Amazon Updates Fire TV With New User Interface

Amazon started to update all second-generation Fire TV and Fire TV stick devices with a new user interface Wednesday that features large teasers for movies and shows from select partners. Users can now also customize the device’s home screen to get quicker access to their favorite apps.

Amazon first publicly previewed the new interface in October when the company introduced a new version of the Fire TV stick. It’s the first major overhaul of the Fire TV interface ever since the company introduced its video streaming devices in 2014, and it lays the blueprint for future evolutions, including a possible integration of live TV sources.

Most striking about the new interface are the big teasers for movies and TV shows from Amazon as well as a handful of partners. These teasers take up about half of the screen, and not only include static art but short video clips as well, making the whole experience a lot more dynamic.

Amazon has partnered with select content providers for these previews. At launch, these include Netflix, HBO Now, Showtime and Sling TV. The Dish-owned TV service essentially uses the spot to play a short version of its Danny Trejo ad.

It’s worth noting that these clips at times almost make it look like the Fire TV menu is overlaid over a traditional TV feed, and that may not be an accident: Amazon could conceivably also use the new interface as a launchpad for live TV content, either from one of its partners or licensed directly from TV networks.

Amazon also completely ditched the left navigation sidebar with this update, and instead replaced it with a top menu as well as a number of rows for apps and other content. Prominently featured on the home screen is a “your apps & games” row that can be customized, allowing users to arrange their favorite apps in an order of their choosing.

Second-generation Fire TV devices are getting the update this week. An Amazon spokesperson told Variety that first-generation Fire TVs and Fire TV sticks are going to be updated in the coming months.

Update: 12/16: This post was updated with more information on the release schedule for first-generation Fire TV devices.

 

 

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