Toshiba reveals its first Fire TV Smart TV with hands-free Alexa voice control

As promised when Amazon announced its own hands-free Fire TV Smart TVs, Toshiba has revealed it’s first flagship TV with hands-free Alexa capabilities that can be controlled by voice, without needing to pick up the remote. The Toshiba M550 Series TVs, as they are called, feature an array of 4 microphones, a physical mute switch, and multi-color LED indicator lights along the bottom center to communicate if the TV is muted or listening as a result of hearing its wake word. The 4K TVs, which will be available in 55, 65, and 75-inch sizes, feature LED backlighting with full-array local dimming and support for Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HDR content.

While these new Fire TV Smart TVs are labeled with Toshiba branding, and I’ll continue to refer to them as Toshiba TVs, they are actually made by Hisense and closely resemble other Hisense TVs, apart from the microphone array that is unique to these Fire TV Smart TVs. Hisense has licensed the Toshiba name for these TVs, possibly to benefit from the existing lineup of Toshiba Fire TV Smart TVs that stretch back to 2018. The shuffling of TV brand names like this has become quite common, as even Amazon’s own Omni Series and 4-Series Fire TV Smart TVs appear to be made by TCL.

Branding aside, these new “Toshiba” TVs appear to be among the better models using Amazon’s Fire TV operating system, as, among other things, they support all major high dynamic range formats. The 4 HDMI ports, of which one supports eARC, are all HDMI 2.1 ports with auto low latency mode for gaming. While not directly built into the TVs, there is support for composite analog video through an included breakout cable. Other ports include a headphone jack, optical audio out, and RF coaxial for the built-in over-the-air TV tuner.

Connectivity comes in the form of Wi-Fi, which I assume to be 802.11ac but I have not been able to confirm it, and an Ethernet port, which, again, I can’t determine the speed. The TV will also ship with Apple AirPlay 2 support, like most new Fire TV Smart TVs. There’s also Bluetooth, of course, and a single USB 2.0 port for accessing media on external storage. Lastly, the TV has an IR extender port and included IR blaster, much like the Fire TV Cube, so that it can control home theater devices over IR if they do not support HDMI-CEC, which these TVs also support.

The included remote is the standard Fire TV Smart TV remote that comes with all TVs running Amazon’s operating system. Note that the 2 bottom app buttons are unknown and will likely not match the ones in the image above. Pricing and availability for these TVs is still unclear. The 55-inch model is currently listed at $799.99 with no release date. The 65-inch and 75-inch models, which Amazon has confirmed will also be available, have not made an appearance yet.

3 comments
  1. Keith says:

    Internal storage still at 8GB?

  2. Keith says:

    Maybe this will be the norm now.
    We’ll finally start to see storage comparable to what we had on phones back in 2014…not the 32 but the 16 GB version.
    Baby steps.

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