Say hello to my little friends

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Now that the Fire TV Stick has been released, the Amazon Appstore has become a bit more complex. Before, if you didn’t own a Game Controller, you just needed to check that an app supports the Fire TV remote before purchasing. Now you need to ensure an app is compatible with your type of Fire TV, regular or stick, in addition to checking remote compatibility. To help make your life easy, I’ll be including the above 4 icons in the main image whenever I write about an app. This way you’ll know at a glance whether the app is compatible with your hardware. From left to right is an icon for: the Fire TV, the Fire TV Stick, the remote control, and the game controller. If an app is compatible, the icon will be dark, and if it’s incompatible, the icon will be dim.

Check out the two free app deals I just wrote about to see the icons in action. And while you’re at it, please take note of the new “Shop Amazon” link in the main navigation menu. If you do all of your Amazon shopping through that link, it costs you nothing extra but tremendously helps keep this little site going. It truly is the #1 way you can support the site, so please try to keep it in mind as you take advantage of all the great Amazon deals this holiday season.

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Menu Item Remover Mod updated with 51.1.4.0 Compatibility

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Just a quick heads up for those who miss having the ability to hide unwanted home screen menu items. Fire TV software version 51.1.4.0 broke compatibility with the mod, but good news because rbox has updated the mod to work with the latest software version. Head on over to my guide to learn more about the mod and how to install it.

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BBC News App Released for US Residents

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Not to be outdone by the recently released CBS News app, the BBC has released a new BBC News app for US residents. Just like the CBS News app, this BBC News app is completely free and requires no cable subscription. However, that’s where the similarities end. This BBC News app for US Fire TV’s does not provide access to their live news broadcast like the UK version released last month. Instead , the app provides a “News in Video” playlist of recent news clips. There is also a menu of news categories like Health, Tech, Business, and Entertainment, however these categories bring up text articles with no accompanying videos.

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Amazon Announces Echo, a Speaker that doubles as a Voice Assistant


Amazon has announced Echo, one of their most ambitious products to date. At it’s core, Echo is a wireless speaker controlled by your voice. However, a built in Siri or Google Play like voice assistant expands its capabilities to much more. After saying the “wake word”, you can issue out one of several commands. Echo can start and stop music, answer questions, set alarms, and more.

The Amazon Echo will sell for $199 but, for a limited time, Prime members can request an invitation to purchase the device for $99. Whether the device is a success or not, at the very least it’s a pretty good glimpse at the type of voice enhancements Amazon may include in the successor to the current Fire TV.

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CBS brings Live News to Fire TV with new CBS News app

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A new CBS News app has just been released for the Amazon Fire TV. The app lets you stream live news coverage from CBS’s new 24/7 news station CBSN. In addition to the live stream, the app features on demand video from CBS’s other news programs, such as CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes, and MoneyWatch. The app separates on demand video into several categories, including U.S., World, Politics, Entertainment, and Health. All of this content is free of charge with no cable subscription needed. Read more ›

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Amazon Brings Tablet Games to the Fire TV

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Amazon has started to allow some tablet games to be installed on the Fire TV. These games have not been made to natively use the Fire TV Voice Remote or Fire Game Controller like regular Fire TV apps. Instead, these games are played by controlling a virtual finger/cursor with the Fire Game Controller. Currently there are 42 games available as a beta trial for this new feature. Big thanks to reader Chad for point out this new addition in a comment on my latest update overview. Read more ›

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ClockworkMod 6.0.5.1.4 Update requires Bootloader Unlock and Adds EXT4 Support

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ClockworkMod Custom Recovery has been updated to version 6.0.5.1.4. The new version has added support for EXT4 formatted USB drives. This is very useful for those who have expanded their internal storage with an EXT4 external USB drive as it allows them to access the expanded storage while in ClockworkMod. More importantly, as of this version of CLockworkMod, kernel patching has now been removed. This means that your Fire TV must have an unlocked bootloader in order to install this version (and likely future versions) of ClockworkMod. You should follow my guide to unlock your bootloader before you proceed to installing this ClockworkMod update. If you’re installing ClockworkMod for the first time, you also first need to unlock your bootloader. Note that version 6.0.5.1.4 of ClockworkMod was initially released without the utility that allows remote control via ADB. An updated version, 6.0.5.1.4a, has been released since which re-includes the utility. You should skip the initial version 6.0.5.1.4 and just install the updated version 6.0.5.1.4a.

