Amazon Takes Fire TVs To Europe, Launches New Cube
Amazon said Wednesday that its is now collaborating with global retailers and TV brands to bring more than 15 new Fire TV Edition devices to Europe and North America.
Leading a string of related announcements, the e-commerce giant said it is teaming up with European TV-brand Grundig to introduce the first-ever Fire TV Edition smart TVs with far-field voice control, and the first OLED Fire TV Edition smart TVs for sale in Germany and Austria.
Amazon is also teaming up with U.K.-based retailer Dixons Carphone and MediaMarktSaturn to sell the next-generation Fire TV Edition smart TVs in the United Kingdom, Germany and Austria.
Elsewhere, home theater audio manufacturer Anker Innovations introduced the first-ever Fire TV Edition soundbar for Europe and North America.
Amazon also revealed the near global launch of a second-generation Fire TV Cube with a more powerful processor for faster, and more fluid operation of multiple voice-controlled tasks.
The announcements came in advance of the upcoming IFA 2019 technology show in Berlin, Germany.
In a statement announcing the deals, Marc Whitten, Amazon Fire TV VP, said: “Customers have told us how much they use and love Fire TV Edition smart TVs in the United States and Canada, with millions of devices sold and an average rating of more than 4 stars across all models. Today we’re thrilled to introduce innovative Fire TV Edition smart TVs and the first-ever Fire TV Edition soundbar from global brands that customers know and love. We can’t wait for customers to experience these new devices with the Fire TV experience built-in.”
Fire TV Edition smart TVs build into the television a version of the Fire TV OS used in Amazon Fire TV media adapters and streaming sticks. Integrated Fire TVs have been sold previously in North America and other regions under various partner brands including Westinghouse, Element, Insignia and Toshiba.
Building the OS into the television makes for a more seamless and easy-to-use user experience. The latest Fire TV Edition smart TVs can connect a HD antenna and use Alexa to instantly search for and watch live TV, or choose content from a broad catalog of content through popular streaming apps including: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, and others.
In European regions, local app partners will include ITV Hub, All 4, and My5 in the United Kingdom, and ARD, ZDF, TVNOW, ProSieben, DAZN, and waipu.tv in Germany.
Amazon said other television products can also add the Fire TV Edition experience by connecting an Echo device smart speaker or other Fire TV smart speaker product to offer hands-free control. Users can ask Alexa to find and play a favorite show, control playback, and perform other tasks, including operation of many compatible smart home control devices, such as connected cameras, lighting, security systems, and more.
More Toshiba Fire TV Edition Models For North America
Among the most recent Fire TV Edition televisions in North America were the first Toshiba Fire TV Edition models with Dolby Vision, which launched in June.
As part of the latest announcement, Amazon and Best Buy revealed the introduction of the first 65-inch Toshiba – Fire TV Edition smart TV with Dolby Vision, which will be available in the United States next month.
The Toshiba 65-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV HDR – Fire TV Edition will be available at Best Buy for $599, Amazon said. Toshiba TVs are currently manufactured under license by Taiwan-based Compal Electronics.
European Fire TVs
Now moving Fire TVs into the U.K., Amazon said it will be collaborating with Dixons Carphone, MediaMarktSaturn, and Grundig to bring the next generation of Fire TV Edition smart TVs to Europe. These models will offer native language support, and will be localized for European customers for more meaningful user experiences.
Amazon said it is also working with a growing number of TV manufacturers to produce Fire TV Edition smart TVs. New company/brand partners include China-based Skyworth, Arcelik, TPV, Compal, and others, which “can now build Fire TV Edition smart TVs for their customers with manufacturing and assembly capabilities around the world,” Amazon revealed.
Amazon and Dixons Carphone, which is the parent company of Currys PC World, have joined forces to launch JVC – Fire TV Edition Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR LED TVs. The first Fire TV Edition smart TVs in the United Kingdom are being sold at Currys PC World and on Amazon.co.uk (using Curry’s PC World was and affiliate partner). These include three 4K Ultra HD models in the 40-, 49- and 55-inch screen sizes and offer support for support for both the HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR profiles.
Fire TV Edition smart TVs from JVC come with a Voice Remote with Alexa, which allows control of entertainment sources and compatible smart home devices via spoken commands.
