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The Fire TV Stick Lite is the most cost-effective variant priced at just $30. It looks like Amazon’s shot for competing with other entry-level devices like Google Chromecast and Roku Express.
On Thursday, September 24, e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced its two new Fire TV products during its big online hardware event. To give users a completely redesigned experience, Amazon unveiled an updated Fire TV Stick along with the low-cost Fire TV Stick Lite.
Amazon’s Fire TV provides a smart TV experience directly competing with Roku and Apple TV. It also provides users access to some of the most popular apps like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and others. Amazon said that with the Coronavirus pandemic, users are spending more time in front of the TV than before.
The updated interface for Fire TV Stick will have a handful of new features like support for video calling, video chat, and also support for Zoom in the future. Besides, it will also have a redesigned and personalized home screen with an improved UI experience. It will support user profiles for six people in a household. Thus, each individual will receive tailored recommendations as per their interest while keeping track of their shows. These changes will also be available to existing Fire TV devices starting Q1 2020.
Sandeep Gupta, Amazon’s vice president and general manager of Fire TV, told CNBC that their customers complained about the existing home screen saying it was too cluttered.
“Today, you can search for comedies, or stuff by Tom Cruise, but we’ve tried to make a landing spot for when you don’t know what you want to watch. This shows you stuff that’s free, movies and TV shows, broader categories, apps and more,” Gupta said.
Alexa-Powered TV Experience
Both newly introduced Fire TV Sticks are powered by Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa via a separate remote. The Fire TV Stick Lite is the most cost-effective variant priced at just $30. It looks like Amazon’s shot for competing with other entry-level devices like Google Chromecast and Roku Express.
The Lite variant of Fire TV also comes with Alexa Remote allowing convenient voice searches for TV shows, launching apps, and controlling smart home devices. Users can also pair it with Echo devices for a hands-free TV experience.
The $40 Fire TV Stick has also been updated and comes with a different Alexa remote from the Lite variant. Here, the remote features a mute, volume, and power button allowing users to control the entire television.
Besides, the Alexa Hub on the Fire TV dive users’ idea of what all things they can operate with the voice assistant. This includes the picture-in-picture mode to feature smart cameras alongside your TV shows. The software for the updated Fire TV Stick has a new option to see the Ring or Alexa-ready video cameras on TV. Besides, activating Alexa won’t take a full-screen now.
Gupta said that Alexa brings a whole new functionality to the Fire TV. He said that the company saw an 80% surge in Alexa requests on Fire TV in the last year. “It’s a good indication people like Alexa and are using it more to manage shopping routines, recipes, whatever it is, in a centralized place,” he said.
The interesting thing to notice is Amazon is predicting the future of Television to change. By offering video calling and video chat features, we can expect next-generation TVs to come with built-in cameras.