Alexa on the Amazon Fire TV to receive a complete visual overhaul

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 ›

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Software update is only for the Amazon Fire TV 2

Amazon has just updated their Fire TV Software Update page to now list the new update that began rolling out last week. It appears as though the new update is only for the 2nd-gen Fire TV, since Amazon has only updated the listing for that one model. Amazon hasn’t changed the “New and Enhanced Features” section of the update page, so it’s still a mystery what this new update changes. Since the update is only being deployed to one model in the Fire TV lineup, it likely addresses a change or a fix related to that specific hardware. Amazon never gives any details about which bugs they’ve fixed, so we’ll likely never know what this new update does.

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Downloader v1.1.3 is now live with fullscreen browsing, zoom in the browser, and game controller support

Version 1.1.3 of my Downloader app for the Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and upcoming Fire TV Edition televisions has just gone live in the Amazon appstore. The main new features are a fullscreen mode for the built-in web browser, zooming capabilities in the browser, and full support for the Fire TV Game Controller.

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Amazon Fire TV software update begins rolling out

A new software update has started rolling out to 2nd-gen Amazon Fire TVs. The software update carries version number and build number 574262620. It’s not clear at this time if the update adds any new features or if it just contains bug fixes. So far, I’ve only heard of 2nd-gen Fire TV set-top boxes receiving the update, so it may not be released to other Fire TV models. Sound off in the comments if you receive the update, which device it arrived on, and if you notice any changes.

For those wondering, this update has nothing to do with the new blacklisted app. The two things are not connected, since I’ve confirmed that devices still on older software versions still receive the updated blacklist.

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SPMC version 16.7 released with patch for subtitle security vulnerability

SPMC, the popular Kodi fork, has just released version 16.7.0 of the media player app. This update contains a patch for the subtitle security vulnerability that Kodi fixed last week. It’s recommended that all SPMC users update to this latest version. The easiest way to do so is to use my Downloader app from the Amazon appstore and enter into the URL field on the home screen of the app.

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MrMC updates add native Emby support, custom OSD timeout setting, and more

The guys behind MrMC, the media player app from the developers who originally brought Kodi to Android devices, have been quite busy since the last time I wrote about the app. They have released 4 recent updates to MrMC and are now at version 3.0.4 of the app. Those updates have brought support for the Emby media server, improved playback, new setting options, numerous bug fixes, and more. Read more ›

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Overview of the new Amazon Shopping app for the Fire TV

Amazon has been working on bringing a full-fledged shopping app to the Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and soon the Fire TV Edition televisions, for some time. They recently leaked details of the app and now it seems like a functional version is starting to quietly roll out to devices in preparation of an official reveal. Here’s how the app will look and work. Read more ›

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Movies and TV shows from 3rd-party services are coming to the Amazon Fire TV’s ‘Recent’ row

Now that the revamped Fire TV and Fire TV Stick interface has been released to all devices, new and old, Amazon is starting to work on polishing the home screen and incrementally improving the interface. They recently started allowing 3rd-party apps to recommend content directly on the home screen in an effort to help non-Amazon content gain more exposure. Now Amazon will be making a significant change to the way apps and content appear in the Fire TVs “Recent” row on the home screen. Apps will be able to list content there that’s relevant to your recent activity, instead of just displaying the app icon. Read more ›

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Fire TV update causing poor 24p video playback in MrMC, Kodi, and SPMC

If your Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick has received the software update, you may be experiencing poor video playback within MrMC, Kodi, and SPMC. The developer of MrMC has emailed me letting me know that the updated version of Fire OS does not handle switching the video output to a 24Hz refresh rate correctly. This is a feature videophiles use to achieve perfect 1-to-1 synchronization between the frames in a video and the rate at which the display updates, but with software version, it results in jerky stuttering video. Read more ›

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Alexa added to all Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick models in the UK and Germany

Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick owners in the US have had access to Alexa on their devices for over a year, but the voice assistant hasn’t made an appearance on Fire TV devices overseas yet. That has finally changed with the new software update currently rolling out to all Fire TV models globally. In addition to bringing the new Fire TV user interface to older 1st-generation models, as well as a few other new features, the update adds Alexa to all UK and German Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks. Read more ›

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