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Amazon Fire TV expands live TV features, adds Alexa support for live content – TechCrunch

Amazon is introducing a new experience for its Fire TV platform, which puts more focus on streaming without subscriptions and other live content. Today, the company announced that several new services have been integrated into its range of live features, including Xumo and their own IMDb TV and Amazon news app. The company also plans to add Plex soon, she notes.

All four services are available for free with ads and do not require a subscription, says Amazon. These channels and their content will appear in the Live section of Fire TV in the “Currently” rows, as well as in the Universal Guide Guide in the Fire TV application.

With the additions, Amazon says it now has over 400 live streaming channels from 20 providers that can be accessed by Fire TV̵

7;s live channel guide – including services like YouTube TV, Sling TV, Tubi, Pluto TV, Philo, Prime Video Channels, Prime Live video events (such as football on Thursday night) and more.

Amazon also notes that more than 200 of these channels are available for free with ads and do not require a subscription to watch.

Free streaming content is becoming a battleground for both Amazon and Roku, the first two streaming platforms in the United States, but they take different approaches to the format.

The Amazon section, which shows free live content, has become part of its entire Fire TV interface, rather than a separate channel to launch. This speaks to Amazon’s design philosophy with Fire TV, whose interface is very similar to that of a streaming service.

“We have always taken an approach to redirecting content when designing Fire TV. When you turn on your TV, you’ll see shows, movies, and sports – not just rows of apps, “said Sandeep Gupta, vice president and CEO of Amazon Fire TV. “This philosophy extends to our approach to live content. We continue to invest heavily in live TV as well as our content partners. We are expanding this today with the addition of new integrations, Alexa capabilities and improved content discovery mechanisms, “he added.

Roku, meanwhile, offers its own center with permanently included free movies and TV shows, called The Roku Channel, which helps serve as a starting point for knives looking for something to watch after giving up traditional pay-TV. But unlike Fire TV, Roku’s design is actually a “series of applications.” This makes its interface easy to use and less cluttered – something many people prefer. Here, The Roku Channel is just another launch app, not part of the Roku interface.

Roku also offers The Roku Channel online and as a standalone mobile app, just like other free streaming services. This week, he integrated most of The Roku Channel’s free content with his main website, Roku.com, to reach more users.

Separately, Fire TV offers its own application, but is limited to live content, not on demand, commercials and movies.

In addition to today’s recently announced TV integrations, Amazon also says that its live TV programs have already been activated by Alexa.

This means you can say things like “Alexa, play Good Morning America” ​​or “Alexa, play Seahawks” to start a specific live TV program by name. This will work with the Alexa Voice Remote on the Fire TV Cube and with the Fire TV paired with an Echo device.

Live TV programs will also appear in the “App Peak” feature of the recently updated Fire TV interface. This feature will show you what’s in a channel when you hover over it in the main navigation and it’s currently running on Fire TV Stick (third generation) and Fire TV Stick Lite.

As a result of the expansion and integration of live TV – not to mention the pandemic that keeps people at home for entertainment – Amazon says that engagement with live TV apps on Fire TV has more than doubled in the last 12 months , with over 130%.

Amazon says the new features are available today for Fire TV devices.

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