It’s been two and a half years since Amazon launched their Fire TV set-top box and in that time, so many things have changed when it comes to video streaming and casting. There are more players in the market and there are so much more streaming video and audio services available to choose from. So this means that it’s time for those involved in the industry to have a make-over, at least UI-wise. That’s what Amazon is doing with their Fire TV and Fire TV Stick in order to keep up with the times and the demand.
It’s about time really, as there are hundreds of thousands of on-demand content that are now available through their library. The left screen side-scrolling carousel is now gone and instead you have a main menu at the top of the screen, pared down into category switchers Home, Your Videos, Movies, TV Shows, Apps, and Settings. That means you have more space for a hero banner section and a redesigned set of side-scrolling categories. Right now, the featured shows and movies are mostly editor curated, but later on, you will be able to see suggestions based on what you’ve been watching previously.
There is now a Your Videos section, where you can see the shows and movies you’re subscribed to, and it also shows you which is paid content and which you can watch for free. It has “Prime Videos” flags for those that are offered through Amazon. But with the Your Movies section, it will by default offer you the free streaming option, whenever it is available. The details on each of the shows and videos are now also more detailed and soon there will be more options to choose by actor or director.
The new interface also means that Alexa is now more powerful. You can bypass the button-presses and ask it to follow your own commands. When you ask it to play a video, it will also automatically find you the free option, if applicable. You can ask it to do commands like skip ahead to a specific time or after a certain period of time, and other things that Alexa is usually capable of doing. The UI update is set to arrive on the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick by the end of 2016.