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Mon, 13 Aug 2018 20:16:14 +0000

Software update brings new Alexa interface to older Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks

A new software update has just started rolling out to older Amazon Fire TV devices. The new version of Fire OS, with a build value of 617513020, is making its way out to the Fire TV 1, Fire TV 2, Fire TV Stick 1, Fire TV Stick 2, and 1st generation Fire TV Edition televisions from Element and Westinghouse. Basically, that’s all Fire TV devices released over a year ago. This update adds the newer Alexa interface, which was first introduced with the Fire TV Cube, to older models. With this update, all Fire TV devices ever released will once again be using the same Alexa interface.

Alexa interface for weather prior to the update

The Alexa interface on Fire TV devices is what is seen on the screen when an Alexa request can be accompanied by a visual element. For example, asking for the weather on a Fire TV device will result in Alexa saying the current day’s forecast, but a five-day forecast will be displayed on the screen. For the release of the Fire TV Cube, Amazon overhauled nearly all of these Alexa interfaces.

Alexa interface for weather prior to the update

All of those new Alexa interfaces made their way to the Fire TV 3 (pendant) with that devices recent software update and now this software update to all older devices brings the updated interfaces to all remaining Fire TV models.

Alexa interface for movies in theaters prior to the update

These new Alexa interfaces aren’t just cosmetically different. The update also brings additional new functionality to the various things that Alexa will display on the Fire TV. Prior to this update, asking for movies playing in theaters would display a list of movies that could be scrolled and nothing else.

Alexa interface for movies in theaters after the update

With the new Alexa interface, asking for movies playing in theaters now brings up a list that is selectable. Choosing a movie will display information about the movie and allow you to watch the trailer or view showtimes, which displays a list of the various theaters playing the movie near the location you requested. Selecting a specific theater will display all the different showtimes for the selected movie at that theater. The interaction goes even further because you can then say “how is traffic to hear” and Alexa will display how long it will take to get to the theater via the fastest route, as well as alternate routes and their travel times.

Asking Alexa for music on a Fire TV device is also now much more functional and interactive than before this latest update. You used to have to request anything you wanted to listen to by voice, but now you can request to see a list of songs, artists, albums, playlists, and stations that match a search request and then use the remote to navigate through the list and make a selection.

The main purpose of this software update for older Fire TV devices seems to be to synchronize Alexa’s capabilities across all Fire TV models, new and old. It, unfortunately, does not update the older devices to Fire OS 6 or add features that are currently only available on newer models, such as the video framerate matching feature that was recently added to the Fire TV 3. If you notice any other changes with this latest software update, let’s hear about them in the comments below.

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