Amazon launches its first self-branded smart TVs and a new 4K Fire TV Stick


Ars Technica 09 September, 2021 - 08:41am 22 views

Amazon is now selling its own branded TV sets embedded with Alexa

GeekWire 09 September, 2021 - 06:30pm

Amazon unveiled its first smart TVs on Thursday. The tech giant is selling the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series starting at $369.99, and the Amazon Fire TV Omni Series starting at $409.99. Both are available next month on Amazon and at Best Buy.

Amazon previously sold streaming sticks and partnered with TV makers such as Toshiba on TVs that featured embedded Fire TV and Alexa experiences, but this is the first time Amazon is selling its own branded TVs.

The new TVs include the company’s Fire TV software and Alexa voice control that lets people change the channel, adjust volume, switch inputs, and more via voice. The Fire TV Omni Series also has new smart home control capabilities.

Selling its own TVs allows Amazon to better control the Alexa and Fire TV features, and also set its own price, CNBC noted. It’s also a strategic move against competitors such as Google and Roku in the race to own in-home entertainment.

Amazon also announced the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max, retailing at $54.99 in the U.S. Hailed as the company’s “best streaming stick yet,” it has 40% more power than the Fire TV Stick 4K, and supports WiFi 6.

The party kicks off at 4:00 p.m. with a pre-game BBQ at First Mode in Pioneer Square, just footsteps away from Lumen Field. We can’t wait to finally get our favorite Geeks together to connect and enjoy the views! Ticket sales end September 10th, purchase tickets today!

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Amazon just unveiled its own TVs with prices you won’t believe, and preorders are live

Yahoo Entertainment 09 September, 2021 - 10:07am

Amazon’s Fire TV Omni Series will be available in 43-, 50-, 55-, 65-, and 75-inch sizes. Every model will have 4K UHD resolution and support for HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Digital Plus. The 65-inch and 75-inch models also have slimmer bezels and support for Dolby Vision.

There are also a new series of Alexa voice features being introduced alongside the Omni Series:

“We’ve reimagined what a TV can do by building it with two of our most popular experiences at the core—the intelligent always-available power of far-field Alexa, and Fire TV’s content-forward approach to entertainment,” said Daniel Rausch, Vice President of Amazon Entertainment Devices and Services, in a press release. “Our new Fire TV Omni Series smart TVs, with hands-free access to Alexa, make controlling your TV faster, simpler, and more natural.”

Amazon Fire TV Omni Series televisions will be available on October 27th starting at $409.99. Pre-orders are live beginning immediately.

In addition to the Fire TV Omni Series, Amazon also introduced the more affordable Fire TV 4-Series. Much like the Omni Series, the 4-Series TVs feature 4K UHD resolution and support for HDR 10 + HLG. As the name suggests, they also come preloaded with Amazon’s Fire TV interface. The real difference is that 4-Series TVs do not include built-in voice controls. You will have to use the Fire TV Alexa Voice Remote to talk to a 4-Series TV. There are also only three sizes: 43-, 50-, and 55-inch.

Amazon Fire TV 4-Series televisions will be available on October 27th starting at $369.99.

Beyond its new TVs, Amazon also took the opportunity to reveal a new streaming stick. Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K Max has many of the new Alexa features noted above, as well as more powerful hardware. Amazon says that the Fire TV Stick 4K Max has 40% more power than the Fire TV Stick 4K, a quad-core 1.8GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, and support for Wi-Fi 6.

Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K Max will be available on October 7th for $54.99.

Amazon is officially in the TV set business. After years of selling Fire TV devices that plug into third-party HDTVs and teaming with TV makers for Fire TV-based products, the ecommerce giant is rolling out the first-ever Amazon-built TVs: the Amazon Fire TV Omni Series ($410 and up), which provides hands-free Alexa voice navigation, and […]

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Amazon Fire TV Stick specs compared (Fire TV Stick 4K Max, Stick 4K, Stick, and Stick Lite) - Liliputing

Liliputing 09 September, 2021 - 09:26am

Amazon’s Fire TV line of devices now includes four different Fire TV Stick models with list prices ranging from $30 to $55. But under the hood it turns out that some models have remarkably similar hardware.

In fact, the $30 Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite and $40 Fire TV Stick are basically identical. The only difference is that the Lite model comes with a paired down Alexa Voice Remote Lite that lacks hardware buttons for controlling the volume and power on your TV.

But the Fire TV Stick 4K and 4K Max pack additional RAM and, in the case of the Max, faster CPU and graphics performance which should lead to quicker app launch times and smoother all-around performance.

