Overview of Fire TV Software Update 51.1.5.0

fire-tv-51.1.5.0-update-overview
The Fire TV has just received arguably its largest update since its release nearly one year ago. This update, version 51.1.5.0_user_515020820, includes numerous features that have long been requested by users. Amazon has shown, with this update, that they’ve been listening to Fire TV owners and really taking into consideration your suggestions. Here is the massive overview of all the new features and changes included in the latest Fire TV software update.

USB Storage Support
overview-51.1.5.0-usbThe Fire TV now supports USB storage. Amazon says this feature is for expanding the Fire TV’s internal storage so that you can install more apps and games than the 8GB onboard storage allows. They say it is not meant to be used for media, but apps like Kodi and VLC are able to access attached USB drives and play content directly from the drive. Amazon says attached drives must be formatted with FAT32 (which limits file sizes to under 4GB). This can be an issue if you want to store and view video files larger than 4GB on the USB drive. USB drives must be flash based, meaning spinning external hard drives will not work. They recommend USB 3.0 drives and support a maximum of 128GB drives. The USB drive specs are not set in stone as several people have reported successfully using drives that do not fall into Amazon’s specifications. I’ll be investigating this further in the near future and posting exactly which drives do and don’t work with the Fire TV.
Once a drive is inserted into the Fire TV’s rear USB port, you are given the option to format the Drive if it is not formatted with FAT32. Once the drive is setup, you can then move apps from internal storage to the attached USB drive. Both official and sideloaded apps, including Kodi, can be moved to the external drive. Look for several posts from me in the future exploring how to fully utilize this new feature.

Filter Apps by All, Internal Only, and USB Only
overview-51.1.5.0-appfilterYou can now filter the “Manage Installed Applications” list to show: “All Applications”, Internal Only”, and “USB Only”.

App Size No Longer Includes Cache
overview-51.1.5.0-appsizeWhen viewing an installed app’s details, the total size of the app (displayed just below the app’s name) no longer includes the app’s “Cache” usage.

New USB Storage Options Menu
overview-51.1.5.0-storageoptionsThere is a new “USB Storage” options menu under the “System” area of the Fire TV’s settings. In this menu is a “Storage Status” display, which shows how much external space is available on an attached USB drive. From this menu, you can also eject the USB drive. Removing the drive without first ejecting it results in an error/warning message prompting you to first eject the drive before removing it. Lastly, this menu has a “Manage Installed Applications” option which loads the standard app list but pre-filtered to only show apps stored on the external drive.

New Storage Display
overview-51.1.5.0-storagemenuUnder the “About” secction in the settings menu is a new entry labeled “Storage” which displays the Fire TV’s Internal and External storage usage.

Bluetooth Headphone, Keyboard, and Mice Support
overview-51.1.5.0-bluetoothThe Fire TV now has support for additional Bluetooth devices other than remote controls and game controllers. The “Controllers” settings menu has been renamed to “Controllers and Bluetooth Devices” and now has a third option for “Other Bluetooth Devices.” Opening the new menu reveals the option to “Add Bluetooth remotes, headphones, keyboards, and mice.” This new feature is only available on the Fire TV and is not available on the Fire TV Stick.

Shortcut Menu
overview-51.1.5.0-shortcutA new shortcut menu has been added which displays the current time and three buttons. Selecting the first button immediately puts the Fire TV to sleep. The second button enables mirroring, exactly the same way the mirroring option in the settings menu does. The last button opens up the Fire TV settings menu. To open this new shortcuts menu, you simply press and hold the remote control’s home button for a few seconds. You can access the shortcut menu this way from anywhere on the Fire TV, even while inside an app.

Concealed PIN Entry Interface
overview-51.1.5.0-pinThere is a new interface for entering your parental control PIN without revealing it to someone viewing the screen. The PIN is now entered using the directional button corresponding with the values displayed on the screen, instead of navigating an on-screen keyboard. You have the option to let the digits you select be visible on-screen so that you can be sure you’re pressing the correct buttons.

Captive Portal Wi-Fi Connections
The Fire TV is now capable of connecting to Wi-Fi connections, which require you to login or agree to terms before connecting. These types of connections are called captive portals and are most commonly found in hotels and school campuses. Previous to this update, the Fire TV was unable to connect to these types of Wi-Fi hotspots due to its lack of a web browser. Now, the Fire TV will pop-up a small web browser when a captive portal is detected. Within the browser you are able to press the remote’s menu button to bring up a cursor to navigate the web page with.

