The Fire TV’s integration with live channels and services, colloquially called the live experience, has continuously evolved and expanded over the years. Amazon has now highlighted that there are over 400 channels from nearly 20 providers integrated together into the Fire TV’s various interfaces. Over 200 of those channels are available free with ads and, in most cases, without needing to sign up or log in to any app or service.
The full list of apps and services that integrate live channels into the Fire TV’s live experience can be found here. It includes completely free services, like Tubi and Pluto, as well as paid services, like YouTube TV and Philo. Sling TV uniquely integrates both free ad-suported channels as well as their paid channels. Most recently Xumo and Amazon’s own News app have integrated channels and Plex will be integrating soon.
Fire TV first dipped into live channels with the release of the first Fire TV Edition televisions in 2017. With those TVs came the arrival of a channel guide and an “On Now” row on the home screen to display channels from the built-in over-the-air tuner. It wasn’t until early 2018 that Amazon added those new live channel interfaces to all Fire TV devices so that customers subscribed to Prime Video Channels with available live streams, like HBO and Showtime, had a way to easily browse what was currently airing live.
When the Fire TV Recast launched in late 2018, it gave Fire TV owners a way to add over-the-air channels to the Fire TV’s live interfaces without needing to buy a Fire TV Edition television. Less than a month later, the now-defunct PlayStation Vue service became the first 3rd-party provider to integrate channels into the Fire TV’s channel guide. This opened up the flood gates for other apps and services to integrate their channels as well, with Pluto, Philo, and Sling TV being among the first to do so.
With numerous apps and services already integrated into the channel guide and the “On Now” home screen row, Amazon launched the Live tab on all Fire TV devices as a central place to browse live content across multiple services in a more visually appealing way than the channel guide offers. This was the first time Amazon added a new tab to the Fire TV’s main navigation menu. The Live tab has since expanded to the UK, Germany, Canada, and India.
It has been a steady road of improvements and expansion to where things are today. For fans of linear television, this is probably only the beginning of what’s to come.