Amazon says it is “unknown/undecided” if existing Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks will be updated to Fire OS 6

With confirmation that Fire OS 6 will debut next month when the new 4K HDR Fire TV 3 ships and indication that it will bring with it new features, the question many of you have is if your existing Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks will also receive the new operating system. Amazon is not ready to commit to saying yes or no right now.

Amazon has been steadily updating their Fire TV developer documentation the last few days with new information about Fire OS 6 and the new Fire TV 3. On the page that addresses differences between Fire TV and Android TV app development, Amazon says the following:

Whether the previous Fire TV devices running Fire OS 5 will eventually be upleveled to Fire OS 6 or not is unknown/undecided.

– Amazon Developer Documentation

Even if current Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks do get updated to Fire OS 6 eventually, it might not be for a while. When Fire OS 5 debuted on the 2nd generation Fire TV in October of 2015, it wasn’t until February of 2016 that older devices were updated to the new operating system.

Amazon is handling the release of Fire OS 6 very differently from the release of Fire OS 5. With Fire OS 5, Amazon committed very early to supporting existing devices and released a developer preview of Fire OS 5 to the 1st generation Fire TV and Fire TV Stick several months before it was set to debut on the Fire TV 2.

This time around, Amazon has chosen to not have a developer preview for Fire OS 6 and has only now revealed its existing, less than a month before its debut. This could be a move to avoid the delay and disappointment customers experienced when Fire OS 5 was released.

Even though several customers were testing the Fire OS 5 developer preview for several months prior to Fire OS 5’s official debut, the new operating system was plagued with numerous bugs that severely delayed its arrival on older devices. This left many impatient customers angry and disappointed.

By not committing early to releasing Fire OS 6 on existing devices, Amazon is giving themselves a lot of flexibility. In the event that the new operating system is not as polished as they hope, which is what happened when Fire OS 5 first made it to customer’s homes, Amazon won’t have the millions of impatient existing device owners pressuring them to hurry.

All we can do is wait for the Fire TV 3 to be released and hope Fire OS 6 is well received. That might improve the chances of the new operating system arriving on older devices. If I were to guess which devices were most likely to be updated to Fire OS 6, I would say the order from most likely to least likely is: Fire TV Edition television, Fire TV Stick 2, Fire TV 2, Fire TV 1, and Fire TV Stick 1.

  1. Jim says:

    This whole “upgrade” is awful. As a user with the current FireTV desktop set, I purchased it for several specific reasons including having an ethernet port, and not having room behind my TV for a stick – or in the case of this new ugly box – between my TV and the wall. They really messed this up – there’s a reason people paid extra for the set-top box instead of a basic stick.

    • Jared says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more. Hopefully for us set top box owners the rumored upgrade to our box will come to fruition. If not, I have no issue keeping every TV in my house equipped with a Gen 2 box!!

      • Jim says:

        And now their ethernet solution is to hang a box off of the box behind your TV. Unreal. Major step back. My wifi/router are in the front of my home and I intentionally ran a drop to behind my TV to get the nice gig nic vs. wifi speed.

        • Johnny says:

          Beyond all that, I find it very sad that the newer hardware is inferior to the FTV1 (at least in raw processing power). Why should I have to move to a weaker box to get the latest OS.

        • Adam says:

          I’m noticing a trend here.

          First the FireTV2 eliminated the optical out, which meant that I needed to add a splitter to continue to get surround sound in my non-hdmi sound system because my TV, like many, reduced surround sound to stereo. (This was solved by a new Vizio TV that left surround sound intact in passthrough)

          Then I see that the TV model that came after mine no longer has a TV tuner, which means you have to have little box off your TV if you want over the air broadcasts.

          Now, as you say, the newest FireTV eliminated the Ethernet connector, thereby requiring you to have another little box off you TV if you want maximum network speed and reliability.

          The Shield could be a solution, but unlike the FireTV, it only supports Dolby Digital Plus in Netflix and other apps, which means no surround sound for non-HDMI sound systems. And no Amazon video support.

          So, I feel like I am really in a Goldilocks zone here. My current setup is both old and new enough that I don’t need a switch, an external TV tuner, an external Ethernet port, a separate box for Amazon, or updated sound system.

          I fear for the next year or so.

    • Ronnie Gray says:

      I do got to do something for you also expect Amazon to upgrade it’s other equipment to the latest operating system. I would expect them to make comment on this if they do not upgrade my operating system on my Fire TV that I’ve only had for less than a year I will switch to a different medium that I don’t have to worry about a subscription with.

  2. Michael says:

    Upgrades suck. Last night my Fire TV Gen1 updated to the new version that gets me Thursday Night Football. The Fire TV sat there with the blinking white light for 20 minutes. I thought it was broken. Then when it came on, a few apps on my USB drive no longer work. Luckily MRMC works still because it would take forever to redo all settings and networked drives I use. Although it still hasn’t given me an update from version 3.01.

