The Fire TV Edition televisions made by Westinghouse have just gone through FCC approval. The user manual included with the FCC filing has revealed something about the included Alexa Voice Remote that wasn’t present when the televisions were shown off at CES earlier this year. The Alexa Voice Remote will have a dedicated Netflix button, as well as dedicated Prime Video and Amazon Music buttons, which are all a first for Amazon’s remote.
The Alexa Voice Remotes used to control all Fire TV Edition televisions at CES featured vertically oriented volume buttons at the bottom. It appears the final version of the remote will instead have horizontally oriented volume buttons, along with three additional buttons to launch specific services/apps. The three new buttons are labeled, from top to bottom: Prime Video, Netflix, and Amazon Music.
The Netflix button will very likely launch the Netflix app when pressed. It’s unknown if Westinghouse’s Fire TV Edition televisions will come pre-installed with the Netflix app, or if pressing the Netflix button out of the box will simply bring up the Amazon Appstore screen for the Netflix app. Pressing the Netflix button without the app installed could also just automatically install the app.
The Amazon Music button will likely launch the Amazon Music app that comes pre-installed as one of the default system apps in Fire OS. There is no Prime Video app, since the entire Fire TV user interface is used to access Amazon videos, so it’s unclear what pressing the Prime Video button will do. There is an Amazon Channel listing for Prime in the Fire TV’s interface, so pressing the Prime Video button on the remote will likely load that section of the interface, which lists only Prime content.
Including the three dedicated buttons is a bit of an odd choice, since no Fire TV or Fire TV Stick remotes have ever had them. It’s unclear if the Alexa Voice Remote included with Fire TV Edition televisions is manufactured by Amazon or by the television manufacturer, so including the new dedicated service buttons could be a decision made by either or both companies.
I’ve come across unconfirmed rumors that Netflix requires some hardware manufacturers to include dedicated Netflix buttons in order for Netflix to allow the device to stream their service. As the most popular streaming service, Netflix certainly has the leverage to make such demands, which could explain why dedicated Netflix buttons are so common among streaming devices.
Although only the Westinghouse Fire TV Edition televisions have gone through FCC so far, it’s probably safe to assume the upcoming Seiki and Element branded televisions will also come with an Alexa remote that has the three new dedicated service buttons. At CES, all Fire TV Edition remotes seemed to be identical, but just with different branding.