Fire TV for Auto appears to operate independently on each screen in a vehicle

The 2022 Jeep Wagoneer and Jeep Grand Wagoneer, which will be the first vehicles with Fire TV for Auto integrated into their various screens, were officially unveiled today. Nothing new was said about the Fire TV aspect of these vehicles, but the photos and videos that have come out of the press event seem to indicate that the Fire TV operating system will run independently on, at least, each rear screen. This appears to mean that each rear screen will act as if it has a separate Fire TV device connected to it, with its own configuration, as opposed to a single Fire TV device that controls all screens in the vehicle.

In the two video screenshots above, you can see the familiar Fire TV initial setup process displayed on the two rear screens of a Jeep Grand Wagoneer. It’s notable that each screen is on a different step of the initial setup, with one screen displaying the first step of selecting a language and the other screen displaying the WiFi configuration step. This seems to indicate that Fire TV for Auto needs to be set up separately on each screen and that they do not share settings.

On one hand, having independent Fire TV experiences on each screen does make a lot of sense. This would allow each member of a family to have their own apps and settings configured the way they like. For example, the right screen could have children’s apps and games with parental controls enabled for a young child, while the left screen could be configured with entirely different apps and no parental controls for an adult or older child. Independent Fire TV hardware would also mean that what someone is doing on one screen, such as playing a resource-intensive game, doesn’t bog down the other screens in the vehicle.

Right side front passenger screen of the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

On the other hand, maintaining what seems to essentially be separate Fire TV devices in a single-vehicle can quickly get tedious. Each one may need to be set up and configured separately, including app installations and account logins. If a password changes, for example, you may need to hop from screen to screen and update each one separately. Common Fire TV maintenance, like deleting apps to clear up storage for an update or reactivating TV Everywhere apps that randomly logged themselves out, could quickly become a nuisance.

Center main screen of the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

It’s still unclear exactly which screens in the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will be capable of running Fire TV for Auto. One would expect that the two rear entertainment screens support Fire TV for Auto, which the video screenshots above seem to confirm. The press release about Fire TV for Auto debuting on the Wagoneer says “passengers can view Fire TV in high definition from the rear seats and the front passenger screen,” but it then also says “when the vehicle is in park, the driver also can view Fire TV on the main Uconnect 5 screen.” Based on those statements, it seems like a single vehicle could have up to 4 screens displaying Fire TV content and each of those screens might be controlled by separate Fire TV hardware.

The press release does say that Fire TV for Auto “allows passengers to stream their favorite shows together or separately,” so it doesn’t seem like it’s just going to be a free-for-all of independent Fire TVs all over the vehicle, as if they just connected Fire TV Sticks to a bunch of HDMI inputs. The ability to watch shows together seems to imply that if the screens are, in fact, running independent Fire TV software, they will at least be able to communicate with each other in some way to synchronize content playback. The front passenger screen looks to also have a way to control the rear screens, as is common in most vehicle rear seat entertainment systems, so that’s more evidence of some kind of unified setup.

Amazon has also been making improvements to the Fire TV initial setup process that makes the process less tedious. It’s now possible to login/activate Fire TVs through a website, as opposed to on the device with the remote, and Fire TVs can connect to WiFi for the first time automatically by pulling WiFi login information from a nearby Fire TV or Echo. The initial setup process also now asks if you’d like to replicate the configuration of one of your previous Fire TV devices. If Fire TV for Auto on different car screens is as independent as it seems, these newer synchronization systems that Amazon has recently put in place will hopefully make managing the experience a bit simpler.

12 comments
  1. Michajin says:

    Totally starting to duct tape tablets to my headrests…

  2. Dave says:

    Starting price is $87K and goes all the way up to $103K, seven screens, 6.4L engine, and towing capacity is something like 10,000 pounds. This ain’t your grandpa’s CJ-7!

  3. Rik Emmett says:

    Where does the mobile data come from for streaming? Is their a built in cellular modem?

    • Many modern cars can have a cellular connection and even act as a hotspot for the occupants, so I expect the Wagoneers will do the same. You’ll probably also be able to connect the car to your phone’s WiFi hotspot.

      • Rik Emmett says:

        My experience streaming content from a smartphone on long trips is that there are dead zones along the way that will cause intermittent dropouts. It think they would need some kind of cellular range extender built in to the vehicle with an external antenna.

        Also, depending on how far you travel, a cellular carriers service may be inoperable in certain parts of the country and the fire tv would not function.

        I suppose if you’re spending $100,000 for a vehicle, then every member of the family would have their own smartphone with a data plan and could just watch whatever they want on their phone.

        • To solve this, Fire TV for Auto will be able to download content for offline viewing. You’ll be able to load up shows and movies while you’re on WiFi and then watch them with no connection. Only certain services will allow content to be downloaded.

          • Brad W says:

            Seeing this offline option make me think a Fire TV for RVs, Campers, and tailgating would be an ideal device to deliver. Something that could store a handful of shows and movies, possibly have a built in TV tuner in it.

  4. Rafael Rivera says:

    You are so right!

  5. Rick Henry says:

    Elias! I had no idea you were back. I just read up on your return. I am so glad you are back as I had no outlet for my streaming news. The other site I frequented a lot was sold by it’s founder and went down hill quickly.

    I’ll be checking in often!

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