynamic. With the “Alexa, what should I watch?” command — which will launch in beta sometime later this year — viewers will be offered a customised list of TV shows and movies, with the ability to refine their search by genre, actor and more. Similarly, “Alexa, play something from Netflix” will launch a cherry-picked movie or TV show selection from the popular streaming service for Fire TV users (that feature is slated to roll out sometime this fall).
The full list of pricing and availability is below:
The Fire TV Omni Series will be available in 43-inch ($US410 ($556)), 50-inch ($US510 ($692)), and 55-inch ($US560 ($760)) models. The Fire TV Omni Series with Dolby Vision will be available in 65-inch ($US830 ($1,126)) and 75-inch ($US1,100 ($1,492)) models.
The Fire TV 4-Series will be available in 43-inch ($US370 ($502)), 50-inch ($US470 ($637)), and 55-inch ($US520 ($705)) models.
Fire TV Stick 4K Max will be available in the U.S. for $US55 ($75).
Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for local Australian pricing and availability.