Technology

The best Amazon TVs so far? Toshiba Fire TVs just got a major update

There’s a new Fire TV for the holidays with the newly announced Toshiba M-Series, starting with the Toshiba M550KU LED 4K UHD Smart Fire TV. It represents a major first for Amazon smart TVs, with 48 discrete dimming zones for improved HDR performance.

The new M Series is Toshiba’s continuation of the popular Toshiba C350 Fire TV, which is also our favorite Fire TV model of the best TVs, and ranks high on our list of the best TVs under $ 500. Toshiba M-Series televisions will go on sale this month through Best Buy and Amazon.

In addition to getting a variety of dimming zones, a feature so far lacking in Fire TVs, Toshiba’s new M Series is also one of the first with hands-free voice interaction. That feature, previously offered only on recent Amazon Omni Fire TV models, looks like it will be a key feature on all more premium Fire TV models going forward.

With built-in Alexa, you can turn on the TV, adjust the volume, select a favorite app or show, or search for new content, all without reaching for the remote. The far-field microphones built into the device allow you to use the TV as a smart speaker, allowing you to not only control the TV, but also smart home devices and Alexa skills, just as you would an Amazon Echo.

While Amazon’s Omni Fire TVs do feature Dolby Vision HDR support, we were a bit disappointed in the HDR performance in our tests and review of the set. Without local dimming, there’s a lot a TV can do with any HDR format, and putting Dolby Vision on the Omni series felt like an unfulfilled promise. We hope that Toshiba’s new M-series will perform where the Omni fell short.

In addition to local dimming and hands-free voice interaction, Toshiba is beefing up the M Series with a sleek narrow bezel design, more flash memory for faster performance, and higher quality of on-screen brightness and color.

Toshiba M-Series Smart Fire TVs will be available this month, in three sizes, with 55-, 65- and 75-inch models. The 55-inch model will sell for $ 799, the 65-inch for $ 999 and the larger 75-inch model for $ 1.1999.

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