Amazon executive talks future of Fire TV, Alexa and Echo Show

Dan Rayburn (left) speaks with Amazon's Matt Clark on Tuesday during the Streaming Summit at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. (Ben Munson/FierceVideo)

LAS VEGASAmazon oversees a large and diverse ecosystem of devices and services. On Tuesday at the NAB Show, the focus was on Fire TV and Alexa with a little bit of Echo Show.

Matt Clark, director of business development at Amazon Fire TV, sat down for a fireside chat with Dan Rayburn, chairman of the Streaming Summit. He shared some figures like Fire TV’s more than 30 million monthly active users and the platform’s more than 30 apps that offer enhanced voice controls with Alexa.

Those figures reinforce the idea that Fire TV has evolved since its launch, when it was seen as a distinct piece of hardware, to where it is now functioning as a platform.

Though the hardware has become somewhat commoditized at this point, Clark said it still has to meet certain criteria (like 4K compatibility) for consumers, and that the bar is still being raised so Amazon and others have to continue to improve specs.

But a big focus now for Fire TV is media partners including HBO and Hulu. Instead of focusing on where Amazon overlaps with what its media partners provide, Clark said the smartest thing his company can do is focus on shared customers, and if Amazon does that it can drive its own and its partners’ businesses.

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Alexa integration is a big part of how Amazon and Fire TV is working with its partners and generally improving the experience for consumers. Clark said he sees Alexa integration as an opportunity for creating small moments of delight. For example, the Fire TV Cube will respond to voice commands like “Alexa, play ‘Umbrella Academy,’” turn on the TV, open the app and begin playing from where the user left off.

Clark said that same feature is being used today for live video and that it could be expanding to new discovery areas for video like the Echo Show. He said that people watch as much video on the Show device as they do on Fire TV and that the Echo Show and Alexa create new ways to tie together discovery and viewership.

But the challenge remains for Amazon Fire TV to continually remind consumers that voice commands are available and can be used to streamline the video watching experience.