Amazon is diverting all new Fire TV stock to massive internal testing pool for bug fixing effort

The new 2nd-gen Amazon Fire TV went out of stock shortly after its release date. The shortage seemed to be a result of the pricing mistake which reduced the flagship streaming device’s price by 20% just two days after its debut. When the new Fire TV Gaming Edition, which was not affected by the pricing mistake, also went out of stock a few days later, many began to speculate that Amazon was artificially haulting sales due to numerous software issues surounding the new device. A trusted source on the Fire TV team who wishes to remain anonymous has informed me of the true reason for the new Fire TV’s lack of availability. Amazon is giving all new Fire TVs that arrive from the factory to employees to create a large pool of internal testers for the massive bug fixing effort currently in effect.

Amazon is diverting every new Fire TV arriving from the factory to this internal campaign to make the new streaming device rock solid. All employees in Amazon’s hardware division are being asked to take a new Fire TV home and participate in software testing and reporting. I’m told there are currently about 500 people in this pool of Fire TV testers. Each one is given nightly tasks to test new software and is reporting their findings back to the Fire TV team the following day.

An entire team of people are solely working on making sure the new wifi based remote, which has been plagued with disconnection issues, is rock solid in the upcoming version 5.0.3 software release. Other bugs, I’m told, that are being worked on are low volume issues and surround sound fixes.

One of the new device’s largest complaints, a lack of Dolby Digital surround sound support, which has been partially fixed already, stems from changes made to support Netflix. I’m told by my source at Amazon that Netflix gave the Fire TV engineering team a new version of their software at the last minute which required changes to the Fire TV’s software to work correctly. Those changes conflicted with Dolby Digital surround sound support. With not enough time to fix support for both, Amazon was faced with the decision to ship without Netflix or without Dolby Digital surround sound. They chose the latter which, in my opinion, was the right choice.

New Fire TV owners should expect to see numerous software updates in the coming weeks. Amazon has set an official deadline of November 30th for the remaining Dolby Digital support, but I’m told to expect the new Fire TV to return back in stock before then.

The new Fire TV’s amiss release stemmed from a change in directors at Amazon which resulted in an abbreviated schedule and a relaxation of quality standards. I’m told that there aren’t any hardware issues with the new device, and that the Fire TV team is completely confident and committed to fixing all the software issues and delivering a product they will be proud of.

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  1. Justin says:

    It’s good to know they are putting so much effort into fixing issues right away but it would have been best to have a rock solid launch.
    Especially since shield tv had a relatively bug free launch and there is now greater competition.

    The original fire tv got better with each version so it hurts the brand to have a new hardware release going backward in usability. However, if they do fix the bugs quickly and add additional alexa features and such then they can rebound from the launch.

    • Bill says:

      Anyone seen this happen? have a firetv 2nd gen gaming…added remote from fire tv gen 1 and now kodi stuck in Mute mode. I uninstalled and reinstalled even put Jarvis on but mute still shows…I did try to up volume but to no avail still shows mute…is kodi just not compatible until software update…I also tried to use a keyboard without any luck. FYI no issues with volume with prime and Netflix.

  2. Martin says:

    Good news. Thank you!

  3. clocks says:

    Good. So no hardware tweaks. Just software improvements coming.

    After some initial quirks, my boxes are working pretty well. I still do have some weirdness detecting the 5ghz wifi network though.

    • Tech-ed says:

      I had the same problem. I found the only way to stop the problem with the 5ghz network was to change the 5ghz bandwidth to 20/40hz in the router settings.

    • Danzie says:

      Why not ?
      Sometimes it’s good to throw in a little extra hardware won’t harm. It will even boast the sales. I will consider getting one if they do that ;-)

  4. TheCodingDutchman says:

    Today I learned — Amazon know Netflix sells boxes and introduced a Dolby Audio bug into the FTV2 solely because they wanted to make sure Netflix worked well on the box.

  5. Ulises Rodriguez says:

    Great news!

