The new Amazon Fire TV 3 includes an Alexa Voice Remote that looks and functions exactly like the remote that’s included with the 2nd generation Fire TV and the Fire TV Stick, but it’s actually a completely new remote on the inside. The new remote is actually Amazon’s fourth voice remote designed for the Fire TV and this latest version forgoes using WiFi-direct connectivity in favor of a return to Bluetooth.
Before we talk about where things are now, let’s talk about where we’ve been. The very first Fire TV included a Bluetooth voice remote. A few months later, Amazon introduced the Fire TV Stick and included a smaller non-voice Bluetooth remote. A year after that, Amazon released the 2nd generation Fire TV with an all-new voice remote that used WiFi-direct as its connection method and was slightly longer than the first voice remote. The switch to WiFi-direct was probably done because the new Fire TV Game Controller had an audio jack that needed to use WiFi-direct to avoid Bluetooth’s notorious audio delay. Amazon probably figured they might as well keep things consistent and use WiFi-direct for the remote control as well.
There were actually two versions of the new WiFi-direct voice remote. They had the exact same circuitry but had different housings and buttons. The more premium of the two remotes had a soft touch plastic body and hard shiny buttons, like the first voice remote, while the cheaper feeling remote had a hard plastic body and rubber buttons. The premium remote initially shipped with the Fire TV 2 while the cheaper remote was included in a new Fire TV Stick voice bundle. Eventually, Amazon began including the cheaper of the two remotes with both Fire TV devices.
A year after the Fire TV 2 was released, Amazon updated their Fire TV Stick but continued to use the same WiFi-direct remote. That remote is still being included with the 2nd generation Fire TV Stick, but it will likely be replaced with the new Bluetooth remote that is included with the Fire TV 3 at some point.
Amazon is not advertising the Fire TV 3’s remote as a new remote, and for good reason. The new and old remote are, for all intents and purposes, identical in form and function, so there’s really no reason to confuse people by saying the remote is new but the same. The two remotes very likely use the exact same housing and buttons, since the new Fire TV 3 remote is still compatible with accessories like the Sideclick and Piggyback universal remote attachments. The best way to tell the two remotes apart is to open the battery compartment and check the model number. The new Bluetooth remote is model PE59CV, while the old WiFi-direct remote is model DR49WK.
Both the new Bluetooth remote and the old WiFi-direct remote work with all Fire TV and Fire TV Stick models, new and old. They are not, however, compatible with the Fire TV Edition television, which uses it’s own unique remote that combines both Bluetooth and IR signals. If you purchase a Fire TV Voice Remote from Amazon, you will likely receive the new Bluetooth remote that is included with the Fire TV 3.
It’s difficult to say which of the two remotes is “better” because it’s highly dependent on the environment in which they’re used. Most people likely wouldn’t benefit from one remote over the other. The WiFi-direct remote theoretically has a farther range and longer battery life than the Bluetooth remote, but range and battery life are reduced with signal interference, which the WiFi-direct remotes is more susceptible to, due to so many devices using the same 2.4Ghz band. Ultimately, whichever remote you have, if you find it constantly disconnecting or eating through batteries, you may benefit from switching to the other type of remote. For most people, it will make little to no difference which of the two remotes you use.