What you need to know
- Amazon is rolling out a ton of new features for select Fire TV devices.
- The new Smart Dashboard allows users to easily view and manage their smart home devices from their TV.
- Alexa Shortcuts brings quick access to certain controls with the click of a button.
- Fire TV devices can connect to Echo speakers for an immersive home theater experience.
- Amazon is also bringing support for AirPlay 2, HomeKit, and Zoom.
While Amazon deals with its AWS outage, the company has taken the time to drop a ton of new features for its Fire TV devices which turn its smart TVs into smart displays.
The first major feature arriving on its TVs is the new Smart Dashboard, which sounds a lot like what it is. For Fire TV users in the U.S. and Canada, this new screen gives users quick and easy access to their smart home devices straight from their television. Users can easily manage their devices from this screen like they can on some of the best Amazo Echo Show displays.
It even has a dedicated row for smart cameras to get a quick look at your surroundings. Support for groups and thermostats is coming in early 2022.
To pull up the Smart Dashboard, Fire TV users just have to say, "Alexa, show me my smart home dashboard."
Or, if you don't need the whole dashboard, the new Alexa Shortcut Panel is just a click away for U.S. Fire TV owners. Now by tapping on the Alexa button on your Fire TV remote, users will get access to a shortcut panel at the bottom of their screen. This will provide quick access to smart home controls, weather, news, and the photo library.
An enticing feature is the Alexa Home Theater, which comes to the Omni and 4-Series Fire TVs as well as the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. This lets users pair speakers like the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) to their devices for a home theater-like experience. Amazon notes that the Fire TV Stick 4K Max will need to be hooked up to the HDMI eARC port for the feature to work.
Lastly, Amazon is bringing Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit to the Omni and 4-Series, and Zoom will be available on the Omni Series in the coming weeks, which will work so long as you have a compatible webcam attached.
Amazon notes that many of these features are "rolling out over the coming weeks."
4K all day
The power of Alexa
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is the best way to get all of your favorite content at an affordable price. Simply plug into an HDMI port and get access to thousands of apps and services. And Alexa is at your fingertips to help you jump right into your content or control your other smart home devices.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.