If you’ve been considering buying the Amazon Echo, but want the ability to easily return the voice-controlled speaker at a physical store, then you’re in luck. Staples is now selling the Amazon Echo through their website via an exclusive arangment with Amaozn. The Echo is listed at the same $179.99 price as you’ll find on Amazon; even down to the same free shipping. Buying from Staples comes with the added bonus of being able to return the device in store if you find it’s not as useful as you had hoped. Staples’s return policy allows online orders to be returned at any of their physical retail locations, which is often more convenient than shipping a purchase back to Amazon.
The Amazon Fire TV Appstore has hit another milestone by reaching 2,000 total apps for all Fire TV models. The rate at which new apps are arriving has been steadily increasing since the Fire TV’s launch in April of last year. The Fire TV Appstore gained its second thousand apps in nearly half the time it took to acquire its first thousand apps. The 1,000 app milestone was achieved 306 days after the Fire TV launched, and the 2,000 app milestone occured just 180 days later.
Developers have been taking notice of the Fire TV Stick’s popularity, resulting in fewer and fewer apps being only compatible with the more powerful Fire TV. Only 13% of Fire TV apps are not compatible with the Fire TV Stick, with the vast majority of those apps being higher-end games. If the recent Fire TV Stick 2 leaked specs are any indication, that won’t be the case for much longer.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick has gone on sale at several different retailers this morning. Best Buy has it for $24.99, B&H has it for $26.99, Kmart has it for $24, and Staples has it for $29. No word on how long these sale prices will last, but word is some will be only for today. Usually when Best Buy puts the Fire TV on sale, it lasts a week, but this Fire TV Stick sale is not in their weekly ad, so it may actually be a one-day-only sale. Amazon has not lowered their price of the Fire TV Stick, but that could change later in the day.
FLIRC, a small device that adds IR remote support and functionality to the Fire TV, is currently on sale for just $12.95. That is the cheapest price this device has ever been. FLIRC is quite elegant in its simplicity. It allows you to use any IR remote control you own to control your Fire TV. For example, you can use your TV or receiver’s remote fully control your Fire TV and completely eliminate the need to use the Fire TV’s included remote. You plug FLIRC into a any PC or Mac USB port and select Fire TV on its simple configuration interface. Then you point any remote you own at FLIRC and tell it what actions to perform for each button you press. When you’re done, you just plug FLIRC into the USB port of your Fire TV and your IR remote will now control the Fire TV. You’ll want to pick up a USB extension cable if you don’t already have one since the Fire TV’s USB port is in the back and FLIRC will need to be pointed towards the front.
This week’s roundup of new apps and games for the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick includes 33 new apps. Some notable apps include Ryan North’s To Be Or Not To Be where you play through Shakespeare’s Hamlet from different perspectives with unique art pieces from various artists. RedLighter 0.11.1, which was released this week, adds many missing redstone components to the Fire TV’s version of Minecraft. On the entertainment side, we’ve got an all new Tubi TV app which has the largest collection of free-to-watch content on the Fire TV. Rounding up the notable apps is Feeds for Fire TV which lets you view RSS feeds of videos, podcasts, and textual news. Read on for the full list of new apps and games. Read more ›
Amazon has changed the rules for sharing Prime membership benefits. Before today’s changes, Prime members were allowed to share some Prime benefits, most notably the free two day shipping benefit and Prime Instant Video access, with up to four family members living in the same household. Today, Amazon has updated their help page regarding Prime sharing. It now says that Prime members can share Prime benefits with only one other adult. It appears that, for the time being at least, these changes are not retroactive. Meaning, if you are currently sharing your Prime benefits with more than one person, those extra people will continue to receive those shared benefits as long as you don’t make any changes to your sharing settings. If you remove any of these extra people for whatever reason, you will not be able to re-share Prime benefits with them if you are already sharing your benefits with someone else. If you’re interested, read on for a screenshot of the old rules regarding sharing Prime benefits. Read more ›
Tubi TV has had a Fire TV app since the device launched back in April last year. Today they’ve released a new replacement Tubi TV app for the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. The new app is listed separately from the old app, so if you already have Tubi TV installed it won’t automatically update. You’ll need to manually install the new app. Tubi TV claims to have the largest collection of free TV shows and movies. They add content every week, but given that it’s all free, be prepared for older movies and lots of ads. The new app has a cleaner interface with better categorization to help you sort through their library of free content.
This week’s episode of The Cord Cutting Show is sponsored by App Shortcuts. App Shortcuts is an iOS, Android, and Windows phone app that lets you launch apps and control your Fire TV right from your phone or tablet.
Sorry for the day late release. We’ll be back to releasing on Thursdays next week. As always, you can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, via the RSS feed, via YouTube, or simply download the MP3 directly.