    We all had so many problems with this new Fire-TV, that I was beginning to think that maybe could have Hardware Problems…

    So, I am now totally Calm and also very happy to know that there aren’t any hardware issues with the new 2nd. Gen Fire-TV!!!

    I still have faith that Amazon will Fix all the bugs to finally deliver a product much better than the Old 1st Gen. Fire-TV!!

  6. BobJ says:

    If I want a new Fire TV 4K model, non stick , what is the best way to get one.

    Pre-order through Amazon now says Delivery on NOv 9th with Two Day Prime delivery. That was with available on Nov 3rd.

    Any way to get that $79 deal, think they will have it again on Black Friday?

    I saw Stapples had some for $79 after coupon but sold out.

    Anyone else beside Stapples and Best Buy (both charge tax)
    authorized to sell Fire TV?

    • TheCodingDutchman says:

      I would think your best bet is a Brick & Mortar store. As for the $20 discount – that was a fluke so who knows if it will ever come back.

      • Danzie says:

        “Good things come to those who waits”.

        Get the device from Amazon. Dude the device is developed by Amazon and I can’t think of any good reason to get from others ( i.e if it’s available at Amazon ).

  7. Charles says:

    I imagine that Amazon really wanted to beat the Roku 4 and new Apple TV to the market and is taking a pretty nasty hit with the bad reviews and word of mouth for that decision. It’s interesting that the Apple TV also seems to having some sort of problem(s) which pushed its release back from October to November. Perhaps they should have waited to release only a rock solid unit but I’ll give Amazon credit for acknowledging the problems (instead of blaming it all on “user error”) and scrambling to get a fix ASAP.

    Personally I’m glad they didn’t wait since my Fire TV has been flawless in the week or so that I’ve had it. No Dolby issues, Kodi runs without a hitch, and the remote has never had so much as a hiccup in staying connected. Although it’s possible I have the ideal situation for a wifi remote, my Fire TV box is ethernet hardwired but the router itself is in the same room only a few feet from the remote at all times, if that makes a difference. Hopefully by the November 30 goal everyone else’s boxes and remotes will also be running perfectly because I think for the price you can’t beat speed and versatility of the device. Especially for running Kodi.

    • TheCodingDutchman says:

      Are you using HDMI passthru for audio in Kodi? That’s the only Kodi issue I’ve run into.

      • Charles says:

        Yes, I tried using the Kodi passthru to my Denon receiver. But all I get is a screeching white noise. Which I do find frustrating since I’ve gone to the trouble (and space) of trying to encode most of my movies (around 70) with HD soundtracks. So yes, I guess I should count that as a problem. Although watching those collected movies is such a small part of my Fire TV experience that it’s not a dealbreaker to me. I think that the Nvidia Shield TV will do that straight passthru. But it’s twice the cost and I just don’t think that Android TV is ready yet (no HBO GO yet, among other things)and I like how I can very easily customize my Fire TV UI with FireStarter.

  8. simon says:

    It’s not just Amazon that have bugs…. My new Fire TV will not output UHD to my Samsung 4K screen due to HDCP 2.2 connectivity issues, Samsung say its a know issue and are working on a firmware update to fix it.
    In the meantime anyone else with HDCP 2.2 issues regarding AV equipment should take a look at this little device with cures the problem

    • Chris wolfe says:

      What model do you have? I have a 2014 model and only one input works for 4k.

      • Simon says:

        I have a 2015 JS9000

        • Carlos says:

          You have JS9000 which means you’re all set. Why do you need a media box ?
          Netflix, Youtube, Hulu you name it.. that beast can play without any sweat with excellent SUHD quality picture. Don’t forget it comes with 8x cores inside.

          55 or 65 inch ?

          • Simon says:

            I have the 55″ which sits perfect in my lounge but you can’t put Kodi on it yet can you ? I do enjoy some diverse sports which are not on the mainstream channels.

  9. Rossco says:

    I’m not so sure this is the case I hope so but if you only expect a demand of 500 box in 6 weeks.