  3. HeyRadar says:

    They need to stop work on FireTv Stick Gen1

    This is from someone that has a few of them. They just can’t handle the demands required by the new OS and UI.

  4. ChrisC says:

    Amazon’s intent to push talking hockey pucks to everyone instead of improving functionality of FTVs is quite telling/disturbing. I see more & more ads being placed in the GUI to the point that I’m (sadly) considering never buying another Amazon product. It is simply an Amazon Marketing Device (AMD)

    • LookingToUpgrade says:

      Shield TV or Mi Box?

      • ChrisC says:

        Shield TV just dropped to $179 w/o the controller (which I had no use for)
        So, yeah will be leaning in that direction sooner than later. I really enjoyed my initial foray into having a “one box solution” for Kodi, Netflix & Amazon Prime viewing. But it seems that AMZN is moving from innovation to simple merchandising.

        • Jon says:

          You do now, with Google Assistant on the Shield the controller works as the mic for hands free interaction. BTW Frys has the Shield on sale with controller for the same price it is without today.

          • ChrisC says:

            I don’t use/need hands free, so nah. My use of FTV is mostly Kodi-centric, hence my interest in moving to Shield (or another solution that also supports Netflix)

          • LookingToUpgrade says:

            So with the new package without the controller, Fry’s should have it for $159 or $149.

    • Tony Ramirez says:

      I agree same here. Too think I was going to disconnect my Fire TV because of all the ads and the stuttering issues and use the Apple TV Amazon app wait yet again another fake rumor and still no Amazon Prime Video app for the Apple TV. Had to go back to my FTV to watch Prime content.

    • Ryan says:

      It has always been an AMD, that is why it is more affordable than other devices.

      • ChrisC says:

        Excactly! This reminds me of what WD did to their WDTV settop boxes, they came out with great features, then little by little made them dumber & slower. Seems like Amazon has begun to go down this same path.
        Meanwhile Apple is moving forward with better hardware & performance/features (not that I’d ever consider one) Sad!

        • Adam says:

          Ah, the WDTV Hub. Ethernet, 1080p, spacious reliable rock-solid HD (an actual 1TB(!!) WD Green) remote storage access through SAMBA and USB, ridiculously varied file support, viable theming options, a fast processor and all the big name streaming apps of the time.

          As close to perfect as the FireTV2 currently is, the WDTV, for its time, was everything the FireTV2 is and more. It was, perhaps, the pinnacle of streaming devices before companies transitioned from marketing hardware to customers to marketing customers to streaming providers.

          The difference might appear to be subtle, but its stark to those of us that lived it.

          Nothing provides a clearer harbinger of this phenomena than the rise and fall of WD steaming devices.

          • Adam says:

            Hmm, I think the point is too important to leave to poor editing.

            The WDTV Hub was, perhaps, the pinnacle of streaming devices before companies transitioned from marketing hardware as a product to customers, to marketing customers as a product to streaming providers.

  5. Darren says:

    The backwards direction in hardware and most likely software reminds me of their current go-to-market strategy for their tablets. Consider the FTV2 the HDX powerhouse Amazon tablet that we all loved, now replaced by cheap disposable toys. They want to get as many FTVs as they can into people’s hands, and marketing it as a cheap alternative to what’s out there is their plan. It’s frustrating because the FTV2 was a premium device at a reasonable price… I think they just like simplistic designs that are cheaper for the consumer. Very upset with the new FTV3, but I’m sure they will sell better then expected… time to move on to Shield TV or ATV4K…

    • Tony Ramirez says:

      I agree. The 1st gen box was also great too until they added ads and slowed it down too. For all the ads they shove the Fire TV should be free for Prime members but with Amazon nickle and dime Prime with everything costing extra, storage, music rip off add on channels, pantry shipping it is becoming less worth it.

      Too bad Amazon Prime is the only place to watch Doctor Who in the states otherwise I would have dropped.

    • Tony Ramirez says:

      Also I forget they did that with the tablets. Had a great HDX screen then was replaced with a low def sub 720p screens and single band Wifi.

      Only now the newer tablets bring back the dual band and 1080p screens after much complaints.

  6. layne says:

    they need udate fire os 5 to os 6 to the amzon fire tv sick 2gen

  7. Kevin B says:

    Hello again AFTVnews!
    I check your site daily for the great info you provide and I really appreciate what you do. You’ve saved me lots of money and I’ve gotten lots of benefits out of your posts in your site.
    I’ve had fire TV since the beginning and decided that the advertisements have completely ruined the interface.
    I just thought I should pass this on since I’ve learned so much from you. I hated paying so much for an apple TV. But the clean unchanging start page has led me to it over the constantly changing advertisements tricking me into accidentally clicking them on the Fire TV.
    I’ll still check your site for deals because you get the info out in time for it to be useful. But my time with the fire TV has ended ☹️

  8. layne says:

    amazon mess this up they need to udate fire tv sick 2gen fire os 5 to fire os 6

  9. ChrisC says:

    Wondering how it will before Alexa will start chirping advertising over audio on so-equipped FTVs?

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