Amazon adds new features plus Smart Home Dash to Fire TV
Tech giant Amazon has added a Smart Home Dashboard and a host of new apps to its lineup of Fire TV streaming devices and the recently released Fire TV Omni and 4-Series televisions. The videoconferencing app Zoom, which will soon work on its Fire TV Omni Series, is also being added.
The Smart Home Dashboard is an interface similar to what’s already available on the company’s Fire tablets and Echo Show smart displays. With it, users will be able to check the state of everything smart in their home from smart lights to plugs and switches, and control them with the remote. Plus, Amazon has designed a dedicated row for smart cameras to let users quickly view feeds.
The dashboard, which is only currently available in the US and Canada, also lets users mark devices as favourites and access them from the Alexa companion app. The company plans to add support for smart home Groups and Thermostats early next year.
In addition, users will be able to see and control smart home functionality via the TV screen, an upgrade on previous iterations where users could use only voice commands via the remote control.
Other features include an Alexa Shortcut Panel that appears on-screen when the user presses the remote’s Alexa button. This will bring up “smart home controls, weather, news, and your video library.” Again, Amazon says this feature will be “broadly” rolled out across Fire TV hardware in the United States.
Amazon is also improving the audio side of its Fire TV experience by expanding the ability to use Echo speakers as TV speakers, for more immersive sound. Called Alex Home Theater, this feature will be available on the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max and the Fire TV Omni / 4-Series.
According to Amazon, sound from compatible connected devices such as “cable boxes, gaming consoles, and antenna sources” will be directed through this setup.
Finally, Amazon is rolling out Airplay 2 and HomeKit support on Fire TV Omni and 4-Series TVs. Users will now be able to stream, share, and control content such as photos, videos, and music from an iPhone, iPad, and Mac on a Fire TV. With Homekit users can also control the volume of your TV or turn it on/off using Siri.
Zoom on Amazon Fire TV
Teleconferencing app Zoom is set come to Amazon Fire TV in the coming weeks, too. Users simply need to download the Zoom app through Fire TV, plug a compatible 720p–1080p webcam into the USB port and say, “Alexa, find Zoom” to get set up.
Once everything is set up, users need to say, “Alexa, join my Zoom meeting” to get started. Zoom support on Omni TVs will be available in the coming weeks. The rest of the features mentioned above are now rolling out to customers.
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