Prime Music Playlist Browsing
overview-51.1.5.0-musicThe music section of the Fire TV now allows you to browse through various categories of Prime Music playlists. Before this update, you had to manually add Prime Music playlists to your library using a computer in order for the playlist to show up on the Fire TV. Now there are several curated lists of playlists for you to instantly play without the need of a computer. The available categories include: Recommended For You, Popular, Moods & Activities, Genres, and New. Prime Music gives Amazon Prime members access to over 1 million songs for free.

Prime Music Playlist Search
overview-51.1.5.0-musicsearchThe Fire TV’s search will now return results that match Prime Music playlists. Before this update, the only music results that appeared when searching were tracks you purchased or uploaded yourself.

Improved 3rd Party Buttons
overview-51.1.5.0-3rdpartyThe Fire TV now does a better job of discovering and displaying 3rd party options for watching content. If a movie or TV show is available from a source other than Amazon, like Hulu or Showtime, the content’s detail page now displays that option upfront instead of burying it in the “More Ways to Watch” button. This change is going to go largely unnoticed, but Amazon should be commended for improving the user experience instead of defaulting to the option that makes them the most money. Bravo Amazon.

Windows 8.1 Miracast Display Mirroring
Miracast display mirroring is a feature added to the Fire TV in a previous update that allows capable devices to use the Fire TV as a second display. This update has apparently fixed the issues that prevented Windows 8.1 computers from mirroring their display to the Fire TV. I do not have a Miracast Windows 8.1 computer, so I am unable to confirm that it is indeed working. I am basing this change on this comment from AFTVnews reader McChen. If someone else can also confirm this in the comments below, I would be very grateful.

Confirmation from Joshua, LeeP, and Reflex that Miracast for Windows 8.1 is indeed supported now.

Guest Photo Connection
overview-51.1.5.0-photoThere is a new option under the Applications settings menu which allows you to enable and disable the ability for guests to cast photos and videos to your Fire TV.

Skippable Welcome Video
overview-54.1.1.0-welcomeskipThe welcome video that plays after you complete the Fire TV’s initial setup can now be fast forwarded. This is a very welcome addition for those of us that often factory reset our devices and have had to sit through the welcome video numerous times.

ADB connections over USB
overview-51.1.5.0-usbadbThe “Developer options” menu has a new option to turn on “USB debugging.” With this option turned on, you can now connect your Fire TV to a computer with an A-to-A USB cable and initiate an ADB connection. This will allow you to sideload apps and transfer files to the Fire TV over the USB cable. Previous to this update, you only had the option to connect to the Fire TV over Wi-Fi. Connections over USB tend to be faster and more stable than over Wi-Fi. While this feature is enabled, the Fire TV is unable to use external devices like USB drives and USB keyboards.

New “Österreich” (Austria) Language Option
The Fire TV now has the option to select Österreich (Austrian) language. This coincides with the recent announcement that Fire TV devices will now be available in Austria.

Restart Option
overview-51.1.5.0-restartThere is now a new menu option which allows you to restart the Fire TV without disconnecting the power cable. The option can be found in Settings under the System panel. For those not aware, you have always been able to trigger a restart by holding down the remotes SELECT and PLAY buttons simultaneously for several seconds. This can be done from anywhere; even within an app.

Wakes Up on Home Screen
If you force your Fire TV to sleep, it now wakes up on the home screen, where as before it would wake up on the settings menu.

This update is jam packed with changes. If I missed anything, please be sure to mention it in the comments below and I’ll add it to the list!

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96 comments
  1. DistantSurf says:

    I have the .bin file but can’t get it to the Fire TV! HELP!

  2. hdmkv says:

    Great summary. This indeed is a great update by Amazon, especially USB storage for apps, games and their data.

  3. patt says:

    My ftv wont detect any usb drives, any tips before I factory reset ?

  4. Joshua Timothy says:

    I can confirm miracast works great with my Surface Pro 3 running Windows 8.1. The initial pairing everything runs at full resolution. But all connections after that it mirrors fine but at 1074×720, which is too low for metro apps to run.