Here’s a look at how Amazon’s new Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2021), 3rd-gen Fire TV Stick (2020), 1st-gen Fire TV Stick Lite (2020), and 1st-gen Fire TV Stick (2018) stack up in terms of hardware:

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Good to know. I bought the 4K stick when it came out in part because I wanted a media player/streaming device that was future proof and it supports Dolby Vision (and HDR 10+, etc.). The new one is slightly better, faster, but not enough to switch it out. Though definitely worth buying in the case I need a second one.

One HUGE features missing from your grid… the lite does not have a volume control for your tv/sound bar/amp.

This even works for some computer brand speaker remotes like logitech.

That’s because it’s mentioned in the article as the difference between the Voice Remote Lite and the Voice Remote.

For the price the hardware is poor on all models.

minimum 2gb ram with models up having 4gb and storage wise 8gb then 16gb+ for higher models also add sd card support (the extra ethernet adapter as well is a joke not even gigabit)

I don’t know why people buy these things

Speaking for the 4k version, hardware storage might be poor, but performance isn’t. Wasn’t happy with any of the previous versions, but the 4k version has more than enough fire power. As long as you can sideload and still put a launcher on it, I’ll still have lots of uses for one, whether that’s taking one with me while traveling or an extra one concealed behind the tv, they are extremely handy because of their size. For $25 for the two 4K sticks I currently have, I’m not complaining.

Perfect example of how I use the 4k stick. Get an otg cable, sideload your favorite media player app or download vimu player from amazon, and connect a 512gb flash drive full of media for on the go. Perfect companion if there’s nothing good to watch where you are. As long as thr flash drive is in the FAT32 format, it will work fine and anything in the x265 codec works fine as well. I’ve even got a 2tb seagate wireless drive running on the stick using kodi with a ton of movies + tv on that which connects through wifi. Been solid for years. The entertainment that you can get out of this thing is pretty impressive when you think outside of the box. The apps you can use run with from iptv to games with a bluetooth controller.

You want to complain about specs. Look at the reviews on that new xiaomi mi stick. The hardware on that is woefully under-powered based on the reviews I’m reading. A stuttering mess with apps like hulu. It’s no Nvidia Shield, but rarely have I had any performance issues from all the times I’ve been using the 4k stick.

You don’t have to worry about asking me why I bought it. I could give you a hundred reasons.

Meant $25 each for the two 4k sticks I own. No edit option for my original post.

There’s a serious mistake on at least the Stick 4K specs.

The specs read 32 bit under the CPU SoC, but the actual cores are 64 bit ARM64/v8-A based A53 cores.

The OS is the limiting factor as for some reason Amazon is gimping all their devices with a 32 bit version of Android thereby limiting the full performance of the SoC’s they use.

I should clarify that, but this is how Amazon lists the specs, because there’s no support for 64-bit applications on these devices. So unless it becomes possible to root these sticks and install custom ROMs, for all intents and purposes, these are 32-bit devices.

Just compare the Fire TV Stick 4K and the AppleTV 4K, the latter looks like a complete dinosaur.

and appletv is about 6x the price, before amazon prime day discounts…

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Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max brings WiFi 6 and faster performance to Amazon's tiny media streamer - Liliputing

Liliputing 09 September, 2021 - 09:07am

Amazon is refreshing its Fire TV line of media streaming hardware with the company’s first Amazon-branded televisions (priced at $370 and up), and a new Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max for folks that would prefer to plug a small stick into their existing TV.

The new Fire TV Stick 4K Max has more RAM and a faster processor than the previous-gen Fire TV Stick 4K, which should bring better all-around performance. It’s also the first Amazon Fire TV device to support WiFi 6. The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is up for pre-order for $55 and ships October 7, 2021.

That makes the list price for the model $5 more expensive than the previous-gen Fire TV Stick 4K (although the older model is currently on sale for $35 if you’d rather not wait and/or don’t need the new features).

Measuring just 3.9″ x 1.2″ x 0.6″, the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max is exactly the same size as the previous-gen model, but it delivers “40% more power” thanks to its 2GB of RAM and new MediaTek MT8696 processor with a 1.8 GHz quad-core CPU and 750 MHz PowerVR 8300 GPU.

In addition to faster loading, improved graphics, and stronger WiFi performance, the update brings support for Amazon’s Live View Picture-in-Picture functionality, a feature which lets you view video from supported security cameras in a picture-in-picture window. Support for that had previously been limited to the pricier Amazon Fire TV Cube.

Other features include support for Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, HDR, and HDR10+ content as well as support for 4K UHD video at up to 60 frames per second. The new Stick is also compatible with Amazon’s Luna cloud gaming service.

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Last-chance Labor Day deals, Fire TV Stick 4K Max launch, stunning smartwatch for $18, crazy air fryer deals, cheap Windows laptops, more

BGR 09 September, 2021 - 08:51am

Labor Day might be long gone, but the deals out there right now are somehow even better than what we saw on Monday. We’re not sure how that’s even possible. That being said, we’re also definitely not complaining. Thursday’s big roundup is packed full of the best bargains we can find online right now. The only bad news is that many of these deals are bound to sell out soon, so hurry up or you’ll miss out.

