Friday, December 9, 2022

Amazon unveils its first smart TVs, with Alexa and Zoom

Amazon has unveiled its first Amazon-built smart TVs, the Amazon Fire TV Omni Series and 4-Series smart TVs, plus its new Fire TV Stick 4K Max.

Priced from $410, the TVs come with hands-free access to Alexa, 4K Ultra HD, Dolby Digital Plus, HDR10 and hybrid log gamma. All of the TVs will be available next month in the US exclusively at Amazon and Best Buy. For a limited time, people buying the 50-inch Fire TV Omni and 4-Series models will get $110 off.

“We’ve reimagined what a TV can do by building it with two of our most popular experiences at the core,” said Daniel Rausch, Vice President, Amazon Entertainment Devices and Services, calling the sets a way to “make controlling your TV faster, simpler, and more natural.”

The TV licensing is also great way for Amazon to boost its advertising business, which has been booming.

The Omni Series integrates Fire TV and voice technology that can ask Alexa to search for a show in various ways and access streaming, cable, music and gaming. Voice can control playback, brightness, and TV sound and inputs. The TV can make calls.

In a smart TV first, Amazon said, Zoom video calling will also be available later this year. The sets will eventually be able to access other devices as well as home features like cameras and Ring smart doorbells.

Amazon bills these devices as “4K smart TVs with brilliant picture quality at affordable prices.” Fire TV 4-Series sets have fewer features than the Omni Series and are available in fewer sizes, with three options ranging from 43 inches ($369.99) to 55 inches ($519.99).

For years, the American multinational conglomeratehas been selling streaming devices that connect to a TV. But until now, it has left the manufacturing of TVs to others such as Toshiba and Insignia, which have made sets with an Amazon Fire interface.

Amazon said that its goal with the new sets is to better integrate its Fire TV software with Alexa voice controls.

“Simply ask Alexa to tune to your favorite show and you will jump right into the program you’re looking for, without needing to remember which channel name, streaming service or input device to switch to,” an Amazon spokesperson wrote in a press release on Thursday.

Like Amazon’s line of Echo smart speakers, the Amazon Fire TV Omni can also control other Alexa-enabled devices like security systems, doorbell cameras, smart lightning and thermostats.