Amazon reverts Fire TV home screen change by moving ‘Recently Watched’ row back to the top

Amazon has stepped back one of the most controversial changes brought on by the Fire TV’s new interface update. The “Next Up For You” row, which was introduced with the new interface update and promised to provide custom recommendations for what to watch next, has been moved from the top row on the new home screen to the fourth row. Replacing it as the new top row is the “Recently Watched” row, which used to sit at the top of the old interface but, to the annoyance of many, got pushed far down the home screen when the new interface arrived. Below that is still a sponsored row and the “Recently Used Apps” row, which was also moved up the home screen from its original position farther down when the new interface first debuted.

One of the biggest complaints of the Fire TV home screen for a long time has been its lack of personalization. While you could always control which app icons had priority placement on the home screen, the rest of the interface was full of content options that were the same for all Fire TV users. The “Next Up For You” row, which arrived along with the new Fire TV interface late last year, was supposed to address that complaint by learning from your watching habits and providing personalized movie and TV show recommendations. Amazon touted it as one of the main improvements brought on by the new interface and it had enough faith in it to place it as the very top row, just below the navigation bar, which also now housed the customizable list of your top 6 apps.

While the “Next Up For You” row is, in my opinion, great in concept, it was destined to fall short of its potential because it couldn’t recommend content from all services and it had no insight into what you watched within most apps. The only way for Amazon to know the types of content you watch, and then, in turn, use that information to recommend similar content in the “Next Up For You” row, is if you select content from the Fire TV’s main interface. Since most people likely select content from within 3rd-party apps, which Amazon correctly does not monitor, there is simply no way to build a complete picture of what kind of content you prefer. For those who didn’t primarily select content from the Fire TV’s main interface, this often left the “Next Up For You” row filled with uninteresting recommendations.

This is likely what has lead Amazon to now rearrange the order of rows on the Fire TV’s home screen. At the top is now the “Recently Watched” row. Similar to the “Next Up For You” row, this row also suffers from not knowing what you watched within 3rd-party apps, but at least it always shows something that is relevant to you, which is why many people prefer it to the “Next Up For You” row. I know because of the 35 Loader shortcut apps I released recently, the one for your Recently Watched list is easily among the most popular. The second row is still an advertisement, which changes between being a banner ad or a list of sponsored apps, and the third row is the “Recently Used Apps” row. The “Next Up For You” row is still around as the fourth row, for those of you who do use it.

I commend my former colleagues on the Fire TV team who, presumably, recognized that the “Next Up For You” row was not performing as well as they had hoped and who made the call to revert the home screen row order back to one that more closely resembled how it was with the older interface. The old interface had a single “Recents” row at the top which mixed recently used apps and recently watched content. I do, personally, prefer the new approach of separating recent content and recent apps into two rows. Despite your opinion of the “Next Up For You” row, making the call to reduce its priority, after putting the effort needed to make it a reality, must have been a difficult decision for someone to make, but I think it is for the better and a great call.

Thanks to letour_001 for pointing out this change!

37 comments
  1. Note, if you still see the “Next Up For You” row at the top, try going to Settings > Account & Profile > Sync Amazon Content. If that doesn’t change things, you can try restarting your Fire TV.

    • Nico says:

      Still not seeing it, even after multiple Software updates, restart and syncing of content. Maybe it’s a staged rollout?

  2. Ujn Hunter says:

    Not liking the new interface at all… while technically it makes it easier for me to select my desired TV Input, it makes the older interface’s “Recently Used” away… which was what I actually used to select my desired TV Input as well as my most used Apps. Now I have to click in different directions and look around for things that used to be “just there” before. :|

    • Frank Hiett says:

      Just download wolf launcher. Check out tduk YouTube channel for step by step video on how to install and customize wolf launcher

      • Ujn Hunter says:

        Thanks, but I don’t want a (or rather 2 different) 3rd Party App(s) as a launcher… I just want to be able to select the last things I was doing easily like I used to be able to do. I shouldn’t have to click around an interface constantly to get to the most recent things I’ve been doing.

    • jet_007 says:

      RECENTLY USED has not been taken away. They moved it higher up on the home page with the recent update. You can park/anchor six (6) apps on the home page and the RECENTLY USED APPS is now on ROW 3.

  3. awc says:

    Why does it seem the Chromecast with Google TV does a better job at aggregating and suggesting content from multiple 3rd party apps but Fire TV can not? Is this not true? I know people have their reasons for liking one over the other. Having a Pixel 5 and wanting a consolidated watchlist of everything from all apps makes me want to switch to Google but Alexa and Ring integration make me want to stay with Fire TV. Tough decision!