    Was it even worth producing the box.

    I hope what you say is right as 5ghz only work on
    Channel 36 that’s to low for 1300 ac speed.
    And is a requirement for no hvec encoded 4k

    Other bugs I can live with but I can see how software will fix range of device that’s only half its predecessor.

  10. Jay says:

    I hope amazon fixes the hdmi hdcp2.2 issue too. When I use the ftv2 on my new yahmaha receiver that hdmi 2.0 and hdcp2.2 2.2 the surround channels are all mixed up. When I go back to 1.4 std channels are fine… so frustrating

  11. Rossco says:

    Can not see how software will fix range of device is half its predecessor

  12. Elad says:

    I think it is amazing that Amazon decided to release a product to the market knowing the spec they published is not worth the paper that is written on (4K issue / Dolby surround).

    I expect Amazon to give compensation for all pre-sale customers.

  13. Dan says:

    I am using an HD Homerun prime network tuner. Video playback is much worse on the new box vs the old. Both using the instatv app and Kodi addon. I have a tough time believing it’s just software. In general, using the new box for non 4K, I find the video in Kodi is worse.

  14. atoneapone says:

    Guys instead of complaining too much about ftv2, just keep on using the 1year ole faithful FTV1 (It’s been great all year using it). I’m sure fixes for ftv2 will be completed by atleast years end, so too much longer now.

    • Bill says:

      The are working on it. If they would have waited to release FTV2 later, people would be complaining about it taking so long for the box to come out. We are impatient, I would have purchased a different box and most likely have been disapointed that I didn’t buy AFTV2. If you’re frustrated send the thing back and spend $150 to $200 on one of the other streaming boxes.

  15. Dave says:

    Once Amazon decided not sell Chromecast or Apple TV no more it seems people was looking for a reason to bash their streaming media player.

    • pmcd says:

      I don’t think that is the case. Amazon’s decision to use sales’ tactics to compete with Apple and Google was strange and not a high point in their history. The AFTV has had a long history of problems with Plex, related to audio. They have unfortunately released hardware that is a dud at this point in trying to compete with Google and Apple. The product is really nice on paper, Amazon Prime works well, Kodi works well, Netflix has problems with subtitles (gen 1). They really messed up with this one. They should give every buyer of a gen 2 Fire TV some Prime credits and hope for the best.

  16. Dustin says:

    This seems odd. “Diverting new boxes to employees for bug fixes.” That’s a lot of employees, and once they use them, are they considered refurbs?

    I bought two, returned one to Best Buy and got the Shield. Considering returning the other one. So many unanswered questions.

    • MrG says:

      I think you make whatever is best decision for your personal needs. I don’t have a 4K TV, I only want a device that can do Netflix, Hulu plus, Prime and be able to run Kodi to connect to my NAS to run my rather huge library of mkvs. We have multiple TVs (like 5) so all this has to be for a low price. And $200 for a shield doesn’t match up with $100 for the FTV.

      • rossco says:

        no reason not to do what it says on the box

      • Dustin says:

        I care a lot about emulators and retro gaming. Once you factor in the controller its only a $50 difference. But the deciding factor is not being able to get espxe to work right or PS4 remote play on Fire TV2. Not saying a Shield would be necessary for multiple TV’s but I do like the added benefits for at least one of them.

  17. Dan says:

    Change in directors? There must be more to that story. Sure seemed like the guy behind the old product had nothing to do with the new one.

  18. vulcan195 says:

    I hope they fix the Custom DNS issue with the WiFi connection (custom DNS settings do not stick) … works fine on wired connection. But I need WiFi to work with Custom DNS. Please fix.

  19. Barry77 says:

    Kodi shortcut through ADB fire on Amazon Fire TV 2 does not work either . The picture on the main screen is displayed but does not work with Kodi . How this can be solved . Anyone have any idea?

