Surround Sound issues with Amazon Video on Fire TV resolved

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Earlier this month, some Fire TV and Fire TV Stick owners began experiencing an issue where they no longer received surround sound audio when viewing Amazon videos on their devices. The issue did not seem to affect other services like Netflix and HBO, and also wasn’t limited to a specific software version. I hadn’t posted about the issue yet because I have been trying to determine which devices and software version were affected, since reports were all over the place. Now it appears the issue originated from Amazon’s servers, which would explain why even those who blocked software updates and were on older versions of Fire OS were also experiencing the issue.

Amazon customer service is now telling Fire TV owners that the issue has been resolved on Amazon’s servers and that surround sound audio should be working correctly. If you’re still experiencing the issue, you should go into your device’s settings and clear the data and cache of the Amazon video app under the Manage Applications menu.

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Slingbox drops support for the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick

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It appears that Slingbox no longer supports the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick for their Slingplayer app. The app first arrived on the platform in late 2014, but it has now been removed from the Fire TV appstore. Users with the app installed are reporting the Slingplayer app no longer loads. Amazon’s support is telling customers that the app is no longer supported. Changes in the latest 5.2.1.0 Fire TV software update may be the source of the app’s new incompatibility, which means we may see the app return once these issues are adressed.

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App Deal: Flag apps down from $0.99 to FREE

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If you’re looking to show off the stars and stripes this 4th of July, or if you want to show your support/disapproval for Brexit, this deal is for you. Four flag ambiance apps for the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick have just gone free. The American, UK, Australian, and Pakistani flag apps are available.

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Nest smart thermostat with Alexa compatibility on sale for $199

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The Nest Smart Thermostat just went on sale on Amazon for $199. This is the the lowest price I’ve ever seen for the newest 3rd generation Nest thermostat. Among its many features, the Nest thermostat has Alexa support, which means you can control the thermostat using your voice through the Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Amazon Echo, or other Alexa enabled device. I personally own this thermostat and I’m very happy with it.

With Alexa, you can say things like “set the thermostat temperature to 68 degrees” or “lower the thermostat temperature by 4 degrees” to control the Nest with your voice. While the first-party Alexa controls are limited to changing the temperature, thanks to this thermostat’s popularity, there are several third-party Alexa skills that give you additional voice control of the Nest thermostat. One skill that I use is Thermostat Controller which allows me to say “tell the thermostat I’m leaving” on my way out the door to put the Nest into away mode and conserve electricity. Saying “tell the thermostat I’m home” turns it back on. The skill also allows me to say “ask the thermostat for its status” to hear back the set temperature, as well as the actual room temperature and humidity.

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New Apps for the Week of June 19th thru the 25th

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This week there were 43 new apps and games released for the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. For those of you who like classic arcade games, Arkadia looks to be a decent Arkanoid clone, and for those in the UK, you can test your knowledge on the official Who Wants To Be A Millionaire game that was added this week. Watch DIY Network and Watch Cooking Channel arrived this week, but you’ll need a cable subscription to fully enjoy the apps. A new MLS app brings Major League Soccer highlights and news, and DramaFever brings popular Korean, Japanese, and Taiwanese dramas to Fire TV owners. Continue on for the full list of new apps and games released in the last 7 days. Read more ›

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AFTVnewscast 45: Custom Fire TV Boot Animation & Screensaver

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If you missed yesterday’s live stream, here’s the latest AFTVnewscast episode. Thanks to everyone who viewed live and who participated by asking questions.

The AFTVnewscast is streamed live on Fridays at 1:30pm PT. You can watch all episodes on YouTube, subscribe via RSS, iTunes, Google Play Music, listen via TuneIn, Stitcher, or download the MP3 directly. Read on for the show notes and links. Read more ›

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Major League Soccer releases official MLS app for the Amazon Fire TV

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Major League Soccer, the profesional soccer league in the United States, has just released a new MLS app for the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. Unfortunately, the app does not provide access to full games, neither live nor on-demand, but it does offer news, highlights, and analysis videos. All content is free with no need to activate the app through a cable provider or subscribe to a monthly subscription. The app claims to provide the deepest library of MLS videos and says that new videos are added daily.

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DIY Network and Cooking Channel apps arrive on the Amazon Fire TV

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Both the DIY Network and the Cooking Channel have just released new apps for the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. I’m mentioning them together in this post because both networks are owned by Scripps and the two new apps are practially identical. Both offer a live stream of their respective channel if you activate the app through a participating cable subscription. Doing so will also give you on-demand access to the latest full episodes. If you don’t have a cable subscription, you still have access to some content, but most of it will consist of shorter clips instead of full episodes. These two new apps join HGTV, Food Network, and Travel Channel apps, which are all owned by Scripps and all share the same app layout.

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YouTube Red takes on Amazon and Netflix, while BitTorrent takes on YouTube

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The landscape of streaming video is constantly shifting, with the major players constantly going after each others established markets. Amazon Video, which primarily offers big-budget content, has started dipping its toes into YouTube’s pool of self-submitted content, so it was inivetiable that YouTube would return the gesture. When YouTube Red first launched, it’s primary value proposition was ad-free YouTube, coupled with a streaming music service. Now the New York Times is reporting that YouTube Red has picked up it’s first big-budget television series. The show will be based on the movie Step Up and share the same name. Lionsgate will produce a 10-episode season, to be made available exclusively to YouTube Red subscribers. This marks YouTube’s first foray into original programming, an area dominated by the likes of Netflix and Amazon.

On the other side of the streaming landscape, BitTorrent has launched a new streaming service called BitTorrent Now, aimed at taking a piece of YouTube’s pie of ad-supported streaming content. BitTorrent Now will arrive in the form of phone, tablet, and TV apps that stream music and video using BitTorrent’s file sharing technology. Artists and content creators will be able to make their work available on the platform for free with ads or by requiring a payment. An Android app is already available, with an iOS and Apple TV app coming soon. BitTorrent says apps for other platforms will follow, so hopefully we’ll see a Fire TV app released shortly.

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App Deal: Retroids down from $0.99 to FREE

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Retroids, a take on the classic Asteroids arcade game, has just gone free. This is the first time this game has ever been available for free. You can choose between a crayon and paper look, or stick to the classic graphics of the original Asteroids game. The game is compatible with all Fire TV devices, including the Fire TV Stick. It can be played with either a game control or the Fire TV remote.

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