Fire TV’s Smart Home Dashboard has been Redesigned with Denser Information

Amazon first launched a Smart Home Dashboard on Fire TV devices a little over a year ago. The dashboard has never really been emphasized or highlighted by Amazon, even though it has existed for quite a while. It always felt more like an experiment than a primary feature, but now the Smart Home Dashboard has been overhauled with a new look that shrinks controls and icons to provide a much denser view of your smart lights, plugs, security cameras, and more. Read more ›

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Here’s how recommended content from 3rd-party apps work on the Amazon Fire TV

With the new Fire TV user interface, Amazon added the ability for any app you have installed to recommend content for you to watch. These recommendations will appear in their own row on the Fire TV’s home screen. This new functionality was likely added in part to address criticism that Amazon only highlights their own Prime Video content on the Fire TV’s interface. Amazon just updated their developer documentation for this feature, giving us a better idea of how it works. Here’s a breakdown of the feature and what to expect when apps begin adopting it. Read more ›

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More apps will be able to recommend content on the Fire TV home screen in the near future

When the original Amazon Fire TV was first released, one of its biggest criticisms was that there was too much focus on Amazon Video content in the device’s interface, and not enough highlighting of content from other services. Amazon has since made huge strides to address those criticisms, and they’ll soon be more ways for non-Amazon content to surface on the Fire TV interface. Amazon recently updated their Fire TV developer documentation to state that more apps will soon be able to recommend content on the Fire TV’s home screen. Yesterday the entry was updated to add that the feature would be coming in “Q2 2017 or sooner.” Read more ›

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Explanation of the System X-Ray bar on the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick


The System X-Ray bar on the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick is a handy overlay with display, CPU, memory, and network information. It can be turned on and off using the hidden Developer Tools Menu on Fire OS 5 devices. It is meant to be used by developers to better understand what their apps are doing, but it can also be useful for common users to diagnose problems and locate misbehaving apps. Here is an overview of what each piece of information in the bar means. Read more ›

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Amazon shopping partially available on Fire TV, with full shopping feature postponed


The Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick have had the ability to shop products for some time, but the feature has been sitting dormant. A trusted source within Amazon, who wishes to remain anonymous, tells me a full-fledged shopping feature was nearly complete and ready to be tested in the wild, but Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos pulled the feature after receiving a demo. His biggest complaint was the limited shopping cart functionality. The Fire TV shopping feature demoed to Bezos allowed customers to either buy products immediately via Amazon’s 1-Click feature or add items to your Amazon shopping cart to then be purchased later through the website. Bezos insisted on the ability to manage your shopping cart and checkout on the Fire TV itself, so the shopping feature has been postponed. I’m told it’s not uncommon for a team within Amazon to work on something, get it mostly done, and then have the feature/project pulled or cancelled by Bezos. While the Fire TV’s full-fledged shopping feature likely won’t be released in time for the upcoming holiday shopping season, Amazon has started using parts of the shopping feature to allow Fire TV owners to buy select products through banner ads on the Fire TV’s home screen. Read on for a spotlight of this new limited shopping ability which gives us a good indication of what the full shopping experience will be like once it arrives on Fire TV devices. Read more ›

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