Amazon is extending its interest in the television business, by producing its own-brand televisions, with its Alexa and Fire TV services deeply integrated. It not only simplifies the video viewing user experience, but it also facilitates integration with other smart home devices and enables features like video calling.
“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 is available in a range of screen sizes, from 43” to 75” diagonal, with 4K resolution and support for HDR10 and HLG high dynamic range, with the larger models adding support for Dolby Vision.
The smallest screen will be available for just under $410, while the 75” model is just under $1,100. Initially they will available exclusively in the United States, either through Amazon or Best Buy.
The Fire TV Omni Series integrates the Fire TV experience and far-field voice technology directly into the television. Hands-free Alexa voice controls are always available, when using an external source or even when in standby. That means Alexa is always listening for instructions, although there is a hardware switch to disconnect the microphones. Users can also view, hear, or delete any audio recordings using the Alexa app.
Voice control can be used to select a programme directly, without needing to remember which channel name, streaming service or input device to select. Voice commands can also be used to switch inputs, control playback, closed captions, and brightness, and manage television or soundbar volume. Routines can be set up to chain together multiple actions, integrating with other smart home devices.
Amazon will be supporting features like “what should I watch?” or “play something on Netflix”.
While watching on Amazon Prime Video it will be possible to ask questions like “Who is this actor?”.
A picture-in-picture feature will enable users to check smart cameras and Ring video doorbells without interrupting their viewing.
Alexa Calling will be integrated, to allow video calling through a connected webcam, all without picking up a remote control. Zoom video calling will also be available later in the year, for the first time on any smart television.
As well as its own brand televisions, Amazon is continuing to partner with Pioneer and Toshiba to integrate Alexa in their products.