Amazon has switched to using incremental software updates for the 2nd generation Fire TV. This means that over-the-air updates to Fire OS 5 will be tiny in comparison to Fire OS 3 updates on the 1st generation Fire TV. Instead of having to download the entire operating system anytime there’s a software update, you’ll only download the parts that have changed. The latest 2nd-gen Fire TV software update, which fixed the Dolby Digital Plus issue on the new device, clocked in at just under 15 MB. In comparison, the latest 1st-gen Fire TV software update, which is not incremental and therefore includes the entire operating system, was 467 MB. This is great news for those with data caps on their internet service, which is unfortunately becoming more and more common.
If you happen to skip a few software updates, don’t worry, you won’t be forced to install several incirmental updates to catch up. Amazon will combine multiple incremental updates together to get your Fire TV updated quickly, regardless of which version your Fire TV happens to be running. If you boot up a brand new 2nd-gen Fire TV today, you’ll receive a single 128 MB update that takes your devices to the latest software version, even though two updates have been released for the new Fire TV.
It’s unclear at this point if the 1st-gen Fire TV will also be switching to incremental updates once it receives the update to Fire OS 5, but it’s likely. A change to incremental updates does make life a bit more difficult for custom ROM creators, like rbox, since they’ll need to manually combine multiple incremental updates into a single full ROM in order for it to work regardless of which software version the target device is running. If the 2nd-gen Fire TV ever becomes rooted, it will also be necessary to create a clean OS dump of the device for ROM creators to use as their base, since we’ll likely never get a non-incremental software image from Amazon for the 2nd-gen Fire TV. While the workload has increased, fear not, since custom ROMs are still possible with incremental updates from Amazon.