Amazon’s Echo Show 15 versatile smart display now has a more mainstream purpose: streaming TV and movies. Amazon today pushed out a free software update that grants the Echo Show 15 with Fire TV capabilities, and newly purchased devices can stream content from the likes of Disney+, Peacock, and other Fire TV apps.
Amazon initially announced plans to Fire TV-ify the Echo Show 15 in September. Back then, it said 70 percent of people who used the 15.6-inch smart display in the past month did so to watch videos.
Post-release, the Echo Show 15 supported Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Hulu; (although you can only summon them by asking Alexa). But today’s news puts those apps under one umbrella and adds additional streaming services, including HBO Max and Discovery+ (soon to merge into Max?) and Paramount+.
The update also lets you use Alexa to play streaming content with your voice, and Amazon is even pushing a bundle of the Echo Show 15 and its Alexa Voice Remote (3rd generation) to coincide with the new feature.
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, but as a smart display as an emerging technology it has faced obstacles as many people have trouble setting a goal for it.
As we said in our Echo Show 15 review, one of the best features of the displays is that the large size beats out the competition and boosts experiences like viewing photos. Of course, watching TV and movies is another place where having those extra inches can help.
While 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 isn’t going to 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 assemble than average.
The Echo Show 15’s new feature comes as Amazon’s Alexa struggles to find financial success and will reportedly lose $10 billion this year. On the other hand, Amazon reportedly sold more than 150 million Fire TV devices in January and can use the service to make money in old-fashioned ways, such as through advertising and pushing 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 videoconferencing display additional, more general functionality when it updated the Portal to serve as a wireless monitor.