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

Amazon is rolling out a brand new expertise for its Fire TV platform that places extra give attention to subscription-free streaming and different live content. The firm as we speak introduced a number of new companies are being built-in into its suite of Live options, together with Xumo and its personal IMDb TV and Amazon news app. The firm additionally quickly plans so as to add Plex, it notes.

All 4 of the companies can be found for free with adverts and don’t require a subscription, Amazon says. These channels and their content will seem in Fire TV’s Live tab within the “On Now” rows, in addition to within the Universal Channel Guide on the Fire TV app.

With the additions, Amazon says there at the moment are over 400 live streaming channels from throughout 20 suppliers that may be accessed from Fire TV’s live channel information — together with companies like YouTube TV, Sling TV, Tubi, Pluto TV, Philo, Prime Video Channels, Prime Video Live Events (like Thursday Night Football), and extra.

Amazon additionally notes that greater than 200 of these channels can be found for free with adverts, and don’t want a subscription to observe.

Free, live streaming content is turning into a battleground for each Amazon and Roku, the highest two streaming media platforms within the U.S. But they’re taking totally different approaches to the format.

Amazon’s part showcasing free, live content has grow to be extra of part of its general Fire TV interface, as an alternative of a separate channel it’s a must to launch. This speaks to Amazon’s design philosophy with Fire TV, whose interface largely resembles that of a streaming service.

“We’ve always taken a content-forward 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,” mentioned VP & GM of Amazon Fire TV, Sandeep Gupta. “This philosophy extends to our approach to live content. We’re continuing to invest heavily in Live TV and so are our content partners. We’re expanding that today with the addition of new integrations, Alexa capabilities, and enhanced content discovery mechanisms,” he added.

Meanwhile, Roku presents its personal hub with always-on free motion pictures and TV reveals, known as The Roku Channel, which helps to function a place to begin for twine cutters who’re wanting for one thing to observe after they’ve ditched conventional pay TV. But not like Fire TV, Roku’s design is, the truth is,  “rows of apps.” This makes its interface easy to make use of and fewer cluttered — one thing many individuals appear to favor. Here, The Roku Channel is simply one other app to launch, not part of the Roku interface.

Roku additionally makes The Roku Channel out there on-line and as a standalone cellular app, identical to different free streaming companies. And this week, it built-in most of The Roku Channel’s free content with its important Roku.com website, in an effort to attain extra customers.

Separately, Fire TV presents its personal app, however limits itself to live content, not on-demand, ad-supported reveals and flicks.

In addition to as we speak’s newly introduced live TV integrations, Amazon additionally says its live TV applications at the moment are Alexa-enabled.

That means you possibly can say issues like “Alexa, play Good Morning America” or “Alexa, play the Seahawks game,” to launch a selected live TV program by title. This will work with the Alexa Voice Remote, on the Fire TV Cube, and with Fire TVs paired with an Echo machine.

Live TV applications can even seem within the “App Peak” (hover) function on the newly up to date Fire TV interface. This function will present you what’s on a given channel if you hover over it in the primary navigation, and works on Fire TV Stick (third gen.) and Fire TV Stick Lite, for the time being.

As a results of its expansions and live TV integrations — to not point out the pandemic that’s stored folks at residence for leisure — Amazon says that engagement with live streaming apps on Fire TV has greater than doubled within the final 12 months, up by over 130%.

Amazon says the brand new options are rolling out as we speak to Fire TV units.

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