Smart TVs are nothing new. And yet, people still continue to use external devices to stream Amazon, HBO, Hulu, Netflix and other videos. It’s probably because these external devices — like Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV or Roku Streaming Stick — provide a better overall streaming experience compared with most built-in smart TV systems. That’s about to change. Or at least that’s what Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is promising.
As announced in CES 2017, 4K TV models coming later this year from TV brands Element, Seiki and Westinghouse (all built by Chinese electronics company Tong Fang Global), will have built-in Amazon Fire TV. So far, the following specifications about the upcoming TVs have been confirmed:
The TV will be available in these sizes — 43 inches, 50 inches, 55 inches and 66 inches. It will have 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160 pixels); 3GB of RAM and 16GB internal storage. Connectivity-wise, it supports bluetooth, ethernet and wi-fi connectivity. In terms of ports, it has 4 HDMI 2.0 inputs that support HDCP 2.2 and 60Hz 4K video, plus 2 USB inputs, one of which supports USB 3.0.
The package will of course include an Alexa voice remote. If you don’t know who Alexa is (which is highly unlikely considering that Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, which both rely on Alexa, are Amazon’s best-selling items), she’s Amazon’s digital assistant.
With these Amazon Fire TVs, you get to stream all your favorite videos — minus the need for any streaming stick or some other external device. And by connecting to Alexa via the TV’s companion remote, you can add voice commands, access Alexa’s skills (ex: play music, check weather, get news) and control your smart home devices. Moreover, you also gain access to Amazon Fire TV Store’s more than 7,000 apps and games, which is far more than you can say for majority of smart TVs which typically just give you access to a few apps.
The TVs will also come with a built-in channel guide which will show all available channels, as well as bring up new content suggestions for you to watch. And if you’re feeling a bit lazy, you can tell Alexa to search for new movies and TV shows for you based on who your favourite actors and actresses are.
When shopping for your new TV, you’ll immediately know which ones feature Alexa because it will have a sign that says “4K Ultra HD Smart TVs – Amazon Fire TV Edition”. You’ll have to wait, however, since the Amazon Fire TV systems are not scheduled to go on sale until later this year. Expectedly, these special edition TVs will be available through Amazon.com and other major retailers. As for its price, we’ll have to wait for further announcements. And considering its features, it’s probably a safe bet to say that it won’t be cheap.