At CES 2017, Amazon announced that it will start letting manufacturers integrate the Fire TV operating system directly into TVs. Amazon wants to take on Roku with the first 4K ‘Fire TV Edition’ sets that start at $450 dollars.
Element TVs with Fire TV inside
The first Fire TV Edition sets are now available for pre-order, starting at just $450 for a 43-inch model. The TVs, produced by a Chinese company under the Element brand, will also be available in 50, 55, and 65-inch sizes and start shipping next month.
The idea is simple. Take the TV operating system powering the Fire TV boxes and integrate it directly into a TV. That way Amazon can expand its reach and compete with other TV platform makers such as Roku, Apple, Google, Samsung, and LG. Roku has followed the same playbook and extended its operating system into TVs with the 'Roku TVs'.
At CES, Amazon confirmed three partners; Seiki, Westinghouse and Element. All three brands are owned by Chinese Tongfang.
4K and quad-core processor
The TVs have 4K resolution, a quad-core processor, 3GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage for installing apps.
There is no support for HDR, despite Amazon offering content in HDR video through its Prime Video streaming service.
Amazon recently rolled out a new user interface across its FireTV devices. It will obviously also be available in these TVs. It has been expanded to include an extra row dedicated to HDMI input devices such as game consoles or disc players.
Alexa is also integrated via a microphone in the remote control so you can ask the TVs to various things, including finding content. Alexa also supports universal search making it easier to find the movie you are looking for across services. We recently published our in-depth review of the Fire TV Stick 2, which should give you an idea of how Amazon's platform works.
Lastly, Amazon has integrated an antenna tuner and is even including an antenna in the box for people who pre-order. The channels listings are integrated directly into the user interface that also includes apps and games. The 16GB storage allows you to pause and rewind channels.
The Fire TV Edition sets are available to pre-order in 43”, 50”, 55” and 65” sizes for $450, $550, $650, and $900, respectively, from amazon.com. They will also be available at select stores sometimes next month.
Element Fire TV Edition specifications :
LCD display technology
43 to 65-inch sizes
4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) resolution
CPU: Quad-core TI-938
GPU: Mail multi-core GPU3GB
Internal storage: 16GB
Ports: 4x HDMI (HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2), 1x Component/Composite, 1x Optical SPDIF, 1x TV/DTV, 1x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 1x Ethernet (1000Mbp), 1x VGA, 1x Headphone, 1x RCA