Amazon is now taking orders for the first Ultra High Definition (UHD) televisions that run on the Fire TV operating system and have digital assistant, Alexa, built in. It competes directly with Roku’s TV operating system for customers looking for a user-friendly smart TV.
Amazon worked with Element Electronics and Westinghouse to make the 4K TVs, which cost between $450 and $900, depending on the size. The hardware appears pretty standard but what’s really novel is a TV that has Amazon software in its DNA.
The TV’s version of Alexa responds to voice commands like it does in Echo devices. But unlike the smart speakers, the television provides visual responses to commands activated by speech. In other words, you can ask Alexa what dramas are streaming on Amazon Prime and you’ll see a list displayed on the screen. One other difference is the TV isn’t always listening for the wake word, “Alexa” the way the Echo does. Viewers need to speak their commands into a voice remote.
The Element TV allows viewers to easily switch between streaming and broadcast programs. It also supports apps, like Yelp and Spotify. If a user plugs an antenna into the TV, it will automatically download local listings and display channel art, according to The Verge. The TV comes with 3GB of memory and 16GB of storage.
Content is still catching up to the capabilities of 4K televisions, but Amazon does have some programming available in High Dynamic Range (HDR) through its Amazon Video app. A list of that content is available here.
The Element 4K TV — Amazon Fire TV Edition will be released on June 14.