Up to this point, TVs that come loaded with Amazon’s Fire TV software (or even Roku OS for that matter) have stuck to LCD. But today Amazon has announced that an OLED Fire TV Edition is on the way — just not in the United States, unfortunately. The company has partnered with Grundig to release two versions of an OLED TV: one will have far-field voice microphones built in for hands-free Alexa control and, in case that creeps you out, the other one won’t include the mics. (You'll just get the usual Alexa voice remote where you hold the button down to issue commands.)
Are we ready for Alexa microphones inside our TVs? We’re still in the midst of controversy over strangers listening to our recordings to improve Alexa’s accuracy. This built-in approach could well be the beginning of a trend for other Fire TV Edition models in the future. There’s a button below the TV for muting the microphones, which are integrated into the speaker beneath the TV. Grundig confirmed to me that the TVs use “last-generation” LG OLED panels with a wide color gamut and support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision.
The Grundig OLED Fire TV Editions will come in both 55-inch and 65-inch sizes. You'll have to pay a bit extra for the far-field mics, with that model starting at €1,299.99 (~$1,433, shipping on November 21st) compared to €1,199.99 (~$1,323) for the other, which ships October 28th. They feature Dolby Vision HDR and include a 10-speaker system that can output Dolby Atmos. The OLEDs will be available in Germany and Austria.
Grundig, which will also release a number of cheaper LCD Fire TV Edition sets (11 in all), is just one phase of today's news for Amazon's international plans. The company also announced a series of JVC-branded Fire TV Edition 4K HDR TVs that will start at £349 (~$384) and be sold at Currys PC World and from Currys PC World as a third-party seller on Amazon.co.uk. A specific release date for those isn't yet available.
And the US isn’t being ignored entirely. After launching its first Dolby Vision-compatible 4K Fire TV Edition with Toshiba back in June, Amazon is now rolling out a bigger 65-inch version of that set. Like the 55-inch TV, this one will be available from Best Buy stores, BestBuy.com, and Amazon (through Best Buy as the seller).
Fire TV Edition TVs have a very similar software experience to Fire TV Sticks and streaming boxes. But they’re also optimized for over-the-air TV if you plug in an antenna; the TVs automatically pull down a programming menu. And if you’re the DVR type, you can buy the Fire TV Recast (only in the US right now) to save those OTA shows for later viewing or streaming live on your phone when away from home.
Amazon is trying to get Fire TV into your living room any way possible at this point. In addition to these new Edition sets, here at IFA, the company also announced an Anker soundbar that includes Fire TV software — very similar to what Roku just announced — and a refreshed, faster Fire TV Cube that now supports Dolby Vision playback.