Various video streaming platforms have their advocates, with Roku and Apple TV hardware, as well as Google’s Chromecast, frequently getting the green light from discerning viewers. But Amazon’s Fire TV sticks (and cube and TV) are also major players in the streaming scene, and they have the distinct advantage of integration with the hugely popular Amazon Alexa for everything from voice search to smart home automation.
TechRadar knocked the Fire TV platform down a notch in previous reviews for having a somewhat confusing, ad-filled interface. Another complaint from Fire TV: its search function revealed unrelated content and also aggressively directed viewers to shopping options on Amazon Prime Video. Amazon had to be careful, because it just dropped a series of improvements aimed at streamlining the look of the Fire TV interface while improving its search function.
“Recent updates put Search and My Stuff at the top of our homepage so customers can quickly find content and access their watchlists, rentals and purchases,” said Joshua Danovitz, Director of Fire. TVExperience.
What does this mean for viewers who depend on a Fire TV Stick, Cube, or TV for their video streaming experience? There are several specific changes to note:
- An icon-based navigation bar has replaced the text-based one previously used by Fire TV. Not only does it look better, but it simplifies access to key features like Home, Search, and Live. The updated bar also provides easy access to a user’s favorite apps and personal profile.
- Search and search functionality has been combined into a unified content discovery destination. After clicking the magnifying glass search icon, viewers will be taken to a page where they can search for movies and TV shows, as well as browse trending and recommended content categories.
- The heavy library destination has been replaced by the laid-back My Stuff. This is where viewers can access both their watchlists and rented and purchased content, as well as browse recently launched and regularly used apps.
I reached out to an Amazon spokesperson to see if the Fire TV update addressed our ad clutter issues. Here is the response I received:
“Advertising on Fire TV serves two purposes. The first is content discovery – helping customers find new content that they might not have seen otherwise. The second is ad-supported content, which allows customers to enjoy more free content.”
Analysis: Is Amazon Fire TV primed for success?
Comparing the screenshot of the new Fire TV interface at the top of this article with the image of the previous version further down the page, it’s clear that Amazon has made some thoughtful adjustments. The new user interface is clean, simplified and engaging. It also doesn’t seem cluttered with the company’s own content, ad-supported or otherwise, and makes room for offerings from streaming services other than Amazon Prime Video.
Does the updated search feature live up to the hype? It’s something we can’t wait to check out the next time we meet a Fire TV streamer, whether in stick, cube, or flatscreen TV form.
For now, let’s say Fire TV has plenty of competition on the streaming platform front. The Roku and Apple TV hardware offerings in particular offer a clean and very user-friendly screen interface for selecting apps and browsing content. Both also have voice search options which always provide good results. I’m not sure why anyone would necessarily choose Fire TV over these platforms unless they’re all about the Amazon universe – which the company is heavily promoting through its Amazon Prime subscription, which gives you expedited shipping. free of charge for products purchased on the company’s website. website, then starts free streaming from Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Music.
One main thing Amazon streaming sticks have going for them is value: At just under $50, the flagship Fire TV Stick 4K Max is competitively priced with Roku’s Streaming Stick 4K, and it’s a relative flight compared to Apple’s expensive Apple TV 4K streaming box. And the Fire TV Stick 4K Max hardly skimps on high-end features, offering Dolby Vision and HDR10+ compatibility along with a speedy processor and Wi-Fi 6 antenna.
Alexa integration on Amazon hardware also provides a built-in advantage over Roku for those looking to engage in automated activities such as lighting, temperature, and security camera control through the Smart Dashboard. Fire TV Home. When you add it all up, Fire TV hardware offers a lot at a low price, and the company’s efforts to make the UI and search more neutral and consistent could go a long way toward making it a star player.