Here are some highlights from today’s list:

Scroll through all of today’s top deals down below!

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Amazon TVs are coming in October, with prices starting at $370

CNBC 09 September, 2021 - 08:00am

Amazon announced Thursday its first branded TV sets.

There will be two versions — the high-end Amazon Fire TV Omni Series and the more affordable Amazon Fire TV 4-Series — each available in different sizes. They go on sale in October at prices ranging from $369.99 to $1,099.99.

Until now, Amazon has sold streaming sticks that plug into TVs, and has worked with other manufacturers, like Toshiba and Insignia in the U.S., to build TV sets with its own Amazon Fire interface, which offers voice control and easy access to Amazon Prime video and other streaming services.

Competitors like Roku and Google have followed a similar path with plug-in sticks and third-party manufacturers.

But Amazon is the first of those to launch its own TV.

The company told CNBC in a briefing it wanted to build its own set to better integrate its Fire TV software with Alexa voice controls. The move also gives Amazon the power to set its own prices, which means it could undercut competitors the way it does with its Fire tablets, which sell for a fraction of the price of Apple's iPads.

Plus, it can control the experience to give users its "frustration-free" set-up. Open the box, turn the TV on, and as long as you've connected any Amazon device to your Wi-Fi before, it will automatically connect to your home network.

Amazon said it will offer an update later this year that lets customers control smart devices around their home, like lights, cameras and thermostats, using a software dashboard that appears on the TV.

The TVs will be sold on Amazon's website and through Best Buy. All of them support 4K video.

Here's what you need to know about the two versions.

The higher-end Amazon Fire TV Omni Series will ship in five sizes: 43 inches ($409.99), 50 inches ($509.99), 55 inches ($559.99), 65 inches ($829.99) and 75 inches ($1,099.99).

Like the $120 Fire TV Cube, you can speak to the TV without using a remote and ask it to play any TV show or movie, begin playing music, check the weather, control your smart home, view smart home cameras on your screen while watching TV, and more. You can talk to the TV from across the room, just as you can for Amazon's Echo smart speakers. There's a microphone switch under the bottom of the screen that lets you turn off the microphone. And you can add a webcam for video calls, including with new support for Zoom calls.

The Fire TV Omni Series also supports Dolby Digital Plus audio for higher-end surround sound speakers you may already have at home. The Omni Series and 4-Series TVs can automatically detect Echo speakers in your home and let you use them as stereo or surround-sound TV speakers.

The 65- and 75-inch versions have the best picture quality of Amazon's new TVs, with support for brighter and more colorful Dolby Vision HDR.

Amazon's Fire TV 4-Series TVs will be available in 43 inches ($369.99), 50 inches ($469.99) and 55 inches ($519.99).

They have bigger bezels around the edges than the Omni TVs, so they might not look as modern as the more expensive models, and you can't add a webcam for video calls.

The 4-Series TVs integrate with Alexa, but only if you tap the Alexa button on the voice remote -- you can't just call across the room to speak to your TV as you might with the Omni series, but you can still ask Alexa to play certain movies, TV shows and more, or ask it things like sports scores and the weather, as you would with any Fire TV device.

While the 4-Series TVs support high dynamic range standards like HLG and HDR10 for improved clarity in darker and brighter scenes, none offers Dolby Vision support like the highest-end Omni Series TVs.

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Amazon Luna cloud gaming coming to Fire tablets, adding kids channel

CNET 09 September, 2021 - 08:00am

Amazon's cloud gaming service Luna is opening up to more devices, including Fire tablets, Chromebooks and the new Fire TV 4K Max, the company announced Thursday. 

The company is also introducing a new channel, the $3-a-month Family Channel, which includes kid-friendly games like SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom and Garfield Kart Furious Racing.

"Amazon Luna is already available today to all Fire TV customers without an invitation and this week we're adding support for Fire tablets so we're bringing it to the full family of Fire devices. We're also adding support for Chromebooks," an Amazon spokesperson confirmed.

The service is also introducing Luna Couch, which lets you play Luna games with friends online -- whether your friends are subscribers or not.

Amazon Luna is the company's answer to streaming game services such as Google Stadia and PS Now. Luna is also available on Windows PC, Mac, Fire TV and web apps for the iPhone, iPad and select Android phones from Pixel, Samsung and OnePlus.

The company is also offering discounted bundles for a limited time:

Amazon introduced Luna in 2020 and opened access to all Prime members in June with a seven-day free trial. The service currently costs $6 a month; you can also trade up to the Ubisoft Plus channel for $15 a month.

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