Amazon is now making its own TV — sort of, anyway: The e-commerce giant has teamed up with Seiki, Westinghouse and Element Electronics to launch a number of 4K TV sets powered by Amazon’s Fire TV platform. Each of these brands, which are all owned by Chinese electronics giant Tongfang, will introduce their own Fire TV-powered TV sets later this year.
Display sizes will range from 43 to 65 inches. Each device will come with a 4K resolution, 3GB of RAM, 16GB internal memory for apps, and a remote control with integrated microphone that doubles as a direct line to Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant.
Amazon and Tongfang didn’t announce prices and exact release dates yet, but said that the TV sets will be sold both on Amazon.com as well as at select retail stores later this year.
Adding Fire TV OS directly to TV sets is a smart move for Amazon; not every consumer is tech-savvy enough to buy their own streaming device, and many are simply content with accessing one or two streaming apps that come with their TV. By having these TV sets powered by Fire TV, Amazon assures that its own Amazon Prime Video service is front and center for these consumers.
Amazon also has tons of sales data from its own website, which should show the company that low-cost smart TVs are doing really well: The two best-selling TVs on Amazon.com are currently made by TCL, and come with Roku’s app platform built-in.
Speaking of which: Amazon’s move into the smart TV space could mean more competition for Roku. The company began integrating its own app platform directly into low-cost TV sets three years ago, and announced earlier on Tuesday that it has now captured 13 percent of the smart TV market in the U.S.