Amazon's First Alexa TV Is Here, and We Went Hands-on

Alexa, is there anything good on TV? Amazon has extended its voice-based assistant to yet another device, this time a 4K LED TV that starts at just $449, and will be available this month.

The Amazon Fire TV Edition, as it's called, will not only call up program information from a variety of sources, but will also display results of other Alexa queries right on the screen. 

For example, in our hands-on with the Fire TV Edition, I was able to ask Alexa for the weather and nearby restaurants, and the information was displayed on the set in a card-style format; I imagine you'll see a similar presentation on the Amazon Echo Show's smaller 7-inch display.

You can also use Alexa as you would on any other Echo device, such as to control Philips Hue lights or multiple other smart home devices.

MORE: The Best Products That Work With Amazon Alexa

The Amazon Fire TV Edition will start at $449 for a 43-inch model; a 50-inch model is $549, 55-inch is $649, and the 65-inch set is $899. The TV will be available for pre-sale on May 16, and will be in stores in June. Those who pre-order will also receive an AmazonBasics Ultra Thin Indoor HD TV Antenna (35-mile range), which retails for $14.99, while supplies last.

In order to use Alexa, you have to press a button on the remote, which looks much like the one you get with Amazon's other Fire TV devices. You can't use other Echo devices to control the TV, though, which might be a good thing; I wouldn't want someone in another room changing the channel without me knowing.

Amazon Edition TVs have Alexa built right in. Photo credit: Mike Prospero

(Image credit: Amazon Edition TVs have Alexa built right in. Photo credit: Mike Prospero)

Like its other Fire TV devices, the Fire TV Edition can pull in content from Twitch, Spotify, HBO, Showtime, Hulu, Crackle, Sling TV, and of course, Amazon Prime, among others. In addition, when you connect an HDTV antenna to the set, it will display not just the channels, but up to 14 days of program info, too. When you use Alexa to search for programs or actors, the assistant will amalgamate results from all connected services, as well as from over-the-air content. The set I saw in the demo was pretty fast to bring up results, taking usually no more than a second or two to display the information on-screen.

Amazon Fire TV Edition (43-inch)
Amazon Fire TV Edition (43-inch)

Specs-wise, the Fire TV Edition is fairly modest. It does not support HDR currently, which is kind of surprising given that Amazon—not to mention other content providers—now streams a number of shows and movies in HDR, which results in better colors and contrast. However, it could be added via a future software update, a representative said.

The sets have a refresh rate of 120Hz (native is 60Hz). Inside is a quad-core processor, an ARM Mali Multi-core 3D GPU with 3GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage. You can also record up to 90 minutes of TV if you add an SD card. It has 4 HDMI ports, two USB, optical/SPDIF, VGA, Component/Composite, Ethernet, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

While the Fire TV Edition won't appeal to those looking for the best picture quality, it could be compelling for Prime members who are upgrading to a new TV or for those who want to access Alexa in more places.

Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.

  • steelscrap
    If you went hands-on with the TV, the review would have been more useful to provide a better analysis of the picture and sound quality.
  • aquielisunari
    19697005 said:
    The Amazon Fire TV Edition brings Alexa to a range of new TVs starting at $500, but the sets are missing a key feature.

    Amazon's First Alexa TV Is Here, and We Went Hands-on : Read more

    Think this is aimed at millennials with extra money. Record 90 minutes IF an SD card is present? The 16GB of storage is for? Many movies are much longer than 90 minutes. No HDR.

    Does the TV turn itself off if we ask it sensitive questions such as if Alexa or other entities are recording or monitoring? Check youtube for more info about questions that will only result in Alexa powering down the device.