Amazon's hardware ventures weren't all quite popular (remember the Fire Phone?!), but beside the Kindles and Fire tablets, and obviously the Echo, the Fire TV is easily counted one of the company's success stories. It has become one of the best streaming and gaming solutions, battling Roku, Apple TV, and Android TV for a spot on every TV's HDMI port.
That's also thanks to continuous updates and improvements from Amazon who keeps adding features to its products. In the latest update to the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick rolling out now (or very soon), Amazon is adding more apps and channels to Universal Search so you have fewer and fewer reasons to open apps individually to do a search in them. It is also improving Universal Search by specifying whether an app provides watching, streaming, renting, or purchasing options so you know what you're getting into before you choose it.
Recommendations are also taking a front-and-center position on the Fire TV home page, with apps like Netflix or HBO showing you what's new to watch in custom rows without delving into each individual app. Other providers will have this option later.
And finally, there are two cool new options with Alexa. You can ask her to skip ahead or rewind while watching Amazon Video, even specifying the length of time for that. You can also ask her for sports updates from your favorite teams, which you can set on the Alexa app.
Amazon says the update should already be rolling to devices so check your Fire TV unit for it and try to be patient if it hasn't reached you yet.
SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--(NASDAQ:AMZN) – Amazon today announced new features are coming to the best-selling Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. These features will be enabled automatically as part of a free, over-the-air software update currently being delivered to customers. Through this update, customers can now easily use their voice to search for favorite content, find the best subscription deals, and see recommendations for popular programming from apps including Netflix, HBO GO and, coming soon, HBO NOW.
“At Netflix, we are always seeking new ways to help connect people with stories they’ll love”
“Customers have told us they love having access to the wide selection of apps, games, and Alexa skills on Amazon Fire TV, and they love how easy it is to find their favorite shows with universal voice search,” said Marc Whitten, Vice President, Amazon Fire TV. “Now, we’re making it easier than ever for customers to find their favorite content with universal voice search across 75 apps and channels, and a new, simple way to see recommendations from Netflix, HBO GO, and HBO NOW right on the home screen.”
New features coming to all Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick customers starting today include:
- Universal Search expanded to over 75 apps and channels. Use your voice to search across 75+ apps and channels, including Netflix. With support for universal search across more apps and content providers than any other streaming media player, Fire TV makes it easy to find and watch your favorite TV shows and movies. In addition, if a TV show or movie is available on multiple apps, Fire TV will now show you viewing options – watch, stream, rent, or purchase – so you can choose an app or channel based on convenience and value.
- Customized content that’s easy to find. With Fire TV, you don’t have to launch multiple apps to see what’s new or get recommendations. Now, subscribers to popular providers like Netflix or HBO can quickly see personalized recommendations in custom rows available directly from the Fire TV home page. Fire TV gives customers a fast, easy way to access content they want with custom rows for popular apps and channels, including HBO, Netflix, and more in the coming months.
- Alexa voice control for Amazon Video. Using just your voice, Alexa support for Amazon Video now lets you advance or go back in a video any amount of time you specify. Say “skip ahead 2 minutes” to jump past the opening credits. Miss something because you were interrupted? Just try “rewind 30 seconds.” Ready for the next episode? Just say “next.”
- Sports Updates. Using Alexa, just say “give me my sports update” to see the latest scores and game info from your favorite sports teams right from your Fire TV. To select your favorite sports teams, simply go to Settings within the Alexa app, using a browser or your Fire tablet, iOS or Android device.
“At Netflix, we are always seeking new ways to help connect people with stories they’ll love,” said Scott Mirer, Vice President of device partner ecosystem at Netflix. “Now, Fire TV customers have more ways to discover great TV shows and movies on Netflix through personalized recommendations available in a custom row right on the home page or through universal voice search – making it more convenient for them to find their favorite show on Netflix.”
Amazon Fire TV is the #1 selling streaming media player in the US across all retailers, and Fire TV Stick is the most reviewed product in Amazon history with more than 100,000 customer reviews. Additional product details are available at amazon.com/firetv.