Amazon pulls new Fire TV feature to investigate its possible security concern

A few weeks ago, Amazon added a handy new feature to Fire TV devices that made it quick and easy to use any phone as a virtual keyboard and remote. By simply scanning a QR code shown anytime the on-screen keyboard appeared on Fire TV devices, a web-based keyboard and remote instantly allowed customers to input text much more comfortably using their phone. Last week, the new feature disappeared from all Fire TV devices. While Amazon frequently tests new features with the general public of Fire TV users, occasionally removing them if they don’t meet expectations, the recent QR code-based virtual keyboard was taken down due to potential security concerns. Read more ›

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Blacklisted Fire TV apps display new notices with questionable accuracy

Amazon has been blacklisting and disabling specific apps on Fire TV devices since at least 2016, which is when it first blocked two popular apps that replaced Amazon’s own ad-filled Fire TV home screen with much simpler alternatives. The battle between Amazon and the Fire TV modding community over control of the streaming device’s home screen has been raging on ever since, with new apps being added to the dreaded blacklist of disallowed apps once they become popular enough to garner Amazon’s attention. While Amazon has been blocking and disabling Fire TV apps for years, it hasn’t been straightforward about the behavior. Recent Fire TV software updates show that Amazon is now being more upfront with customers about apps being disabled, however, many would disagree with the truthfulness of Amazon’s reasoning. Read more ›

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MSG+ app arrives on Fire TV devices with live regional sports

Sports fans in the New York metropolitan area will be happy to learn that the MSG+ app has arrived on Fire TV devices. The app allows streaming of live games from the NY Knicks, NY Rangers, NY Islanders, NJ Devils, and Buffalo Sabres. It also provides a library of on-demand original content, team stats, and more. Unfortunately, the app appears to only be compatible with Fire TV devices running Fire OS 7 and 8. That means that Fire TV models released before 2019 aren’t able to install the app.

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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 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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How to watch the 2024 Super Bowl on Firestick for Free — Stream live on Fire TV

Super Bowl LVIII (58) kicks off today at 6:30 PM ET against the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Fransisco 49ers. CBS, which has broadcasting rights this year to the big game, has chosen not to provide an easy free stream of the game for anyone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t watch it without paying anything. Here are your best options for watching the Super Bowl for free on any Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Cube, or Fire TV Smart TV. Read more ›

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Panasonic’s new flagship Fire TVs include several custom features not found on other Fire TV Smart TVs

While many different manufacturers are making Fire TV Smart TVs at this point, they mostly only differentiate from one another through hardware. That’s because Amazon closely controls the Fire TV software experience and keeps it mostly consistent across nearly all Fire TV Smart TVs. That’s about to change when the new flagship Panasonic Z95A and Z93A OLED Fire TVs are released later this year. While most of the Fire TV operating system will be very familiar to anyone who has used a Fire TV device in the past, Amazon is allowing Panasonic to completely replace certain software elements of these TVs entirely, like the TV guide, DVR interface, sound settings, and more. Read more ›

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