Amazon, Best Buy team up to sell smart TVs

Best Buy will exclusively sell more than 10 models of 4K and HD Fire TV Edition sets from Toshiba and Insignia starting this summer.

Ben Fox Rubin Former senior reporter
Ben Fox Rubin was a senior reporter for CNET News in Manhattan, reporting on Amazon, e-commerce and mobile payments. He previously worked as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and got his start at newspapers in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Ben Fox Rubin
3 min read

Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly (left) and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos are working together.

Amazon, Best Buy

Amazon and Best Buy want to sell you your next smart TV.

The companies, which are two of the biggest electronics retailers in the US, on Wednesday revealed a new multiyear partnership to sell the next generation of TVs running Amazon's Fire TV operating system to customers in the US and Canada. Best Buy will be the exclusive seller for more than 10 4K and HD Fire TV Edition models made by Toshiba and Best Buy's Insignia brand starting this summer. Prices haven't been announced yet.

These smart TVs will be available only in Best Buy stores, on BestBuy.com and, for the first time, from Best Buy as a seller on Amazon.com. 

"Amazon and Best Buy have a long history of working together, and today we take our partnership to a new level," Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO, said in a statement.

The announcement marks another collaboration between the two rival retailers, with Best Buy already selling Amazon devices in its stores and putting a limited set of its inventory up for sale through voice shopping on Amazon's Alexa. All this work together may show that some traditional retailers -- instead of battling against the fast-growing Amazon -- see a chance to gain by working with the company and tapping into its huge customer base amid a difficult time for brick-and-mortar stores.

In other examples, Kohl's started accepting returns for Amazon in its stores, in hopes of boosting store traffic, and Sears has brought its Kenmore appliances onto Amazon's website.

The new television models may also offer fresh competition to smart TVs that use Roku's rival operating system. As part of the deal Insignia will stop making Roku-powered smart TVs, but Best Buy will continue to sell Roku smart TVs, Best Buy said. Roku's stock dropped nearly 10 percent Wednesday, while Best Buy and Amazon shares were up.

"The Roku TV program has great momentum," a Roku spokesman said Wednesday. "We just announced the 10th OEM partner brand. Roku TVs are available at Best Buy and are sold across all the major retailers,  making it easy for consumers to choose from dozens of Roku TV models."

Watch this: Amazon, Best Buy team up on Fire TVs

Moody retail analyst Charlie O'Shea said the partnership deepens an already mutually beneficial relationship between Amazon and Best Buy.

"Best Buy gets new devices that will drive foot traffic into its stores, and Amazon gets a brick-and-mortar showroom for more of its proprietary products," he said. "In sum, a win-win."

People in the US will be able to buy the first Fire TV Edition smart TV from Toshiba starting this summer, with more models coming in 2018. The new TVs will come to Canada later this year, the companies said.

Past Fire TV Edition models from Westinghouse and Element are available through retailers including Walmart, Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond.

First published April 18 at 4:48 a.m. PT.
Update, 10:14 a.m. PT: Adds Roku's comments.

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