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Lego Minifigures MMO game coming to Amazon Fire TV

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Amazon and Funcom, the developer of the highly anticipated massively multiplayer online (MMO) game Lego Minifigures, have announced that they are working together to bring the game to the Fire TV later this year. The game, currently in beta for Windows only, allows players to unlock and play as various minifigure characters from Lego’s themed building sets.

The game will also be released for Amazon’s HDX line of Fire tablets early next year. It will be the first game which allows cross platform online gameplay between the Fire TV and various other devices, including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. The game will be free to play with optional in-app purchases. No word on whether the game will be compatible with the newly announced Fire TV Stick.

SourceFuncom

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Pre-Rooted 51.1.4.0_user_514006420 Fixed for Netflix

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An updated version of the pre-rooted 51.1.4.0_user_514006420 ROM has just been released by rbox. For those unaware, the first version released yesterday caused issues with the new Netflix app that prevented any video from playing. The updated version, which can be downloaded from AFTVnews.com/roms, should resolve the issue. Your Fire TV may hang on a black screen once rebooting after installing this new version. If this happens, rbox advises you to simply power the Fire TV off then back on by pulling the power cord.

Be aware that this updated version of the pre-rooted 51.1.4.0_user_514006420 has not been fully tested. Those using a DNS bypass services to view Netflix content may still have issues. Be sure to let us know your experience with this update and Netflix in the comments to help rbox diagnose any remaining issues. I’ll be sure to update this post with any new information or issues that arise.

Update

Good news. Several people, including those using DNS bypass services, are reporting success using Netflix with this latest pre-rooted ROM. All indication is that the issue has been resolved.

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Amazon Fire TV Stick to have 1Ghz Dual Core CPU

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Noticeably absent from Amazon’s Fire TV Stick product page is the clock speed of the device’s processor. The Fire TV’s product page lists its CPU clock speed of 1.7Ghz, so it was strange that Amazon decided to omit the value from the Fire TV Stick page. A blog post on Amazon’s developer portal has revealed that the clock speed is set to 1Ghz.

In my comparison chart with the Fire TV, I suspected the CPU would be clocked at 1.2Ghz since that is the speed quoted in the spec sheet for the Fire TV Stick’s Broadcom Capri 28155 processor. 1.2Ghz is also the speed of the Samsung Galaxy S II Plus‘s CPU, which is equipped with the same processor as the Fire TV Stick. The decision to underclock the Fire TV Stick’s processor below its maximum capability was probably made in order to reduce heat production and power consumption. Being powered by a USB port limits the device’s available power, and enclosing so much horsepower in a fully sealed 1 inch by 3.3 inch box doesn’t leave much room for heat dissipation.

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Netflix Releases New Fire TV App

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Netflix, the world’s leading internet media streaming service, has just released a brand new app for the Fire TV. The app is not an update to their existing Fire TV app, but rather a separate new app.

The new app brings Netflix’s Fire TV presence up to pace with the Android and iOS apps which received similar updates earlier this year. Front and center is the new shadowless Netflix logo they adopted a few months ago, along with a cleaner blacker look with fewer red accents.

Update

It seems that this new Netflix app requires the latest Fire TV update, version 51.1.4.0_user_514006420, to work. The update is rolling out now, so everyone should be getting it soon.

