Alexa’s Smart TV Expansion Will Bring the Voice Assistant into Samsung Households
Amazon is making Alexa part of an even wider range of televisions. The company announced at CES on Monday that the voice assistant will be built into a new range of smart televisions built by Samsung and Skyworth.
Samsung televisions only started supporting Alexa as a voice assistant option last year. The new TVs will take that connection to the next level by making Alexa part of the television’s interface from the beginning. The voice assistant will be able to search for movies and shows or stream music like other smart TVs but will offer additional Alexa features like a large smart display. Alexa will be able to show visuals as part of the answer to questions about the weather, display video from cameras connected to the home system, and all of the other things that an Echo Show might do.
Amazon is also opening up Fire TV to manufacturers for other purposes, such as BMW Fiat Chrysler’s upcoming vehicles with Fire TV built into displays. Along with integrating into TVs produced by other brands, Amazon is pushing its new Fire TV Cube, which comes with Alexa. As part of the expansion, Fire TV Edition devices will soon be available internationally in India and parts of Europe.
“At CES 2017, we announced the first Fire TV Edition smart TV. Now, just three years later, Fire TV Edition has grown into a worldwide program which will include more than 150 Fire TV Edition models across more than ten countries by the end of the year,” Amazon Fire TV vice president Marc Whitten in a statement. “Our expanded Fire TV Edition program provides companies with the services and tools they need to bring Fire TV to more categories and more screens.”
Samsung Brings Alexa Home
Amazon has been stepping up its smart TV push in the last several months, including high-profile partnerships with manufacturers like JVC, Grundig, and Toshiba to build more than a dozen new TVs with Amazon Fire. The televisions though are often treated by Amazon as a part of its larger smart home line of products. The TV becomes another microphone for Alexa, rather than a discrete appliance.
When it comes to smart televisions, Amazon’s biggest rival is Roku. Both are working to get TV makers to use their platforms as well as selling their own products. Roku claims that a third of all televisions are using its platform, but Amazon Fire has grown to more than 37 million users, while Roku has around 30 million active users.
Samsung is a major player in TV manufacturing but has generally used its own operating system, with Amazon and Roku battling for the unaffiliated brands. Getting Alexa integrated into even just a fraction of Samsung’s line of TVs is, therefore, a potential big win for Amazon. It could help get Alexa into homes that might not have an Echo, setting them up for a whole Alexa-powered smart home ecosystem.
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