Berlin Amazon takes the next step in the battle of tech heavyweights for the key role on the domestic TV and wants to replace the TV remote control by voice commands in more cases. On the edge of the technology fair Ifa in Berlin, a first Grundig brand TV set was introduced, in which the microphones for Amazon's speech assistant Alexa are directly integrated.
From Amazon itself there is the streaming box Fire TV Cube with built-in microphones. It will be launched in Germany in October. “We believe that the voice belongs to the future in the living room,” said the responsible Amazon manager Marc Whitten.
At the same time he limited that Amazon does not want to completely abolish the remote control – in some situations it will be the better solution. You can also get through menus or lists of commands like “Alexa, further to the right” – “but in this situation I would recommend to reach for the remote control”.
The traditional German brand Grundig, which belongs to the Turkish Arçelik Group, became the world's first provider of a television with built-in Alexa microphones. At Grundig they have also dealt with the question of whether a brand is faster interchangeable when the operation of a television is ceded to Alexa and Amazon, said the responsible manager Mario Vogl. “But the speed we get with a global digital player was crucial to us.”
This balance may vary for individual companies. “But I think many medium-sized manufacturers, like us, have answered the question that way.”
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Grundig set the recommended retail price for the Alexa television with OLED display at around 1300 euros – and for 100 euros less there is a version without the built-in microphones. At the same time, the brand also offers various home appliances in which Alexa could also be used.
Another new TV partner in Germany is Media Saturn – as operator of the electronics markets Media Markt and Saturn actually a fierce competitor of the Amazon Group. The Media-Saturn own brand ok. But will bring a TV with integrated Fire TV platform early next year on the market. Customers asked for it, said own brand boss Karsten summer.
Amazon has established a new category of equipment with the combination of its networked echo speakers and Alexa. Meanwhile, among others, too Google with his assistant and Apple catching up with Siri.
For most Fire TV sets Alexa can usually be triggered by a microphone on the Amazon remote control. A big competitor is Apple. The iPhone group has been offering the streaming box Apple TV for more than ten years and is now also bringing its content platform to TV sets from several major manufacturers.
Amazon has no problem with it, when the Fire TV functionality migrates to TV sets and the Group sold so less own streaming boxes and sticks, said Whitten. “I look at Fire TV now more than a service.”
For example, voice control makes sense, so you do not have to remember which channel a TV station was programmed on or which season's series is available at which streaming provider. Fire TV is always the cheapest option for the customer, even if the content is not from Amazon's in-house platform, assured Whitten.
More: More and more devices are networked. US companies are far ahead in the battle for a central platform – but now attacks a European company.
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