Here’s an overview of the changes and additions brought to the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick by software version 5.0.5. If you’d like to learn about what the jump from Fire OS 3 to Fire OS 5 has changed, be sure to checkout my previous articles here and here. This article concentrates on the differences between software version 5.0.4 and 5.0.5.
New ‘Your Videos’ Section
The biggest change brought on by the 5.0.5 software update is the convergence of several Fire TV menu sections into a new ‘Your Videos’ section. The ‘Your Videos’ section is now where you’ll find all the content which doesn’t need to be purchased or rented individually.
If you’re a Prime member, this includes all of the Prime Video content which previously existed in its own section. There are various Prime Vide lists, like Prime Exclusives, Best of Prime, and Prime Recommended, mixed among other content rows in the new ‘Your Videos’ section. Most, if not all, of the Prime Video categories from the old dedicated Prime section is included here.
The ‘Your Videos’ section is also where you’ll find your watchlist and your video library which contains the content you’ve purchased individually from Amazon. Both of these areas previously had their own dedicated menu item, but hve now been consolidated into the ‘Your Videos’ section.
If you are subscribed to any add-on subscriptions, you’ll also find content from those subscriptions highlighted in the ‘Your Videos’ section. Each subscription you have will have several rows showing off popular content from those subscriptions.
You’ll also find free content from services you may have never used, like Crackle, in the ‘Your Videos’ section. Essentially, Amazon is packing in as much content from all kinds of sources which you’ve either already payed for through a monthly fee or which does not require a fee at all.
Other free content found in the ‘Your Videos’ section are TV episodes that are available from Amazon with ads. This is usually just the first episode of a series, but sometimes includes additional episodes. The available shows are separated into categories like Comedy, and Reality TV.
At the very bottom of the ‘Your Videos’ section is a list of all of your subscriptions. Selecting any of them will take you to a screen dedicated solely to that subscription.
Selecting the Prime tile will take you to a page that essentially replicates the old dedicated Prime Video section from the main menu. So if you want to browse just Prime content separated into various categories and lists, this is the best place to do that.
Add-On Subscription Support
The Fire TV now fully supports the new add-on subscription options introduced in December.
On the Home screen, you’ll now find a Featured Subscription section where you can browse all 31 add-on subscriptions that are currently available.
Selecting any subscription will take you to a screen dedicated to just that subscription where you can browse various categories related to the network.
Selecting the Learn More banner at the top of each subscription screen takes you the screen which lists the price of the subscription, the trial length of the subscription, as well as a button which allows you to start the subscription directly from the Fire TV.
Once you select the button, you’ll be taken back to the subscription’s content page with a small message in the lower right informing you that your subscription has started. The Learn More banner at the top will disappear once you’re a subscriber of the add-on network. If you have parental controls enabled and set to block purchases, you will be required to enter your PIN before starting a subscription. All add-on subscriptions can be easily canceled with just a few clicks through Amazon’s website.
When browsing content anywhere within the Fire TV interface, if a particular video is available through one of the networks you’re subscribed to, a “Watch Now with [NETWORK]” button will be front and center. Selecting it will immediately start the video as if you purchased it directly from Amazon. Viewing add-on content does not require additional apps to be installed or launched.
Grid Layout for App and Game Categories
When browsing a category within the Apps or Games section of the Fire TV, the list is now displayed in a grid layout instead of the usual horizontally scrolling list. This is the first introduction of a grid layout of any sort on the Fire TV.
While the grid layout allows you to see more apps at once, there is no longer an option to sort or filter the list, as seen in the screenshot above from the previous 5.0.4 software version.
To see this new grid layout, navigate to the Categories area within either the Apps or Games section. Unfortunately, this is the only place the new layout has been used. You cannot switch between a grid or horizontal list, which would be handy in sections like your app library.
Voice Remote and Game Controller Updated
Once you connect either the new Voice Remote or new Game Controller to the Fire TV after installing the 5.0.5 software update, the peripheral will automatically be updated to a new firmware version. The remote updates to firmware version 197 while the controller updates to version 395. As is usually the case with remote and controller updates, there’s no way to know what exactly is improved or changed. Since these wifi-based peripherals have had many issues in the past, it’s likely these updates just further improve connectivity and performance.