Amazon enables Fire TV banner ad and pre-roll video ads

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Earlier this week, the same banner ad found at the top of the Fire TV Stick home screen began appearing in the same previously empty spot on the Fire TV home screen. It seems like Amazon has flipped a switch this week that activated the banner. In addition to this banner, Amazon seems to be experimenting with additional advertising on the Fire TV platform. Several users have contacted me and gone to reddit to report that they’ve been seeing pre-roll video ads play before Prime videos on their Fire TV Sticks.

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My testing shows the banner ad on the home screen was added to the Fire TV with the 51.1.4.1 software update but was left disabled. The Fire TV home screen receives its content remotely from Amazon servers. This allowed Amazon to enable the banner remotely without the need of an additional software update.

The pre-roll video ads are causing a much bigger uproar than the banner ad. Users are reporting a short video ad playing prior to some Prime videos. The ads display “Advertisement” in the lower left corner of the screen. What’s worse, these ads seem to be buggy and are leaving the “Advertisement” text on the screen during the entire Prime video. Stopping and restarting the video seems to be the only way to remove the intrusive text.

The buggy nature of these pre-roll ads makes me wonder if they are intentional. Amazon is reportedly working on a free ad-supported video service. These ads could be an unintentional result of Amazon testing such a service. It’s hard to believe that Amazon has decided Prime members who pay for access to the Prime video library should be subjected to pre-roll ads. All I’m saying is lets wait and see how this plays out before grabbing the pitchforks. Let us know in the comments if you’ve experienced these pre-roll ads.

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15 comments
  1. Billy says:

    I saw a video ad IN THE MIDDLE of Prime Video TV content last night

  2. Terry says:

    Glad I’ve blocked Amazon updates, I’m so glad I don’t have this popping up!

  3. William says:

    I have blocked updates and have a custom rom on my Firetv box but the banner showed up anyway.

  4. Ian says:

    If prime was a free service I could understand the advertising but you should never get ads with a paid for service,why don’t they do something useful with the firmware updates like enable the USB for storage as it seems like adverts is the only new thing with the latest update,something nobody wants

  5. jason says:

    The fire tv is my favorite XBMC box because we love amazon prime and the HD netflix. None of the other mini PC boxes have that.
    Although the minix z64 that can run windows may have that ability but it won’t be as easy to use as the fire tv.

    Amazon better not do this.

  6. Random says:

    I’d simply not renew my subscription. We ALL need to write Amazon personally so that they can hear our anger. If this goes without any protest expect way more Ads and other crap added to the service in the near future.

  7. Kai says:

    No banner and no pre-roll ad on german Fire TV so far.

  8. Travis says:

    I contacted amazon and received this message:

    I am sorry to hear about the inconvenience caused to you so far.

    Please be informed that Amazon provides these video snippets to share information about the benefits associated with your Prime membership, such as news about a new Amazon Original series or details about devices that support Prime Instant Video.

    At the top of the Home screen on your Amazon Fire TV device, you’ll see a banner for digital content, such as movies, TV shows, or apps. We display the banner on your device Home screen so that you can discover all the great content that is available on Amazon Fire TV devices.

    At this time, you cannot remove the banner or control what content is displayed. However, I forwarded your feedback to the Amazon Fire TV team for consideration as we make further improvements..

    If you required refund please let us know. We will process the refund for you.

    Thanks for using Amazon Fire TV.

    I think it’s important to note that the ads are only related to amazon prime features.

    • Random says:

      Translation : Pay an extra fee to remove ads in the future. They did the exact same thing to their Kindle line.

    • the banner ads have been promoting apps this week, not just Prime content.

      When I bought my Kindle with Ads I knew what I was buying, this is classic bait and switch and a very unpleasant move on Amazon’s behalf. I wrote to them and their response claimed not to understand my problem

  9. zIII says:

    Should be a option not force on to people. As the other person said I’m glad I blocked up dates too. I had posted a while back that something like this would happen. First block root now force ads what’s next block side loading apps. All they got to do is say amazon offers all the best apps now, no need side loading any more.oh well I feel lile amazon now is starting to be like paid cable.just thought I bring it up :)

  10. Phil says:

    So will flashing a prerooted image in cwm prior to 51.1.4.1 make this disappear? Or will it show back up as soon it refreshes the AFTV home page and grabs the latest HTML5 updated source?

    If so, maybe we can find a way to force the AFTV to use the locally cached page and not update as requested? Just some thoughts…

  11. kuangmk11 says:

    I was wondering what that blank box was. I have ads blocked at my router with openwrt. It seems to be blocking the preroll ads as well. I still sit through a blank screen for the duration of the ad on Hulu though, still better than being subjected to ads on a service I pay for.

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