Amazon has vastly improved its Fire TV game with today’s announcement of Omni QLED 4K TVs. The new kits, which will only be available in 65- and 75-inch sizes, offer features typical of more expensive TVs, such as Quantum Dot Color and full local dimming, and also offer a new Fire TV Ambient Experience that allows you to display graphics and photos. when the kit is not in use.
The quantum dots in Omni QLED kits will allow an extended range of colors to be displayed with high dynamic range (HDR) sources, while full local backlight dimming (up to 96 zones in the 75-inch model) should result in deeper, more detailed and uniform blacks – a drawback companies previous Fire TV Omni series sets.
All news about Amazon events
Amazon’s new TVs also support Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10 + Adaptive, which work to bring out more detail in dark HDR images viewed under normal lighting conditions – support for both of the most advanced HDR formats is rare on TVs, let alone TVs as ridiculously cheap as these (look below).
The Fire TV Ambient experience feels like Amazon’s variation on the “gallery” modes found in TVs like The Frame by Samsung and other brands that allow you to display art and personal photos when you’re not watching a video. A gallery of 1,500 paintings will be available, with collections from both the National Gallery of Art in Washington and The Art Institute of Chicago.
In addition to graphics and photos, you can add Alexa widgets to the screen that show news, weather, notes, calendars, sports scores and more.
In line with the green initiatives Amazon announced at today’s press event, the new Omni QLED TVs feature both presence and ambient light sensors that turn the Fire TV Ambient feature on and off depending on whether or not someone is in the room.
Like the company’s earlier Omni Fire TVs and Fire TV Cube, which have also been seriously rebuilt, Alexa’s hands-free voice control allows you to direct many of the kit’s functions including volume up or down and search, while What Should I Watch gives you personalized suggestions for watching. Omni Fire TV QLED models can also be used as the hub of a smart home, with voice commands available to run Alexa routines to control the home.
Amazon’s Omni Fire TV QLED Kits are now available for pre-order at $ 799 (65-inch) and $ 1,099 (75-inch).
Analysis: Amazon really wants Fire TV to be the digital heart of your smart home
While the performance enhancements Amazon is making to its latest Fire TV lineup make them more competitive in some respects to the the best 4K TVs (although adding a mini-LED backlight to increase brightness and better handle shadow detail such as budget competitors such as TCL and Hisense’s offering in their latest kits would be a plus), the company’s real endgame is installing Alexa at the center of your home.
Echo speakers and Show devices (which the company says are used as TVs, and up to 70% of owners touch them to watch videos) scattered around the house is one way to get us hooked into Alexa’s world, but with big screen TVs like The new Omni QLED models are where the real action goes, with features like What Should I Watch that allow Amazon’s AI to establish personal relationships with family members and learn about their preferences. Alexa widgets with information such as calendars and notes add to Amazon’s dataset, putting the company in a similar position to Apple and Google when it comes to being the target of personal communication and organization.
On top of that, the new Fire TV Omni QLED 4K sets are a nice surprise and show that Amazon is serious about improving the quality of its TVs, which until now have been mostly entry-level cheap deals. With additional tweaks, Amazon could potentially own budget TV space – something I’m sure it intends to do.