The New Stuff

Amazon built Fire TV directly into a cheap 4K set

There’s the $90 Fire TV, the $40 Fire TV Stick and now, for the dongle-averse, Amazon is giving the world its first set with the company’s streaming media offering built-in. It’s up now for pre-order, debuting on the internet’s most powerful billboard, Amazon’s own homepage. The simply named Amazon Fire TV Edition was built by South Carolina-based Element Electronics and starts at $449 for the 43-inch model.

That affordable price point is in keeping with the company’s long-standing model of undercutting the competition. Along with its plug-in predecessors, the company no doubt sees the 4K set as a conduit for introducing the company’s media play into users’ living room.

That now includes both the 300,000 or so TV shows and movies from Amazon,Netflix, HBO Showtime, Hulu, Sling TV, along with the Alexa experience, which comes courtesy a voice remote. So the new set marks yet another way the company has managed to infiltrate the living room with its smart assistant.

And while the $449 price point is certainly a good deal higher than just picking up one of the company’s existing standalone media players (assuming, of course, you already own a TV), there are some inherent advantages here, like the ability to incorporate external inputs. That said, at the end of the day, you’re still getting a budget set here, along with all of the shortcomings of having smart TV functionality integrated directly into a device with a much longer upgrade cycle than a set top box.

The play is a pretty clear one for the company – Amazon’s taking Roku on directly yet again. And this likely marks the first of a number of third-party devices set to launch with the company’s offering built directly in – though they likely won’t get the same kind of prominent product placement as this Amazon-branded device.

The Fire TV Edition will also be making its way to actual honest-to-goodness stores starting in June. Pricing goes up to $899 for the 65-inch version of the set. But if you buy it directly from Amazon, the company will toss in a $15 HD antenna for a limited time and, of course, free shipping for Prime members.

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