Amazon just announced the availability of Alexa Display Cards for third-party manufacturers to incorporate into Alexa-enabled devices that have screens. These are the supplemental visual representations of Alexa responses that first appeared when Amazon added Alexa capabilities to the original Fire TV. Similar Alexa cards were later used on Fire tablets when they gained Alexa capabilities, but now that the the all-new Echo Show is a few days from release, Amazon has given visual Alexa responses a lot more attention and completely overhauled their layout. Part of the new Alexa card display guidelines is a large section dedicated to Alexa’s TV interface, which is very likely going to make its way to the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick in a future update. Read more ›
The 1st-generation Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick are starting to receive a new software updated, carrying version number 18.104.22.168 and build number 562254320. I’ve received the update and, unfortunately, this update does not bring the new user interface to 1st-gen devices. The new interface is still coming to older devices, but that will happen at a later unknown date. The update with the new interface will likely carry a version number of 22.214.171.124 or greater. I’m told this 126.96.36.199 update’s purpose is to patch various security vulnerabilities within Android. Assuming there aren’t any issues with the update, most devices should receive it by the end of the week. I haven’t noticed any new features or obvious changes with this new software version, but I’ll be doing my usual digging shortly.
The Amazon Fire TV has had some supply instability recently, which is likely an indication that new hardware is on the horizon. The Fire TV went out of stock as a result of the Prime Day sale in July. It didn’t come back in stock until earlier this week. All of Amazon’s other devices that went out of stock after Prime Day were back in stock within 2 weeks. Today, the Fire TV Voice Remote just went out of stock, for the first time ever, with an expected return date of Spetember 16th. The Fire TV’s long hiatus, and the Voice Remote’s sudden shortage, is a good indicator that both will likely be replaced soon. What’s most surprising though, is the Fire TV Stick’s supply stability. Read more ›
Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, just gained the ability to execute IFTTT recipes with custom phrases. For those not familiar with IFTTT, it’s a powerful web service that allows users to connect various devices and services together. The new IFTTT ability just added to Alexa allows you to execute any number of actions by saying “Alexa, trigger …” followed by any phrase you want. This new functionality works on the Amazon Echo and Fire TV devices running Fire OS 5, which are currently the 2nd-gen Fire TV and the Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote. The ability will also work on the 1st-gen Fire TV and older Fire TV Sticks once those devices receive the Fire OS 5 update in the near future. Read more ›
The second generation Fire TV has been out for over a month now, yet there haven’t been any 4K capable video apps other than the ones from big names like Netflix. Amazon’s Media Specifications page for developers lists the Fire TV platform as only being capable of “up to 1080p” with no mention of 2160p (4K) capabilities or the newer h.265 codec used by the 2nd-gen Fire TV. I inquired about 4K playback on Amazon’s developer forum and was told that “at this time, 2160p output is not available to developers on the 2nd-gen Fire TV” by an Amazon representative. Read more ›
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As a result of his hardware manipulation, zeroepoch has successfully developed a software rooting method for the 2nd-gen Fire TV. To root the new Fire TV 2 using this method, your device must be on software version 188.8.131.52. The rooting instructions are only outlined for Linux computers right now, but can work on Macs with some modifications. You will also need an A-to-A USB cable to use to connect the Fire TV to your computer.
This new rooting process is not trivial and not easy for a novice user to attempt. This is why I haven’t written a guide for this rooting method yet. As additional experienced Linux users use this method to root their Fire TV 2, issues surrounding this process should be ironed out which should make it accessible to more people, at which point I will write a guide. In the meantime, if you want to root your 2nd-gen Fire TV, you should let it update to software version 184.108.40.206 (534011720) as soon as possible and then block software updates. Once Amazon releases a newer software update, you will not be able to update to 220.127.116.11, and it’s not clear right now if this rooting method will work for future software versions.
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