    • letour_001 says:

      I agree. I don’t want to leave the Fire TV UI and ecosystem. But, hearing that Chromecast with Google TV can aggregate WATCH NEXT content from channel subscriptions and from multiple 3rd party apps (Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+ Peacock, HULU) does make me pause before I decide to invest in the next version of Fire TV 4K stick that will eventually be announced. Did Google pay and/or negotiate that type of access and Amazon just didn’t think it was important? I’m okay with being kick over to the standalone app for playback. I just would like an inclusive WATCH NEXT / RECENTLY WATCHED queue in the Fire TV UI home page. I hope they reconsider and look to be more of a full service aggregator of all content in the future with the Fire TV hardware and UI.

  4. TechyChris says:

    I could care less how many times Amazon rearranges the home screen rows and I accept the fact that Ads pay the bills but… I absolutely need a minimum of 10 Favorites on the home screen, 6 isn’t cutting it!

    • Frank Hiett says:

      Download wolf launcher and customize your home screen. Go to tduk YouTube channel for a step by step guide on installing wolf launcher

  5. Jim Carter says:

    I think it’s funny when people complain about companies promoting their services. If they didn’t do that, they wouldn’t be around very long. Compared to the broadcast networks, the ads I see in apps are nothing. At least the apps usually feature timers indicating the length of the breaks. I get a lot done in those time periods.

  6. Ken Irwin says:

    I really wish they’d just settle on whatever it is they are going to do. I bought my first Fire Stick because Google did this same thing with AndroidTV. Because of TVs that got updated and ones that didn’t and an NVIDIA Shield that was first in line for yet another redesign I ended up with wildly different interfaces everywhere I went. The Version 6 to 7 on AndroidTV wasn’t THAT bad, but the 7 to 8 was a complete and IMHO terrible redo. I personally thought it was so ad-centric that it looked more like what you’d expect FireTV to be. FireTV was more subdued and more consistent, so I sold the Shield on ebay and bought a whole bunch of Fire Sticks to put in all my AndroidTVs I had with the idea that I’d never view AndroidTV ever again.

    So now here we go again, I have 4K Fire Sticks that still have the text menu across the top, and others with the redesign, same for 1K Sticks and now there is another significant UI change in the queue. But at least all my Fire Sticks, either/or, should be in queue to get whatever it is they end up at, where my AndroidTV tale was about release dead ends that would never have been resolved. I just wish they’d just get there already, my first stick was updated near the beginning of the year.

  7. Patricia Beach says:

    I noticed this and I’m very happy about it.

    • Jim Carter says:

      There are only 2 of us who appear to be happy. Everyone else has a laundry list of gripes.

      • letour_001 says:

        LOL. Make it three! I am happy that RECENTLY WATCHED and RECENTLY USED APPS are now near the top of the Home Page. I would just like to see more integration in the Fire TV UI with content from the 3rd party apps.

    • Bladez says:

      I’m very happy about this too! This was the only gripe i had about the new UI update. It just made no sense to have next up first and recently watched was what like 3rd or 4th? Lol. Now, not that these are gripes, but if they’d just move Library to its own place on the right side of ‘Live’and the left side of your first app, but in text form, and move ‘Your Channels’ right below ‘On Now’ and make the app row a little more user friendly. I like the size of it so i don’t think they should try to squeeze more apps in, but if they left it at the 6 apps it is now, but then added like 4 more spaces at the end, that would scroll as you scrolled right, i think that would be awesome, but still have only the 6 viewable of you’re looking at the home screen. Hope that makes sense. I like this ui though, i think it’s much better than the previous. Old one was boring.

    • Mandi Phillips says:

      I’m late to the replying party but make me #4 because I prefer this new design. Haven’t figured out how to customize Top 6 Apps. Thought I found instructions on different site but didn’t work. That’s why I’m here.

  8. Mark says:

    It is what it is…I’m happy.

  9. Bob g says:

    Yeah I’m so happy I could just poop

  10. Keith says:

    Like everything else these days, it’s all “change for change’s sake”.

  11. Mark Matthews says:

    The other key point here which the article doesn’t mention.

    The fact that they restricted quick access on your home screen to just a meager 6 apps, really highlighted the loss of the recent apps also. Now that it’s back in the proper location, it makes it much easier to get to all your most commonly used apps. And compensates for the measly 6 app home row.

  12. clocks says:

    I’m happy they made the change, and put recently watched back where it belongs.

  13. Wayne says:

    Now if they would just bring back the “View on now” feature by hitting the ‘down’ button while watching via the Recast instead of requiring to go back to the guide to switch channels, life would be good.

  14. RG Geiger says:

    Agree!!! A great move putting that “Recently Watched” carousel right up front on the home screen. Combined with the new remote with a dedicated button for the grid guide and in my case, the four service buttons are the four I have subscriptions too and I find I’m using my chromecast with goggle tv less and less.

