The Fire TV update was scheduled for a minute – a minute too long. With the latest overhaul to its experience, Fire TV finally delivers a user interface that’s compatible with competing streaming devices.
when Chromecast with Google TV Hitting the scene this year, Google gave away another $ 50 streaming device for its money. It’s well-designed, fast, and offers clean, organized recommendations with a layout that just works. At the time, experimenting with both Roku and Fire TV seemed pointless by comparison. But the new Fire TV update offers a much better experience for the Alexa suite that it prefers over other streaming devices, with new navigation tools for finding content, adding user profiles for more personalized viewing, and a massively improved home screen. Fire TV Stick Lite and the third generation Fire TV Steak Users will get it first, and Amazon will get it He said Other devices will get the update in early 2021.
The first thing current Fire TV users will notice is a reorganization of their apps, menus, and content. Instead of placing the basic navigation features at the top of the Home screen, they now appear near the center below the Featured Banner for content and feature promotion. This new menu is where you’ll find icons for your main apps, with the “More” button on the next right that will show the rest. I absolutely loved this design, as I generally find that I only jump between four or five core apps at any given time depending on what I’ve been watching. Below this row on the Home screen, you’ll find the “Next” categories, Recently Used Apps, Prime Assets, Live and Upcoming Events, Recommendations for IMDb TV Ad-supported Content (owned by Amazon that appears everywhere on Fire TV), as well as Genre-specific content suggestions And application.
The basic navigation menu has been scaled back from the previous iteration. To the right of the Home tab, you’ll now see the Library tab. This is where Fire TV will offer your watch list selections, rentals, and purchases. To the right of the Home tab, you will see the Search and Online options. Amazon has removed the TV and Movies tabs from the old experience and merged them under the Discover Find screen. This is where you’ll be able to search for apps, TV shows, movies and free content, as well as content by genre category. This was, to me, one of the best decisions Amazon has made in terms of content discovery, even though ads and Amazon proprietary content continue to appear across these categories – something I hated in the past experience that managed to continue here. Is it unbearable? No. But it still represents a big difference between the experience you get with Fire TV and, for example, Apple TV.
Meanwhile, the dedicated tab for Live TV is a welcome addition to the Fire TV experience for anyone who officially cut the cord. The Live tab will show breaking news and sports suggestions here, or if you prefer the old-school feel of live and linear channel appearances, you can use the Channel Guide feature to find something to watch. I loved this tool for browsing Sling TV for something to watch, but I can see room for improvement. When using the guide for this app, I was able to browse by channel but no real-time teasers were shown for the show itself. Instead, the guide only showed me the remaining amount of the show to watch with a thumbnail of the series or movie. Again, there won’t be a deal breaker, but streaming the series live while surfing the internet would be a huge improvement here.
However, the big bonus for the new Fire TV is the addition of individual user profiles. Fire TV will support up to six profiles, which will provide multi-user families with a more personalized viewing experience. Specific settings, viewing history, watch lists, live TV and recommended content will be personalized for each individual profile, which means you no longer have to see suggestions for Loser If noisy reality television isn’t your thing really – even if someone else in your house is a binge watcher. Additionally, Parent Profiles allow age restriction of content with Amazon Kids Profiles that filter things that may be relevant to you but not your 5-year-old.
Audio support is no longer a particularly interesting feature since it is present on every modern streaming device. But it was a welcome addition to the Vizio M-Series quantum unit I was reviewing. Additionally, I was using the 4th generation LED lights Eco Dot To test the new Fire TV experience, and I must admit, having a completely hands-free option to turn on the TV and launch content seemed like a luxury – especially since I kept losing the slim Fire TV remote under a mountain of blankets and pillows. If I’m honest, I prefer Google Assistant over Alexa for most things, but Alexa did a very good job of handling commands for things like turning on the TV, opening apps, and showing me content. Several times, Alexa’s Hulu user screen got stuck when I asked her to show the content in the app, but this was mostly resolved by repeating the command again.
Ultimately, I think Amazon had a huge hit with the Fire TV redesign. Navigation just makes more sense, user profiles offer better customization, and content is easier to find here than it has been in the past. There is room for improvement, sure. As mentioned earlier, real-time live TV ads would be a great update to the experience, as is the case with fewer recommendations for Amazon content and features (although somehow these ads were less prevalent as they were in the previous version of the interface) Amazon didn’t tempt me. Totally from the Google TV experience I love, but Alexa fans and streaming players looking for a cheap device won’t be disappointed.
- The new Fire TV offers up to six user profiles for better content personalization and recommendations, including for children.
- Alexa voice control allows hands-free browsing by type, title, or category – either with a compatible Fire TV remote control or a connected smart home device.
- The improved Home tab and Navigation menu make the discovery process fairly easy and straightforward.
- Expect ads and banners to still see Amazon owned content nearly everywhere.