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

enlarge / Fire TV on Amazon Echo Show 15.


Amazon’s Echo Show 15 all-in-one smart display now has a more mainstream use: streaming TV and movies. Amazon rolled out a free software update today granting Fire TV capabilities to the Echo Show 15, and newly purchased devices will be able to stream content from Disney+, Peacock, and other Fire TV apps.

Amazon originally announced plans to make the Echo Show 15 Fire TV in September.At that time, it Say Of those who used a 15.6-inch smart display in the past month, 70 percent did so to watch videos.

At 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 together, while adding additional streaming services, including HBO Max and Discovery+ (soon to be merged into Max?) and Paramount+.

The update also lets you use Alexa to play content with your voice across streaming services, and Amazon even rolled out the Echo Show 15 and its Alexa Voice Remote (3rd Gen) bundle to accompany the new feature.

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

Sharon Harding

The introduction of Fire TV brings new uses for the Echo Show 15. The device can already do more than any of Amazon’s other Echo products, but, as a smart display, it faces hurdles as an emerging technology as many struggle to find a purpose for it.

As we said in our Echo Show 15 review, one of the display’s best features is its large size, which beats out the competition and elevates experiences like photo viewing. Naturally, watching TV and movies is another place where those extra dimensions can be added.

While I struggled to navigate the Echo Show 15’s interface to understand all the things I could do with it — despite the product’s constant suggestions of 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 be used as a small smart TV that’s easier to move and install than a regular TV.

The new Echo Show 15 features come as Amazon’s Alexa struggles to find financial success, reportedly losing $10 billion this year. Amazon, on the other hand, reportedly sold more than 150 million Fire TV devices as of January, and could use the service to make money in traditional ways, such as through advertising and promoting other subscription services.

The Echo Show 15 doubles as a Fire TV is another example of how companies are still figuring out how to sell smart displays to consumers. Earlier this year, Meta included an additional, more common feature for its connected video conferencing displays when it updated the Portal to work as a wireless monitor.

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