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Amazon dramatically redesigned its Fire TV user experience at the end of last year, bringing separate user profiles for everyone in your household, better suggestions based on your past boxset binges, and a new Live tab that collects together sport fixtures and concerts. The latest generation of Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite, launched last year, arrived on store shelves with the latest software out-of-the-box. However, it has taken longer for the update to arrive with some older Amazon hardware.
Thankfully, more Fire TV owners will now be able to enjoy the new design. Amazon has today confirmed that Fire TV Stick (second generation), Fire TV Smart TVs, and Fire TV Soundbars owners will be able to get their hands on the update “over the coming weeks”.
This latest expansion follows the launch of the operating system boost, dubbed the “New Fire TV Experience” on Fire TV Stick (third-generation) and Fire TV Stick Lite in December and the spring launch on Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube, and Fire TV (third generation, known as the “Pendant Design”).
For those who missed the initial announcement about the huge upgrade to Fire TV – easily one of the biggest in its history – the redesign completely re-imagines the homescreen.
The new design aims to bring together all of your favourite shows, movies and games into a single place. Amazon has included a few easily accessible shortcuts to your favourite apps alongside the tabs to Find, Library and Live, which are all pretty self-explanatory. But the bulk of the user interface is filled with tiles of all the shows you’re currently watching from across your streaming services alongside and suggestions of new films and shows to discover based on your viewing history.
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Some of these features were available in the previous software update, but what makes such a difference this time around is the arrival of user profiles. Yes, the new Fire TV experience lets viewers switch between a maximum of six profiles for individual family members or flatmates.
Each of these profiles has its own personalised suggestions based on viewing history. While Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service has had user profiles for a while now, the feature did not extend to the Fire TV hardware itself. As such, shows and movies would be suggested based on everything watched on the telly.
So, Fire TV would suggest new films based on those watched by parents in the evening as well as children in the morning. Needless to say, that could lead to some pretty confusing suggestions or could lead younger viewers to stumble across a post-watershed show showcased front-and-centre on the Fire TV homepage. Likewise, shortcuts to resume boxsets would appear side-by-side with no differentiation based on who was watching the show.
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With the arrival of these new user profiles, these shortcuts will now be divided based on who was logged in when bingeing through a series. So, if you’re only a few episodes into Mare Of Easttown and Industry, but your partner has binged to the season finale – these will be separate and only appear when the correct person is logged in.
Not only that, but each user profile will have its own Watch List, so you’ll be able to queue up a list of films and shows that you’re keen to watch – and it won’t impact anyone else who watches the same telly as they’ll be able to create their own lists. Profiles should ensure that everyone gets a highly personalised experience when using a Fire TV. Until now, that’s only really been true for those who live alone… or have a different Fire TV Stick in every room in the house.
As well as profiles, Amazon has tweaked how it makes recommendations. Following the update, you’ll notice a new Find tab at the top of the user interface. This is designed to bring together all of the boxsets and movies that Amazon thinks you’ll enjoy based on your previous viewing. As before, these will include recommendations from a variety of streaming services – not just Prime Video – so expect to see new boxsets from Disney+, Shudder, and Netflix in the mix too.
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