Update for Fire TV, Fire TV Stick Brings Raft of Features
Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick customers will soon be getting an update to their dongles and streaming media boxes, thanks to a software update the company will be rolling out over the next few weeks. The new features will include expanded storage capabilities, the ability to use the device while in hotels, and support for wireless Bluetooth devices.
In addition, Amazon also said it would be expanding into new markets with the Fire TV Stick, which would begin selling in both the UK and Germany, where the Amazon Fire TV is already available. Both can now be ordered online and will begin shipping next month.
Take Your Shows with You
The Fire TV is a box that connects to HDTVs, allowing users to stream content over the Internet directly from providers such as Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and HBO. The Fire TV Stick is a similar product, although designed to be much more portable and to connect via a television’s HDMI port.
The new features are set to be delivered as part of a free, over-the-air software update. Perhaps the most anticipated new feature is the Fire TV box’s support for increased storage. Users will now be able to use a connected USB mass storage device to the box, allowing them to store more downloaded apps and games. That upgrade is likely to be particularly welcome to gamers eager to keep their favorite games easily accessible.
The update will also feature native captive portal support for connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. That will allow users to access their movies and TV shows with them from Wi-Fi networks that require Web authentication. Many large Wi-Fi networks, such as those found in hotels and in some university campuses, require such authentication in order to connect.
Meanwhile, Amazon is pitching its support for Bluetooth devices as a way to watch television and movies through Fire TV without disturbing others through the use of wireless headphones.
Pushing Prime and Security Improvements
The company is also rolling out enhancements to its Prime service in the hope of enticing more users to its subscription platform. The new “Browse and Search Prime Playlists” function will give Prime members access to curated content playlists organized by criteria such as mood, activity, artist or decade of choice.
The update will also make changes to the user interface, some of which Amazon hopes will serve as a boost to security and privacy. A redesigned PIN entry screen will now hide the PIN numbers a user enters in order to prevent underage kids or other unauthorized users from making purchases on your account.
Other interface redesigns are more cosmetic than functional. A new set of shortcuts will let users to quickly set their Fire TV or Fire TV Stick to sleep mode by pressing and holding the Home button on their remotes. Users will also be able to enable display mirroring the same way.
Image credit: Product shots by Amazon.