Amazon is releasing a lot of new Fire TV products at IFA 2019 in Berlin. In the past, FireTV was relegated to only Amazon devices or TVs from TCL, who also make Roku TVs. This all changes now.
There’s a big number of new products. It’s a little dizzying, even. You need a list just to get through them.
- The FireTV Cube (version 2)
- TV partnerships to build Fire TV included from Skyworth, Arcelik, TPV, Compal – these are manufacturers, not brands, but the relationship means making a Fire TV is easier for brands to do than in the past.
- Brands including Grundig, JVC, IMTRON to cover regional markets
- Toshiba’s OLED Fire TV, and the Nebula FireTV Soundbar from Anker to address the higher end tech specs.
The TV manufacturers each have multiple models to address different sizes and price points. The goal for Amazon here is to expand into different markets, and add higher-end devices to the list, so that it isn’t seen as a budget-only proposition.
The Grundig and Imtron sets will be sold in Austria and Germany. The JVC is being produced in partnership with Dixon’s Carphone for the UK. The Grundig set raises the bar by using an OLED screen, Dolby Vision, and 10 speaker Dolby Atmos.
Meanwhile, the Toshiba is being made in partnership with BestBuy in the US, and are making the first 65″ Fire TV. This is one of the first FireTV to reach that large size.
The Anker sound bar is interesting. It doesn’t have quite the same processing power as a FireTV Cube or FireTV 4K stick. It supports Dolby Vision Passthrough, rather than actual Dolby Vision. It hasn’t got microphones built in, so you have to use the voice remote to command it.
Perhaps the best devices from Amazon if you aren’t in the market for a new TV are the FireTV Cube (version 2), which has a fast 6 core processor, twice as fast as the previous generation. It has Dolby Vision and 4K support, and processes voice control commands on the device, so there’s no delay in going to the cloud, interpreting, and coming back to execute the command. Amazon says this should happen about 4x faster.
The Fire TV cube controls devices using a combination of infrared (IR), HDMI CEC (commands like turning the TV on and off, for example), combined with cloud-based commands for Internet connected devices. Amazon has bragged before that they have as many as 20 engineers working on IR blasters, which seems weird in 2019.
Customers will be able to control their compatible TV, soundbar, A/V receiver, cable or satellite box, as well as other smart home devices by way of the device’s support of multi-directional infrared technology, cloud-based protocols, and HDMI CEC, combined with Alexa.
The new FireTV Cube is $119 currently from Amazon. The Anker Nebula Soundbar is $229. The Toshiba 65″ will be available for $599 in Best Buy stores. The Grundig OLED – Fire TV Edition Hands-Free with Alexa (amazon.de/Grundig-FireTVEdition) is available for pre-order on Amazon.de today in 55” and 65” models, starting at €1,299.99. JVC’s Fire TV Edition Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR LED TVs start at £349, and are sold at Currys PC World and from Currys PC World as a third party seller on Amazon.co.uk.