Amazon’s Echo Show 15 Smart Display becomes a portable Fire TV

Enlarge / Fire TV on the Amazon Echo Show 15.


Amazon’s versatile Echo Show 15 smart display now has a mainstream purpose: streaming TV and movies. Amazon today released a free software update that brings Fire TV capabilities to the Echo Show 15, and newly purchased devices can stream content from Disney+, Peacock, and other Fire TV apps.

Amazon initially announced plans to bring Fire TV to the Echo Show 15 in September. Back then, it said 70 percent of people who used the 15.6-inch smart display in the previous month did so to watch videos.

At release, the Echo Show 15 supported Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Hulu; (although you could only summon them by asking Alexa). But today’s news is merging those apps under one roof, adding additional streaming services including HBO Max and Discovery+ (soon to merge into Max?) and Paramount+.

The update also lets you use Alexa to play content via voice via streaming services, and Amazon is even releasing a bundle 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 be bringing Fire TV to its other, smaller Echo Show devices.
Enlarge / Amazon hasn’t said whether or not it will be bringing Fire TV to its other, smaller Echo Show devices.

Sharon Harding

The arrival of Fire TV gives the Echo Show 15 a newfound purpose. The device was already capable of more than any of Amazon’s other Echo products, but as a smart display it faces obstacles as an emerging technology, with many people struggling to find a purpose for it.

As we said in our Echo Show 15 review, one of the best things about the display is that its size beats the competition and enhances experiences like photo viewing. Of course, watching TV and movies is another place where those extra inches could come in handy.

While I struggled to navigate the Echo Show 15’s interface to understand what I could do with it — despite the product constantly suggesting new features to try — the value of television here needs no explanation. 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 a lot easier to move and assemble than the average.

The Echo Show 15’s new feature comes as Amazon’s Alexa struggles for financial success and is reportedly set to lose $10 billion this year. On the other hand, Amazon has reportedly sold more than 150 million Fire TV devices as of January, and can use the service to make money in good old-fashioned ways, such as selling games. B. through ads and promoting other subscription services.

The Echo Show 15, which 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 added additional, more common functionality to its connected video conferencing display when it updated the portal to serve as a wireless monitor.

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