Watch the AFTVnewscast, LIVE today at its NEW TIME OF 11:00 am Pacific / 2:00 pm Easternon YouTube. I’ll be going over the week’s news and answering your questions. You can tweet questions live during the stream to @AFTVnews, or ask them right now in this week’s Questions & Topics post. While you wait you can watch the previous episode.
Amazon and PBS have always had a good relationship, so its no surprise to see PBS Kids join the ever growing lineup of Amazon Channels. While much of the channel’s included kids shows are already available through Prime Video, and you can probably watch most of it for free through the PBS Kids app, you now have the option to watch it all through the Fire TV’s main interface. The PBS Kids subscription will run you $4.99 per month after the 7-day free trial. Paying for the subscription will add about 100 more tv show seasons to the 40-ish seasons that are already included with a Prime membership.
I know it’s among my nerdier interests, but I like knowing the codename given to devices before they’re released. For those curious, the new Fire TV Stick 2’s codename is Tank. Amazon likes sticking to a theme for their codenames, and the Fire TV devices have, appropriately enough, always been named after movie characters. The best known movie character named Tank that I can think of is from The Matrix, so it seems likely the name is from that movie. Based on the Fire TV Stick 2’s improved performance and surprising USB OTG support, it certainly lives up to the role of a muscular character that can get jacked in. Read more ›
Believe it or not, the setup you see in the above picture works. The Amazon Fire TV Stick 2 supports OTG USB cables out of the box without needing to root the device or change any configuration settings. What’s even more astonishing is that USB keyboards, USB mice, USB hubs, USB ethernet adapters, and even USB external storage all work perfectly with no extra effort or configuration whatsoever. Read more ›
As is almost tradition these days with gadgets on their launch day, a new software update is currently rolling out to the Amazon Fire TV Stick 2. This new update still carries version number 22.214.171.124, like the software version that the device ships with, but the build number has changed ever so slightly from 555164120 to 555164620 with the newest software version. Judging by the tiny build number change, this update likely just contains bug fixes that were revealed today, now that customers have started using the new device.
Oddly, Amazon’s source code page lists this update as being version 126.96.36.199, even though the Fire TV Stick 2’s interface labels it as 188.8.131.52. Some people have said that this new update adds the standalone new Music app to the Fire TV 2, but that’s actually not the case, since my device has received this new update and still has the old music section. Like with all other Fire TV devices, the music app will arrive on the Fire TV Stick 2 via a silent system app update. I have yet to find any differences with this new software versions, so please sound off in the comments if you notice anything different compared to the software version that the Fire TV Stick 2 had installed on arrival.
Amazon has made an unusual and unfortunate decision to remove the ability to adjust the display size on the new Fire TV Stick 2. If you navigate to the Display area of the Settings menu on the new device, there is still an option to Calibrate Display. However, selecting the option no longer brings up a prompt to press UP and DOWN to zoom the visible area in and out. Instead, static arrows are displayed with a message instructing you to “adjust the zoom or overscan setting on your TV.”
This is quite an annoying change to many customers, including myself, who have TVs that crop the edges of the Fire TV Stick’s video output, but don’t have the option to adjust zoom/overscan settings on the TV itself. It’s unclear if the removal of screen calibration will be limited to the new Fire TV Stick 2, or if a future software update will remove the option from all Fire TV and Fire TV Stick models. If you’re among the many Fire TV and Fire TV Stick owners who rely on your device’s built-in display calibration setting, now would be a good time to let Amazon know you don’t want the option removed and/or want it added to the Fire TV Stick 2.
I’ll be live streaming this week’s episode of the AFTVnewscast tomorrow at 11am PT / 2pm ET. Post your questions or topics in the comments below for me to answer and discuss during the episode. Anything goes for questions, whether it’s about the Fire TV, AFTVnews, or tech in general. Let’s hear them! Even if you can’t watch live, ask your question now and catch the episode on YouTube later.
Amazon has given Variety a preview of the new Fire TV interface, in the form of the image you see above. This is our first clear look at the new interface, if you don’t count the screen grabs from earlier this month. You can see the vertical navigation menu from the existing interface has been replaced by a horizontal menu along the top of the Home screen. The separate Apps and Games section appears to be replaced by a single Apps section. Also missing are the Music and Photos sections. Those sections will be replaced with standalone apps from Amazon, as we’ve already seen with the new Music app. Read more ›