SEATTLE—In a notable development in the battle for market share in the smart TV landscape, Amazon’s first "built" smart TVs, the Amazon Fire TV Omni Series and Amazon Fire TV 4-Series, have gone on sale.
Amazon also announced that the two lineups of TVs will soon support Apple Airplay 2 and HomeKit.
The launch comes at a time when operators like Comcast are launching their own TVs and it highlights the fierce ongoing battle of smart TV operating systems and streaming device systems between Amazon, Roku, Google, Samsung, Apple, LG, Vizio and others.
These proprietary operating systems help those players steer users to preferred content and produce massive amounts of data that can be used to boost revenues from ads, subscriptions and other services.
Those added revenues are important given the low profit margins for TV manufacturers and a way of differentiating products in an already crowded smart TV sector. But ability of companies to control access to smart TVs has also produced some heated conflicts over content between players like YouTube, Roku, HBO Max and others.
Both lines of Amazon’s new smart TVs compete directly with lower cost TV manufacturers, with the Amazon Fire TV 4 Series starting at $369.99. It is available in 43”, 50”, and 55” model sizes. The Omni Series starts at $409.99 and is available in 43”, 50”, 55”, 65”, and 75” model sizes.
The Fire TV Omni Series integrates the Fire TV experience and hands-free access to Alexa directly into the TV, providing an all-in-one entertainment device for streaming, cable TV, music, gaming, etc. It is available in screen sizes ranging from 43 to 75 inches.
Fire TV Omni’s key features include support for 4K Ultra HD, HDR 10, HLG, and Dolby Digital Plus. The Omni 65” and 75” models support Dolby Vision and feature a slim bezel design.
It has three HDMI inputs to connect to set-top boxes, video game consoles, and more. HDMI eARC lets you add audio equipment like a soundbar for enhanced sound, which you can control through voice with Alexa.
It also has Live View Picture-in-Picture; Video calling; and Fire TV Alexa Voice Remote.
Later this year, Fire TV will release an all-new smart home dashboard to control connected devices; Alexa shortcut panel for quick access to popular features; and a new beta Alexa experience that lets users ask for content recommendations.
The Fire TV 4-Series offers 4K UHD resolution with HDR10 and HLG for beautiful picture quality on 4K TV shows and movies. It features a fully-integrated Fire TV experience and supports many of the same Alexa experiences as the Fire TV Omni Series, which users can access by using the Fire TV Alexa Voice Remote.
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George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.