Exclusive: Live streaming video and channels coming to the Amazon Fire TV


I have begun my dissection of the new software update for the Amazon Fire TV and have found strong evidence that support for live streaming video from Amazon is coming to the device. Deep in the code are newly added buttons and styling which mark videos in the main Fire TV interface as “On Now” with accompanying “Watch Live” buttons. Additionally, there are new references in the code to “Live Stations” and “Live Channels” which seem to indicate that, when the functionality arrives, it won’t just be individual live shows, but rather, continuous live programming.

With the recent debut of Style Code Live, Amazon’s first original live show, it’s expected the Fire TV would eventually gain live streaming capabilities. It appears that, when such a show is airing live, users will see a “Watch Live” button in place of the usual “Watch Now” button they see today for on-demand content. Shows being streamed live will also list their “Original Air Date”, which seems to indicate that not all programming streamed live will actually be happening live. There will also be DVR functionality that allows you to pause/rewind live video and then jump back to the live stream at anytime. If you start watching after a show has already started, you’ll still be able to rewind, although the exact wording that I found says “Play Video from Earliest Available Time”, which seems to indicate there is a limit to how far you can rewind.

More interesting than individual live shows is the inclusion of live channels. The new code added makes a distinction between a “live item”, which I presume would be something like the show Style Code Live, and a “live channel”, which is a sequence of scheduled live shows. Live channels will appear in the Fire TV interface alongside on-demand content, but will be labeled as live programming. Selecting a live channel will provide information for what is currently streaming live, as well as what will stream next.

Amazon has reportedly been talking to major media companies like CBS and NBC about a new pay-TV service that they’re working on. The appears of this new code in the latest Fire TV software update could indicate that such a service is nearing a launch date.

Support for live shows and channels on the Fire TV does not appear to be complete. It’s not uncommon for remnants of an upcoming feature to make it into a software update, which is what appears to be the case here. I have not, for example, found any indication of a program guide or subscription mechanism, which are items you’d expect to see with a pay-TV service, but that’s not to say they aren’t going to be included.

A live pay-TV service would nicely compliment Amazon’s on demand Prime content, as well as their ever growing list of add-on subscription content. We’ll have to see if Amazon can land the necessary deals with major media companies that other companies have been unable to score.

  1. clocks says:

    Live TV is over-rated. I prefer to watch on my own schedule.

  2. pmcd says:

    I guess sports and perhaps news would be the main appeal of Live TV. Of course you then have to deal with all the ads which isn’t for everyone. I’ve noticed ads for cars appearing on my Fire TV. Not appreciated…

  3. Maca says:

    Pay per view would be a good addition for live streaming.

  4. John says:

    Could it possibly be that Amazon plans to integrate PS Vue more into the main areas of Fire TV to make it easier to search and find content? This seems like a more natural progression, especially considering the PS Vue’s current semi-exclusivity on AFTV vs Amazon launching a completely separate live streaming service.

  5. Tony says:

    tv tuner cards are only good for the locals. so I don’t think I need this, since I get all of those channels already directly through the hdtv ota tuner. So not sure how important this is.

  6. Peter says:

    I watch live TV for sports and sports-related shows only. During lulls in the sporting calendar, I cancel my subscription to live TV.

  7. unanimous says:

    I would just like a streaming device that would come out that is user friendly for all live sports including Americans sports.

  8. Mario C. says:

    Vapor ware? It’s 5 months and nothing. Someone is paying off someone not to do this. Or are they waiting for Comcast and Spectrum and DirectTV/ATT to merge? And raise rates to $200 a month because you won’t have s choice? Don’t say it can’t happen

    • James D. says:

      You have a choice. When it gets too expensive, stop subscribing. I have OTA, Tivo with Lifetime service, Netflix and DirecTV Now. Get everything I want and including the cost for Internet service, I don’t spend more than $100. The only way to stop the increases, is to stop subscribing when the prices go up. Just like satellite radio. At $6.99 a month it was worth it. When it got over $12 then added fees, I dropped EVERY satellite subscription I had. They get no more business from me. Now they beg me to come back at $5.99 a month. The only way to get prices to come down is to stop being a customer. When millions stop their services over pricing, the service providers will heed and bring down the costs.

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