As I predicted, Amazon has just announced that they will be licensing Fire OS, the operating system that runs on the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, to manufacturers to use as the primary interface for new TVs. The first three brands on board to release new TVs running Fire TV Edition are Westinghouse, Seiki, and Element.
The new TVs will all be 4K UHD resolution and come in 43″, 50″, 55″, and 65″ sizes. They will include a voice remote for Alexa voice capabilities, just like with the Fire TV. The TVs have 3 GB of memory and 16 GB of internal storage packed in. The usual assortment of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet connectivity is also included. Of course, all TVs include an over-the-air tuner which is integrated into Fire OS.
The interface is, for the most port, exactly the same as the new interface that just rolled out to 2nd-gen Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks, with a few additions to compliment the experience as a TV operating system. The home screen features content from Amazon, Netflix, HBO, and all of the other services you already have access to on Fire TV devices. You can use all the same Amazon services and install apps from the appstore.
The TVs inputs are integrated into the Fire TV OS menus. You can name the different inputs to match the device you have plugged into them to remember what’s connected. You can use your voice with Alexa to change inputs, so if you have an Xbox, for example, connected, you just have to say “go to Xbox” to change to that input.
Fire TV Edition is fully integrated with the TV tuners built into the TVs. You can connect and OTA HD antenna and have access to all your favorite free broadcast channels. Channels you watch will appear on the home screen in the recent area alongside apps and streaming content you’ve recently used or viewed. You can use your voice with Alexa to say “Tune to NBC” or “go to channel 2” to immediately jump to a specific channel.
Amazon has added a channel guide to Fire OS for use with these new Fire TV Edition televisions. It integrates cleanly into the regular Fire TV OS and can be accessed from the home screen using the remote’s menu button, among other places.
I’m at CES where the new Fire TV Edition televisions will be revealed, so stay tuned for first hand coverage to come.