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Amazon unveils its own smart TVs, release date set for October

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Yahoo Finance’s Dan Howley breaks down Amazon’s own TV sets and new features to its Luna cloud gaming platform.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CRISTOFOROUS: --same day the company said its Luna cloud gaming service is getting some big changes. Our tech editor, Dan Howley, here now with all those details. Dan?

DAN HOWLEY: That's right, Alexis. We're looking at two new styles of TV, the first ever from Amazon specifically. This is their own nameplate. They're not using another company and saying it's a Fire TV. This is Amazon's own.

They are the Fire TV series 4, and they come in 43-inch, 50-inch, and 55-inch models. Those are gonna run you 369 starting. Then there's the Fire TV Omni series. And that's gonna run in sizes 43-inch, 50-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, and then a big old 75-inch. And that's gonna start at 409.

Now, the difference between the two-- they both have LCD panels, LEDs, a backlit array. There's not gonna be local dimming. That really is a way to kind of improve visuals in darker screens-- sorry, darker scenes. So it's not gonna be as good as some other offerings on the market.

What these have going for them, though, is the Amazon Alexa integration. Now, the Omni series will have hands-free Alexa. So you can say, Alexa, switch to channel whatever, you know, Yahoo Finance. And you would be able to do that hands-free via microphone at the bottom of the TV. If you're not interested in a microphone at the bottom of your TV, no big deal. There's actually a button to completely shut that off.

But for the pricing, they really do appear to be pretty decent. They have HDR compatibility. They're 4K. They have four HDMI ports, including an HDMI arc. So you can use one of those to control your TV through a separate device. So pretty solid offerings. Again, there are other devices out there that are along the same price range and have better backlighting.

I also wanted to talk about Luna. That's the gaming service that Amazon has, its cloud gaming. And they're rolling out a new channel. It's a family channel.

It's gonna be [? $2.99 ?] when it launches, and it's really supposed to be a cloud gaming offering where families can get on there and be able to play with their kids, adults. And it's gonna be games that are rated E or E10+, so E for everyone. They're also launching additional games, a seven-day free trial where you'll be able to get access to things like Resident Evil, Biohazard, even if you don't have a Luna account.

And then there's a really cool new multiplayer feature called Luna Couch. And that's gonna let you play local multiplayer games-- so games that you would really need someone to be sitting next to you on the couch to play, but you'll be able to do that online now. So they're not necessarily online games. They're local cooperative games that you can play online. And to do that, you'll be able to have your Luna account and then send a code, and the people will just have to load up Luna and go at it. They don't need to have a Luna account to be able to do that.

So really interesting here for Amazon to really be taking a strike at Microsoft and their xCloud gaming platform and Google's Stadia. Hopefully, they continue to roll out interesting technologies like this going forward.

ALEXIS CRISTOFOROUS: All right. Thanks a lot. Lots of news there coming out of Amazon. Our tech editor, Dan Howley.