Amazon is hoping to gain dominance in the living room with the same strategy it used to take over the e-books business: lower prices.
The company on Thursday introduced new versions of its Fire TV products, which plug into television sets to stream content over an Internet connection. Notably, customers can now buy a Fire TV streaming stick or set-top box with a remote control that can find content to watch using voice commands, similar to the new Siri-powered Apple TV unveiled last week.
Amazon’s voice-controlled assistant is named Alexa. This assistant first appeared in Amazon’s wireless speaker, the Echo. You’ll be able to speak commands like “Alexa, play ‘John Wick’ ” to play a movie or “Alexa, how’s the weather tomorrow?” to load the weather forecast on the TV.
But unlike Apple, which raised the starting price of its new Apple TV to $150 (up from $70 for the previous model), Amazon is holding its prices steady. You can get the latest stick for the same $40 as before; the Fire TV streaming stick with a voice remote is $50. The Fire TV set-top box with the new remote is the same price as the previous model: $100. And in another sign of how serious Amazon is about competing for attention in the living room, the retail giant is also bundling the Fire TV set-top box with a game controller for $140.