It was inevitable. After making a house brand of low-price Android tablets, then expanding into streaming boxes and even the software powering smart TVs themselves, Amazon is ready to cut
down out one more middleman. Today the company announced its first Fire TV models, smart televisions branded by Amazon with Fire software and Alexa assistants built right in. The Omni and 4-series TVs will go on sale within the next month.
This is a full lineup of TVs: two tiers, eight models, ranging from 43 to 75 inches. Though the Omni series is the more premium option, it's on the "budget" side of the fence as far as modern televisions are concerned. All of them are 4K, but the Omnis also feature support for HDR10 color and Dolby Digital Plus. The 65- and 75-inch Omin TVs add support for Dolby Vision. These more expensive models have a picture-in-picture mode that can automatically show you streaming video from a Ring doorbell. Plug in a webcam and you can use the TV for a Zoom call. If you want to. I guess. They include some of the same impressive microphone technology that powers Amazon's smart speakers and displays.
The Omni series ranges from $410 for the 43-inch model to $1100 for the 75-inch model — not bad, depending on how those panels stack up with the competition. The cheaper Fire TV 4 series will range from just $370 for the 43-inch to $520 for the 55-inch. These models will go with less premium panels, (though they can still handle HDR10) and fewer smart home features. They'll all be available from Amazon or Best Buy, along with new Fire TV-powered entries from Pioneer and Toshiba.
Amazon isn't done with streaming set-top boxes, either. There's a new model of the Fire TV Stick, now called the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. It boasts 40% more processing power than the previous model (1.8GHz with 2GB of RAM), with support for 4K HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos, with an Alexa voice remote in the box. The Fire TV Stick 4K Max has the same picture-in-picture mode for smart home cameras as the Omni TVs. The new model also has Wi-Fi 6 certification, a first for a low-cost streaming stick.
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max will go on sale soon for $54.99. Expect all of them to be discounted frequently at Amazon and Best Buy, so if you're looking for a deal, don't pull the trigger right away.