Amazon Launches 4K TVs Combining Alexa AI Brains With FireOS Brawn

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Amazon has been in the news a lot recently, mainly for its popular Alexa AI that powers its Echo family of products. The company last week announced the Echo Show, which features a 7-inch display, and today the company has revealed a partnership with Element to produce 4K Smart TVs.

Element isn’t a brand that you would normally associate with high-end picture quality or plentiful features — it’s a brand that you would typically find at retail stores like Walmart or Target with budget pricing. However, Amazon isn’t letting that “cheap” stigma get in the way of spreading Alexa AI magic to more people.

First and foremost, these new Fire TV Edition sets are running Amazon’s FireOS, which gives you access to all of the functionality typically reserved for devices like the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. That means that you will be able to browse over 300,000 TV episodes and movies courtesy of wide support for streaming video services including Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO NOW, Showtime, Hulu and Sling TV.

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Alexa functionality is built-in, but accessing it is quite a bit different from what you’re used to with devices like the Echo or Echo Dot. Instead of being in an “always listening” mode, waiting for a wake word, you instead speak into the TV’s remote control (similar to what you would do with a Fire TV). You hold down the remote’s microphone button and speak your command; Alexa then responds to your query through the TV’s speakers (or your connected sound system). Alexa can also provide visual feedback as well, displaying things like weather forecasts on the big screen.

Another plus is the ability to take advantage of Alexa Skills, which gives you access to a wide breadth of smart home device features (among other things). All of the televisions feature a 60Hz refresh rate, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, 16GB of storage, microSD slot, USB port, and four HDMI ports.

The Element 4K Ultra HD Smart TV – Amazon Fire TV Edition is available in 43-, 50-, 55- and 65-inch$449, $549, $649 and $899 respectively. They will be doing battle with a number of TCL-branded Smart TVs which feature integrated Roku functionality.