Amazon’s Fire TV hits the accelerator on vehicle-based entertainment

The automobile is quickly becoming the next battleground for tech behemoths to extend their mobile and CTV footprint. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto already can be found in most new cars on the market today, but while these operating systems usually need a connected smartphone, Amazon is looking to build its Fire TV platform directly into vehicle screens without the need for any additional device.

At CES 2022, Amazon announced a new partnership with BMW to turn your car into a “private cinema lounge” featuring a 31-inch panorama display that folds down from the car’s roof. The screen itself will support 8K, although Fire TV streaming only goes up to 4K. Exact models and a launch date haven’t been specified yet. Amazon has also teamed with Ford and Stellantis to bring Fire TV to the 2022 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Navigator, along with Chrysler Pacifica, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and others. Amazon has agreed to use Stellantis’ electric vans in its delivery fleet as part of the deal.

Automakers will be able to customize the Fire TV experience they’re offering so that it can integrate with the car’s audio system, comfort controls, and other vehicle-specific functions. Importantly, for driving, Fire TV in cars will use Alexa’s hands-free controls, which is not only a safer choice, but should make it easier for parents to quickly access content for their kids. Viewers will be able to pause any show at home and then start viewing again where they left off while in their car. Not only does Fire TV in the car offer over 1 million TV episodes and movies, but the Alexa-based software can still be used for smart home features like checking your front door through a Ring doorbell camera.

Amazon can benefit from onboarding consumers who are looking to buy or lease a new car. During CES, Amazon said it had sold 150 million Fire TV devices as of Q4 2021. Consumers who enjoy the Fire TV experience in the car would be more likely to seek out Fire TV or other Alexa-based devices for the home.

For Amazon, integrating its popular Fire TV platform into more cars is a smart move to keep its customers within its ecosystem even when away from home. This move also comes at a time when technology rivals such as Sony also show heightened interest in the automotive sector.

Interpret’s VideoWatch shows that over half of Ford and Jeep drivers already subscribe to Amazon Prime Video, behind only Honda and Toyota drivers. Toyota has made Apple CarPlay and Android Auto a standard feature, but with 60% of its customers in the US subscribed to Amazon Prime Video, there would be good synergy if Amazon could broker a deal for Fire TV with Toyota.