  20. Chuck says:

    I had to send my firetv2 back, as it had hardware issues! Would not read any external storage. They did some testing g on the unit prior to me sending it back, confirming it was hardware issues. Now, I have to wait for the units to get back into stock, before I can get my firetv2. So, I cont. to use my firetv1 and stick.

  21. Graham Murphy says:

    Ive had both old & new fire tv boxes & the new one was a major dissapointment so much so i took it back to argos & had it exchanged for a Google nexus player made by asus & found this box is a lot less hassle – more versitile & wipes the floor with the fire tv boxes…ok no 4k but lets face fact there is very little 4k content also most broadcasters are just releasing stuff in full 1080.

  22. JackFrost says:

    So I was correct, it was pulled to rectify issues.

  23. Trojan4Evr says:

    Sorry AFTVNEWS.COM,…but you lost me at the title…

    “Amazon is diverting all new Fire TV stock to massive internal testing pool for bug fixing effort”

    ….Really???…I ain’t buying it!!!…Just doesn’t make any sense. Amazon should focus on the well documented issues/complaints that have been found-out/made so far and send the software updates ASAP!!! No need for a “large pool”…And no way the student pricing mistake was so huge that it depleted their stock…I ain’t buying it…Just my 2 cents…

    • nealham says:

      Do you not understand how bugs get fixed in general? The problem always has to be recreated on the devloper/manufactures end in order to better diagnose and fix it. Just going off of comments and complaints will get nothing fixed. I’m glad Amazon is making this effort because it sounds like they really want to fix the issues.

      • Trojan4Evr says:

        So this supposed large pool will find out even more bugs/issues than the “normal” size testing pool was supposed to find all these bugs/issues from the get-go???…And since “you” seem to “understand” how bugs get fixed in general,…maybe you should get a job at Amazon so you can join their “large pool” of testers to help sort all this mess out…

  24. Keith says:

    Feel kinda like an outside observer since i wasn’t even impressed enough by the “upgrades” to buy this. But based on how terrible the developer preview was i have to agree amazon probably didnt polish this software at all before release.
    Also, i think it is all software related. Bought my wife one of those $50 kindles and ive seen freezes,needed reboots to get wifi working among other minor bugs. Of course you get what you pay for but in my opinion this os is still in beta.
    Fyi–still a good deal. Platic flimsy body and i was upset to see it doesnt mirror or cast to aftv (whats that about?) but for 50 i figure i got a bargain.

  25. antony adebakin says:

    Hi am tony from the uk, interesting to see how the content consolidation will work out, wondering what apple are up to didn’t think they would miss the 4k bandwaggon ,
    Have two AFTV g1 and 1AFTV stick am not getting the AFTV g2, went with nvidia shield mainly so i could get some doom3 and half life episode 1-2 soulclabar and other retro/simulator gaming, have loved the AFTV, hardware always flawless and perfect price range have given several to friends and family preconfigured with kodi all loved it some even got prime for the kids.
    Am very surprised at how long its taking to develop fire OS5, lollypop been out for a while and they like apple control the hardware integration across all there devices should be tight from day one, anyway happy to watch the streaming evolution wars unfold

  26. Dan says:

    Wouldn’t it make more sense for the employees to take home the returned units rather than diverting new inventory ?

    I think Elias does s great job with his reporting. I don’t doubt employees are testing FireTV in an all hands on deck effort. I just don’t buy this is where the new inventory is going. I also don’t see Amazon cutting the price to $80?for a couple hours was a mistake (but student discount to $60 was a mistake?) and then selling too many due to the sale.

  27. awt says:

    I’m glad I returned my secoond gen FireTV. It was a huge step backwards from my first gen. I wasn’t even getting 5.1 DD+ from Netflix or Amazon. And I didn’t like paying $100 to be a beta tester. At least Amazon was quick to give me my refund. I received it before they had even received the FireTV back.

  28. Adam says:

    I’ve bit the bullet and tried the regular aftv2,and the gaming edition. I really like how the gaming controller feels, but I’ve decided that upgrading from the aftv1 makes no sense. Returning both, looks like Nvidia Shield Tv might be a much better choice to future-proof the setup. It comes with unlockable bootloader, 4k@60Hz, supports remotes. The only thing that is missing is amazon instant video, which can be sideloaded.

