Not content with dominating nearly every corner of the internet and retail worlds, Amazon is quickly stepping up as a leader in streaming video as well. Amazon’s Fire TV streaming devices have become an all-on-one cable cutting solution for many households, and Amazon Prime Video is now one of the biggest three names in streaming video-on-demand based on budget and number of subscribers. Amazon’s streaming service is growing so quickly, in fact, that Amazon Video subscribers have been predicted to soon outnumber cable subscribers in the U.S. Not content with this newfound success, Amazon has just launched a new series of Amazon Fire TV Edition smart TVs which are designed to make cable cutting easier than ever.
The Amazon Fire TV Edition televisions are a joint partnership between Amazon and several manufacturers including Westinghouse and Element Electronics, a division of Chinese electronics giant TongFang. Amazon video services are integrated into every aspect of the televisions, right down to the remotes. The Fire TV Edition remote controls feature dedicated buttons for Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, as well as Amazon streaming music. The remotes also have Amazon Alexa capabilities built-in thanks to an integrated microphone and Alexa button. Users can speak directly into their remotes to command Alexa to launch streaming services or even play specific content.
Amazon claims their Fire TV Edition televisions give users access to over 300,000 TV episodes and movies, plus more than 15,000 channels of cable-free content not just from Amazon Video, but also from all the major streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, HBO NOW, Showtime, Sling TV, and more. Amazon currently has three models available at 43 inches, 50 inches, and 55-inches, with a 65-inch version set to be released later this year. All models stream video in 4K resolution.
Amazon’s new TVs show how changing media distribution methods affect the evolution of hardware. When TVs first hit the market, they featured only antennas. After cable became the norm, televisions were equipped with coaxial cable inputs. The proliferation of VCRs, DVD players, and later Blu-Ray disc players and gaming consoles saw even more A/V ins and outs added to TVs. Now that streaming is becoming the norm, physical inputs might even disappear from televisions altogether as more and more manufacturers start producing TVs designed specifically for streaming.