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Popularity of Amazon Fire TV Stick pushes shipments to Mid December

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Early indications are that the Amazon Fire TV Stick announced this morning is being very well received. New orders placed at the time this post is being written are scheduled to ship in mid December. Readers are telling me that orders placed just 2 hours after the device was announced weren’t even quick enough to receive a release day shipment. That means the initial stock of Fire TV Sticks sold out within two hours. Readers who ordered 3 hours after pre-orders opened were already receiving shipment arrival estimates of early December. Additionally, the previous limit of 2 devices per customer has now been reduced to a limit of just 1 device per customer. Read more ›

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Amazon Fire TV vs Fire TV Stick Comparison

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With today’s announcement of the Fire TV Stick, you now have an option as to which Amazon streaming device is right for you. Here is a full comparison of the two devices. Read more ›

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Amazon announces the Fire TV Stick

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Amazon is going after Chromecast with today’s announcement of the Fire TV Stick. The stick offers the same experience as the full Fire TV. The $39 device can be pre-ordered now and begins shipping November 19th. Amazon Prime members can order the Fire TV Stick for just $19 for the next two days. Read more ›

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Amazon hints at FOX Sports GO release for Fire TV

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Amazon has begun featuring the above image and a similar banner on their website, only one of the three apps in the image doesn’t quite make sense. The Fox Sports GO app has yet to be released for the the Fire TV. The currently incompatible app allows you to stream a variety of sports content, including live broadcasts like the Super Bowl. Similar to the WatchESPN app, the FOX Sports GO app needs to be activated with a participating cable provider before you can view content. Featuring an incompatible app in a Fire TV promo may just be a simple mistake, but the more likely scenario is someone jumped the gun and the app will be released in the near future.

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Season 2 of Amazon’s Original Comedy Series ALPHA HOUSE Debuts Today

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If you’re looking for something new to binge watch this weekend, then look no further. All 10 episodes of Amazon’s critically-acclaimed comedy ALPHA HOUSE have been released today via Amazon Instant Video in the US, UK and Germany. If you haven’t seen the first season, the show is about four Republican senators who share the same D.C. house rental and face re-election battles, looming indictments, and more – all with a sense of humor. Even if you don’t have Prime, you can watch the pilot episode for free.

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XBMC / Kodi Incompatible with Fire TV Software Version 51.1.4.0_user_514005520

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Along with the realease of the UK Fire TV, we saw the release of two new software versions: 51.1.40_user_514005520 and 51.1.4.0_user_514006420. So far only UK Fire TVs are getting these updates, but if the German Fire TV release is any indication, all Fire TVs should eventually be receiving these updates. Word is that the older of the two versions, 51.1.40_user_514005520, is incompatible with XBMC/Kodi. When launched on Fire TVs running software version 51.1.40_user_514005520, XBMC/Kodi is immediately crashing. Read more ›

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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. Read more ›

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UK Fire TV Released with New Software Version

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Today marks the release of the Amazon Fire TV in the United Kingdom, joining the US and Germany as the third country where the device is now available. Along with the launch is the release of a new software version, 51.1.4.0_user_514006420, that we haven’t seen before. UK Fire TVs are arriving with at least version 51.1.3.0_user_513011520, as indicated by the presence of a language selection screen during initial setup. Like the German Fire TVs, these units are forcing an unskippable (and unblockable) software update during the initial setup process. This forced update is the aforementioned new 51.1.4.0_user_514006420 version. This means that, like German Fire TVs, the UK Fire TVs cannot currently be rooted.

If history repeats itself, expect all Fire TVs to soon receive this new update. I’ll be sure to cover any changes this new update brings.

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Suite of Fire TV BBC Apps Released for UK Residents

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Just in time for tomorrow’s UK release of the Fire TV, the British Broadcasting Corporation has released BBC iPlayer, BBC News, and BBC Sport apps for the Fire TV. As expected, the apps are geographically restricted, meaning they can only be downloaded if the country setting in your Amazon account is set to the United Kingdom. Even if you installed the apps on a non-UK Fire TV, the apps themselves are IP restricted, meaning you would only be able to view content if you were connected to the internet through a British internet service provider. I’ll be posting a guide on how to bypass these restrictions later today.

Update

My guides are now up. To install these BBC apps (or any geographically restricted apps) on a non-UK Fire TV, follow this guide. To bypass the regional restrictions within the app, follow this guide.

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