During its annual fall event on Wednesday, Amazon unveiled a slate of devices and software updates to the Fire TV line. Brand new to the lineage is the Fire TV Soundbar. The soundbar is Bluetooth enabled and “simple to set up and compatible with all Fire TV streaming products and TVs,” according to Daniel Rausch, Amazon’s VP of Alexa and Fire TV, who was presenting on stage at the event. The soundbar is available starting today for $120.
Rausch also announced a minor refresh of the ubiquitous Fire TV line of streaming sticks. The new 4K Max, which is now nearly two years old, received a 0.2GHz bump in processing power and an upgrade from WiFi 6 to WiFi 6E. There’s some other niceties as well, including support for HDR, HDR10+, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision. The new Fire TV 4K Max is up for pre-order now for $60, and will begin shipping to customers on September 27th. The standard model of 4K Fire TV Stick also gets a bump in processing power, 4K support and WiFi 6. Pre-orders for that also start today (though Amazon has not yet confirmed a ship date), and it’ll run a slightly cheaper $50. Purchases of new Fire sticks and TVs will now also come with six free months of the MGM+ streaming service.
Given the focus on AI and large language models (LLM) throughout Amazon’s hardware presentation, it was a foregone conclusion some aspect of those buzzy product categories would be finagled into the Fire lineup. Forthcoming improvements to the Alexa voice search feature will draw from Amazon’s LLM (as well as data on IMDB, which Amazon bought in 1998) to supposedly understand nuanced questions about what to watch, and supply relevant recommendations. These recommendations will also, according to Rausch’s demo of the feature, be personalized to individual user profiles. The new voice search functionality will arrive via an over-the-air update later this year.
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