Amazon has officially entered the TV space, announcing its first lineup of its branded 4K Fire TVs, which begin arriving in October.
This is a significant expansion of the company’s Fire TV Edition collaboration, where streaming software is preloaded across sets made by other TV makers.
But with the new Omni Series and 4 Series, Amazon describes these devices as Amazon TVs.
The Omni series brings higher specifications, and besides offering better picture quality, another major selling point is hands-free voice control.
The company has added long-range microphones in every model of the Omni series, which come in 43, 50, 55, 65 and 75 inch sizes. (The 65- and 75-inch models include Dolby Vision, while other models get HDR10.)
The company believes that by building the TV itself, it can create a smoother Fire TV user experience than ever before.
This drives the Fire TV interface to redirect extensive content and applications. But the company believes that Alexa voice controls add a major convenience factor.
And in Omni groups, voice commands are always available – even if the TV is off. These voice commands can be used to find something to watch. But you can also adjust TV brightness, volume, or switch inputs with Alexa.
Amazon says that over the past two years, customers who used voice features interacted with content twice as much as customers who did not.
Built-in microphones are becoming more and more popular with televisions. Sony makes some models that include built-in microphones. And TCL recently introduced new Google TVs that ship with a far-field microphone array.
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Fire TV Omni kits also include picture-in-picture for checking smart home cameras, and you see the Ring doorbell video feed when someone is at the door.
The company says it’s adding a smart home dashboard later this year for more comprehensive controls across connected home tools.
Plus, if you own an Echo speaker like the Echo Studio, they can be connected wirelessly to Omni series TVs to provide richer sound than the TV can provide on its own.
Alexa Home Theater Audio mode supports streaming content. But the company says it also works across gaming platforms. A popup appears in the Alexa app for compatible audio devices.
And Amazon’s Fire TV devices lack HDMI 2.1 features like 4K at 120Hz. This is despite the fact that it supports automatic low latency mode, which also helps with the responsiveness of the Luna cloud gaming service.
Furthermore, the pricing of Amazon’s first TVs reflects the focus on providing a good picture. This is similar to the current list of Fire TV Edition suites.
Fire TV Omni Series Pricing:
75 inches: $1,100 (with Dolby Vision).
65 inches: $830 (with Dolby Vision).
55 inches: $560.
50 inches: $510.
43 inches: $410.
Fire TV 4-Series Pricing:
55 inches: $520.
50 inches: $470.
43 inches: $370.
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