    It’s weird and there is no way to raise the resolution. It doesn’t see anything higher. I’m running the newest intel driver.

    [note: changing miracast display settings will crash miracast on the fireTV for example changing run duplicate to second screen only. Just reconnect it will work with your new change. ]

    • RgnKjnVA says:

      For anyone else curious about Windows 7, after installing updates to the Windows 7 Intel drivers to pick up the widi components using Intel’s WiDi set up tool, I just get what looks like a screenshot at connection time not a real-time duplicate of my laptop. Seems to work fine with my Android phone though. Dang

  5. GreatEscape says:

    Can I use a USB hub so that I can plug in both my Logitech k400 keyboard and a storage device?

  6. coops says:

    has anyone tested bluetooth-audio sync ?
    on xda there was a post telling of default bluetooth-audio being out of sync …

    • coops says:

      … is there an option of adjusting bluetooth-audio delay in new default settings ?

    • Jose says:

      I just watched house of cards with Bluetooth headphones on Netflix. The Audio Was spot on, no lip sync issues at all. What app were you using?

      • coops says:

        am still on older firmware. was thinking of updating…

        • Neogeo71 says:

          I hope it is spot on. would not make sense to include it if not. I am curious about how it works with Plex. I do not even have option of new firmware when i check. anyone know how long it will take to show up for everybody?

          • Neogeo71 says:

            So I was able to test this tonight. Netflix and Amazon Prime were spot on, no issues. Plex has audio sync issues. I would imagine this will get sorted with an update. I will post on Plex forum as well. I am a premium customer of Plex. I will test Kodi and report back.

          • Charles says:

            Great news for Netflix and Amazon Prime.. I will check if Plex wil be updated to fix sync issue

          • Neogeo71 says:

            Update: Tested with Kodi. Kodi needed to offset audio ahead by 1sec exactly. I would imagine this is same with Plex. It would be nice if Kodi could recognize the audio source and make adjustment on the fly but I can live with manually setting the offset when i want to watch with headphones. Would love to hear a Dev’s take on what it takes to resolve this issue..

          • Neogeo71 says:

            Update: Was having many issues getting my Mac to share my media files using samba, nfs, afp shares on the firetv. sometimes it would connect, often not. I researched a bit and installed SMBUp. This installs the Samba3 iteration of Samba. After creating shares on my Mac and being able to browse them with Kodi on FireTV without any issue, there is no audio sync issues with bluetooth! This is great news. this also makes me think the Plex issue will need to be fixed on the plex server end, not in the player. I think it has something to do with how it serves the media over the network protocol. I plan on testing with Plexmbc next which will allow me ot connec to tmy plex server from within Kodi.

  7. Ian says:

    A bit shit that you can’t use a proper hard drive,and why fat32 that’s ancient technology,even windows won’t let you format to that file system anymore

    • TROJAN4EVR says:

      Thats why you should find a roottable fire tv. You can still get them on ebay or at staples(but its getting harder since dwindleing 2014 stock is being replenished with 2015 fire tvs) if you know what serial number range to look for…A rooted fire tv will allow you to use a “proper” hard drive…

  8. Charles says:

    I’ve tested the Bluetooth Headphone option and I have a 3 seconds delay.. no option to asjust that :(

    • Jose says:

      In what app? Netflix and YouTube are working well for me. No sync issue at all.

      • Charles says:

        Amazon Menus and Plex

        • Neogeo71 says:

          that sucks, i was hoping to use it most with plex. My firetv does not even show the option to update, i am still waiting for the firmware to try it out. can anyone else test amazon video orplex and report results?

          • Neogeo71 says:

            So I was able to test this tonight. Netflix and Amazon Prime were spot on, no issues. Plex has audio sync issues. I would imagine this will get sorted with an update. I will post on Plex forum as well. I am a premium customer of Plex. I will test Kodi and report back.

  9. hiavatch says:

    Can someone explain why they recommend a usb3.0 flash drive? Are they faster internally as well? The port on the fireTV is usb2.0, so why would it matter? Data transfers at 2.0 speeds, no?

    • Kai says:

      USB 3.0 sticks can indeed perform better on a USB 2.0 port than USB 2.0 sticks do.