Fire TV Edition Smart TVs are also being offered in parts of Europe by MediaMarktSaturn. IMTRON, a company of MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group, and Amazon will be managing private label Fire TV Edition products for the CE retailers MediaMarkt and Saturn, Amazon revealed. The first models will be available under private label next year in Germany and Austria, Amazon said.
Grundig Fire TV Edition TVs
Meanwhile, Grundig announced 11 Fire TV Edition smart TVs for Germany and Austria, including the world’s first Fire TV Edition with far-field voice control.
Grundig Fire TV Edition OLED TVs will be available in parts of Europe in four models—two with far-field voice control and two without, Amazon said. These will bring up to eight built-in microphones to work with Alexa enabling hands-free control of the television and connected compatible devices. Grundig and Amazon are also announcing the Grundig Vision 7 – Fire TV Edition with 4K Ultra HD and the Grundig Vision 6 – Fire TV Edition with Full HD. These also include the Voice Remote with Alexa.
The Grundig OLED – Fire TV Edition models will include 55- and 65-inch versions and will begin shipping October 28. Grundig Vision 7 – Fire TV Edition LED-LCD TVs are available for pre-order in Europe now in the 43-, 49-, 55- and 65-inch models starting at €349.99. Units will begin shipping on October 17. The Grundig Vision 6 – Fire TV Edition models can be preordered in Europe now in the 32-, 40-, and 43-inch models starting at €239.99. They begin shipping on November 1.
Nebula Fire TV Soundbars
Working with Anker Innovations, Amazon also introduced the first Fire TV Edition soundbars that integrate the Fire TV experience to access video and music streaming while producing high quality sound. Amazon said users will be able to add a Fire TV Edition soundbar to a multi-room music group in the Alexa mobile app to stream songs from Amazon Music and other apps throughout your home.
Anker Innovations and Amazon will sell 2.1-channel Fire TV soundbars in the United States, Canada, The U.K. and Germany under the Nebula Soundbar moniker. These audio-enhancing products will feature support for 4K Ultra HD, a unified smart TV user interface, near-field Alexa voice control, Dolby Vision pass through, and other benefits. Nebula soundbars will include a Voice Remote with Alexa for hands-free navigation and operation, with the TV on or off. Users will be able to use voice commands to control soundbar functions like power, volume and mute.
The Nebula Soundbar – Fire TV Edition is available for pre-order now for $229.99 in the United States, ($269.99 in Canada) as well as in the U.K and Germany. Units will begin shipping on November 21, Amazon said. Customers who pre-order the Nebula Soundbar – Fire TV Edition will be eligible for an Amazon Music Unlimited 90-day extended free trial of the premium music subscription.
New Fire TV Cube Now Available For More Regions
In related news, Amazon also introduced a new Fire TV Cube with far-field voice control, billed as “the most powerful Fire TV ever.”
The new and improved second-generation Fire TV Cube is launching in the United States for $119.99 and for the first time in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan.
The new Cube incorporates a more powerful hexa-core processor, providing a faster and more fluid experience. The new Cube will offer instant access to Dolby Vision and 4K Ultra HD content at up to 60 fps; and will permit faster local voice control to play, pause, and browse content.
Amazon said the Fire TV Cube uses multi-directional infrared technology, cloud based protocols, and HDMI CEC, that when combined with Alexa, will control compatible TVs, soundbars, A/V receivers, cable or satellite boxes, as well as other smart home devices.
The Cube has a built-in speaker and will enable dimming the lights with compatible smart home dimmers, checking the weather, listening to the news and many other tasks. Amazon said that since the launch of the first Fire TV Cube, customers have been using the device more and more for home automation requests and are performing tens of thousands of Alexa routines every week.
Amazon reported it now has more than 37 million active Fire TV users “and is the No. 1 streaming media player family in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and India.”
The Amazon Fire TV announcements followed Roku’s introduction of its first Smart Soundbar and Wireless Subwoofer extending the Roku TV streaming entertainment experience. By moving into the U.K. and Europe with built-in Fire TV Edition televisions, Amazon also got the jump on Roku, which has been growing a huge following behind Roku TVs, under various brand partners, in North America, but has not yet expanded Roku TV distribution to most other international markets.
By Greg Tarr
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