Amazon’s Fire OS operating system is the star of the show when it comes to the new Fire TV Edition televisions announced from Westinghouse, Seiki, and Element, but the hardware itself is just as interesting. Here is what I’ve learned about them so far during my time at CES.
As I mentioned in my overview article, even though there are three different brands of TV, they’re all made by the same manufacturer and are essentially identical. I’m told they will be sold under three brands because, for whatever reason, some brands sell better in certain regions and retail stores. The hardware and branding is handled by the manufacturer and Amazon simply provides the software.
There will be 43-inch, 50-inch, 55-inch, and 65-inch sizes for all three brands, but again, the branding is pretty much irrelevant. All televisions will be 4K UHD with a resolution of 3840 x 2160. They will support a 4K refresh rate of 60Hz and lower resolutions at 120 Hz and 60Hz. None of the TVs support HDR, but I’ve heard a 65-inch HDR version was in development, so there’s a slight chance we’ll see that announced at a future date.
Under the hood is a quad-core “T1-938” CPU, but I have not been able to determine the clock speed. The CPU is matched with a dedicated ARM Mali multi-core GPU. There is 3GB of RAM, which I assume is shared between the CPU and GPU, and 16GB of internal storage. I’m told the TVs are capable of streaming HEVC 2160p at 60fps and should be powerful enough to run all the games the Fire TV 2 can play.
Along the back are four HDMI 2.0 ports with support for HDCP 2.2. There is one set of component ports that can also be used as composite input. For audio, there’s one optical SPDIF port and one 3.5mm headphone jack, which I assume are both for audio output. There is also a coax connector for the tuner antenna.
As for connectivity, the TVs have a gigabit ethernet port as well as dual-band dual-antenna 802.11a/b/g/n/ac built-in WiFi. There is also Bluetooth 4.1+LE which can be used to connect peripherals like game pads, mice, and keyboards, as well as Bluetooth headphones for private listening.
All TVs also have one USB 2.0 port and one USB 3.0 port. They also all have a full size SD card slot. Nobody knew if the USB ports or the SD card slot could be used for app storage, but both should be accessible within apps for media/file storage.
The TVs on display actually had a USB ethernet adapter, connected to one of the USB ports, that was connected to a backup internet connection incase the convention center’s internet went down. Judging by that use of the USB port, I assume they will work with the usual assortment of peripherals and external drives.