Roku shares slammed by Amazon, Best Buy's smart-TV deal

Jeannie Matthews
April 19, 2018

Amazon and Best Buy, rivals in the retail industry, will team up to sell smart televisions powered by the Fire TV operating system, the companies announced Wednesday. Customers in the United States will have the ability to purchase the first Amazon Fire TV Edition smart TV from Toshiba beginning this summer, with additional models to be released in 2018.

In a prepared statement, Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly said that the partnership between the retailer and Amazon would "enrich the lives of" its customers. The Fire Edition TVs by Insignia and Toshiba are created to work seamlessly with Amazon's own voice assistant Alexa.

The TVs come with a remote that has Amazon's Alexa voice-assistant built in, so you can press a button and say out loud the movies you want to watch, or what channel you want to switch to. Built-in apps will give you access to popular services including Prime Video (of course), Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and PlayStation Vue (among others).

Amazon has announced a new partnership with Best Buy today for its Fire TV Edition smart TVs. Showrooming is the consumer practice of visiting a store or stores in order to examine a product before buying it online at a lower price. It's unclear if Best Buy will pay a standard commission as an Amazon merchant, or whether a different deal was negotiated. Best Buy already stocks and sells a range of Amazon Echo, Fire, and Kindle products, and it showcases them prominently in stores and in marketing material. For the first time ever, Best Buy will be a third-party seller on Amazon, starting with this new line of televisions.

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Both Amazon and Best Buy expect they will benefit from the deal. There will be a mixture of HD and 4K models. Other TV brands that license Roku TV software include Hisense, Hitachi, RCA, Sharp and TCL. Canadian customers will also be able to buy the TVs later this year, but there has been no confirmed date yet.

The Amazon Fire TV Edition is exactly what it sounds like.

The retailers announced today (April 18) that they're joining forces to sell televisions across the US and Canada.

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