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.
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.
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.