Technology

New Amazon Hearth TVs & Hearth TV Stick 4K Max: Value, Options, Launch Date

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  • Amazon’s new 4K Fire TV in the Omni series.

    Amazon

  • A look at the back of the Omni series.

    Amazon

  • The side profile.

    Amazon

  • And here is the port selection.

    Amazon

  • Note that the larger 65- and 75-inch TVs in the Omni series have slimmer bezels than the smaller models like the 50-inch version shown here.

    Amazon

  • The cheaper Amazon Fire TV 4 series that doesn’t have built-in far-field microphone arrays for hands-free Alexa commands. The design also appears a little more budgetary.

    Amazon

  • The back of the row of 4.

    Amazon

  • And the port selection of the 4 series.

    Amazon

Amazon announced its first-ever branded smart TVs and a new 4K streaming media player called the Fire TV Stick 4K Max on Thursday.

The tech giant previously partnered with Best Buy to sell a variety of Toshiba and Insignia TVs running Amazon’s Fire TV operating system. It has also launched televisions in India under its AmazonBasics brand.

Today, however, the company is introducing two new TV lines of its own: a flagship Omni series and a slightly more budget-friendly 4 series. The announcement confirms a report from Insider last week.

Here is a list of size and pricing details for each of the new Amazon TVs:

Amazon Fire TV Omni series

Amazon Fire TV 4 series

According to Amazon, each model will be available on Amazon and Best Buy in the US starting October, just before the Christmas shopping season. The 4-Series and Omni-Series 50-inch TVs are getting $ 110 off today as part of a limited-time pre-order promotion.

Each of the new televisions uses an LED panel with 4K resolution and supports the high dynamic range standards HDR10 and HLG. However, only the 65- and 75-inch models in the Omni series support Dolby Vision HDR. These two also have a design with slimmer bezels. All models also support Dolby Digital Plus audio.

The rest of the specs seem a bit simple. Each set contains four HDMI ports, including an HDMI 2.1 port that supports eARC for easier connection to soundbars and other AV devices, although there are few advanced gaming features such as: variable refresh rate (VRR) or the ability to play in 4K with a smoother refresh rate of 120 Hz. (Update 1:10 p.m. ET: An Amazon representative reached out after this article was posted to clarify that the new sets support VRR, if only from 48 Hz to 60 Hz at 4K.) Instead, each panel reaches the more common 60 Hz. Amazon confirmed that the TVs also don’t support local full array dimming, which suggests their HDR performance and overall contrast are a few steps below that of the best mid-range TV panels.

Last week’s Insider Report said that the new Amazon televisions would be made by third-party suppliers, including popular Chinese television maker TCL (which also makes a television called the 4-series), although Amazon would not disclose details when looking for its Offer is asked for chain for the new models.

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TV all about Alexa

Instead, Amazon primarily wants to advance the software functions of the new devices, in particular the close integration with the company’s Alexa voice assistant. The Omni series sets have an integrated far-field microphone array that makes it possible to simply call Alexa with “Hey, Alexa” without using a remote control, regardless of whether the television is on or off. (The usual Alexa voice remote is still included, though.) We’ve seen similar functionality in other smart TVs, and the competing Google Assistant can be accessed hands-free on TCL smart TVs and the like. From there, you can tell Alexa to search for content, pause shows, adjust volume or TV brightness, switch to a different HDMI input, control Alexa-compatible smart home gadgets, and security camera feeds all in one View picture-in-picture overlay. enable customizable “routines” and so on. A new “Alexa Conversations” feature, which will be released in beta later this year, enables the assistant to offer you bespoke movie and TV show recommendations when you ask, “Alexa, what should I watch? Integration with Netflix’s ‘Play Something’ shuffle feature – which quickly brings up a new movie or TV show the service deems appropriate based on your previous viewing habits – will be available later this fall, and non- Old people can use Alexa to start and navigate the TikTok app. You can also connect a USB webcam to the TV for video calling, and Amazon says the Omni series will be officially supported later this year.

It’s also noteworthy that those with Echo speakers can connect them to the TVs via the Alexa app and use them as wireless TV speakers. According to Amazon, this feature will work on the Omni-Series, 4-Series, and other Fire TV models, and will support everything from the high-end Echo Studio to the older generation Echo Dots (although the larger and newer speakers generally sound better ).

There’s a physical mute button on the bottom bezel on the Omni series that turns off the built-in microphones, but after a number of data collection failures in the Echo family of devices over the years, an Amazon TV that has always been anchored by the experience of using it – on microphones doesn’t seem like the most sensible choice for privacy protection.

As with most of its Alexa devices, Amazon sells these TVs with the idea of ​​a simplified user experience, seemingly more than just picture quality. And since these are the first widely available sets from the Amazon brand, we cannot fully assess the picture quality until the televisions are in the wild. The company says the main difference between the Omni-series and 4-series is how you interact with Alexa – via the far-field microphones on the former and a traditional voice remote on the latter – more than how you actually look (although the Omni Series should be a step up from the 4 series). And while some features like Zoom Calls will hit the Omni series first, most of the Alexa and Smart TV-related features will also be available on the 4 series and other non-Amazon Fire TV devices.

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Nonetheless, Fire TV is still a well-known platform as a platform. We found it lacks in a remarkable way when compared to Google’s TV operating system, especially when it comes to search results accuracy, as it prioritizes Amazon’s own Prime Video service over other streaming apps and adds ads to the user interface. Many still prefer the convenience of a remote control over frequent voice commands. But like similar streaming-focused TVs running Roku OS, previous Fire TV models have proven popular, and like most Alexa devices, these new devices are aggressively priced. If you’ve worked on Amazon before, the new models could be great value for money depending on the image quality. At least one can assume that the new sets are clearly visible to potential TV buyers when they browse through Amazon’s storefront.

A new Fire TV Stick and more Fire TVs

Enlarge / The new Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max brings Wi-Fi 6 support and promises higher speeds than the basic Fire TV Stick 4K.

Amazon

If you’re on an old Fire TV streamer, the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max might be of interest. As the name suggests, this is an upgraded version of the popular Fire TV Stick 4K that now runs on a more powerful 1.8 GHz quad-core processor, 750 MHz GPU, and 2 GB of RAM (compared to a 1 , 7 GHz chip, 650 MHz GPU, and 1.5 GB RAM previously). Amazon claims it has “40 percent more power” than the Fire TV Stick 4K, making it the most powerful Fire TV Stick in the company’s lineup. The device also supports newer Wi-Fi 6 networks for those with this equipment and is said to use 15 percent less power when in sleep mode. Otherwise the general functionality of the device remains largely unchanged.

Amazon is particularly pushing the device as the optimal way to use the company’s fledgling game streaming service Luna, which also received a number of feature updates on Thursday. The same caveats mentioned above regarding the Fire TV operating system still apply, but the Fire TV Stick 4K Max ships in October and costs $ 54.99. That’s $ 5 more than the MSRP of the three-year-old Fire TV Stick 4K, which will continue to be available.

Eventually, both Amazon and Best Buy announced that new 4K Fire TVs from the Pioneer and Toshiba brands are in the works, although the details are pretty easy on both. The former will be available in 43 and 50-inch sizes and cost $ 370 and $ 470, respectively. They will support HDR10 and Dolby Vision, with the smaller model arriving in late September and the larger in early November. Toshiba’s announcement is more of a teaser than anything else; The companies say these sets have built-in microphones like the Omni series, support local dimming, and come in 55, 65 and 75 inches. However, they are only “expected by spring 2022” with no pricing details available.

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Offer image from Amazon

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