Amazon Fire TV Remote app updated with app drawer for new interface

Earlier this week I wrote about the Fire TV Remote app losing the ability to remotely launch apps due to changes with the new interface in the software update. Amazon later contacted me telling me the remote app would be updated soon to bring the feature back. That update has now been release, so Fire TV 2 and Fire TV Stick 2 owners with the new interface can once again launch apps remotely. Pressing the grid icon in the upper right of the app will bring up an app drawer with all of your apps listed. If you press and hold on any app, you can then drag it around and easily rearrange the order of your app list. The new arrangement created within the remote app will also be reflected on the Fire TV interface as well.

Amazon also added a new icon in the upper left of the app which launches the Fire TV’s shortcut menu. This is equivalent to holding the home button on the remote. The updated Fire TV Remote app is already live on the Amazon Appstore, the Google Play Store, and the Apple iTunes App Store.

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Fire TV update was halted due to Appstore server load concerns

A week ago, I wrote that it seemed like Amazon halted the software update rollout for the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. Then, a few days later, the update rollout was back in full swing. Thanks to information I’ve received from a trusted source, I can confirm the update was in fact halted and then restarted, as well as the reason for the pause. The update was not halted due to an issue or bug with the software itself, but rather, due to the increased load on the Amazon Appstore servers caused by the new Fire TV interface. Read more ›

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System X-Ray bar on Fire TV gains Custom App Metrics

The System X-Ray bar is a handy tool for app developers and curious Fire TV owners to better gauge the state of their hardware. You launch it from a hidden developer tools menu and it displays system information like CPU, memory, and network usage. With the latest software update, Amazon has added in the ability for app developers to display their own custom information in the System X-Ray bar. This makes understanding what an app is doing a lot easier than digging through system log files. For the average Fire TV owner, this addition will go mostly unnoticed, but if you ever find an app you’re using acting strange, you may want to open the System X-ray bar to see if the developer chose to display any information in it that could explain the odd behavior. This feature is too new for any apps to be using it already, but it may start being used in the future.

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Fire TV Remote app will regain remote app launching with new interface later this week

Earlier this week, I wrote about the Fire TV Remote app losing the ability to remotely launch apps when devices receive the new Fire TV interface with the software update. Amazon spokesperson Jonathan Richardson just reached out to let me know that an update to the Fire TV Remote app, “due out later this week,” will restore the ability to remotely launch apps. Even better, the updated app will allow you to remotely rearrange the order that your apps are in, and that rearrangement will be mirrored on your Fire TV’s “YOUR APPS & GAMES” section. So if you have a lot of apps and/or games installed on your Fire TV, you’ll be able to use the Fire TV Remote app to more easily arrange the apps exactly how you’d like, without having to tediously do it with the Fire TV remote. Big thanks to Jonathon for paying attention to this community of Fire TV owners and taking the time to let us know about the good news.

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Fire TV Remote app cannot remotely launch apps on devices with the new Fire TV interface

A couple months ago, Amazon updated their Fire TV Remote app with a great new feature that allowed you to launch apps directly. Unfortunately, that new feature is not compatible with the new Fire TV interface rolling out with the software update. Once your device updates to the new interface, you will not be able to launch apps remotely. All other aspects of the remote app still work, but the app grid icon that normally appears in the upper right, next to the keyboard icon, is missing. Read more ›

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Fire TV Stick 2 better supports USB Ethernet Adapters with software update

It was quite surprising to discover that the Amazon Fire TV Stick 2 works with USB OTG cables out of the box without needing to be rooted. Some, including myself, questioned whether the functionality was accidentally left enabled, and if a future update would disable OTG cable support. The good news is the software update not only still works with USB OTG cables, but it actually better supports USB ethernet adapters connected through OTG cables. Read more ›

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Fire TV 2 and Fire TV Stick 2 software update rollout resumes en masse

It looks like Amazon has resumed the roll out of the new software update that brings the new interface to 2nd-gen Fire TVs and 2nd-gen Fire TV Sticks. Three of my five eligible devices just received the update. Many others have told me that several of their devices updated all at once as well. The software version I received is the same one that has been rolling out from the start, so it seems the rollout pause wasn’t due to an issue with the update, since a new revised version hasn’t been released.

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Screen calibration remains on Fire TV 2 with update, but not added to Fire TV Stick 2

For some reason, Amazon decided to disable screen calibration on the software version that shipped on the new Fire TV Stick 2. Soon after this was discovered, I was notified by several people who were told, by Amazon’s customer service, that the feature would be added in with a future update and that it would not be removed from older devices. I’m happy to say that on the Fire TV 2, the option to calibrate the size of the display is still available in the new software version. While I have not received the update on any of my 2nd-gen Fire TV Sticks yet to verify it myself, Clint Bullock on Twitter has confirmed to me that the calibration option has unfortunately not been added to the Fire TV Stick 2 with the new software update.

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How to disable auto-playing video and audio on the new Fire TV home screen interface

At the top of the new Fire TV interface, added with the software update, is a “featured content” area that is essentially a big banner ad. While scrolling down from the the main menu, if you pause long enough on the ad, the static image will turn into a video that automatically starts playing. While you can’t remove the ad entirely, it’s thankfully easy to disable it from auto-playing. Here’s how to limit the “featured content” banner ads to remain images. Read more ›

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Amazon Fire TV gains the option to disable HDMI CEC in new software update

The new software version for the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick comes with a new option to disable HDMI CEC. For those unfamiliar with HDMI CEC, it’s a feature that allows the Fire TV and the television to communicate over their HDMI connection. The functionality available through HDMI CEC on the Fire TV is dependant on the capabilities of the television. For example, some TVs will automatically switch to the Fire TVs input when you press any button on the Fire TV remote. Some let you control the Fire TV using the TV’s remote control. For some people, these features are an annoyance, so it’s nice to see Amazon has added the option to turn HDMI CEC off. The new option is located in the “Display & Sounds” menu in the “Settings” section.

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