Amazon Fire TV devices have gained a new feature called the Alexa Shortcut Panel. When you tap the microphone / Alexa button on your remote, the shortcut panel appears in the bottom third of the screen with buttons that provide access to the Smart Home Dashboard, which was recently revamped, the Weather, your video Library, and to News, which launches the Fire TV News app. Read more ›
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 ›
Much like what was just announced for the Omni and 4-Series Fire TV Smart TVs, Amazon has announced that the Fire TV Stick 4K Max will be gaining support for Alexa Home Theater groups this month. This allows audio from the Firestick to be sent wirelessly to compatible Echo devices for a better home theater audio experience than your TV’s speakers can provide. However, when the feature arrives on the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, it also comes with an extra capability that allows you to hear not only the Firestick’s audio through Echo speakers, but the audio of all of your home theater devices, like cable boxes, game systems, and Blu-ray players. Read more ›
Amazon has announced that its line of Fire TV Smart TVs, the Omni Series and 4-Series, will be gaining several new features “over the coming weeks.” One of those features is Apple AirPlay 2 support, which allows iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Mac owners to easily mirror and cast their screen to the TV. Along with AirPlay 2 will come support for Apple Homekit, which allows for basic control of the TV through Apple’s voice assistant Siri. Amazon also says its TVs will also gain support for Alexa Home Theater groups, which allows you to use Echo devices as wireless speakers. The list of compatible Echos is, unfortunately, smaller with these TVs than with other Fire TV models, and includes only the Echo Studio, Echo (3rd & 4th Gen), Echo Dot (4th Gen), and Echo Plus (2nd Gen). Lastly, only the Fire TV Omni is also getting access to Zoom video calls soon, when you connect a USB webcam. These features are expected to be available later this month.
The Amazon Fire TV’s Live Experience, which makes accessing live linear content easier through various interfaces including a Live Tab, traditional Program Guide, and Home screen rows, has continuously evolved over the years. It started with the first Fire TV Smart TVs as the way to access antenna channels through the TV’s built-in OTA tuner and then expanded to all Fire TV devices with the inclusion of Prime Video Channels, streaming services, and apps. Here’s the full list of streaming services, apps, channels, and devices that integrate into the Fire TV’s Live TV interfaces. This list is regularly updated as more services integrate channels. Read more ›
Amazon has announced that the voice command “Play Something on Netflix” is now available on Fire TV devices in the US and Canada. Saying the command, either to the remote microphone or hands-free to Alexa on a Fire TV Cube or Fire TV Omni Smart TV, should begin playing something that Netflix thinks you’ll enjoy, making it the quickest way to start watching anything on a Fire TV. This was one of the new upcoming Fire TV features that Amazon teased last month. I tried the voice command myself and, while Alexa seems to indicate it understood the command by responding “Getting something from Netflix,” all that happened is the Netflix app opened. So, it seems like the feature is still in the process of rolling out and may not be available to everyone just yet.
Amazon has added a new Audio and Video Diagnostics tool to Fire TV devices. The utility will detect the capabilities of your TV, soundbar, and/or AV receiver and report whether your current Fire TV settings are best suited for your home theater equipment’s capabilities. Read more ›
It’s like Christmas for Fire TV fans because Amazon has unloaded a bunch of info on new Fire TV products and features. While the main focus has been on the new hardware, like the Fire TV Stick 4K Max and the Amazon-built Fire TV Omni Smart TVs, there are also quite a few new software features coming to both the new hardware and existing devices. Here’s a breakdown of the features coming soon to Fire TVs. Read more ›
Amazon’s Fire TV interface is constantly striving to help you find something interesting to watch, but one thing that has always been missing is an easy way to determine if the content being recommended is free to you or if a purchase/subscription is required. That has finally changed because Amazon has added new, very obvious, indicators across the Fire TV interface that let you know which movies and TV shows can be viewed immediately, without needing to pay, subscribe, or install anything. Better yet, these indicators are aware of which apps you have installed, which services you’re subscribed to, and adjust accordingly. Read more ›
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Zoom has just launched its first Fire TV App for video calls through your TV. The app is currently only compatible with the 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube. That’s because Amazon added USB webcam support last year to the current Fire TV Cube but has not yet extended that support to any other Fire TV models. The zoom app for Fire TV allows you to start meetings, join meetings, see screen sharing, and other Zoom capabilities that you’d expect. Read more ›