New Amazon Fire TVs & Fire TV Stick 4K Max: price, features, release date

Amazon on Thursday introduced its first self-branded sensible TVs and a brand new 4K streaming media participant referred to as the Fire TV Stick 4K Max.

The tech big has previously partnered with Best Buy to promote various Toshiba and Insignia TVs that run Amazon’s Hearth TV working system. It has additionally launched TVs in India underneath its AmazonBasics model.

In the present day, although, the corporate is unveiling two new TV strains of its personal: a flagship Omni Series and a barely extra budget-friendly 4-Series. The announcement confirms a report from Insider final week.

Right here’s an inventory of measurement and pricing particulars for every of the brand new Amazon TVs:

Amazon Hearth TV Omni Sequence

Amazon Hearth TV 4-Sequence

Amazon says every mannequin might be obtainable within the US beginning in October at Amazon and Finest Purchase, simply forward of the vacation purchasing season. The 50-inch 4-Sequence and Omni Sequence TVs might be $110 off as a part of a limited-time preorder promo beginning at this time.

Every of the brand new TVs makes use of an LED panel with a 4K decision and assist for the HDR10 and HLG high dynamic range requirements. Solely the 65- and 75-inch Omni Sequence fashions assist Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR, nonetheless. These two even have a design with slimmer bezels. All fashions assist Dolby Digital Plus audio as nicely.

The remainder of the specs seem like considerably fundamental. Every set contains 4 HDMI ports, together with one HDMI 2.1 port that supports eARC for simpler connectivity to soundbars and different AV gear, although there are not any superior gaming options like variable refresh price (VRR) or the flexibility to play in 4K at a smoother 120 Hz refresh price. As an alternative, every panel maxes out at a extra frequent 60 Hz. Amazon confirmed that the TVs don’t assist full-array native dimming, both, which suggests their HDR efficiency and total distinction might be just a few steps under that of the most effective midrange TV panels.

Final week’s Insider report stated that the brand new Amazon TVs could be manufactured by third events, considered one of which was standard Chinese language TV maker TCL (which additionally makes a TV referred to as the 4-Series), although Amazon wouldn’t reveal specifics when requested about its provide chain for the brand new fashions.

TVs constructed round Alexa

As an alternative, Amazon primarily needs to push the brand new units’ software program options, notably their tight integration with the corporate’s Alexa voice assistant. The Omni Sequence units have a far-field microphone array in-built, making it doable to summon Alexa simply by saying, “Hey, Alexa,” with out utilizing a distant, no matter whether or not the TV is on or off. (The same old Alexa voice distant nonetheless comes included, although.) We’ve seen related performance constructed into different sensible TVs earlier than, and the rival Google Assistant will be accessed hands-free on smart TVs from TCL and the like.

Fom there, you’ll be able to direct Alexa to seek for content material, pause reveals, regulate the quantity or TV brightness, change to a special HDMI enter, management Alexa-compatible sensible dwelling devices and consider safety digital camera feeds in a picture-in-picture overlay, activate customizable “routines,” and so forth. A brand new “Alexa Conversations” characteristic arriving in beta kind later this yr will let the assistant give you custom-made film and TV present suggestions whenever you ask, “Alexa, what ought to I watch?” Integration with Netflix’s “Play Something” shuffle characteristic—which shortly pulls up a brand new film or TV present the service thinks you’ll like based mostly in your previous viewing habits—will arrive later this fall, and non-olds will be capable to use Alexa to launch and navigate the TikTok app. You may hook up a USB webcam to the TV for video calls, too, and Amazon says official Zoom assist will come to the Omni Sequence later this yr.

Additionally of word, these with Echo audio system can hook them as much as the TVs via the Alexa app and use them as wi-fi TV audio system. Amazon says this characteristic will work on the Omni Sequence, 4-Sequence, and different Hearth TV fashions and assist all the things from the higher-end Echo Studio to older-generation Echo Dots (although the bigger and newer audio system will typically sound higher).

