Amazon has shared the first real in-depth look at the new Fire TV interface redisgn that is starting to roll out to devices. Nearly all Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Cube, and Fire TV Edition models will be getting the new interface. Here is a breakdown of all the new information and screenshots that have been revealed, as well as a video overview.
On the home screen is the large featured content banner at the top and the new main menu in the middle. Scrolling vertically down from the main menu takes you through various rows of thumbnails, as it does in the existing interface. Scrolling horizontally to the right takes you to your list of apps. The 6 apps that appear on the main menu are customizable and unique to each profile. You select the three-dot […] icon to access the rest of your apps, but we don’t yet know what the full list of apps looks like. The gear icon at the end of the main menu is how you access the Fire TV’s settings which, again, we haven’t seen yet.
The first row down from the main menu on the Home screen is a new row called “Next Up For You.” It’s not entirely clear what will appear in this row because one description of it says that it “features recently watched TV shows and movies,” however, just below it is a row called “Recently Watched” so it seems like that is actually where recent content will appear. Perhaps the “Next Up For You” row contains items you haven’t watched that are related to what you’ve watched recently, while the “Recently Watched” row contains what you’ve finished watching.
Further down the Home screen, we see the aforementioned “Recently Watched” row and then a couple of rows lower is a row labeled “Recent Apps.” This implies that, unlike the old interface’s singular “Recent” row at the very top of the Home screen, the new interface will separate recent videos from recent apps, instead of combining them into the same row. Something to keep in mind is that the various rows in the old interface change order all the time, so I don’t expect that the “Amazon Originals” row in the image above is fixed in place forever.
One new feature of the redesigned interface that has been mentioned several times, but not shown up until now, is the ability to peek into apps without launching them. We now see how this feature works. When you scroll over one of your apps in the main menu, the bottom portion of the screen displays content that is available from that app in various rows.
While an app in the main menu is highlighted, and the app peek content is being displayed below, you can scroll down and browse through the peeked content, as if it were like a home screen customized for that app. While describing the feature, Amazon does specify that it is for “supported apps,” so it seems like not all apps will show peeked content below their icon. We don’t know what, if anything, will be displayed below apps that don’t support peeking.
The large banner with featured content from the old interface is carried over to the new interface. As shown in the image above, you have to manually scroll up from the main menu for the featured content banner to expand into its full size, so it seems like it might be easier to ignore in the new interface since you no longer have to scroll through the large featured content banner to get to your apps or other rows of the Home screen.
Scrolling left on the main menu takes you to the profile picker where you can have up to 6 profiles. Amazon says that each profile will have its own customized apps, personalized viewing history, recommendations, watch list, live TV preferences, and settings. Selecting a child’s profile will take you to Amazon Kids where only kid-friendly content can be accessed. Amazon Kids on the Fire TV will be rolling out to customers in the US this holiday, with the UK, Germany, Japan, and Canada getting it next year.
We haven’t seen much of what the Find tab looks like, but it’s where the content found in the old interface’s Movies, TV Shows, and Free tabs now exists. Amazon says you’ll be able to browser genres, like comedies and action, as well as categories, like free and sports, in the Find tab. This is also where the search function that used to be in the navigation menu can now be found.
In the first spot of the first row in the Live section is now a button for the Fire TV’s built-in channel guide. That first row is also where recently watched channels will be listed. Like the old interface, each channel will display the progress of what is airing as a red progress bar in the thumbnail.
The channel guide itself doesn’t look too different in the new interface, compared to the old interface. You still have a simple grid of what is airing with a preview of the content that is highlighted displayed at the top.
Lastly is the Library section. These screenshots show the Library section at the far right of the main menu, but we’ve also previously seen the Library section moved to the left of the Home section. Either the position is customizable or one orientation is outdated in the new interface’s images. Regardless of where it is placed in the main menu, the Library section is where you’ll find your watchlist, purchased content, and rented content. If you own a Fire TV Recast, the Library section is also where you’ll find your recorded DVR content.
This new Fire TV interface is slowly rolling out now to the 2020 Fire TV Stick Lite and the 2020 3rd-gen Fire TV Stick. It will be coming to all other Fire TVs, Fire TV Sticks, Fire TV Cubes, and Fire TV Edition televisions in early 2021, except for the 1st-gen Fire TV and 1st-gen Fire TV Stick.