Fire OS 6 on the Fire TV 3 will support Picture-in-Picture, Video Time-Shifting, and Content Recording

The all-new Amazon Fire TV 3 will be the first device to run Fire OS 6 when it’s released next month. It’s probably safe to say that the updated OS will add some new features to the Fire TV that aren’t available today. Amazon says Fire OS 6 will be in parity with Android TV Nougat and specifically says it will support Picture in Picture, Video Time Shifting, and Content Recording.

Picture in Picture (PIP) is a feature that the Nexus Player received about a year ago and one that other Android TV devices received when/if they were updated to Android 7. It allows video apps, that take advantage of the feature, to continue playing video in a small window in the corner of the screen while browsing other areas of the app. A common use case for PIP is being able to continue watching a video while you browse for something else to watch.

Even though Amazon says Fire OS 6 on the Fire TV will support PIP, there’s no guarantee that it will be supported on the home screen like I’ve mocked up in the above image. It’s possible that Amazon will not update the Fire TV’s system apps to take advantage of the feature, and instead only provide support for it to 3rd-party apps that choose to implement it.

Apps that have a live stream option within them will be able to take advantage of a time-shifting API in Fire OS 6. This would enable apps to easily provide the option to pause and rewind live video feeds. With Fire OS 5, apps need to implement such a feature themselves from scratch. This is why most app’s with live streams don’t currently allow time-shifting the live content.

Amazon has already implemented time-shifting in Fire OS 5 on the Fire TV Edition television for its built-in OTA tuner, but it’s not available for 3rd-party apps to use. Fire OS 6 will allow any app to use a default time-shifting API, so more apps with live streams should begin adopting the ability.

The big disadvantage with time-shifting is that if you navigate away from the app or video feed that you are watching, you lose the stored video buffer and can no longer rewind the feed. The solution to this is for the OS to provide an easy way for apps to record video content locally so that it can be retrieved at any time. That is exactly what will be available to app developers in Fire OS 6.

Content recording expands on the time-shifting capabilities and allows users to record multiple sessions. It’s even possible for users to schedule recordings of live streams in advance, like a DVR.

All we know right now is that Fire OS 6 will include APIs that allow PIP, time-shifting, and content recording. The question remains whether or not Amazon themselves will use those APIs for new features and whether or not 3rd-party apps will use the features. Lets hope both.

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17 comments
  1. Charlie says:

    I really like the new home screen layout with a neat right margin instead of app icon cut in half and the ad banner at the bottom. When you drop down to the app row you can still scroll right though a number of apps, even though only a few show at the home position.

  2. Jim Carter says:

    Any word on the higher end (cube shaped) Fire TV? I thought it odd that Amazon ignored it while promoting other (previously unknown) devices this week.

  3. Terry says:

    With the Fox Sports Go package, I can do up to four screens on my FTV v2. Have not tried 4, but did PIP with two screens. Toggling in between changes the sound to the current selected stream. It’s locked at update 5.0.5, but not rooted…. Not sure that had been mentioned before.

  4. Hitcher says:

    Does that finally mean DTS, DTS HD, and True HD support?

  5. fred says:

    looks like it will support the live channels app, that will support tv tuners and you can add a hard drive to record.

  6. Matt says:

    Amazon is finally making use of Google’s new code.

    Hilarious how they get all that work for free then crap all over Google.

  7. Dave says:

    Content recording??? The storage capacity of the Fire TV 3 is 8GB. After loading an OS and a few apps, I suspect that the available storage on the device will be far less than 8GB. How much actual content can be recorded on a device with such limited storage capacity? This seems like a feature that wasn’t exactly thought through.

  8. Izzard says:

    What I really need is over the air antenna support just the way Xbox does thru DTV tuner, or even better directly into Fire TV.
    No need for Plex, Tablo or anything else. Let me plug my own antenna, record, rewind, switch… use 1 box for all my needs.

  9. Eddy says:

    It would be cool if they added support to add a USB OTA Tuner to the FireTV Boxes essentially turning any TV into a FIRE TV Edition Equivalent. Any idea if we will be able to plug in a USB Tuner and get the Fire TV Edition functionality.

  10. Michael says:

    I am still so puzzled by the lack of purchaseable or rentable UHD/4K content through Amazon. Their selection is so much smaller than the competition. Two recent movies – Wonder Woman and Spider-Man Homecoming – are available in 4K through Google, Apple and Vudu. But on Amazon it’s only 1080 HD.

    Is there a strategy I am not understanding here? Are they just falling behind? It’s hard to want to buy one of these when they don’t even sell movies in the format this thing is designed for.

    Like I said, totally puzzled here!

    • Dave says:

      This. You’ve hit the nail square on the head. It’s all about the content. If Amazon doesn’t realize that they have to offer the content for which their devices were made, then all of their work on the Fire TVs will have been for naught. Many people will simply choose to purchase a competitor’s device, even if it means sacrificing some of the features that are unique to the Fire TV that they have come to enjoy. At the end of the day, function will always prevail over form.

  11. Brian Hanfgarn says:

    Hopefully being based off Android TV Nougat. It will finally have mpeg2 support. HdHomerun run ok. But not being able to deinterlace video makes some channels look terrible. I’m guessing this means we’re getting some of the TV features with the DVR, that’s gotta mean mpeg2 support.

  12. jacqueline walters says:

    Have had problem accessing=”Home” “Your Videos” etc of my firestick==can do streaming and get apps–most of last week-worked Sat night and off again on Sun–love my old firestick but am getting frustrated about unreliable sevice-understand they are changing things but never know if problems are mine or theirs? Can anyone throw some light on this–have plenty of storage room left!

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