(Pocket-lint) - TVs featuring the Fire TV interface have been around in the US for some months now and Amazon has decided that now is the time to bring the idea to the UK and other parts of Europe.
Amazon is using the same idea it did in the US - teaming up with a traditional retailer to shift boxes through stores as well as online. In the US it was Best Buy, in the UK it's Currys PC World through its parent company Dixons Carphone.
Amazon reasons that people want to see TVs in the flesh when they buy and so getting some retail presence makes strategic sense when it doesn't have stores of its own. And, of course, it hopes that the Fire TV brand will make these TVs stand out from the crowd.
Currys PC World has chosen to use a brand for the TV that it has the UK rights to - JVC. TV brands are a mess of different companies and deals but obviously Currys feels there's still enough recognition of the JVC brand in the UK.
The Fire TV Edition 4K Smart LED Freeview HD TV with HDR is available in three models - 40-inch at £349, 49-inch at £399 and 55-inch for £499. As you'll note from those prices and screen sizes, the range is aimed at the mainstream rather than the premium TV market.
We had a demonstration of the 55-inch model during Amazon's Fire TV event in Berlin during IFA 2019. We need to note at this point that the TV was a model featuring pre-release software and it especially didn't work well with live TV.
While the Fire TV elements worked OK, the live TV element was very pre-production so we can't give you any kind of verdict as to what this TV would be like if you used it for all your viewing. We can, however, give you an impression of what it would be like.
As we weren't in the UK at the demonstration, the Freeview channels didn't work and so canned TV footage was used to give the impression of live TV.
The live TV part of the experience works in exactly the same way as any other Freeview HD TV - the Fire TV interface gives way to the Freeview guide. However, that's not to say that there's no integration of Live TV into the Fire TV interface - channels you regularly watch are added to recently watched stuff on the home screen. You can also, obviously, easily switch inputs, too - you can see that in the pic above.
Naturally, the TV has Alexa built-in, but you need to use the voice remote. Amazon's endgame is that there are far-field mics built into the TV itself, but that's not been integrated here. Of course, you can use Alexa in all the ways you can in other places, playing music, looking up the weather and managing other smart devices.
Design-wise, the TV has a reasonably thin black bezel that you'd expect at this price point, but it does look a little more plasticky than we'd like. However, this demo took part in a very dark space so it'll be interesting to see what it looks like compared to rivals in store as well as in the home.
We're sure lots of these TVs will be sold. Obviously Amazon will push them, while Currys will work to get them in front of customers - probably backed by a large advertising budget.
It's hard at this stage to say how the TV compares to others on the market, but starting at £349 is a very decent price point for a 4K TV, while the Fire TV interface is always slick.
As well as being available in stores, the JVC Fire TV Edition will be sold on Currys.co.uk and by Currys as a third-party seller on Amazon.co.uk. It'll be available from mid-October and obviously, we'll be updating this review when we see a final unit.