Interview: Amazon’s plans to bring generative AI to Fire TV, India partnerships and more

Interview: Amazon’s plans to bring generative AI to Fire TV, India partnerships and more

Amazon’s Fire TV has evolved from yet another streaming media player to a powerful platform ready to harness the power of AI. The first Fire TV devices allowed consumers easy access to all major online streaming platforms. In 2023, Amazon offers a wide range of Fire TV devices across different price points, a dedicated app store, Amazon-made TVs, and more. The online retail giant is now ready to add generative AI to its Fire TV.

At a press conference, Amazon offered a preview of how generative AI can be used in Fire TV models. The company showed how generative art can be created in seconds on a Fire TV Omni series model. You can simply use a voice command on the remote control to create masterpieces in seconds. The feature can be useful if you want the TV to serve as wall art when you’re not using it to view content. The feature is expected to ship to select Fire TV Omni series models later this year.

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Daniel Rausch
photo credit: amazon

Gadgets 360 caught up with Daniel Rausch, Vice President of Devices and Entertainment Services at Amazon, to understand how the company plans to bring AI capabilities to its Fire TV devices and Fire OS-based TV models, its plans for India and a lot more.

Note: Some responses have been condensed and slightly edited for clarity.

Gadgets 360: Do you think Fire TV can become a central hub for the smart home?

Daniel Rausch: I think it certainly can, and I think for a growing number of customers it already is. I think the TV is already one of the essential hubs in the house when we want to have fun. I think it could act as a home hub outside of times when we’re being entertained. The backbone of our smart home integrations is Alexa, which is deeply integrated into all Fire TV products.

With a single tap, you can open the smart home dashboard, ask through voice commands and display the status of all smart home devices in the house. So there is already a lot of smart home capacity. For example, in the case of a Ring doorbell, when it rings, the movie slowly pauses and you see who is at the door.

Gadgets 360: Is there a plan to bundle these smart home devices into a single package?

Daniel Rausch: We sometimes bundle products together, but every customer is different, so the standard approach for us is to make sure each customer can buy the products they specifically want. But we also group them together from time to time.

We offer exclusive packages, for example a Fire TV and an Echo Dot. We do these as promotional packages so you don’t see them as ongoing offers, but you might want to keep your eyes peeled this Diwali, maybe there will be some exclusive offers and packages.

Gadgets 360: How are Fire TV and FireOS based devices doing in India?

Daniel Rausch: Very good! We just launched with Xiaomi, a whole line of televisions. We sold out much faster than anyone would expect, I don’t think you can get one right now. You would have to order it for delivery in a few weeks because we don’t have stock yet.

When I was there, we were talking about getting back in stock as quickly as possible because customers really want them and they’re loving the experience. No specific news to announce today, but I can say that when we see success like this with a partner, we just want to do more. We are very interested in doing more and more with Xiaomi.

Gadgets 360: How is engagement on these entertainment devices in markets like India? Did it increase or decrease after the pandemic?

Daniel Rausch: It’s very interesting what we’ve seen with the pandemic. I think different people had different ideas of what we might see next, during the pandemic it definitely changed the curve. People wanted to be entertained, frankly people needed some extra time to de-stress. There was so much stress in the air that you wanted to have fun, you wanted to relax.

There were different theories about what we would see after the pandemic, we didn’t see any return to the previous one. None of our metrics show a return to where we were, it just accelerated the curve a few years ahead. It pulled everything you would have seen in 2025 into 2023, so there’s no turning back. The macro trend of ‘streaming is a primary source of content’ is here to stay.

Gadgets 360: Based on the feedback you receive on Fire TV products around the world, what do you think your customers like best and what do they like least?

Daniel Rausch: Let’s answer the first part first. First and foremost, customers definitely love the simplicity and intuitive nature of Fire TV content. They don’t have to think about where the show is. If I’m in some app and I find content that tells me to rent it, I own it somewhere else, I already bought it, that all goes away with Fire TV.

You look for something with the simplicity of the voice, you find that it is available in this subscription that you already have, because we put it at the top. You have all the options in the world right there. With one touch, you enter the movie you want and you’re having fun. Of course, we have a Fire TV model for every type of customer.

