FreeTime Parental Controls Excluded from Non-US Fire TV

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FreeTime, the granular parental control feature, is excluded from German and UK Fire TVs. The feature was added to US Fire TVs back in June with the 51.1.1.0 software update. It allows parents to create profiles for each child and control precisely which apps and videos the child may use on the Fire TV. Without FreeTime, UK and German Fire TV owners lose this granularity and only have the option to block access in an all-or-nothing manner.

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The likely reason for excluding FreeTime outside the US is its integration with Amazon’s premium child-centric subscription service, FreeTime Unlimited. For a monthly subscription, FreeTime Unlimited provides access to a selection of free childrens games, books, and videos. Amazon likely hasn’t made similar deals for included content outside the US, and so has decided to exclude the FreeTime feature altogether for non-US Fire TVs.

It’s a shame because the FreeTime feature on the Fire TV is quite powerful and does not require the subscription service or the free apps for it to work. Removing a useful feature simply because Amazon hasn’t set up the infrastructure to charge for a premium version is a poor decision.

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