Amazon has announced that, in partnership with Best Buy, there will be at least 10 new Fire TV Edition televisions released this summer. The first phase of this multi-year partnership will include 4K and HD (1080p) models from Toshiba and Insignia. The TVs will be available to purchase in the United Sates in Best Buy stores, on Best Buy’s website, and on Amazon.com where Best Buy will be the third-party seller.
No information has been revealed about the specs or capabilities of the new TVs at this time. The Toshiba model, pictured above, will likely be the first TV released. TVs made by Best Buy’s own house brand, Insignia, will follow shortly after. Considering the two brands involved, it’s probably safe to assume that the new Fire TV Edition television models will on the budget end of the TV market. That’s not to say we won’t see TVs with advanced features like HDR released. It’s just unlikely a multi-thousand dollar OLED TV with a 75-inch screen will be among the available models.
Amazon’s first batch of Fire TV Edition televisions made by Element and Westinghouse were announced at the start of 2017 at the Consumer Electronics Show. The TVs were available to purchase on Amazon a few months later. I’ve owned one ever since they launched and have been very happy with it and still consider it to be the best Fire TV experience available today.
The biggest differentiator between the Fire TV Edition televisions and a Fire TV connected to a generic TV is having the built-in TV tuner integrated into Fire OS. This allows local broadcast channels to live among streaming content, which makes switching between them in the same interface seamless. Alexa allows you to call up channels by name or you can use the built-in program guide to browse and select channels. Time-shifting functionality lets you pause, fast-forward, and rewind live TV.
The existing Fire TV Edition televisions have held their own as far as specs, so it’s hopeful that the new sets from Toshiba and Insignia, while likely targeting the budget shopper, will not be underpowered. Element and Westinghouse’s TVs, which are no longer available on Amazon as of today, featured quad-core processors, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and USB 3.0 ports. All of which outperform the specs on most stand-alone Fire TV models.
Good luck to them but they’re a million miles behind Roku and what TCL is offering.
I guess it shouldn’t really be surprising? But it’s still interesting to note that Insignia is done selling Roku TV’s entirely because of this. Best Buy is still selling Roku TV’s from other manufacturers like TCL, but not from their own Insignia brand anymore. My only fear when going the Smart TV built-in route? Is just like what DirecTV NOW pulled the other day. Discontinue support for old devices, even if the hardware is still capable. People keep TV’s longer than 4 years the lifespan of the Fire TV 1 box. Then you’re off to buy a new Fire TV (Apple TV/Chromecast/Android TV) dongle or something, just to keep it going after that. If Best Buy sold a 39″ 1080p model for $199 on sale? I might be willing.
If you buy a smart TV now and then need to buy a new box/stick in 4 years to make it smart again, how is that any worse than buying a dumb TV now plus a box/stick now and then having to buy a new box/stick in 4 years? Even when app support is dropped for a Fire TV Edition television, or any smart TV, it’s still a TV with HDMI input, so you can connect it to a streaming device and ignore the built-in software.
The way I see it is everyone should make the buying decision on the specs of the TV, not the software. The software is just a perk that you should expect to lose in a few years. I have much more faith that Amazon will continue to support TV software than manufacturers that make their own software.
Hey I’m getting the check subscription message from DirecTV Now on my FireTV3 pendant.
Think these new sets will sport enough horse power to work with DTV Now?
Also? I feel like this deal was done to replace Roku with Fire TV, mostly just for Best Buy to be able to say that they sell TV’s with Alexa built-in as a selling point. Maybe to have a bit more differentiation in what they sell too… But still mostly just for Alexa capabilities. It’s not like they’re pushing gaming heavily with these TV’s and both platforms have roughly the same major apps. So Alexa (and maybe speed of the OS) is the only major difference I can see.
Why not market a replaceable modular version?
As everyone knows, the TV tech will last a lot longer than the media box. Since the whole idea of this is to have an “all in one” cleaner look why not format a media box that slides into a slot on the side of the tv, out of view and automatically sets up and syncs? I know most will say, “doesn’t the fire stick already do this?” Yes, BUT this type of smart tv is clearly marketed towards the “set it and forget crowd”.
Someone should market a generic backplane box that you could add a cheap streamibg card upgrade into every time the technology or broadcast format changes. Similar to the 500 blackplane chassis concept in studio recording.
Why Europe is not considered at all by Amazon for those TVs?