The release of the Amazon Fire TV Stick has brought with it a new update, version 188.8.131.52_user_514013920, to the Fire TV. This new update is currently making its way out to Fire TVs everywhere. Read on for an overview of the new features and changes this update brings.
Access to Prime Music, the service which gives Prime Members free access to over 1 million songs, has been added to the Fire TV. Since the Fire TV does not have a built-in music store, it’s not possible to browse the full catalogue of Prime Music on the the Fire TV. Instead you must add Prime Music albums, songs, and playlists to your library from a browser for those songs to be accessible on the Fire TV. The music section of the Fire TV now, as one example, has separate areas for “Your Playlists” and “Your Prime Playlists”.
Remote App Support
Support for the new Fire TV Remote App has been added to the Fire TV. The app is primarily intended for the Fire TV Stick, but it works just as well on the Fire TV. The app lets you use your smartphone as a remote control for your Fire TV. It replicates all functionality of the Fire TV Voice Remote, and even allows you to enter text on your smartphone keyboard in place of using the Fire TV’s slow onscreen keyboard. The app is Free and is currently only available for Android devices, however an iOS version will be released soon.
Automatically Play Next Episode
The Fire TV will now automatically play the next episode of a TV show when the one you are currently watching ends. As the episode you are watching is about to end, a popup will appear in the lower left corner with the season and episode number of the next episode, as well as a screenshot. The popup also includes a circular countdown indicator letting you know how long before the next episode automatically begins. Pressing select on your remote when the popup is present will begin the next episode immediately. Binge watching has never been easier.
Better Prime Content Buttons
Amazon has made it a bit clearer that movies and shows are included with Prime membership. Prime movies which previously displayed a button labeled “Watch Now with Prime” now say “Watch Now Included with Prime”. But it’s with TV shows where this update really helps. Previously, TV shows did not include a “Watch with Prime” button. The only indication that a show was part of Prime was the tiny corner banner on the episode screenshot and text above the episode number. Now TV shows free with Prime have a dedicated “Watch Now Included with Prime” button alongside the pay buttons.
Forced Sleep Option
A new “Sleep” option has been added in the Settings menu under the System section. Selecting the option causes the Fire TV to immediately enter sleep mode, which it normally enters on its own after 30 minutes of inactivity. The option is actually a bit of a placebo since the only difference between the Fire TV being on and being asleep is no video signal. The Fire TV uses the same amount of power, about 1-2 watts, being on and idle as it does being in sleep mode.
If you discover any changes that I’ve missed, please be sure to mention them in the comments below!