Amazon is reportedly testing a smart TV set with its Fire TV technology built-in, with the aim of launching in the UK market, according to a report over the weekend.
The Telegraph claims the company has been working with Huawei and other Chinese manufacturers on the set, which is now being tested by the DTG. This is the UK’s standards body for digital terrestrial broadcasting equipment.
According to the report, the set will also feature a Freeview tuner, meaning Brits would be able to tune into terrestrial channels available without a subscription.
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Amazon sells similar Fire TV sets in the United States, budget sets made by Element Electronics, but they’re not available internationally.
The Telegraph report is focused on this set as a challenge to the likes of Sky and Virgin Media, the major Pay TV providers in the UK. It’s not really clear how this set, which is effectively just the same as a Fire TV box or stick, would upset those providers.
Amazon’s US sets don’t seem to have upset the providers, but rather has given them another platform to get their apps to viewers.
However, recent reports have also suggested Amazon is planning to launch ad-supported free channels in the UK.
The firm is advertising for a ‘head of free to air TV and advertising’ in London. This suggests the company is looking to offer some programming for non-Prime subscribers and support it with advertising.
Should Amazon launch such a service it could place them in competition with terrestrial broadcasts like Channel 4 and ITV in the chase for advertising revenue. It could also offer insight into Amazon’s plans for the Premier League football rights it has obtained for three seasons between 2019 and 2022. The company paid £90 million for access to 20 games on two match days, breaking the stranglehold of BT Sport and Sky.
Until now we’ve heard that fans will need a £79-a-year Amazon Prime subscription in order to watch the top flight action, but the job posting suggests Amazon could be open to letting more people watch.
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