Zoom Launches First Smart TV App on Amazon Fire TV
Zoom has debuted on the Amazon Fire TV Omni. One of the new Amazon-produced Fire TVs, the Omni lets users join a Zoom call without a remote, turning the TV into more of a business tool.
Fire TV Omni owners need to attach a webcam to the TV and download the Zoom app from the TV’s app store. Once it’s set up, the user can open the app and log in like on a computer or smart display. The Omni is unique among Fire TVs in coming with a far-field microphone for hands-free voice control through Alexa. While the Omni can connect to other smart home devices that use Alexa including speakers, the Zoom app is limited to using the TV’s own speakers for now. The app is also only available in the U.S. and Canada right now.
“Joining work meetings or remote holiday get-togethers from the comfort of your couch just got a whole lot easier,” Amazon explained in its announcement. “Once you’re logged into Zoom or accessing as a guest, join a meeting using your remote, or say, ‘Alexa, join my Zoom meeting.’”
Amazon has been augmenting its devices with Zoom since the COVID-19 pandemic led to a huge uptick in Zoom meetings last year, starting with making Zoom available on camera-enabled Alexa devices like Echo Show smart displays. In August, Amazon connected Zoom to the Fire TV Cube through the Fire TV Zoom. The app shows all of the user’s contacts and upcoming meetings, with the option to join or start them. Users can also link their Zoom calendar to Alexa so that asking the voice assistant to join their Zoom meeting will prompt Alexa to list relevant meetings from the calendar and automatically dial in when the user says yes to the meeting they are trying to join.
Zoom’s growth has brought its services to many more devices beyond Amazon of late, including the Facebook Portal and Google Nest Hub Max smart displays. Those don’t include the voice assistant controls of Alexa, however, Zoom has been looking to third-party arrangements to handle some of the feature demands, like Dubber’s conversation transcription and analysis or Otter’s virtual assistant that runs quietly in the background of meetings, records and transcribes the audio, and takes notes in real-time. In terms of Zoom Rooms and their voice commands, the platform integrated Alexa for Business in April. The company has been bringing some of the features in-house, however, like the purchase of AI-powered translation startup Kites, though plans for a $14.7 billion acquisition of digital contact center Five9 ended after a stockholder vote.