NPR delivers personalized stories, shows, and podcasts with new Fire TV app

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National Public Radio has brought their nationally syndicated programming to all Fire TV devices with their new NPR One app. It features storytelling and reporting from near and far with the inclusion of local stories from your local public radio stations. The app tailors itself to your taste in stories by learning which type of programming you skip. If you use the matching sister app for phones and tablets, it will sync your position and allow you to pick up listening seamlessly from your Fire TV to your mobile device, and vice versa.

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Al Jazeera America news app released for the Amazon Fire TV

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Al Jazeera America has just released a new app for the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. The app is compatible with both 1st and 2nd-gen devices. Al Jazeera is among the largest news organizations with 80 bureaus around the world and, due to their origin as a once Arabic only news channel, is often the first news outlet to report on events in the Middle East. Be aware that Al Jazeera is partially funded by the Qatar government and has been criticized as being a propaganda outlet for their foreign policy, as well as having mainly Islamist perspectives. This new app provides on-demand streaming of both their short news clips and full-length episodes of their news shows.

Update

Some have had issue with the second to last sentence in this article. The statements about Qatar and Islamist perspectives were taken from the Al Jazeera wikipedia page and are not my opinion. Im sorry. I should have made that clearer.

I have no personal opinions on Qatar, Al Jazeera, or Islamist perspectives. And I certainly would never include such opinions on this website. I simply did a bit of research about Al Jazeera prior to writing this post and thought some may want to know the views expressed in this app may not be unbiased.

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FOX News app released for Amazon Fire TV & Fire TV Stick

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A “new” FOX News app has just been released for the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. While it may seem like a dedicated app on the surface, it’s actually just the video hub app Hotlist with all but FOX News stripped out. This became apparent when the app crashed and revealed its guts. Speaking of crashes, the app is quite buggy. I had to force stop the app several times while trying it out, which is not fun because it strangely takes 15 seconds just to launch. You’re much better off with the CBS or BBC news apps for your Fire TV news needs.

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Amazon extends Christmas shipping deadlines

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Amazon has extended their holiday shopping deadline to receive packages in time for Christmas. Orders must be placed by December 19th 11:59pm EST if you select the free shipping option. Orders using Two-Day shipping, which is free for Prime members, must be placed no later than December 22nd. If you miss that deadline you’ll have to select One-Day shipping for orders placed on December 23rd. The absolute latest you can wait to order and still receive your package on Christmas day is December 24th 10:00am with the Same-Day shipping option. Remember, the Fire TV is still on sale for a great price at just $79, but no word how long that sale will last.

If you’ll be taking advantage of these extended deadlines to do some last minute gift shopping, please remember to use the “Shop Amazon” link in the navigation menu above. It’s a tiny gesture on your part but really does go a long way to help keep this website running and is the best way to show your appreciation for AFTVnews.

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Slingplayer App arrives on the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick

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Sling Media has just released their Slingplayer app for the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. The app lets you to watch and control your home TV and DVR from anywhere using one of the companies 3 compatible Slingbox devices. It can be used to extend your cable experience to another TV in the house, or turn the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick into an even better travel companion by allowing you to take your living room experience with you when you’re away from home.

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AGK Fire App lets you transfer apps from an Android device to an Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick

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A handy new Android app called AGK Fire has been released that allows you to install/transfer any app currently on an Android device to an Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick. If you own an Android smartphone or tablet, this is a very convenient way to get apps from the Google Play store installed onto a Fire TV without rooting. AGK Fire can even be sideloaded onto a Fire TV and used to install Fire TV only apps onto a Fire TV Stick. You can download AGK Fire for free from the developer’s XDA thread. I’ll have guides on using AGK Fire up soon.

Update

My guide on using AGK fire is now up. See it here.

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Amazon Fire TV Hardware Root Demonstrated

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Earlier this week I posted about the Fire TV Stick being rooted via direct hardware manipulation. The GTVHacker guys have now demonstrated using the same method to root a Fire TV. This rooting method involves soldering leads to various points on the Fire TV’s circuit board in order to directly access the device’s 8GB eMMC storage. Therefore, it is unlikely many people will attempt this rooting method as it involves intricate soldering skills. Because this method directly interfaces with the Fire TV’s file system, it can be used to root any Fire TV, regardless of software version. Read more ›

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Amazon still shipping Rootable Fire TVs

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Those of you who took advantage of yesterday’s great Fire TV sale will be happy to know that Amazon is still shipping out rootable Fire TVs. The Fire TV I ordered yesterday just arrived a few minutes ago and it has software version 51.1.0.1_user_510055620, which is rootable. Of course, this doesn’t mean that all Fire TVs shipping around the country will also be rootable, but it does confirm that there is still a chance to get an older unit.

I am currently working on an all encompassing starters guide that will get new Fire TV owners through all the various guides, from start to finish, for rooting, installing ClockworkMod, updating with pre-rooted ROMs, and more. Look for that to be posted very soon. In the mean time, if you can’t wait for the starters guide, be sure to take precautions during the inital setup since my new Fire TV immediatly tried to download the latest unrootable software, which is currently 51.1.4.1_user_514013920.

If you ordered a new Fire TV yesterday, post a comment below, once it arrives, letting everyone know what software version it came with and roughly where you are located. To get things started, I’m in the Los Angeles, CA area.

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Amazon reportedly launching Free ad-supported Video Service

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The New York Post reports that Amazon is gearing up to launch a new free, ad-supported video service early next year. The service will be separate from from it’s $99 Prime Instant Video offering. Sources say the service is meant to entice customers to upgrade to Prime membership. Those of you without Prime who use your Fire TV primarily for apps like XBMC may soon have a reason to peruse the Fire TV’s home screen.

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Pre-Rooted Fire TV Software Update 51.1.4.1 Delayed

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The latest Fire TV software update, version 51.1.4.1_user_514013920, is currently rolling out to devices. Those of you with rooted Fire TVs are going to have to wait a bit longer than usually before a pre-rooted version of the update is made available. Rbox, the developer behind the pre-rooted software releases has hit a major snag. I captured the update URL and forwarded it over to rbox as I always do. He used it to create a pre-rooted version and loaded it onto his Fire TV. Everything seemed fine until he rebooted the device. After rebooting, the Fire TV was dead. Well, almost dead. It seems to be in some sort of Qualcomm recovery mode that is preventing the bootloader from loading.

No word on how long the delay will be or if the issue can even be resolved. I believe rbox has only one Fire TV, so if you haven’t done so yet, now would be a great time to donate to rbox and keep his motivation going. Let him know in the donation comment that AFTVnews sent you so he knows this community is thankful for his hard work. Without him, those with rooted Fire TVs would be faced with the difficult decision of either keeping root or updating every time a new Fire TV update is released.

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