Amazon’s Echo Show 15 smart display becomes a portable Fire TV

Amazon's Echo Show 15 smart display becomes a portable Fire TV
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Fire TV on Amazon Echo Show 15
Enlarge / Fire TV on Amazon Echo Show 15.


Amazon’s versatile Echo Show 15 smart display now serves a more conventional purpose: streaming TV and movies. Amazon today released a free software update that gives the Echo Show 15 Fire TV capabilities, and newly purchased devices will be able to stream content from Disney+, Peacock, and other Fire TV apps.

Amazon initially announced plans for Fire TV-ify the Echo Show 15 back in September. At that moment, said 70 percent of people who used the 15.6-inch smart display in the past month did so to watch videos.

Upon launch, the Echo Show 15 supports Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Hulu; (although you can only summon them by asking Alexa). But today’s news brings those apps under one umbrella and adds additional streaming services, including HBO Max and Discovery+ (soon to merge with Max?) and Paramount+.

The update also lets you use Alexa to play content via voice streaming services, and Amazon is even pushing a package of the Echo Show 15 and its Alexa Voice Remote (3rd Gen) to coincide with the new feature.

Amazon hasn't said whether or not it will bring Fire TV to its other smaller Echo Show devices.
Enlarge / Amazon hasn’t said whether or not it will bring Fire TV to its other smaller Echo Show devices.

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The introduction of Fire TV brings a new purpose to the Echo Show 15. The device could already do more than any of Amazon’s other Echo products, however, as a smart display, it ran into obstacles as emerging technology as many people struggle to find a purpose for it.

As we said in our Echo Show 15 Review, one of the best characteristics of the screens is that its large size surpasses the competition and enhances experiences such as viewing photos. Naturally, watching TV and movies is another place where having those extra inches could help.

As I struggled to navigate the Echo Show 15’s interface to understand all the things I could do with it, despite the product constantly suggesting new features to try, the value of watching TV needs no explanation here. The Echo Show 15 Fire TV won’t replace the big-screen TV in the living room, but it can now serve as a small smart TV that’s much easier to move and mount than average.

New Echo Show 15 feature comes as Amazon Alexa struggles to find financial success and is said to lose $10 billion this year. On the other hand, Amazon reportedly sold more than 150 million Fire TV devices as of January and you can use the service to make money the old-fashioned way, such as through ads and promoting other subscription services.

The Echo Show 15 that doubles as a Fire TV is another example of how companies are still exploring how to sell smart displays to consumers. Earlier this year, Meta gave its connected video conferencing display more common additional functionality when it updated the Portal to serve as a wireless monitor.

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