    • Dustin says:

      How do you sideload Amazon Instant Video on Shield? I sideloaded the Amazon Appstore and the Instant Video apk. When I open the instant video apk, all seems well until I hit play on a video. Then it just kicks back to the menu.

    • Bill says:

      Also would be interested in how you side loaded as I could not get to work either.

  29. cosmos79 says:

    Like many others here, I’m delighted to learn that Amazon is devoting so much effort (albeit belatedly) to fix the numerous bugs in the AFTV2. As soon as all the main bugs are hammered out I’ll take the plunge.

  30. ComfortablNumb says:

    I bought the AfTV2 a couple days ago at Staples, to replace my FireTV Stick, and it’s constant buffering issues. After the first half hour I gave up on the remote and been using my old Sticks Bluetooth remote. The AFTV 2 to me has been solid, and since wired, no buffering issues,but I’m still thinking of returning it for the remote alone. I just don’t care for WiFi remotes, I wasn’t even aware it was wifi when I bought it. Also speaking of the remote, seems no one has mentioned the funky battery terminals, there a weird button looking contraption, not springs. Seems like one more thing that could go wrong down the road.

    I don’t have a 4K TV just 40″ 1080P display, and I don’t plan on gaming, I would of bought the V1 to begin with but nobody around me has it, but I can take a bit of a day trip and go to another store further out and get the V1.

    • Dustin says:

      um EVERYONE has been talking about the remote issues including the battery cover, which to me really isn’t that big of an issue. The remote unpairing is a huge issue,

  31. Johnny P says:

    As much as I understand the frustration with people being upset because of the issues (bugs) with the device, I don’t think people fully understand the development process of such devices. Do you think Amazon employees designed the device and then just shipped it out? Even with this being a second gen model it can’t be expected to be 100% out of the box for 100% of the people. I could understand if everyone purchasing this device had the same TV, The same Internet Service, the same wiring, the same interferences within their residents, so on and so on, but that’s not real world. I for one have not experienced any wifi remote issues, nor have I experienced any 5ghz connection issues, or Dolby Digital Plus issues, but I have experienced an issue with my bluetooth headset disconnection when hitting play. Should we fault Amazon for this, no, could they honestly predict, hey that guy Johnny is going to buy our device and he has an LG headset so we better make sure it works flawlessly before shipping. If this were the case, devices would never get made. I am not bashing anyone who is upset, because the bottom line is you spent $100, some less, some more, on a device and expect it to work. As a consumer, that part I get. The part I can’t wrap myself around is the lack of knowledge that people have in expecting something to be 100% flawless all the time. We aren’t back in the 70’s and 80’s, we live i a world where a company can design a sweet product, find out there are issues, and try their best to remedy all the issues, all through the internet with a firmware/software upgrade. 1000’s of hours go into designing, developing, and testing these devices, and even with all that, there will still be issues. Look at any other manufacture in this space, Apple, Roku, Western Digital, and countless others, they all experience these issues, some more than others, give them a break and let them do what they do…Just my 3 cents…

    • Krom says:

      I agree we cant expect perfection all the time from day one, but no DD5.1 and a flakey remote is a deal breaker for most , a product needs to be fit for purpose this clearly isn’t yet, they chose to break DD5.1 in favor of Netflix on day1 , if this was gen1 I would say its new its a learning curve but gen2 should have the basics down from day 1 amazon are the primary distributor don’t think they needed to be on anybody else’s shelf to succeed with the AFTV2, at the moment I cant recommend it to any of my friends like I did AFTV1, maybe they should have done this mass testing with staff before the release…. 3.5cents worth

  32. Jerry says:

    Is it true that Amazon will add support for older Dolby Digital (not Dolby Digital Plus) systems for the first time in this November 30th update? I was never able to use my sound system which supports Dolby Digital (not Plus) on my original fire tv box. I have to use Kodi to get my surround sound fix. It will be great if the update adds support for non-plus

    “Thank you for the feedback. By this coming Monday, October 12th, you will receive an automatic software update that enables Dolby Digital Plus for customers who have a Dolby Digital Plus system (including support for Netflix and Amazon Video). An update for older Dolby Digital systems (not Dolby Digital Plus) will be distributed on November 30th.”

