Amazon announced it is working with the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) to enable the trade group’s distribution members to deliver Fire TV streaming media players directly to their customers. Amazon claims Fire TV has surpassed more than 40 million active users.
As the cable industry continues to lose subscribers to alternative distgribution channels, including over-the-top video, it is working with OTT players such as Amazon to meld OTT technology with linear TV.
Fire TV, of course, enables users to access Amazon and third-party Internet-based apps through the television.
NCTC has over 750 members, including independent cable and telecommunication operators, delivering service to 16 million broadband and 8 million video customers in the aggregate.
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The cable agreement coincides with Amazon’s expansion of the Fire TV Edition program, designed to give more opportunities for developers, operators, device makers and manufacturers across multiple categories, including automotive, smart TVs, soundbars and streaming media players.
With this expanded Fire TV Edition, the e-commerce giant said it would be easier for device makers to integrate Fire TV into their products, with new tools and services for each category that will enable companies to bring tailored entertainment experiences and great content to their customers.
“At CES 2017, we announced the first Fire TV Edition smart TV,” Marc Whitten, VP of Amazon Fire TV, said in a statement. “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 10 countries by the end of the year.”
In 2018, Amazon and Best Buy announced an initiative to bring Fire TV Edition TVs to customers in the United States and Canada, and to date, they have sold millions of Insignia and Toshiba Fire TV Edition smart TVs.
“Over the past year, Best Buy has sold millions of Fire TV Edition smart TVs on BestBuy.com, in our stores and as a third-party seller on Amazon.com. We’ve enjoyed working with the Amazon team to bring these high-quality TVs and the incredible Fire TV experience to our customers,” said Luke Motschenbacher,VP of merchandising at Best Buy.
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Following the success of Fire TV Edition smart TVs with Best Buy, Amazon announced plans to expand internationally, bringing the next generation of Fire TV Edition devices to customers in the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Ireland and India.
In 2019, more than 50 Fire TV Edition smart TVs and soundbars have launched from global brands like Grundig, JVC, Onida and Anker and retailers like Best Buy, Currys PC World and Media Markt Saturn (coming 2020).
Amazon will continue its international expansion with more brands launching Fire TV Edition smart TVs in the United States, Canada, India, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and Mexico in the coming year.
Fire TV Edition for Soundbars
This past September, Amazon and Anker Innovations announced the Nebula Soundbar–Fire TV Edition, the first Fire TV Edition soundbar featuring an all-in-one home cinema experience with expansive video streaming and stunning sound.
The TCL Alto 8+ Soundbar–Fire TV Edition is now available on Amazon in the United States and Canada. Customers of amazon.co.uk, amazon.de, amazon.fr, amazon.it and amazon.es can sign up to be notified when the TCL TS8011 Soundbar–Fire TV Edition is available on Amazon.
Both soundbars are designed to support premium acoustic performance, with carefully tuned speaker drivers and support for Dolby Digital Plus producing clear, dynamic and immersive sound.
Amazon now works with a growing number of device manufacturers including Anker, Polk Audio and Tonly on soundbar solutions. Later this year, Fire TV Edition soundbars will offer new features, including Dolby Atmos support, compatible device control, HDMI switching and far-field voice control, along with partner customizations.
Fire TV Edition for Auto
Building on the success of Fire TV Edition smart TVs and soundbars, Amazon is expanding the program to automakers, partnering with BMW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).
With hands-free access to Alexa, touch screen interface and offline playback capabilities, parents and kids alike can enjoy the living room TV experience in the car and watch a wide variety of content and the latest shows from the most popular video services worldwide and shows recorded with Fire TV Recast or saved locally on-device.
Content can be streamed using a vehicle’s Wi-Fi or LTE connection, a mobile hotspot or any other WAN-enabled device.
“Adding Fire TV to future BMW vehicles represents a big step in bringing the best of streamed entertainment to our products. With Amazon’s approach, and with the help of Garmin, we are able to innovate and create a unique and special experience for BMW cars, providing the consistency of content and customer experience that Fire TV provides in the home. We look forward to working closely with Amazon to bring Fire TV to future vehicles,” said Fathi El-Dwaik, VP, User Interaction, Business Line My Car and Business Line My Life, BMW Group.
Fire TV Edition for Operators
Fire TV is also enabling television and telecommunication operators to quickly bring Fire TV Edition devices to their customers in a more customized and cost-effective way.
After successfully introducing Fire TV partnerships with Tata Sky in India and Verizon in the United States, Fire TV is now expanding the device offerings available to operators, allowing them to choose the best solution that fits their customer and business needs as well as providing merchandising opportunities in the Fire TV Edition customer experience.
The Fire TV Edition for Operators is available today in North America, Europe, India and Japan.
Fire TV Edition — Certified Solutions Providers
Fire TV is enabling partners across a variety of industries and categories to work with certified solutions providers to rapidly bring the latest Fire TV Edition devices to customers. Amazon currently works with a growing number of TV manufacturers who produce Fire TV Edition smart TVs. Vestel, Arcelik, Compal, TPV and others can now build Fire TV Edition smart TVs for their customers with manufacturing and assembly capabilities around the world.
Amazon announced that Skyworth is the latest global ODM with turnkey solutions for smart TVs. These turnkey solutions enable Skyworth and other ODMs to work with the world’s leading TV brands to bring high-quality, differentiated, cost-effective 4K and FHD smart TVs to customers.
Starting in India, brands can choose from a selection of manufacturers with various industrial design and price options to bring an entire lineup of smart TVs to customers.
The turnkey ODM solution offered in collaboration with Amazon includes out-of-the-box reference designs, schematics and boards designed with CVTE, a leading LCD TV mainboard provider for feature-rich 4K and FHD smart TVs; self-service tools and software customizations, such as settings SDK for custom picture and audio settings; and customized industrial design and hardware options.
“We are excited to build a scalable, worldwide smart TV program with Fire TV Edition,” said Tony Wang, CEO of Skyworth TV Business Division. “ODMs & OEMs can offer customers the choice of a top-rated smart TV software experience along with the speed, value and high-quality hardware that they always expect from Skyworth.”
Finally, for auto partners, Amazon is working with system integrators VOXX Automotive and Garmin to deliver solutions and services that can significantly accelerate the development cycle for automakers.
“By working with Amazon to enable Fire TV for in-vehicle entertainment, we have been able to create a reference implementation that automotive OEMs can build into their vehicle programs and bring all of the rich entertainment of Fire TV into automotive grade installations,” said Ed Mas, President, VOXX Automotive, a division of VOXX International Corp.