YouTube updates TV app to be more interactive with shrinking video player

If you watch a lot of YouTube on your TV, you’ll probably notice a change to the YouTube app that is currently rolling out to Fire TVs, Google TV, Android TV, and other TV streaming devices. The update, as Google explains, is meant to allow viewers to better “engage with the content they’re watching.” It sets out to achieve this by shrinking the video player and displaying elements like comments, video descriptions, and more to the right of the playing video, instead of overlaying those elements on top of the video. Read more ›

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How to play retro game emulation on Firesticks and Fire TVs — NES, SNES, N64, Sega, Playstation, PSP, and more

Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks have long been great devices for playing retro games on emulators. The main hurdle in doing so is figuring out the best emulator to use for each game system you want to play, as there are often several emulators and emulation engines to choose from for each game console. That’s where one of my favorite retro gaming YouTubers, Retro Game Corps, has just stepped in with a fantastic new guide for emulation on Fire TVs. While the guide does a great job of walking you through the process, I do have a few complimentary comments and tips to add to make things a bit easier. Read more ›

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X (Twitter) will be launching a long-form video app for Fire TVs

X, formerly known as Twitter, is reportedly launching a YouTube-like video app for long-form videos. The app is said to be coming to Fire TV devices and Samsung smart TVs first. Elon Musk has somewhat confirmed the news by acknowledging that it is “coming soon.” Twitter launched a TV app way back in 2016 on Fire TV devices and other platforms. The app was pulled from most platforms two years later but was kept alive on Fire TVs. The Fire TV Twitter app is, technically, still available for Fire TV devices but I don’t think anyone at X/Twitter knows because the app can’t get past its initial loading screen and does not work. Musk recently said X would be a video-first platform, so this new app is likely part of that strategy.

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Amazon makes a small but welcomed change to the Fire TV navigation menu

It seems like Amazon can’t quite settle on the best arrangement of navigation icons on the Fire TV home screen because it has changed once again. Most recently, Amazon merged the “Profile” and “Settings” icons to make room for a new “Games” icon. Before that, Amazon squeezed in a new “Free” icon to make it easier to get to the content that doesn’t cost anything extra. The change this time is only a rearrangement of the already present icons, but I would argue it’s more useful for most people than either of the new icons that have been added recently. Read more ›

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Fire TV Stick 4K Max on sale at all-time low price of $39.99

Amazon has put all Fire TV models on sale at prices that are actually worth considering. The best deal of the bunch is easily the Fire TV Stick 4K Max for $39.99, which matches the lowest price it has ever been. If you don’t want to spend that much, the similar Fire TV Stick 4K is on sale for $29.99, which is just $5 above its lowest price ever. I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you prefer to spend less and get a 1080p model, the Fire TV Stick Lite is $19.99 and the Fire TV Stick is $24.99. Both of those have been much cheaper in the past, but the days of $12 firesticks might be long gone. Lastly, the flagship Fire TV Cube is on sale for $114.99, which is just $5 more than the lowest price it has ever been.

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New unreleased Chromecast model makes its first appearance

Many people feel the Google Chromecast with Google TV, which was released in 2020, is long overdue for an update. It seems like Google may agree because 9to5Google has found evidence of a new unreleased model referenced in Google’s Home app. Read more ›

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Google TV home screen update makes your apps more accessible

Google has announced a small but welcomed update to its Google TV home screen. The biggest change is the switch from rectangular to circular icons for the home screen’s “Your apps” row. While aesthetically differentiating app icons from the rectangular content icons, it also has the added benefit of increasing the number of visible apps from seven on the old design to nine on the new design. Comparatively, Fire TVs only show six app icons on the home screen. Read more ›

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Fire TV gains new web-based virtual remote and keyboard for quick and simple control from anywhere

The latest Fire TV software update has made some annoying changes, but it has also made some good changes. One of those changes is the addition of an extremely easy to use virtual keyboard and basic remote that can be accessed by any web browser. While the Fire TV mobile app has existed for quite a while to serve as a virtual Fire TV remote, it can be cumbersome and slow to use, especially if all you want to do is type a single long password. While the new browser-based alternative keyboard/remote isn’t as capable as the Fire TV Remote app, it makes up for it in speed and simplicity. Read more ›

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Amazon blocks long-running Fire TV capability — Breaking popular apps with no warning and giving developers the runaround

Amazon’s recent streak of unpopular Fire TV changes continues, and its latest change is a doozy. The most recent Fire TV software update has blocked a Fire TV capability that has been present since the original model’s release in 2014. This is a basic Android capability that, to my knowledge, no other Android-based device manufacturer has ever had issues with, let alone blocked. This change has rendered popular Fire TV apps, which have been in Amazon’s own Appstore for years, useless. Worse yet, Amazon seems to have been careless in implementing this change without even a courtesy email to the affected app developers, all under the, seemingly false, guise of enhanced security. Read more ›

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Freevee rumored to shut down now that Prime Video has ads too

Sources familiar with the strategy have told Adweek that Amazon plans to shut down its free ad-supported streaming service, Freevee, now that ads have made their way into Prime Video. However, Amazon has been quite quick to say “There are no changes to Freevee.” Given that you can already watch all Freevee content within the Prime Video app anyway, it may not be a bad idea to consolidate the two services. Read more ›

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