New Amazon update for Fire TV devices is a boon for Netflix and HBO customers

Amazon Fire TV
Bill Roberson / Digital Trends
Amazon might be in competition with companies like Netflix and HBO when it comes to digital video, but it also sells hardware, so the companies end up cooperating a fair amount of the time. That willingness to work together is paying off for customers, as Amazon on Tuesday rolled out updates to its Fire TV and Fire TV Stick to make the devices even better for Netflix, HBO Go, and HBO Now users.

“Customers have told us they 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,” Amazon Fire TV President Marc Whitten said in a statement. “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.”

Amazon’s voice search might be more powerful than ever with the new expansion, but that isn’t much help if you’re not sure what to watch. Now Netflix and HBO subscribers will see personalized recommendations without having to open the app. If you happen to know what you want to watch but aren’t sure where to watch it, Fire TV devices will now show if a movie or TV show is available on multiple apps, not just Amazon.

“At Netflix, we are always seeking new ways to help connect people with stories they’ll love,” Scott Mirer, Netflix device partner ecosystem vice president, said. “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.”

Amazon didn’t save the new features exclusively for other content providers, as Alexa now has improved functionality for Amazon Video as well. Users can now move through TV shows and movies by using phrases like “skip ahead 2 minutes” and “rewind 30 seconds.” If you can’t find the remote and desperately need to start the next episode of Mozart in the Jungle, you can now play the next episode by simply saying “next.”

Certain features similar to what Amazon Echo users have had for some time have also been added. Users can gain quick access to the latest news and stats for their favorite teams by telling Alexa, “give me my sports update.” These teams can be set in the Fire TV settings, or on an iOS or Android device.

The new features are being rolled out in a free over-the-air update, so if your devices haven’t already been updated, they should receive the update over the course of the next few days.

Smart Home

Here’s how to pre-order everything Amazon announced this week

Amazon announced new devices available in its Echo, Fire TV, and AmazonBasics lineups. Most of the devices aren't available quite yet but if you head over to Amazon, you can pre-order them.
Home Theater

'My Dinner with Hervé,' more 'Flight of the Concords' arrive on HBO in October

Whether you're a cable lifer or a staunch cord cutter, there's never been a better time to get down with premium TV. Follow us to find out what's new on HBO each month. October 2018 brings My Dinner With Hervé and Camping.
Home Theater

Amazon’s Fire TV Recast promises over-the-air shows, DVR for all your screens

Amazon has set its sights on the cord-cutting crowd with a new over-the-air HD receiver and DVR called the Fire TV Recast. The box, which starts at $229, can record two programs at the same time and stream live content to Fire TV devices.
Deals

Amazon slashes prices on Fire TVs, Kindles, and Fire Tablets

Amazon is offering great discounts on some of their best devices. Save big on Kindles, Fire TV, and Amazon Fire Tablets for a limited time. These prices are just as good as Prime Day and Black Friday, but they are going on right now.
Movies & TV

'Daredevil' season 3 arrives next month, promises to 'let the devil out'

Season 3 of Daredevil will premiere October 19 on Netflix, so here is everything we know about the next set of adventures featuring Marvel Comics' man without fear before the third season's debut.
Home Theater

If you've got questions about Ultra HD Blu-ray, we've got answers

Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and players are a killer way to beef up your home theater. Here's everything you need to know about one of the most significant advances in home entertainment to arrive in years.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Click-to-brew beer, comfy headlamps, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

With the thump of an Echo Sub, Alexa goes from an assistant to a DJ

Amazon’s Echo Sub can pair with an Echo to provide the room-filling bass that little speakers just can’t muster on their own. And at $130, all that bass won’t break the bank, either.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in September 2018, from 'Spotlight’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

September brings 'The Dragon Prince,' an animated war series, to Netflix

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this summer with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Castle Rock'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we've put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Captain Marvel,’ ‘Nigerian Prince,’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. To simplify things, we round up the best ones each week. On tap this week: The first trailer for superhero movie Captain Marvel, and other fascinating film previews.
Product Review

It's only $100, but this soundbar loses its balance to bring the bass

Anker has expanded into audio in a big way in recent years, the latest example being the SoundCore Infini soundbar. At just $99, it makes for a very affordable add-on to your entertainment setup, but is it worth it?