  15. TechyChris says:

    “Recently Used Apps” should be the first row. I do not understand the point of “Recently Watched Shows” All it consists of (at least to me) are shows I’ve ALREADY watched. I’m DONE with them, why would I want to see them again front and center?
    Bottom line: 6 permanent Favorite Apps is not enough, we need to be able to customize the rows. Amazon can splash all the ads they want in the background, I’m fine with that, it pays the bills. BUT, we need to be able to customize the row position and content displayed on it.

    • clocks says:

      A lot of people start shows and cannot finish them in a single session. I am a prime example of that, since I do most of my TV watching in bed at night while falling asleep. I personally am happy to have the continue watching shows/movies on the first row available.

      • TechyChris says:

        I understand your point of view and it perfectly highlights what
        I am saying about the need for customization because I have the exact opposite experience with the “Recently Watched” row. It’s in my way, one more thing I have to click/scroll past to get to what I want to see.
        This “One Size Fits All” approach to the UI isn’t working. I suspect there are other aspects to Fire TV’s that I am perfectly happy with but you probably feel could use improvement. The same opposing statements are true for the next to users down the line and so on.

        Then again, I have to take a step back and realize we’re talking about a $50 (give or take) piece of electronics. it’s not like Amazon is building Rocket Ships…yet.

    • jet_007 says:

      Not everyone binge watches entire seasons or series in one session. RECENTLY WATCHED keeps in-progress shows highlighted. Some people subscribe to services such as Paramount+ and AMC+ with Prime Video Channels, which release new episodes on a weekly basis. RECENTLY WATCHED keeps an updated/refreshed list of any episodes that are released weekly that you may be watching. That makes RECENTLY WATCHED useful to many. More so than the 7th thru X most used apps you may have after the 6 you keep on the home page.

    • Red says:

      Perfectly illustrates why TC is right – “…. we need to be able to customize the rows.”
      “……..we need to be able to customize the row position and content displayed on it.”

      It wouldn’t take much for Amazon to make a large part of the user base much happier with their device(s).

  16. Team2008 says:

    Nun was mich an dieser Aktion (fire Stick) stört ist dass man bei der Werkrückstellung nun stets immer ein Code eingeben muss den man bei Amazon holen muss.
    Ein Gerät das von amazon kommt/gehört finde ich irrelevant dass man diese Aktion über ein Handy freischalten muss. Früher ging es ohne diese Codeeingbe

  17. jet_007 says:

    Elias,
    Has anyone from Amazon in the past commented on why they would not utilized IMDB as a way to create synched watchlists in the WATCH NEXT section of the Fire TV UI? Allow an IMDB account to link to your Fire TV profile and stay in synch for watched or next up content. That is basically what Google TV is doing and allows them to serve up all content you are currently viewing regardless of it comes from the Prime Video app or 3rd party apps.

    • The closest thing the Fire TV has to this is syncing content on the Recent row, but I’m pretty sure that’s only for content played through the Fire TV UI, not apps. What you’re saying would be pretty cool but is probably easier said than done, especially when you ideally want many other apps also doing it to be truly useful.

      • jet_007 says:

        That was my the intent of my question. IMDB has the data and the ability to allow you to add items to your WATCHLIST. Fire TV should also be able to look at whatever device you are on and what apps are installed to determine what app plays what from a unified RECENT ROW off of this linked IMDB Watchlist. I took a look at how GOOGLE TV works on my Android phone. I can add TV content available from various streamers. (HBO Max, Disney+, HULU, Peacock, etc.) From one unified WATCHLIST in GOOGLE TV I can pull up a TV series and it will show the streaming app that can play the content and if more than one can, I can select the one I prefer. Seems like something that IMDB is just primed to be capable of with a little more work on the episode tracking side for TV series. TCL is about to release new sets with GOOGLE TV as the OS. I really hope that Amazon considers pulling in more content from 3rd party apps into their Fire TV UI in the future. I get that standalone apps need to be kicked off for playback. It is the unified WATCH NEXT experience that would really make the difference. Thanks for the reply. Have a great weekend.

  18. Richard says:

    There a few major gripes I have with the Fire TV interface which still have not been addressed. Namely content in one’s watchlist or purchased content is displayed on a single row in order of purchase – there is no option to sort/filter by A-Z, genre etc. The Apple TV interface is much better at this.

    Plus clicking on a genre such as horror for instance does not bring up a drop down list of all movies and shows from said genre but rather 3-4 rows of content which feature stuff from other apps etc – the design of the Fire TV UI is making it so that more and more content on Prime is being hidden – not helped by the fact that they still choose to give each individual season of a show it’s own thumbnail.

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