Amazon takes a page out of Roku’s playbook with new Fire TV updates


One of the best features of the Roku, the media agnostic over the top platform, is being able to search for a film or TV show and see which service offers the content.

Amazon Fire used to push viewers to Amazon Prime content, even if that content was free elsewhere. This week, though, Amazon is rolling out an update that will enable universal search across 75-plus apps and channels, including Netflix, replicating the Roku feature. Along the same lines, Fire users will now also get personalized recommendations from Netflix and HBO on the Fire homepage.

This is a major win for consumers and is a move toward closing the gap between the two devices (as I have written in the past, I am a cord-cutting Roku fan).

“Customers have told us they love having access to the wide selection of apps, games, and Alexa skills on Amazon Fire TV, and they love how easy it is to find their favorite shows with universal voice search,” said Marc Whitten, Vice President, Amazon Fire TV. “Now, we’re making it easier than ever for customers to find their favorite content with universal voice search across 75 apps and channels, and a new, simple way to see recommendations from Netflix, HBO GO, and HBO NOW right on the home screen.”

Alexa is also playing a part. Alexa support for Amazon Video now lets users go back in time in a video for an amount of time specified (“Alexa, fast forward five minutes”) and she can also give users a sports update, providing the latest score and game info.

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