Panasonic’s proprietary Fire TV remote is better than Amazon’s own

Panasonic just announced its first line of Fire TV Smart TVs this week. While the Panasonic TVs seem to be relatively average, compared to existing Fire TVs, the included proprietary Panasonic remote is anything but average. It may be the best packed-in Fire TV Smart TV remote released to date.

Ever since the first collection of Fire TV Smart TVs was released in 2017, nearly all TVs shipping with Amazon’s operating system, regardless of manufacturer, included Amazon’s own TV remote. While these Amazon-designed remotes have evolved slightly over time and differ slightly from region to region to accommodate country-specific features, they generally all have the same basic set of buttons and layout.

Remote included with Xioami Redmi Fire TV Smart TVs

That all changed when Xiaomi released its first Redmi Fire TV Smart TVs earlier this year. While the TVs were typical low-budget Fire TV Smart TVs, the included remote was interesting in that it marked the first time that a Fire TV didn’t ship with one of Amazon’s own remotes. At the time, I assumed it was just for cost-cutting reasons due to the price-sensitive Indian market, where the Redmi TVs were being released, but now it seems like it may have been the start of Amazon allowing TV manufacturers to design their own Fire TV remotes.

Panasonic’s U.K. Fire TV Remote (left) and Amazon’s Standard U.K. Fire TV Remote (right)

Panasonic’s new MX800 Series Fire TV Smart TVs are now the second line of Fire TVs to ship without Amazon’s own remote. While Panasonic’s Fire TV remote isn’t going to be winning any design awards, it makes up for it with some unique functionality not available on any other Fire TV Smart TV remote. For starters, Panasonic’s remote has a customizable “My App” button that can be set to open any app of your choice. The Alexa Voice Remote Pro also has customizable buttons, but Panasonic’s TVs are the first Fire TVs of any kind to come shipped with a customizable remote.

Panasonic’s remote also includes an input button for switching inputs. While that may be common on nearly every other TV remote in existence, there has never been an input button on a Fire TV remote. To switch inputs on a Fire TV Smart TV you’ve had to either use an on-screen menu or use voice commands to ask Alexa to change inputs for you. There’s also an “Apps” button for quickly viewing your grid of installed apps. That seems to be included when Amazon or the TV manufacturer hasn’t been able to sign up a partner for the 4th app shortcut button, but it is always a nice perk for the user to have.

The Panasonic remote has other unique buttons not found on other Fire TV remotes before it, like a “Picture” button for changing picture modes, a “Live” button for jumping to OTA channels, and more. While Panasoinc’s proprietary Fire TV remote hearkens back to the old days of large ugly TV remotes, which will surely turn some people off, it, at least, does so by improving on the functionality of Amazon’s own remotes in many ways. The best Fire TV remote likely lies somewhere in between Amazon and Panasonic’s remotes, but I’d give the edge to Panasonic right now, thanks to all the added functionality it offers.

  1. mike says:

    yea, but can you purchase the remote separately, and at what price?

    • Gabriel Leontine says:

      It’s probably not compatible with models other than Panasonic’s own.

      • Agreed. At best it may pair with Fire OS over Bluetooth to control the Fire TV interface, but I wouldn’t expect any TV controls to work.

      • Darian Irvin says:

        Fun Fact the other remotes except this one actually works on the Fire TV editions and the 4 series well idk about all but the TCL Fire TV soundbar remote works on 4 series and Toshiba Fire TV Edition.

  2. JFC says:

    And the most important question is unanswered and unaddressed by the article — is the Panasonic remote compatible with any regular Fire TV devices…and is any version of it being sold separately?

  3. Carsten says:

    There’s one important function missing, with no mention in the article: this remote has no “txt” button for teletext, which Fire TV SmartTV remotes have (next right to the “0”)! Meaning there’s no chance to view teletext at all with this new Panasonic remote.

    • Freemz says:

      That Panasonic remote is aimed at the UK market (see Freeview Play button), therefore no point in wasting real estate for a txt button, in the UK ALL tv transmissions are digital, no analogue here so Teletext services were discontinued when we went fully digital in 2012! We now use interactive txt/services with the red button being the universal button to launch such services.

      • Carsten says:

        Over here in Germany we have teletext with dgital channels additionally to HBBTV. Same must be with many other countries too, otherwise Amazon wouldn’t put a “txt” button on all country versions of their FTV SmartTV remotes. No one was speaking of old discontinued analog TV. LOL

  4. Freemz says:

    I wasn’t speaking of old analogue tv’s, I was explaining the reason why the txt button is not on UK remotes, we use digital text, via hbbtv too (or html), our industry standard was to use the res button to launch services therefore removing the need for txt buttons (saying that, some manufacturers still put a txt button on their remotes, which is probably because they are used across multiple countries).

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