Amazon introduced the first-generation Fire TV Stick in 2014, just as the cord-cutting movement was getting started. From day one, Fire TV was designed to transform the television into an entertainment hub for the living room, putting content first for customers and opening new ways to seamlessly discover and enjoy new shows and movies.
Since then, Fire TV has evolved into a global brand with a portfolio of devices, including Fire TV streaming sticks and the Fire TV Cube. Brands like Toshiba and Insignia have also integrated the Fire TV experience into their smart TVs. Today, Fire TV Stick 4K is the best-selling streaming media player in the U.S., and more than 100 million Fire TV devices have been sold worldwide.
We sat down with Daniel Rausch to learn what’s next for Fire TV devices and how Alexa will help unlock the potential of what Fire TV can do.
What can you tell us about the new Fire TV smart TVs announce today?
Smart TVs have been around for decades, and while the viewing experience has certainly improved in that time, people still don't really use them for much outside of basic entertainment like watching movies or gaming. However, we firmly believe TVs can and should do more for you. Our vision is to deliver a smarter and more intuitive TV that is seamlessly integrated with the other smart home products throughout your home. And, it should be simple to use.
Today is one of the biggest announcements for Fire TV to date, with new devices and features that deliver on this vision. We unveiled the first-ever Amazon Fire TV smart TVs—the Fire TV Omni Series with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa hands-free voice so you can control your experience from across the room, and the Fire TV 4-Series with 4K Ultra HD. Both the Fire TV Omni Series and 4-Series will soon be available on Amazon.com and Best Buy.
And we're not the only ones who are investing in Fire TV with Alexa. Today, Best Buy is introducing a new lineup of smart TVs with Fire TV built-in, including a brand-new Pioneer Series with 4K UHD and an all-new Toshiba Series with hands-free Alexa voice control.
That's certainly big news for smart TVs, but sounds like it was a big day for Fire TV overall?
It was. We are also building on the success of a customer favorite with the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max, which is 40% more powerful than our most popular streaming stick in the U.S., Fire TV Stick 4K. Fire TV Stick 4K Max features a new quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, for even faster app starts and more fluid navigation, and it is Fire TV's first device to support Wi-Fi 6 for smoother streaming in 4K and cloud gaming with Amazon Luna.
And since customers are also gaming more than ever on their Fire TV devices, I'm thrilled to share updates on our cloud gaming service, Luna. We're adding two new channels—the Family Channel (available today) and a retro gaming channel (coming soon). We're also adding more games on Luna+, a great multiplayer feature called Luna Couch, and the ability to play Luna on Fire tablets and Chromebooks.
Alexa is core to our Fire TV experience, so we’re proud to share that content providers are adding new voice capabilities to help customers get more out of their own streaming experiences. Netflix was one of the first to bet big on voice when they added Alexa capabilities to their app on Fire TV. Exclusively available on Fire TV and debuting this Fall, Netflix is making it easier to find something to watch. Netflix members love the "Play Something" feature today and soon you can simply say, "Alexa, Play Something from Netflix" from the Fire TV home screen and Netflix will launch a show or movie you might enjoy. In addition to making it easier to get into movies and TV shows, we’re also delivering great ways to watch short form content. Soon on Fire TV, you’ll be able to watch TikTok content on the biggest screen in your house.
Why is Amazon creating its own smart TVs?
When we thought about designing our vision for an intelligent ambient entertainment device, we wanted to combine two experiences customers love—the intelligent, always-available power of Alexa and Fire TV's content-forward approach. And we knew that to build the deep integration I'm describing, we wanted to create a fully integrated smart TV. The Fire TV Omni Series reimagines what a TV can do.
We’re investing in new features and experiences that provide a more natural way to interact with content. For example, later this year, Alexa Conversations will launch in beta on Fire TV, as an interactive experience for customers to get tailored recommendations on what to watch. Even if you don’t have a movie in mind, simply say, “Alexa, what should I watch?” and you will instantly see recommendations. Tell Alexa you’re in the mood for a romantic movie then use your voice to narrow down choices, for example by asking “Which of these movies can I watch on Prime Video?” Once you see the movie you want to watch, say, “Alexa, play Cinderella” and there you have it—the movie begins.
What are some of the other features in the Fire TV Omni Series and the Fire TV 4-Series that you think customers will love?
There are so many features in the new Fire TV smart TVs that we think customers will love, but if I had to pick my favorites, three come to mind.
The all-new smart home dashboard coming this year will allow customers to view and control all the connected smart home devices in their household. The smart home dashboard automatically populates with any smart devices you've connected to Alexa, so you can see the state of the device—on/off or locked/unlocked—and manage it all with your voice. For example, you can check if you've locked the front door, and if not, simply ask Alexa to lock it without leaving your couch.
If you have connected a Ring video doorbell to Alexa, you can also see a live feed from that device as a live view picture-in-picture. The live view picture-in-picture feature is particularly useful if you want to quickly see who rang the doorbell without pausing your movie, workout, or cooking class.
Finally, one of my favorite ways to use the new Fire TV smart TVs is to video call my parents with Alexa Communications. The large, high-resolution screen makes for an almost life-like video calling experience, and my whole family can see the screen and participate. It's as easy as plugging a USB camera into the USB port—you don't need any other accessories. Later this year, Fire TV will be the first smart TV to support Zoom, and we believe the new video calling features will help customers stay connected to friends and family in an all-new way.
What's next for the Fire TV line up? Where will Amazon go from here?
Our customer base continues to grow globally, and we want to keep them surprised and delighted with new devices and services.
The momentum we're seeing is incredible. Fire TV Stick 4K is Amazon's best-selling streaming device in the U.S., and Fire TV streaming sticks have over a million 5-star reviews on Amazon.com. Customers are streaming billions of hours of content per month across a wide range of genres and categories, making Fire TV America and Canada's most popular streaming media player family. You can expect us to continue to work with great brands, automakers, and retailers to expand hardware and content options to bring the best of Fire TV to customers all over the world. And you can expect us to deliver even more Alexa experiences on Fire TV, helping to make the TV faster, simpler and more intuitive.