Amazon has today officially announced and acknowledged the upcoming Fire TV and Fire TV Stick update. My sources were spot on with their information about the upcoming addition of USB storage and Bluetooth audio support. Read on for a full list of what Amazon says is included in the next software update, plus a few features not on their list that I can now reveal.
New features mentioned in Amazon’s announcement
Expandable USB storage on Amazon Fire TV
You can now use a connected USB mass storage device to expand your Fire TV storage for downloaded apps and games—this enables you to have more games downloaded for easy access. -Amazon
Just as I reported, you will be able to install apps and games onto an external USB storage drive. This also confirms that the feature is only coming to the Fire TV and not the Fire TV Stick.
Connect to your hotel or dorm room Wi-Fi with captive portal support
Take your favorite movies, TV shows, games, and more with you away from home—Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick are the first streaming media devices to enable you to connect to Wi-Fi that requires web authentication—this includes Wi-Fi at most major hotels, as well as some universities. -Amazon
This feature has been promised since the Fire TV Stick was announced back in October and now it has finally arrived. Due to the lack of a browser on the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, you currently cannot connect to wireless access points which require you to agree to terms or login through a website. The next update will fix that shortcoming. This likely means the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick now have a hidden web browser which we may be able to use for other purposes.
Private listening on Fire TV
Enjoy favorite movies and TV shows after the kids go to sleep, without worrying about waking them up. Support for wireless Bluetooth headphones to Fire TV lets you listen to your movie, TV show, or music without bothering others in your household. -Amazon
My sources were again spot on with this one. This is, sadly, confirmation that Bluetooth audio will not be available on the Fire TV Stick.
Browse and search Prime Playlists
Prime members can now take advantage of hand-crafted Prime Music playlists directly from Fire TV and Fire TV Stick—there are hundreds of expertly curated Prime Playlists to choose from based on your mood, activity or even artist or decade of choice. -Amazon
I’m told this means voice search will now work for Prime Music playlists that you’ve added.
Hidden PIN entry
With the new PIN entry screen that hides the numbers selected, you can now make sure your kids (or freeloading friends) can’t see your device PIN as you enter it on-screen to confirm a purchase on Fire TV or Fire TV Stick. -Amazon
Nothing much to say here. This is a way to enter your PIN using the remote without using an onscreen keyboard.
Quickly put your Fire TV or Fire TV Stick to sleep or enable display mirroring by pressing and holding the Home button on your remote. -Amazon
Holding down the remote’s Home button will cause a new hidden menu to appear. The menu is coming to both the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. From this menu you will be able to put the device to sleep, enable screen mirroring, and jump directly into the full settings menu. Also in this menu will be something that has long been missing from the Fire TV’s homescreen: the current time.
EXCLUSIVE: New features NOT mentioned in Amazon’s announcement
Expanded Bluetooth peripheral support
My sources tell me the addition of Bluetooth audio also includes the added support for bluetooth keyboards and a wider selection of third party Bluetooth game controllers.
Fast Forward the intro video
With this new update is finally the ability to skip the intro video that plays during the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick’s initial setup. If you factory reset your device often, you’ll know how welcome this little addition is.
ADB over USB for the Fire TV
There will be a new option in the settings menu that allows you to enable ADB over USB. When this feature is enabled, you will not be able to use the USB port for expanded storage.
Improvements to Speech Recognition
I’m told by my sources at Amazon that speech recognition has been improved with this update and it’s more accurate than ever.
Ability to push updates to system apps
Amazon has added into the new update the ability to push updates to system apps, like the appstore and video player, without the need of a full over-the-air software update.
UpdateAmazon Press Release