Amazon on Thursday introduced its first self-branded good 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.
Right now, although, the corporate is unveiling two new TV traces 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 Collection
Amazon Hearth TV 4-Collection
Amazon says every mannequin will likely be obtainable within the US beginning in October at Amazon and Finest Purchase, simply forward of the vacation purchasing season. The 50-inch 4-Collection and Omni Collection TVs will likely be $110 off as a part of a limited-time preorder promo beginning right this moment.
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 Collection 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 properly.
The remainder of the specs look like considerably fundamental. Every set consists of 4 HDMI ports, together with one HDMI 2.1 port that supports eARC for simpler connectivity to soundbars and different AV tools, although there are few superior gaming options like variable refresh fee (VRR) or the flexibility to play in 4K at a smoother 120 Hz refresh fee. (Replace 1:10 pm ET: An Amazon consultant reached out after this text’s publication to make clear that the brand new units do assist VRR, albeit solely from 48 Hz to 60 Hz at 4K.) As an alternative, every panel maxes out at a extra widespread 60 Hz. Amazon confirmed that the TVs don’t assist full-array native dimming, both, which suggests their HDR efficiency and general distinction will likely be a couple of steps under that of the very best midrange TV panels.
Final week’s Insider report stated that the brand new Amazon TVs can be manufactured by third events, one among which was in style Chinese language TV maker TCL (which additionally makes a TV referred to as the 4-Series), although Amazon wouldn’t disclose 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 Collection units have a far-field microphone array in-built, making it potential 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 standard Alexa voice distant nonetheless comes included, although.) We’ve seen comparable performance constructed into different good TVs earlier than, and the rival Google Assistant may be accessed hands-free on smart TVs from TCL and the like.
Fom there, you possibly can direct Alexa to seek for content material, pause exhibits, regulate the amount or TV brightness, change to a special HDMI enter, management Alexa-compatible good house devices and examine safety digicam 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 12 months will let the assistant give you personalized film and TV present suggestions while you ask, “Alexa, what ought to I watch?” Integration with Netflix’s “Play Something” shuffle characteristic—which rapidly pulls up a brand new film or TV present the service thinks you’ll like primarily based 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’ll be able to hook up a USB webcam to the TV for video calls, too, and Amazon says official Zoom assist will come to the Omni Collection later this 12 months.
Additionally of observe, 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 Collection, 4-Collection, 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 Collection that cuts off its built-in mics, however after a number of data collection mishaps from the Echo gadget household through the years, an Amazon TV anchored by the expertise of utilizing always-on microphones doesn’t look like probably the most good choice for the privacy-conscious.
As with most of its Alexa tools, Amazon is promoting these TVs on the concept of a simplified person expertise, seemingly greater than pure picture high quality. And since these are the primary extensively obtainable Amazon-branded units, we gained’t be capable to absolutely choose the picture high quality till the TVs are out within the wild. The corporate says the primary distinction between the Omni Collection and 4-Collection is the way you work together with Alexa—through the far-field mics on the previous and a standard voice distant on the latter—greater than how they really look (although the Omni Collection must be a step up from the 4-Collection). And whereas some options like Zoom calling will hit the Omni Collection first, many of the Alexa- and smart-TV-related options can even be obtainable on the 4-Collection and different non-Amazon-made Hearth TV units.
All that stated, Hearth TV as a platform continues to be a principally recognized amount. We’ve found it lacking in notable methods in comparison with Google’s TV OS, notably in relation to search consequence accuracy, because it prioritizes Amazon’s personal Prime Video service over different streaming apps and stuffs adverts into the UI. Many will nonetheless want the consolation of a distant over frequent voice instructions. However like equally streaming-focused TVs working Roku OS, previous Hearth TV fashions have confirmed in style, and like most Alexa units, these new units are priced aggressively. Should you’ve already thrown in your lot with Amazon, the brand new fashions may be an excellent worth, relying on how their image high quality shapes up. If nothing else, it appears secure to imagine the brand new units will be highly visible to potential TV consumers once they flick thru Amazon’s storefront.
A brand new Hearth TV Stick, plus extra Hearth TVs
Should you’re sitting on an outdated Hearth TV streamer, the brand new Hearth TV Stick 4K Max may be of curiosity. As its identify 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 p.c 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 consequently. The gadget helps newer Wi-Fi 6 networking for these with that tools, too, and it’s stated to make use of 15 p.c much less energy whereas in low-power mode. In any other case, the overall performance of the gadget is basically unchanged.
Amazon is especially pushing the gadget as an optimum means 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 can 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 $370 and $470, 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 can have built-in mics just like the Omni Collection, 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.
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Itemizing picture by Amazon