Amazon releases their Silk Web Browser for the Amazon Fire TV

Amazon has just released their Silk Web Browser for the Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Edition television. They have been working on a browser for their streaming set-top box since at least March when it was discovered that installing the Silk browser from their Fire tablets would display a Fire TV specific tutorial. The browser leaked in beta form a few months later when it briefly appeared in the Amazon Appstore for a few hours, but now it seems like the app is ready for the general public.

The Silk browser is currently only compatible with the 1st and 2nd generation Fire TV, the 2nd generation Fire TV Stick, and all version of Element and Westinghouse’s Fire TV Edition televisions. Strangely, the browser is not yet available to install on Amazon’s newest Fre TV model, the new 3rd generation “pendent” Fire TV. That’s possibly due to it being the first device to run Amazon’s new Fire OS 6 operating system. There may be incompatibility issues between the Silk browser and the new operating system. The app’s description says it will be available on the new Fire TV next month. The browser is also not compatible with the 1st generation Fire TV Stick, which could be due to that device having a significantly weaker CPU than all other Fire TV models.

Launching the browser loads Bing.com, the default search engine, and a pop-up message that informs you to press the menu button on the remote “to search the web, enter URLs, and more.” The default search engine can be changed from Bing to either Google or Yahoo in the app’s settings. While the browser loads Bing.com the first time it’s launched, there doesn’t seem to be an option to set a home page. Instead, the app remembers the last page you viewed and reloads it the next time you open the browser, even if you force quit the app.

Pressing the menu button brings up the main interface of the browser. At the top are buttons to search/enter URLs, go back a page, go forward a page, request the desktop version of the currently loaded page, and to bookmark the currently loaded page. You can also press the back button on the Fire TV remote to go back to the page you were previously viewing.

Selecting the first button to search or enter a URL brings up standard Fire TV onscreen keyboard. Thanks to a recent Fire TV software update, you can press the microphone button on the voice remote to dictate text while the keyboard is visible. It doesn’t do a particularly good job of recognizing spoken URLs, so you’re better off saying the name of a website and using a search engine to reach it.

Below the main set of buttons is a horizontally scrolling list of saved bookmarks. The last bookmark you saved is at the front of the list and there doesn’t appear to be a way to rearrange the list. You only have the option to highlight a bookmark and press the menu button to delete it.

Below your bookmarks is a list of “trending on the web” articles. It’s not clear where this list comes from and there doesn’t appear to be any options to customize the list. Below the trending news list are options to clear data, report issues, view help documentation, and access the app’s extensive settings.

While browsing the web, web pages take up the entire screen with no user interface or buttons. You press the menu button to return to the options screen, where you can load URLs and bookmarks. Amazon has decided to use an onscreen cursor, similar to my Downloader app’s built-in browser, that you move around with the directional buttons on the remote. Early versions of the Silk browser used an intricate way of locating and selecting links on the page with a series of button combinations. While it worked fairly well, it seems Amazon has abandoned the idea. The cursor on the screen doubles as a loading icon and turns blue when it is over a link you can click.

In the Silk browser’s description, Amazon touts its ability to “easily control web videos” using the play/pause, fast forward, and rewind buttons on the Fire TV remote. Videos embedded into web pages work very well. You need to use the cursor to hover over and click a video to begin playing it, but once it’s playing, you can use the media buttons on the remote to play/pause the video and seek through the video using the fast-forward and rewind buttons. You can also press the full-screen button, using the onscreen cursor, to fill the screen with the video.

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58 comments
  1. attereb says:

    It does say on the apps page that it is coming to the All New Fire TV December 2017.

  2. Craig says:

    Well? That only took forever…

    Better late than never, I suppose…

    Next up? Release Silk to Play Store and Silk to Echo Show.

    Because…Why not?

  3. edit4ever says:

    The Silk browser is compatible with the Philo TV service!!!

    I am streaming HD quality 1280×720 at 30fps average bitrate about 4.3 Mbps

    – not sure what the Philo service is capable of streaming – but at least it’s working!!

    Thanks Elias @ AFTV for the heads up of the new browser!!

    • Ryan says:

      This is good to hear considering I was waiting for their AFTV app to try the service. Thanks for reporting this!

    • edit4ever says:

      One more thing about Philo running in the Silk browser…you can use the fast forward and rewind buttons as skip ahead and skip back. And the play/pause button works as well.

      The guide did not seem to work properly for me, as it didn’t want to scroll past the information that loaded. But as long as you have setup your favorite shows or just want to browse the shows that are trending or featured, it’s pretty easy to use.

  4. Ray says:

    Seems ig’s geo restricted…

    Using a FTV1 from Spain, it won’t let me download it… strange as all other apps (other than Country Spe ific like BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, etc…) seem to download fine…

  5. Big John says:

    Nice! I can finally watch live stock market updates on my tv. Thanks for the heads-up.

  6. AFTV Fan says:

    I really like the design, size and form factor of the Echo Show, but have no use for Alexa. I mainly want to use it as a set top TV on my kitchen counter top. Echo doesn’t have any cable TV service apps or even Netflix. What else can do that besides a tablet? It’s the size and shape of the Echo Show that’s attactive to me.

