Amazon (AMZN) Surprises Fire TV Customers with New Features

Amazon adds Netflix and HBO to Fire TV. Amazing new features will be made available today because of the free update.

Amazon Fire TV, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) just announced that its Fire TV and Fire TV Stick will have new features. The changes will be available to all the owners of Amazon’s streaming boxes because of the automated and free over-the-air software update.

Perhaps the most exciting part of this update is the improved voice search capability of Alexa so the customers can browse through more apps and channels than any other streaming media device. Fire TV users can now easily use their voice to do more things. They can effortlessly search for the top subscription packages and favorite movies or shows. Users will also receive recommendations of shows and movies from popular programming apps like Netflix and HBO on Fire TV’s home screen. These personalized suggestions will be based on the previous viewing habits of the users.

The Amazon Fire TV is currently the best-selling streaming media player in the US beating all its competitors. As for the Fire TV Stick, it has received over 100,000 customer reviews in Amazon making it the most popular and discussed item to be offered on the site. The company says that Fire TV has the biggest cross-provider search among all the streaming media players.

According to Marc Whitten, VP of Amazon Fire TV, “[c]ustomers…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.”

“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,” adds Whitten.

Scott Mirer, Vice President of Device Partner Ecosystem at Netflix, said, “At Netflix, we are always seeking new ways to help connect people with stories they’ll love. 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.”

The ‘Universal Search’ feature of Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick has added more than 75 compatible apps and channels. Users can simply use voice commands to search across a wide array of content to find what they want anytime they want to. Fire TV also offers additional viewing options such as ‘watch’, ‘stream’, ‘rent’, or ‘purchase’ for the apps and channels. Customers are free to choose based on value and convenience. Amazon says that more services will be added soon in the next update.

Fire TV customers can maximize the use of Alexa voice control for Amazon Video. The users can use voice commands to forward or rewind a video depending on the amount of time specified. You can say “Fast forward to 30 minutes” or “Skip to 60 seconds” if you do not want to watch the opening credits. In case you missed a scene, you can just say “rewind by one minute” so you can watch it. If you are watching a series, you can simply say “next” to go to the next episode. You practically have a virtual assistant who clicks the buttons for you.

Fire TV’s update also has something special for the sports fans out there. You can program Alexa to give you updates about your favorite teams. Just say “give me my sports update” and you can get the latest scores, trades, and other sports-related information. Just go to the ‘Settings’ of the Alexa App and indicate which teams you want to be updated. You can access Alexa using your Fire tablet, iOS or Android device, or different browsers.

The new features are expected to be available today for both Fire TV and Fire TV Stick streaming boxes. More providers will be added in the coming months.

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