There’s a bodily mute change on the underside bezel of the Omni Sequence that cuts off its built-in mics, however after a number of data collection mishaps from the Echo machine household over time, an Amazon TV anchored by the expertise of utilizing always-on microphones doesn’t appear to be probably the most good choice for the privacy-conscious.

As with most of its Alexa gear, Amazon is promoting these TVs on the thought of a simplified consumer expertise, seemingly greater than pure picture high quality. And since these are the primary extensively obtainable Amazon-branded units, we received’t be capable to totally choose the picture high quality till the TVs are out within the wild. The corporate says the primary distinction between the Omni Sequence and 4-Sequence is the way you work together with Alexa—by way of the far-field mics on the previous and a conventional voice distant on the latter—greater than how they really look (although the Omni Sequence needs to be a step up from the 4-Sequence). And whereas some options like Zoom calling will hit the Omni Sequence first, a lot of the Alexa- and smart-TV-related options can even be obtainable on the 4-Sequence and different non-Amazon-made Hearth TV units.

All that stated, Hearth TV as a platform remains to be a principally recognized amount. We’ve found it lacking in notable methods in comparison with Google’s TV OS, notably relating to search end result accuracy, because it prioritizes Amazon’s personal Prime Video service over different streaming apps and stuffs advertisements into the UI. Many will nonetheless desire the consolation of a distant over frequent voice instructions. However like equally streaming-focused TVs working Roku OS, previous Hearth TV fashions have confirmed standard, and like most Alexa gadgets, these new units are priced aggressively. If you happen to’ve already thrown in your lot with Amazon, the brand new fashions might be a great worth, relying on how their image high quality shapes up. If nothing else, it appears protected to imagine the brand new units will be highly visible to potential TV consumers after they flick thru Amazon’s storefront.

A brand new Hearth TV Stick, plus extra Hearth TVs

Enlarge / The brand new Amazon Hearth TV Stick 4K Max brings Wi-Fi 6 assist and guarantees quicker speeds than the bottom Hearth TV Stick 4K.


If you happen to’re sitting on an outdated Hearth TV streamer, the brand new Hearth TV Stick 4K Max is likely to be of curiosity. As its title suggests, that is an upgraded variant of the popular Fire TV Stick 4K, now working on a beefier 1.8 GHz quad-core processor, 750 MHz GPU, and 2GB of RAM (compared to a 1.7 GHz chip, 650 MHz GPU, and 1.5GB of RAM earlier than). Amazon claims it has “40 % extra energy” than the Hearth TV Stick 4K and can slot in as probably the most performant Hearth TV Stick within the firm’s lineup in consequence. The machine helps newer Wi-Fi 6 networking for these with that gear, too, and it’s stated to make use of 15 % much less energy whereas in low-power mode. In any other case, the final performance of the machine is basically unchanged.

Amazon is especially pushing the machine as an optimum approach to make use of the corporate’s fledgling Luna game-streaming service, which additionally received a number of feature updates on Thursday. The identical caveats famous above concerning the Hearth TV OS nonetheless apply, however the Hearth TV Stick 4K Max will ship in October and be priced at $54.99. That’s $5 greater than the MSRP of the three-year-old Hearth TV Stick 4K, which is able to stay obtainable.

Lastly, each Amazon and Finest Purchase introduced that new Pioneer- and Toshiba-branded 4K Hearth TVs are within the works, although particulars are pretty gentle on each. The previous will are available in 43- and 50-inch sizes and be priced at $369 and $469, respectively. They’ll assist HDR10 and Dolby Imaginative and prescient, with the smaller mannequin hitting in late September and the bigger one coming in early November. The Toshiba announcement is extra of a teaser than something; the businesses say these units could have built-in mics just like the Omni Sequence, assist native dimming, and are available in 55, 65, and 75 inches. However they’re solely “anticipated by spring 2022,” with no pricing particulars obtainable.

Word: Ars Technica could earn compensation for gross sales from hyperlinks on this submit via affiliate programs.

Itemizing picture by Amazon

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