      • Joshua Timothy says:

        As far as i know that is incorrect… They built 3.0 devices backwards compatible for usb 2.0, but 3.0 has extra data pins for 3.0 slots. Since it is a 2.0 port it will not connect to the high speed lanes. I could be wrong but i don’t think it will speed anything up.

        • tuxen says:

          A USB3 stick is indeed faster than a USB2 stick in a USB2 device. The reason is memory technology. USB2 memory are pretty fast at sustained transfers (large unfragmented files) but has terrible access time on small random read and especially writes.

          The fast access time to random writes are the reason a USB3 stick performs much better than a USB2 stick in a device such as the aftv.. some never ones are almost at ssd access speeds. I have a lot of experience from both the aftv and rpi. I’m sure you can get bad USB3 sticks with old memory tech though. So research a bit on both subjects and you will see it is correct.

          Also USB is serial no matter if its v2 or v3 that means two wires for data, two for power. The odd usb ports you sometimes see are for special devices that need extra power. My old USB2 laptop has such a usb port, but I have not found one that needs it yet; USB2 or 3.

    • Latsui says:

      Probably because even minimum spec USB3 drives are still significantly faster than USB2 drives. Were as minimum spec USB2 drives can be many years old & not even come close to utilizing all the speed of USB2 itself.

  10. Ulises Rodriguez says:

    I have been patiently waiting for several days, but unfortunately this new FireTV Update never shows up on none of my Two FireTV-Sticks and FireTV-BOX…

    I am aware that Amazon was going to release this New update to the 5-10% first, and then to all the others FireTV Units, but Why is taking such a long time??

  11. trongthuan0311 says:

    I haven’t received latest update yet from Vietnam. so Sad!!

  12. cxcorpx says:

    I have issues with my keyboard k400 can use the mouse in the Amazon and other apps can somebody help me.

  13. cxcorpx says:

    I can’t use the k400 mouse or other use mouse can somebody help me

  14. young says:

    Does this mean there is potentially a new root method possible? Especially with the ability to adb over usb now.

  15. Hot Diggety says:

    Tried a few USB pens and drives. Yeah, they light up but Kodi can’t see them. You won’t be able to play media from them, so forget about that.

    Maybe they work with Amazon apps, but who cares about that?

    • Michael says:

      I have tried all my USB pens, they light up and the Fire TV shows the details in external storage and I can access the files via Kodi.

  16. gnackwatschn says:

    My USB 2.0, 1TB, Fat32 formatted Hard Drive works great with Kodi. Although FireTV showed a message that it’s not compatible.

    • Ste Edge says:

      care to elaborate please?

      Are you saying yo have connected a 1TB external HDD [not a USN flash driver] which does not appear to be usable when in normal AFTV. However, when yo use Kodi that you can see and use the content on the drive?

      If yes, can you reply to explain the brand you are using please?

      Ta

      • gnackwatschn says:

        It’s a Samsung HD103SI. 3,5″ HDD in an USB 2.0 case with external power supply.

        • Ste Edge says:

          cheers, and is your box rooted or not?

          • gnackwatschn says:

            Not rooted. It’s a German Box, so I’m not able to root it.

          • gnackwatschn says:

            Addition: When I plug in my 2TB USB 3.0 NTFS “WD my passport ultra” 2,5″ HDD without external power supply, it asks me if I want to format it to FAT32. So I think this HDD would also function with FTV if I allowed it to do the formatting.

  17. harry says:

    is it worthily to update or should I stay with 51.1.3.0 hopping that root will come.
    the only important app for me is kodi.

  18. DistantSurf says:

    Is it not possible to get the update from the .bin file? Loaded on a usb stick or something?

  19. gnackwatschn says:

    Where can I find The Shortcut Menue? German FTV.

  20. Neogeo71 says:

    yeah, anyway to force the update, still waiting over here, does not see it in settings

  21. Heindaddel says:

    Is there a way to manually update from the .bin file?

  22. Harrison says:

    I assume if I’ve updated to the new version I would loose root right?

  23. ians325 says:

    Still Waiting for update ive complained to amazon several times about not recieving the update but i falls on deaf ears

  24. Sergiu says:

    just finished installing this latest pre-rooted release and all new things are indeed according to the guide except one. Music still shows as previously. No Library available and the same message “Please visit amazon.com/cloudplayer to create an Amazon Music Library Account”. Does any one else have the same as me?