  33. Rick says:

    The performance on the new Fire TV vs the old one is terrible. The box is junk. The Kodi performance is worse. The remote can’t stay connected and the WiFi chipset antenna gain is terrible. It also has issues connecting to 802.11ac channels that needs to be addressed. My option is amazon needs to recall these and start over. I’ve decided to not talk about the sound issues everyone brings up as there are much bigger issues with the Fire TV 2. Stay away! This box will end an awesome solution we had… Kind of sucks they cut corners. I’m staying with my 4 Gen 1 boxes until I can find a better solution.

    • Rick says:

      Also FYI I did return all the Gen 2 boxes to Amazon

    • Dan says:

      Rick- I agree that the performance of new being terrible. It’s beyond me how some are saying it’s working well for them. I also am shocked to see expert reviews from major publications make no mention of the performance issues.

      I’m hoping there’s some better options with AndroidTV. The OS needs some work still. The only decent hardware is the Nvidia Shield, but it’s too expensive and too big. In addition it only comes with a game controller.

  34. Menon says:

    I have been very happy with my AFTV2 box. It’s paired with a 2014 Samsung 4K set (connected direct).

    I never bought it for Kodi. While I do have a collection of ripped videos … there is so much newer content available now.

    With all the new international stuff out there, I don’t have any interest in rewatching my collection. I installed BBC iPlayer and ITV Player and enjoy it via SmartDNS. I also get access to the Netflix UK catalog through that service. I have the wired network configured with SmartDNS. The wireless is default. So, when I unplug the wired, I can access the Netflix US catalog.

    Now that StarZ and EncoreZ apps have been added, there are even more choices. I side loaded Xfinity TV GO and can use it via the $20 Logitech K400 keyboard. Works great. As for accessing the side loaded apps and the native apps through one interface I use a native app called ‘Application Organizer’ from the Amazon AppStore. Works great.

    The only issue I have is that my Samsung currently takes the incoming DD+ and sends it as stereo via TOSLINK to my receiver. So until the firmware fix, the workaround is to configure the Audio Options in the Samsung to send DTS Neo 5:2. While this may seem as a huge compromise, it’s really not. I tested by sending a DD5.1 channel test audio to the Samsung … and verified that the discrete audio was fully retained when sending it out as DTS Neo (the receiver shows the DTS 5.1 flag).

    So overall, very happy with the unit. And did I mention that I can watch Netflix 4K and Amazon 4K in a way that is quicker than the native apps on the TV? I verified that currently, the voice search can pull up matches within: Amazon Prime, HBO, Showtime, StarZ, Encore, Hulu. I just hope they succumb to pressure and add Netflix.

    My remote has had zero issues (not counting the 15 mins it took to access the battery compartment). Since I use 5Ghz N channels for the AFTV2, it never clashes with the the 2.4GHz that the remote uses.

    I paid $79 for this. Well worth it.

  35. tomd says:

    I had a problem with AFTV2 remote. I replaced the Amazon batteries which seemed to fix the problem.

  36. blane says:

    I’m wondering why none of the online reviews don’t mention the problems that end users are seeing. Certainly the reviewers must have seen these issues????

    For me, the reviews are not realistic, but mouth pieces for Amazon. Not one that I’ve seen has complained about the remote, Dolby, or other issues.

    Something is wrong there.

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  38. famoej says:

    Why did Amazon leave out optical output in the gen 2 device. I believe that I should be able to use the HDMI input on my Marantz 8801 for audio, but since the new Gen2 unit I just got came DOA, I won’t know until tomorrow.

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