Amazon is rolling out a new experience for its Fire TV platform that places more emphasis on subscription-free streaming and other live content. The company today announced the integration of several new services into its suite of Live features, including Xumo and its own IMDb TV and Amazon app. The company also plans to add Plex soon, she notes.
All four services are available for free with ads and don’t require a subscription, Amazon says. These channels and their content will appear in the Fire TV Live tab under the “Ongoing” rows, as well as in the Universal Channel Guide on the Fire TV app.
With the additions, Amazon says there are now over 400 live streaming channels from 20 providers accessible from Fire TV’s live channel guide – including services like YouTube TV, Sling TV, Tubi, Pluto. TV, Philo, Prime Video Channels, Prime Live Video Events (like Thursday Night Football), and more.
Amazon also notes that over 200 of these channels are available for free with ads and don’t need a subscription to watch them.
Free live streaming content is becoming a battleground for Amazon and Roku, the two main media streaming platforms in the United States, but they are taking different approaches to the format.
Amazon’s section showing free live content is now more of a part of its overall Fire TV interface, instead of a separate channel that you have to launch. This is a testament to Amazon’s design philosophy with Fire TV, whose interface largely resembles that of a streaming service.
“We’ve always taken a content-driven approach when designing Fire TV. When you turn on your TV, you’re going to see shows, movies, and sports – not just rows of apps, ”said Amazon Fire TV vice president and general manager Sandeep Gupta. “This philosophy extends to our approach to live content. We continue to invest heavily in live television, as do our content partners. We’re expanding that today with the addition of new integrations, Alexa capabilities, and improved content discovery mechanisms, ”he added.
Meanwhile, Roku offers its own hub with always-available movies and TV shows, called The Roku Channel, which helps serve as a jumping off point for cord cutters looking for something to watch after ditching pay TV. traditional. But unlike Fire TV, Roku’s design is, in fact, “rows of apps”. This makes its interface simple to use and less cluttered – which a lot of people seem to prefer. Here, The Roku Channel is just another app to launch, not part of the Roku interface.
Roku also makes The Roku Channel available online and as a standalone mobile app, just like other free streaming services. And this week, it integrated most of The Roku Channel’s free content with its main website, Roku.com, to reach more consumers.
Additionally, Fire TV offers its own app, but is limited to live content, not ad-supported on-demand shows and movies.
In addition to the live TV integrations recently announced today, Amazon also claims that its live TV shows are now compatible with Alexa.
This means you can say things like “Alexa, play Good Morning America” or “Alexa, play Seahawks game”, to launch a specific live TV program by name. This will work with the Alexa Voice Remote, on the Fire TV Cube, and with Fire TVs paired with an Echo device.
Live TV shows will also appear in the “App Peak” feature of the new updated Fire TV interface. This feature will show you what’s on a given channel when you hover over it in the main navigation, and currently works on Fire TV Stick (3rd gen) and Fire TV Stick Lite.
Because of its expansions and live TV integrations – not to mention the pandemic that has kept people at home for entertainment – Amazon says engagement with live streaming apps on Fire TV has more than doubled in the last 12 months, up over 130%. .
Amazon says the new features are rolling out to Fire TV devices today.