  25. Wii says:

    I’m trying to pair a “nintendo rvl-cnt-01” basically a full sized controller for the Wii. The FTV recognizes it when paring but it asks for a 4-digit PIN. I tried 1234 and 0000 but no luck. has anyone figured this out?

  26. Madmonkey says:

    Anyone know if the update will allow you to download content from Kodi to the usb drive? This was the one thing which disappointed me about moving from the Ouya to the FTV. Dream come true if this is now possible.

  27. tuxen says:

    Anyone tried installing it on a rooted box with data moved to the harddrive. If so will it still work? If I run to mount all data script afterwards or will it take over the usb port somehow? I’m have not used the ftvtool adbfire cause im not sure how to move all data with that, I understand uses a slightly different method. I use the the zip file you can install from cwm.

  28. Danold says:

    I have 2 fire tv with the same version 51.1.4.3_514020320. Yesterday, I checked update, I saw one already updated and the other one not update. how can I update for the second one?

  29. Stevie says:

    I’m the same lounge fire tv not updated yet but bedroom updated to latest lol very strange

  30. Peter says:

    Ever since I have updated to the newest prerooted rom Netflix just gets stuck at 99% and plays audio for the first 5 sec the stops? It worked (mostly) before? with the usual clear cache and restart?

    Any suggestions

    Thanks

    • Matt Henzel says:

      This used to happen to me, but the last Netflix from March fixed it.

      A workaround was to manually close down Kodi before starting Netflix. I.E. don’t just hit the Home button to exit, but actually close it.

  31. atone says:

    I successfully updated to this latest rooted custom rom from prerooted 51.1.4.1_514013920 with no problems! First I fully unlocked aftv & reinstalled busybox. Then used platform tools ADB command line method to push the update zip file and tested integrity with busybox and es file explorer. Then installed it with clockworkmod. After reboot I had to reinstall xposed framework to get my customized launcher modules to work. Kodi,netflix, and everything works perfectly like before.
    Do we have to reblock amazon updates, or is it already done?
    Thanks for the updaters & community here!

    • atone says:

      Update: kodi sometimes needs a slight audio offset to correct audio sync especially for plexbmc. I also sometimes notice Hulu and Netflix having a slight audio sync issue. I can live with it but last firmware never had any issues. I have a slow USB 2.0 flash drive connected so I’ll see if disconnecting that helps.

      • atone says:

        update2: audiosync isn’t noticed any more so nothing to do with slow usb drive (just cleaned up junk with cleaning program & emptied cache).

  32. Matt Henzel says:

    Does anyone have a list of the available Bluetooth game controllers which will work this this update?
    I’ve been waiting for 6 months now for the $20 controller which works with the Fire TV, my order keeps getting delayed over and over again!

    I wish they would just allow Wii and Wii U Bluetooth devices to work. Most people have a few of these lying around.

    I use Wii remotes with the emulators on my Kindle Fire (unrooted).

    • Neogeo71 says:

      I ordered a amazon controller and received it a week later. Maybe you should cancel the order and create a new one?

    • Neogeo71 says:

      I ordered a amazon controller and received it a week later. Maybe you should cancel the order and create a new one? they are currently in stock…

      • Neogeo71 says:

        sorry, thought you wanted official amazon one. not sure which controller u are referring to. the amazon one is great.

  33. Zeke says:

    I had a non-rootable version of the Fire TV firmware out of the box so updating to get USB storage was worth the effort. It does remove the alt-tab “recent apps” menu possible on a keyboard but the rest of the changes are worth the small sacrifice.

    Amazon’s suggestion to use a USB3 device even though the port is USB2 does make a difference. In my experience this was because I side loaded ePSXe to play PSOne games and pulling data from ISO disc images was causing sound dropouts on a 2.5″ USB2 SATA caddy – just wasn’t fast enough in terms of access times. Changing to a 3.5″ USB3 SATA caddy (powered externally of course) fixed this problem even when plugged into a 4-port hub which also has a wired Xbox 360 controller, Logitech MK250 wireless mouse/keyboard set and FLIRC IR dongle set up.

    Being able to restart via menus rather than pulling the plug or needing the original Bluetooth remote is a huge bonus, as is getting more quickly to the settings menu via a long press of Home/F12. For those not able to root it makes sense to be using this version.

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