Amazon today unveiled its first Amazon-built smart TV along with its latest Fire TV device as the streaming wars in all their iterations continue to ramp up.
Roku currently has its interface on more than a third of U.S. TV sets.
“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.
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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.
“Alexa, kick off my day” — Alexa will share the weather, read your calendar and tune to the news on live TV.
“Alexa, what should I watch?” — Launching in beta this year, it finds shows from streaming apps and can be refined by genre, actor or other searches.
“Alexa, Play Something” from Netflix — Launching this fall.
“Alexa, play TikTok” — Searches and views TikTok feeds, can us autoplay for a continuous content feed.
X-Ray on Prime Video — An exclusive feature to explore content. Ask who an actor is, for instance, and details about actors in that scene appear at the bottom of the screen with bios, filmographies and other content, “So you don’t have to pick up your phone.”
Amazon also announced its new Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max streaming media player that includes many of the new Alexa voice features and is 40% more powerful than the current Fire TV Stick 4K. It’s Amazon’s first streaming stick to offer Live View Picture-in-Picture.
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