Introducing the AFTVnews URL Shortener for the Downloader App

I’m excited to announce the AFTVnews URL Shortener which makes using my Downloader App easier than ever. As you’d expect, entering any URL into the AFTVnews URL Shortener results in a short URL being created that points to the original URL. What makes the AFTVnews URL Shortener best for the Downloader App is that the two are integrated together so that you only need to enter the numeric code portion of the short URL to load it in the Downloader App.

Most people use a URL shortener with the Downloader App because of how tedious it is to enter long URLs using the on-screen keyboard. While shortened URLs are much easier to enter, there’s still always a “.” and a “/” in them so you always have to go in and out of the special character portion of the on-screen keyboard. With the AFTVnews URL Shortener and the Downloader App integrated together, there’s no need to enter the “aftv.news/” portion of the shortened URL, making it the easiest and fastest way to get to any URL in the Downloader App. It comes with the added bonus of being able to use the Alexa Voice Remote to just dictate the numeric code, which, for the first time, makes it now possible to get to any URL without typing anything.

One difference between the AFTVnews URL Shortener and most other URL shorteners is that a redirect info page is briefly shown before the long URL is loaded. Since most shortened URLs are dealing with files being downloaded and installed, I included the redirect info page to add a bit more security by giving users a chance to see what URL is about to be loaded. On the off chance you mistyped your code or a code you were given isn’t going where you thought it would, you can click anywhere on the redirect info screen to stop the redirect. Right now, for simplicity, it’s set to wait just a few seconds for all links, but I may experiment with making the wait time dynamic in the future. The redirect info page also gives me a place to occasionally display an ad so that the service can pay for itself.

Whether you use the AFTVnews URL Shortener or not, the Downloader App still works the same way as it always has. You can still enter long URLs, short URLs from other shorteners, or search terms to directly perform a Google search. You now just have one additional option if you want to make things a little easier and quicker. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

17 comments
  1. AFTVUser says:

    This is a very cool new feature! I tested it with the Peacock update and it worked flawlessly (and quickly). So nice to just be able to enter a five-digit number, rather than an entire long (or even shortened) URL.

    Question: Are the generated codes time-limited, as in do they expire, or do they remain in virtual perpetuity?

    • Great question! I hadn’t even thought people would wonder. The codes and short URLs are permanent. Depending on how things go I might, in the future, say that new codes expire after a certain time of going unused, but that’ll be for new codes after that chance, so, for now all codes are permanent. I’m also considering an option to let you choose to get a temporary code that is shorter and last something like an hour.

  2. hdmkv says:

    This is great Elias, thanks.

  3. John117 says:

    Elias, you should add “Import favorites from pastebin.com” in the Favorites section. When clicked this option, the text field should already be filled with https://pastebin.com/ and we would need to type only the 8 last characters. This would be really helpful!

    • If you’re not aware, Downloader has supported importing from pastebin for several years now. See here: https://www.aftvnews.com/downloader/documentation/#favoritesimporturl

      It doesn’t pre-fill the pastebin domain though, as you want, so you have to type the whole URL. It doesn’t seem like a lot of people use favorite importing/exporting, so it’s not high on my list of things to do, but I’ll consider incorporating the URL shortener into the favorites section in the future.

      • John117 says:

        I’m aware of the “Import favorites from URL” feature, but my point is that the string https://pastebin.com/ could be already pre-filled, so that we would need to type only the last 8 characters of pastebin. Anyway, a much more important feature to implement would be a built-in FTP server.

  4. John117 says:

    Elias, you should consider implementing FTP server functionality in the Downloader app! As an experienced user who has been using FireTV for many years now, I have concluded that the fastest and easiest way to push files to FireTV devices is through FTP server. Right now, to get FTP server we need to install the nasty ES File Explorer, a thing that should be avoided. Adding FTP functionality would make Downloader an all-in-one solution for sideloading in FireTV devices. That would be really awesome.

    • I hear you. FTP access and a bunch of other similar improvements are on my wish/todo list for Downloader, but those are niche features so there are other things to do first. Maybe someday though!

    • TechyChris says:

      X-plore File Manager has FTP functionality. And it’s “Non-Toxic”!
      I’ve been use the app for years to share files back and forth between my Fire TV’s and other devices. I do recall I had to make an in-app purchase though to gain full access to all features, something like $4. But I use Amazon Digital credit (which I get with almost every order) so it cost me nothing. Cheers!

    • AFTVUser says:

      As mentioned in another reply, X-plore File Manager is, indeed, a fine alternative to ES File Explorer, which, personally, I consider a near-virus app.

      With regard to pulling/pushing/examining/manipulating apps on any Fire TV device, or most other android-based device, you may want to have a look at adbLink (http://jocala.com/), which is both capable and powerful, but may not be well-suited the entirely uninitiated. That said, it provides lots of functionality for those who possess a modicum of experience.

      The above notwithstanding, I fully expect that, at some point, Elias’ app(s) will eventually crush ES File Explorer, X-plore, and abdLink—just sayin’.

      • John117 says:

        yeah, my point is that FTP should be a fairly easy thing to implement, and would turn Downloader into an all-in-one solution for sideloading in FireTV / AndroidTV devices

  5. Nate says:

    1.) There is only one reaction to this news: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1N5lZw7e78

    2.) For whatever reason I actually navigated to the example URL – appreciate the Easter egg lol.

    Well done on another great service, Elias!

  6. rob king says:

    Is the url shortener down?

  7. DROIDDOC says:

    I am curious. On the shortener page it says “All submitted URLs will be publicly viewable by anyone”

    Is there a repo somewhere that just anyone can find and look through the URL’s? Or is this just a “cover your butt” statement so people know?

    • There is no repo or way for someone to just look at all submitted URLs. I added that line to the home screen recently just so people know they should not think of it as a “private” URL shortener since anyone can try entering random digits and possibly guess valid codes which will reveal URLs.

      BTW, because of your question, I’ve added the following to the FAQ page:

      FAQ: Are submitted URLs private?
      ANSWER: No. You should assume that any URL submitted can be viewed by anyone. While there isn’t a page where someone can view all URLs that have been submitted, there is nothing stopping someone from entering random digits to view random URLs. Viewing random URLs is difficult on traditional URL shorteners because most use a mixture of all upper-case letters, lower-case letters, and numbers. This URL shortener uses only numbers, which means it’s much easier to guess a valid short URL.

  8. Dazza says:

    Why on firestick 4k when i shorten my url and download i always get a .bin file instead of .apk

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