Older Amazon Fire TVs, Fire TV Sticks, and Fire TV Edition televisions released before 2017 are starting to receive a new software update. The update carries version number 126.96.36.199 and a build value of 623529620. This update appears to be adding support for the upcoming Fire TV Recast DVR through a new Live TV menu that now appears in the Fire TV’s Settings area. Also added by this update is a new Privacy Settings menu that consolidates several privacy options that already existed prior to this update, as well as adding a new option for turning off device usage data collection.
This software update is currently rolling out the Fire TV 1, Fire TV 2, Fire TV Stick 1, Fire TV Stick 2, and the 1st-gen of Fire TV Edition televisions manufactured by Element and Westinghouse. This update is rolling out slowly, so it’s likely not yet available on most Fire TV devices. These updates usually take about a week to fully roll out. Newer file TV models, including the Fire TV 3 (pendant), Fire TV Cube, and 2nd-gen Fire TV Edition televisions manufactured by Toshiba and Insignia might also receive a similar update soon, but that is as of yet unknown.
This new 188.8.131.52 software update appears to add support for the Fire TV Recast that will be released in about a month. In the Fire TV’s Settings menu, just after the Applications menu, is a new menu labeled Live TV. This menu is identical to the one available on Fire TV Edition televisions, for managing the TV tuner built into those TVs, but now it’s being brought to Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks for managing the tuner settings in the Fire TV Recast.
In the Live TV menu is a “Channel Management” menu that indicates there are zero channels available. Selecting the menu doesn’t do anything, presumably because a Fire TV Recast has not been set up. Assuming this menu will behave the same way as the one on Fire TV Edition televisions, this will be where you scan for channels, see individual channel signal strength, hide unwanted channels, and add channels to your list of favorites.
The “Live TV Sources” menu contains a single option for “Fire TV Recast (US Only)” that gives you the option to pair a Fire TV Recast with your Fire TV. Selecting to pair a Fire TV Recast begins scanning your network for the device. Presumably, once a Fire TV Recast is paired, there will be further configuration options in this menu that are related to the Fire TV Recast.
The other new addition that I’ve found so far is a new “Privacy Settings” menu that is located in the Fire TV’s Preferences menu. This menu contains four options related to data collected by Amazon through the Fire TV. Three of these options were already present on the Fire TV prior to this latest update, but they were scattered around in other Settings menus. They’ve now been consolidated in this one new Preferences menu.
The first option on the list of privacy settings relates to Device Usage Data, which, as far as I can tell, is a new option that was not available before this update. The description of this new option says it uses “personal data collected by the operating system of this device for marketing and product improvement purposes.” I assume the Fire TV has always done this data collection, since it’s common practice by pretty much all tech manufacturers, but now you have the option to turn it off.
The second privacy option is one that used to live in the Applications menu on the Fire TV. It lets you opt out of data collection related to which apps you are using. The final two options relate to ads displayed on the Fire TV. These options were added over 2 years ago to Fire TV devices, but they’ve now just been moved to this new menu. They allow you to opt out of interest-based ads and let you reset your anonymous advertising ID value.
Many of you reading this are probably eager to turn all of these tracking options off, and I don’t blame you one bit, but keep in mind that this is probably one of the main things that helps Amazon determine where their improvement efforts should be focused. If you turn off device and app usage collection, the way you use your device will no longer be considered by Amazon when they decide which improvements to make.
If you notice any other changes brought on by this latest software update, please be sure to mention them in the comments below.