In perhaps the least shocking thing to ever happen, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is now selling self-branded TVs.
Prices start at $370 USD and range in size from 43-inches all the way up to 75-inches.
At launch there are two lines: the Amazon Fire TV 4-series UHD smart TV; and the step-up Omni Series 4K UHD smart TV with Dolby Vision which Amazon is suggesting as the better choice for “a cinematic home theater experience.”
The Omni series adds the following features over the entry 4-series:
- Hands-free with Alexa
- Two-way video calling with Alexa Communications (requires a separately purchased webcam)
- Dolby Vision support (for 65″, 75″)
In terms of the jump in price for an Omni model it doesn’t appear to be much. For instance, the 43-inch 4-Series (the cheapest TV Amazon-branded TV) sells for $370. The same model from the Omni line jumps by $40 to $410, or just over 10% or so.
All models feature 4K LED displays with support for HDR 10 and HLG. Ports include 3 HDMI 2.0 plus 1 HDMI eARC 2.1. Dolby Digital Plus is supported.
As you might expect, the Amazon TVs include Fire TV built in, so there’s no shortage of streaming apps and content straight out of the box including everything from Amazon Prime TV and Netflix to YouTube and Hulu and Disney+, to name just a few options available.
Amazon says both the 4-Series and Omni Series will go on sale in October, on Amazon.com and also through Bestbuy.com.
Stark Insider Take
Given that Amazon sells just about anything on the planet, including its own in-house Amazon Basics line featuring batteries and cables and just about anything you can think of, there’s not much surprise here. Televisions are just another commodity electronic good for the household. Amazon wants to compete there as it’s a key gateway to pay-as-you-go content and subscriptions.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s little to no margin. Maybe even a loss leader? Who knows for sure. But we do know the money is in the software services and content. Anything to get us locked into the Amazon ecosystem versus obvious competitors like Apple and Google the better.
It’s quite something to recall that Amazon started off solely selling books and now sells just about anything including TVs — a seemingly polar opposite of its original mission.
Anyone in the market considering buying a television now has to seriously consider these Amazon models. Amazon’s service levels and return policies are pretty hard to match (though Costco and Best Buy are neck and neck). Don’t like it, just return it. Amazon will continue to build loyalty as much as possible so that you’re not only buying household goods and electronics, but also even groceries (Fresh, Whole Foods). Where it ends nobody knows.