NEW YORK – Amazon has cut a deal to sell voice-controlled TVs at Best Buy, the latest attempt by the online retailer to get its burgeoning suite of tech products out where people can see and touch them.
Best Buy already sells the Amazon Kindle and other gadgets, but the deal announced Wednesday makes the electronics retailer the only place where you can walk in and buy a TV powered by Amazon’s Fire TV software. Investors seemed to like the partnership: Best Buy’s stock rose 4 percent Wednesday.
Amazon has begun to make its physical presence known, buying the Whole Foods grocery chain last year and opening more than a dozen bookstores.
In addition to its own stores (an Amazon Go cashierless convenience store opened its doors earlier this year), Amazon is creating partnerships with traditional retailers in a sector that is threatened by its dominance.
Kohl’s carved out space for Amazon shops in some of its department stores and Sears sells Kenmore appliances on Amazon.com.
As is almost always the case when Amazon moves, its potential to disrupt ripples across markets.
Shares of Roku Inc., a pioneer in streaming devices and smart TVs, plunged 9 percent Wednesday.
Best Buy will begin selling 11 models of the Fire TV in the U.S. this summer, and later this year in Canada. The new TVs are made by Toshiba and Best Buy Co.’s own brand, Insignia. The companies did not say how much they would cost.
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. The TVs can be paired with Amazon’s smart speakers, meaning you wouldn’t need to pick up a remote at all.
Charlie O’Shea, a retail analyst at Moody’s, said the “win-win” deal will boost traffic at Best Buy and it gives Amazon another brick-and-mortar space to show off its products.
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