Amazon has teamed up with Best Buy to launch smart TVs that run on Amazon’s Fire TV operating system (OS). There will be 11 models from Toshiba as well as Best Buy’s own-brand Insignia.
The first batch of smart TVs will be available this summer and be sold through Best Buy’s physical and online stores as well as Amazon.com.
The new TVs will come with a remote that has Alexa voice control capability. Users can press a button and say out loud what movies they want to watch, what channels to switch to, among other control functions.
Also, the TVs can be paired with Amazon Echo, so that users will be able to control their TVs without a remote. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said not everyone would like to control their TV via voice command, which, however, makes TV simpler to use.
“These Fire Edition smart TVs by Insignia and Toshiba deliver beautiful visuals and all the movies and TV shows you love, with an experience that gets better every day with Alexa,” Bezos said.
“Amazon and Best Buy have a long history of working together, and today we take our partnership to a new level,” Bezos said. The partnership can potentially bring benefits to both Best Buy and Amazon at a time sales of smart TVs continue to climb.
The newly designed smart TVs bring together live over-the-air TV and all streaming content into one location. Users can search for and watch broadcast TV, or choose from a catalog of streaming TV episodes and movies from Netflix, Prime Video, HBO, PlayStation Vue, Hulu, etc.
“Our partnership with Amazon is exciting because we believe Fire TV Edition delivers an incredible user experience and further strengthens the growing connection between home theater, home automation and voice control,” Best Buy chairman and CEO Hubert Joly said.
Smart TV Market with Multiple Players
Amazon’s move marked the latest development in the smart TV battle, as Google has already introduced Android TVs. Amazon is pushing new TVs in one of the largest retailers in North America, making them available to consumers in the U.S. and Canada.
Best Buy has been offering services that support customers in installing, setting up and operating their technology in a number of areas, including 4K TVs, premium computing and the smart home.
Best Buy will continue to sell Roku-powered TVs from other brands. Roku’s smart TV operation system ranked second in North America, behind Samsung’s operating system Tizen, according to HIS Markit.
Amazon might follow Roku’s way. The company began to license its smart TV operating system to manufacturers in 2014, and currently has more than 150 models across 10 brands.
At the end of 2017, one in five smart TVs sold in the U.S. ran Roku’s software, according to the company, which also plans to release its own voice assistant.