Best Buy Drops Roku In Favor Of Fire TV Insignia Televisions

While Best Buy often functions as an uncompensated showroom for online sales, given massive Alexa and Fire TV displays, the big box store is clearly a valued Amazon retailer. As such, the two companies have announced a significant partnership expansion that sees Best Buy replacing Roku on Insignia house-brand sets with the Fire TV experience. Also, interestingly, Best Buy will not only sell these televisions in-store but optionally through for the first time.

From the press release:

The newly designed smart TVs come with the Fire TV experience built-in, uniquely bringing together live over-the-air TV and all your streaming content into one easy-to-view location. Connect any HD antenna and instantly use Alexa to search for and watch broadcast TV, or choose from a vast catalog of streaming TV episodes and movies from Netflix, Prime Video, HBO, PlayStation Vue, Hulu, and many more. Fire TV Edition includes a Voice Remote with Alexa, making it easy to launch apps, search for TV shows, play music, switch inputs, control smart home devices, and more. It can also be paired with any Echo device allowing you to easily use your voice to control your TV experience hands-free with Alexa.

Fire TV Edition continues to improve even after your purchase, with more new Alexa skills, software features, and applications added regularly. Tens of thousands of Alexa skills are already accessible today, allowing you to have amazing entertainment experiences, view and control your smart home connected cameras, lighting, security systems, and more.

While we don’t expect Best Buy’s abandonment to significantly impact Roku licensing, TCL’s announcement today to embrace Android television is more concerning as it’s not yet clear if this only refers to a new line of TVs and/or sets for markets beyond the US.

7 thoughts on “Best Buy Drops Roku In Favor Of Fire TV Insignia Televisions”

  1. My sister has a TCL Roku TV and loves it. Looks like we are going to end up with Amazon, Roku, and Android (if Google doesn’t loose their court battle) as the main operating systems powering smart TVs.

    This highlights the failure of TiVo (and Microsoft for that matter) to figure this out.

    And of course we still have Apple going it alone.

  2. I’ve purchased 5 or 6 Roku TCL sets over the years – two were for my mom, first gen but still trucking and I currently have a 32″ in the guest bedroom and a 49″ in the master bedroom. A great value and very dependable. My old Panasonic plasma in the basement is sometimes powered by Apple TV (4th gen) and sometimes by Fire TV (1st gen) – currently Fire TV. Our family room television is the 2017 Vizio M series, although we usually use the Roku Stick vs the integrated Chromecast capabilities and handful of native apps. Was thinking of swapping out for Fire TV – the interface is cluttered and more difficult compared to Roku, but the voice control is superior and the cable TV single sign-on includes Verizon FiOS.

    atmusky raises an interesting point. Once upon a time, Best Buy released an Insignia television… powered by TiVo. No one bought it and, like many TiVo-related initiatives, was half-baked at launch.

  3. The fact that the Roku app for PS Vue is missing a guide where Fire TV has a full guide is what got me to switch from Roku to Fire TV.

    Joining Amazon Prime was the final nail in the Roku coffin.

    TiVo pretty much misses out on everything. I told TiVo in a survey a couple weeks ago that if my Roamio dies I will be going with a Tablo 4 tuner.

  4. My 4 year old Vizio recently bit the dust. In need of a TV, I went to BestBuy and found the TCL Roku. Mindful of Dave’s mom’s happiness with prior gen models, I happily picked up a 49” for $350. The ease of controlling the inputs and having the Roku interface as the manager is exactly what we want. I’ll have to see the fire interface, but previous experience with it has found it too busy and seriously lacking.

  5. The Fire TV UI is kind of a hot mess. Slicker in some ways than Roku but also more cluttered and confusing. I don’t think Best Buy is doing their bargain TV customers any favors by dropping the Roku OS in favor of the Fire TV OS.

    And given that Amazon is probably Best Buy’s #1 competitor, why are they making nice with the enemy like this? Amazon is clearly interested in gaining physical retail outposts with their acquisition of Whole Foods and their pilot program partnership with Kohl’s. Could this deal for Insignia TVs be a prelude to an Amazon acquisition of Best Buy? Don’t we all already use Best Buy as a showroom for the TVs and other stuff that we end up buying online anyhow?

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