Channel Up/Down buttons on Fire TV Remotes have gone mainstream

Over the years, the number of buttons on Fire TV remotes has slowly increased. Among the most recent button additions are channel up and down buttons, which first appeared a few years ago when Amazon updated the remote that ships with Fire TV Smart TVs. Stand-alone Fire TV streaming media players typically haven’t included remotes with channel buttons, that is, until the release of the 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube last year which is the first stand-alone model that includes a remote with channel buttons. Amazon has now made a change that elevates channel buttons on Fire TV remotes to default status.

The change Amazon recently made regarding channel buttons on Fire TV remotes is officially opening up app developer access to the buttons. Previously, app developers could only interpret the navigation (up/down/left/right/select/back/menu) and media (play/pause/rewind/forward) buttons on Fire TV remotes. There have long been unofficial ways for app developers to access other Fire TV remote buttons, including channel up/down buttons, but Amazon has now made the channel buttons part of the official list of available buttons in its developer documentation. For the first time, this will encourage developers to treat the buttons as standard input options.

Every Fire TV Smart TV released in recent years has included a remote with channel buttons. As mentioned, the 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube is the first stand-alone model to include a remote with channel buttons. The new Alexa Voice Remote Pro also includes channel buttons and even the remotes that come with vehicles with Fire TV integration include channel buttons. While the case seems to be made for remotes with channel buttons, the final standouts are Fire TV Sticks, of which none include remotes with channel buttons, yet they make up the vast majority of Fire TV devices in use. If the next new Fire TV Stick includes a remote with channel buttons, then you’ll know the buttons are here to stay for good, whether you have use for them or not.

15 comments
  1. Jeff W says:

    Now, if only they fixed their Fire TV update to the show 15 so that it sees my recast again, I might actually have use for those buttons.

    • Kirby Taylor says:

      I love my Firesticklite remote with fire TV on it. I hope Firesticklite can get m ok re room to download which should be 16gb of storage to download more Apps and more space to update the apps that we have

  2. Matt Rizzo says:

    A key point here that is overlooked. These “channel” buttons actually have a dual purpose. Not only do they perform the channel changes, but they also perform valuable up/down webpage pagination when using your browser. I use the buttons way more for webpage paginating myself – extremely useful.

  3. Ian King says:

    Sorry if this question has been answered before, but I’d like to know if any of these buttons that control the TV do so via HDMI-CEC.

    • Bob says:

      Yes they do, that’s why you don’t need to program the remote to use it for a specific tv

      • Eric says:

        This is incorrect, all remote functions that control the TV are sent via IR

        • Kary says:

          Not power on/off. Although that may also be sent by IR if you’re using the remote, not sure. The only function I use on my TV is on/off, and it’s by Alexa/HDMI.

          I do believe my soundbar is controlled by IR through the remote. I don’t usually use Alexa for volume commands–not even sure if it would work.

  4. Kary says:

    What are these “channel” things of which you speak? ;-)

    • Matt Rizzo says:

      Online streaming services. For example, it changes the channels up and down on services like YTTV, Sling, etc.

      • Kary says:

        It was a joke! FWIW, I haven’t changed a channel for years. DVR, Netflix, etc. And the only thing with a channel has been Amazon Prime, where a button won’t do it.

  5. Mark says:

    Do the latest Firesticks still have a remote that keeps unpairing and you have to go through way too many steps to re-pair it? You won’t care about channels if the remote doesn’t work.

    • Kary says:

      Not sure what your time period was, but for the past two years I’ve never had to repair a remote. One device even has multiple remotes, if that matters

  6. MRG says:

    I purchased a number of firestick 4kmax. The problem I have is the firestick on and off app and the volume up or down doesn’t always
    Work Amazon said it defective. Send it back we will replace it. Then they said they with send it to warranty. I didn’t ask to been sent to warranty. I also didn’t approve it. Then they say wii give you a refund. Really!Just credit your account. I had the NEW One only less than 10 days. Technically support are the ones who determine if it defective. So in my opinion Buyer Beware! Don’t get me wrong . I’m
    been a PRIME MEMBER for years.This is the only issue that I had.other that I love the COMPANY.

    • Kary says:

      I always use Alexa to turn on/off because I found she does a better job than the button turning on both my TV and soundbar. Also that way the TV is on before I get to the remote to actually do other things with it.

      Never had an issue with volume controls.

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