Amazon appears to be preparing to launch Fire TV Smart TVs in Japan

While looking for more information about the unreleased “Pico” Fire TV remote that recently received FCC approval, I stumbled on a regulatory filing in Japan for a new Fire TV Smart TV remote with Japanese text on its buttons. Since Amazon does not yet sell Fire TV Smart TVs in Japan, the existence of this remote seems to suggest that Japan will soon be among the next new markets for Amazon’s line of smart TVs.

Amazon first launched Fire TV Smart TVs in the US and Canada in 2017. The TV line then expanded to the UK, Germany, and Austria. The last and most recent country to see the release of Fire TV Smart TVs is India. The release of Fire TV Smart TVs in India before they were available in Japan was a bit unusual because stand-alone Fire TV devices launched in Japan two years before they were available in India. Amazon tends to follow the same release cadence of US > Canada > UK > Germany/Austria > Japan > India for new devices, but Japan was skipped over for Fire TV Smart TVs.

Fire TV Smart TV Remotes from the UK (left), Germany (center), and Japan (right).

One explanation for Japan’s seemingly delayed Fire TV Smart TV availability is the extra complexity found with Japanese TVs that isn’t present in other regions. On the remote that passed through Japan’s regulatory approval, you can see an extra row of buttons, just above the number pad, to handle this added complexity. The first of those buttons, from the left, is for tuning to terrestrial antenna broadcasts. The center button, labeled BS/CS, is for switching between Broadcast Satellite and Communication Satellite channels from a dish receiver. Your guess is as good as mine as to the purpose of the last button, which is labeled 4K. Near the bottom of the remote, below the Netflix button, is a d-Data button. This, in conjunction with the 4 color buttons along the bottom, allows TV watchers in Japan to interact with various user interfaces being broadcasted to the TV.

This new Japanese Fire TV Smart TV remote is being manufactured by the same company that makes other Fire TV Smart TV remotes for Amazon. The regulatory filing includes several model numbers for the same remote, which could each be for different variations of the remote, such as remotes with different partner buttons or different brand markings. The TV brand is normally printed on the bottom of the remote, but it’s covered with tape on this new Japanese remote, so there’s no telling which TV manufacturer will release Japan’s first Fire TV Smart TVs.

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