Are there things we have to work on that we’re not perfect yet? Of course, we’re always looking at our success metrics. We’re rapidly expanding our selection of live TV services and things like that. Part of our job is to show up every day and be our worst critics. There are areas that we can definitely improve, but I don’t think there are any unsatisfactory ones that stand out.

Gadgets 360: Do you have plans to expand the Fire TV lineup beyond Amazon TVs?

Daniel Rausch: Jeff Bezos has a phrase, ‘customers are divinely dissatisfied’, because whatever really satisfies them this year, next year you will have to create a new standard for it. That’s an inspiring way to think about customers. Our job is to work every day, invent and live the future for our customers, so that we can offer them the best products we can. I am honored that this is what I do every day.

There’s nothing specific to say about our inventions, but I can say that the core of Fire TV will continue to be the user experiences I talked about. Yes, we will keep inventing, there will be more to share with you later. I think the big theme I’d like to highlight is the core principles of what Fire TV already is and redefining what customers can expect. We really want to reinvent TV, it’s a space that hasn’t evolved very quickly for customers.

Gadgets 360: Do you have plans to bring one of your Fire TV Omni QLED TVs or services like Luna to India?

Daniel Rausch: Stay tuned! We have a global customer base and we take that very seriously. We want to build excellent products and services for every customer. We have to make sure the products really work well on the foundations.

Luna is a great example, it was generally available for only a year when we were able to add a set of countries, one of which is not India at this stage. We are very focused on our products in India, I think these Redmi TVs are a very recent example. We’re partnering with the biggest and best partners out there for the Indian consumer electronics market, so stay tuned to find out more.

Gadgets 360: You’ve shown an example of generative AI to create artwork on Fire TV, but is there anything else you’re working on to bring AI to Fire TV?

Daniel Rausch: The full set of Alexa features is now available on Fire TV. Alexa is based on being the best personal assistant and has deep AI-based features.

You’ve seen the demo, I would say a sneak peek, of the generative art capabilities coming to customers later this year on Omni QLED TVs. I would say customers interact with AI all the time with Fire TV already today, it’s the foundation technology of all of our recommendations, the ‘For You’ line, the entire user experience of content viewing, searching with Alexa and discovering what content are you looking for when using voice/Alexa, so there’s already a lot of AI built in and there’s definitely more to come. This is the golden age of AI and times are rapidly evolving, features are advancing rapidly and we are very focused on leveraging those features as well.

Gadgets 360: You’ve shown an example of how you can generate artwork in seconds. Do you think there might be a world where someone can just ask Alexa to create content for consumers?

Daniel Rauch: Yes, I think it will be possible. So stay tuned!

Gadgets 360: What are the big plans for Fire TV in 2023 and beyond?

Daniel Rauch: I think you’re going to see more innovation on top of the Fire TV fundamentals. The Omni QLED comes off the same foundation as our $29 Fire TV Stick, it’s one of those basics you’ll see us keep inventing there. You will see more television selections, we are moving very quickly with our global partners. You will continue to see TVs continue to be the fastest growing part of the Fire TV business and of course we will add streaming media products. So stay tuned for the latest news, I think these are the foundations of the Fire TV business.

Gadgets 360: You are already manufacturing Fire TV models in India, do you plan to manufacture Amazon-made TVs in the country at some point in the future?

Daniel Rausch: Our goal with TVs made by Amazon is to drive innovation as quickly as possible and ensure that there is a great selection of TVs available for customers. No TV manufacturer has all the specs, the TV landscape is so huge that it’s definitely not our aspiration to fill it all with our Amazon-made TVs. We really want to find a full range of partners that can make any specific set of specs, customer set and region successful. There’s a lot to consider as we plot the roadmap.

Our real goal is for any consumer, anywhere – whatever set of TV specs they’re looking for (picture, quality, size, brightness, others), we want them to have a Fire TV option with all these different components. That’s really the overall strategy, and we love the idea of ​​providing that complete picture to partners.

Disclosure: Amazon sponsored the correspondent’s air tickets and accommodation for the event in Seattle, in the United States.

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