Amazon on Thursday announced that its big new Fire TV software update is rolling out to devices now. It has a totally redesigned home screen and features like separate user profiles, so recommendations for what to watch are different for each person in your family.
The software was first announced in September and made its debut on the Fire TV Stick Lite and third-generation Fire TV Stick in December, but now everyone who owns Amazon’s Fire TV Cube (1st and 2nd Gen) and the 3rd-gen Fire TV, the Fire TV Stick 4K will be able to use the new features. Amazon says it’s updating smart TVs and the second-generation Fire TV Stick later this year.
The new features may help it compete more aggressively against Roku, which still has a 50% market share of global connected TV streaming hours with strong growth opportunities, according to an analyst note from Deutsche Bank in August.
Up to six people can create different profiles with the new software. So, if you watch a lot of comedy shows, Amazon might recommend other comedies you’ll like. But if your spouse watches a lot of dramas, they’ll get recommendations for more of that type of content. Currently, with a single profile, Amazon just recommends more based on whatever has been watched, no matter who does the viewing.
The personalization also extends to the home screen, where you can pin specific apps to the top for quick access. Maybe you use Netflix, YouTube TV and Disney+ often, for example. You can put new smaller icons for those up top. Recommendations for the stuff you watch across services are displayed below that.
There’s also a new “Live” tab that shows you a channel-guide so it’s easier to jump right into live TV, if you pay for a streaming TV service like Sling or YouTube TV. Amazon told CNBC in September it designed this to make it a more familiar experience for people who are switching from cable to streaming.
The update also includes deeper integration with the Alexa voice assistant, so you can say “Alexa go to Live TV” and it’ll launch the live streaming TV service you pay for.
Finally, there’s a new “Find” section that makes it easier to find something to watch. It shows movies, on-demand TV shows, live TV, your watch list and more.
You can update your Fire TV by opening Settings and selecting “My Fire TV,” then “About” and choosing “Check for System Update.”