Amazon is officially in the TV business. The company has announced its first lineup of Amazon-branded 4K Fire TVs, which will begin shipping in October. This is a major expansion from the company’s “Fire TV Edition” collaborations, where its popular streaming software comes preloaded on sets manufactured by other TV makers. But with its new Omni and 4-Series, Amazon is describing these as “Amazon-built TVs.”
The Omni series is the higher-end of the two, and beyond offering better picture quality, its other key selling point is hands-free voice control. Amazon includes far-field microphones in each model of the Omni series, which comes in 43, 50, 55, 65, and 75 inches. (Only the 65- and 75-inch models have Dolby Vision, but the others at least get HDR10.)
The company believes that by building the TV itself, it can create a more seamless Fire TV user experience than ever before. That’s led by the content-forward Fire TV interface and wide app selection, but Amazon believes that Alexa voice controls add a major convenience factor. On Omni sets, voice commands are always available — even if the TV is off. These voice commands can be used for finding something to watch, like usual, but you can also adjust the TV’s brightness, volume, or switch inputs with Alexa.