    • anon says:

      There are plenty of tablets that can have the same appearance as an Echo Show, with a folio cover from ebay. Or you can build your own cover that give it that appearance.

  7. TechyChris says:

    Any idea what the minimum Amazon OS is required to run this?
    I’m still blocked at OS 5.0.5 and have no desire to update just for a web browser.

    • TechyChris says:

      *UPDATE* after reading through the technical details, I see it shows Android 5.0 as the minimum so I’m assuming Amazon OS 5.0.5 will just make the cut? I suspect I still might have some compatibility issues, guess I’ll give it a go and hope for the best!

  8. Gareth Price says:

    Doesn’t appear to be available in the UK yet.

    Has anyone tried it with a wireless mouse/USB dongle, or does it only work with the remote?

    (Wireless, not Bluetooth)

    • ant says:

      set your one click settings to a US address and you’ll be able to download it, thats how we download the NBCSports app in the UK

    • Seb says:

      Changing only the 1-click-address won’t work. The Amazon account must be registered to amazon.com and not amazon.fr, amazon.de or whatever else.

  9. Craig says:

    Remote control implementation is about as well as could be expected, I guess? They need to overhaul the Fire TV remote app to be able to morph into a Silk mode of control from couch. Input URL’s/favorites and go back and forward and 2-finger swipe scrolling from a tablet or phone onto Fire TV Silk. That would help a lot.

  10. Stephan says:

    Is there now a way to switch hardware keyboard layout?
    A webbrowser without german layout would not be usable ;-)

  11. OG Charlie says:

    The official game controller isn’t supported for some reason.

    Left stick scrolls the page, D-Pad moves the cursor around the screen and nothing seems to work as the left click.

    Any chance you can reach out to Amazon and find out why?

  12. AFTVUser says:

    A couple of observations on my Fire TV1:

    1. Selecting a search engine other than Bing required a reboot before the setting was effective.

    2. Moving the app to external (USB) storage caused it to fail to start, resulting in the display of only a white screen and a cursor. Returning it to internal storage resolved the issue.

  13. Ryan says:

    Does this work with a logitech keyboard and do flash videos play on it?

  14. King Nothing says:

    So I’m adding the Silk Browser to the list of things that aren’t available yet on Fire TV here in Europe (Germany).

    Like the Amazon Shopping App or the ability to use your voice for text input.

  15. Jeff Edsell says:

    Streaming through the RiffTrax site works, as does the PocketCasts web player. I’ve been unsuccessful so far with Google Play Music though.

  16. Joeybe says:

    From Amsterdam (NL) Just installed it, well designed and fast brouwser. Thanks ELIAS

  17. Steve says:

    Lets get real…. This is mostly going to be used for adult sites.

  18. Ron says:

    Anyone able to scroll down a webpage with this?
    I went to Vudu to see if I can watch movies in my Ultraviolet library which aren’t part of movies anywhere. I can see the first two rows of movies, but am unable to scroll the page down to see the rest. Have tried moving the curser to the bottom of the page and also clicking the scroll bar on the right of the screen. Neither have any effect.

  19. Gary Hussey says:

    For Fire TV stick 2 changed default browser to Google but Bing still came up. Restarted fire stick and Bing still default browser even though settings is set to Google.

    • AFTVnews says:

      Changing the search engine to Google will not cause Google to load when you launch the browser. The setting only affects what search engine is used when you type a search. The browser will always load the last page you visited. It keeps loading Bing for you because that’s the first page it ever loads and you haven’t loaded any other pages yet.

      • Gary Hussey says:

        Got it to work. Have to click menu key then do a search and Google will be used as default search engine. Better instructions needed but it does work once the proper steps are followed. Thanks.

  20. Robert says:

    This is pretty exciting. Just paired my keyboard and will download Silk and run my tests. So cool

    • Robert says:

      Meh. Can’t use Silk to download anything. Can’t download pdf or apk. Pop up states something like “not currently supported.” Silk is not yet ready to replace my collection of browsers that allow Fire TV to function like a desktop.

  21. Dave says:

    Very nice. Works well and looks great. Thanks for the heads up.

  22. Mike Smith says:

    Any indication of when Amazon will release the browser in the UK?

  23. Daniel says:

    Do you know any way to get this installed this on Fire TV Stick 1? I waited so long for this…

  24. DotWin says:

    Is it possible to download the APK somewhere to install it on a non-US Fire TV?

  25. While this isn’t novel by any means (anyone remember WebTV?), it is a game-changer.

    I’m just looking for one more feature: the ability to bookmark a site as if it were an app. Ideally with underlying support for service workers, etc.

  26. stuart says:

    can iget the silk on fire stick2

  27. Don says:

    If you don’t mind having to create a Microsoft account so you can manage privacy. Somehow this does not seem right! Everything appears to be locked to Microsoft. I’ll deinstall and go back to firefox

  28. Anthony smith says:

    I have a 2nd generation fire stick wont load silk browser

  29. David Star says:

    Can we use the silk browser to play youtube videos on the fireTv if Google blocks the native amazon youtube app??

  30. mijorus says:

    can you please provide an apk download link? since it is not available for every country

  31. Ed says:

    The silk browser won’t come up on my firestick I have second gen stick

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