What's New in Development (Amazon Fire TV)

Amazon Fire TV Product Releases

Fire App Builder 1.0.7 Released

January 16, 2017. Fire App Builder version 1.0.7 was released. You can see the 1.0.7 release notes here. The most notable feature is Alexa integration for media playback. Other significant enhancements include support for clicks on VAST ads (through a MiniBrowser component), support for Brightcove media player, a Continue Watching row on app’s home screen, an Add to Watchlist button on media playback, and more. There were also some bug fixes related to the default package name and some manifest permissions. The release notes link to doc pages with more information.

Amazon Fire TV Stick Basic Edition Released

November 7, 2017. Fire TV Stick Basic Edition was released. See the official announcement here and the Appstore blog post. Fire TV Stick Basic Edition brings media streaming and the Amazon Fire TV experience to a global audience, including Canada, France, Italy, and Spain and more than 100 countries and territories (see the full list here). Brazil and Mexico will be included soon. Customers can set their default language as Spanish, Italian, French, Brazilian Portuguese, German, or English.

The near global availability of Fire TV Stick Basic Edition means more potential customers for your Android app or game when you publish it on Amazon Appstore and target Fire TV. If you’ve set your app’s availability as “In all countries and regions where Amazon sells apps”, no extra work is required to target the new marketplaces. However, if you’ve chosen to make your app available in only specific countries, you will need to select the new marketplaces accordingly.

From a hardware perspective, the specs for Fire TV Stick (Gen 2) and Fire TV Stick Basic Edition are largely the same except that the Basic Edition doesn’t ship with an Alexa Voice Remote. The user interface in Basic Edition is also simplified and more app-centric. Fire TV Stick (Gen 2) is available in US, UK, Germany, Japan, and India, whereas Basic Edition is available outside these areas in more than 100 countries or territories.

Amazon Fire TV (Gen 3) Announced

September 27, 2017. Fire TV (Gen 3) was announced. (See Fire TV naming conventions for details on device names.) Fire TV (Gen 3) provides the latest release for the Fire TV line of devices. With the Gen 3 release, the form factor of the device changed from a set-top box to a more portable pendant (small box) that connects to an HDMI at the back of your TV. The media capabilities offer both 4K@60fps and HDR, along with Dolby Atmos. The device no longer offers an expandable microSD card, and the USB port is only for power and Ethernet (with an adapter), not to interface with your computer (you’ll need to connect to ADB wirelessly).

The most significant update is the Fire operating system. This is the first (and so far only) Fire TV device to run Fire OS 6, which is based on Android Nougat (API level 25) instead of Lollipop (API level 22). See the following for documentation updates details:

Fire TV Edition Released

May 16, 2017. Fire TV Edition was released. Fire TV Edition is a 4K Ultra HD television with Fire TV built-in. Fire TV Edition is similar to a TV with Fire TV or Fire TV Stick, with some additional features in the user interface. For example, with Fire TV Edition, you can:

  • Toggle between inputs (and see a preview of the input prior to switching).
  • See all live content on a row called “On Now”.
  • Select over-the-air (antenna) content.
  • Use your voice to control volume, power, and other TV features.

Fire TV Edition’s remote controller includes 6 new buttons (power, volume up, volume down, Netflix, Amazon Video, and Amazon Music), and more. See the full description of Fire TV Edition on Amazon.com for more details.

Your app works the same on Fire TV Edition as with other Fire TV devices, so there’s no impact to third-party apps except for wider visibility of your content through this new device and market. See the Fire TV Edition FAQ for more details about apps and Fire TV Edition.

Fire App Builder 1.0.2 Released (and 1.0.3, 1.0.4)

April 6, 2017. Fire App Builder version 1.0.2 was recently released. The main feature includes the ability to send recommendations to the “Recommended By Your Apps” row on the Amazon Fire TV home screen. You can send a list of global recommendations when your app starts, or individual recommendations when a user plays a specific video. For details, see Recommendations in Fire App Builder Overview.

Many other fixes and enhancements were made, such as adding events tracked in analytics, support for XML feeds, and a smarter Login/Logout button. New documentation includes a tutorial on configuring MRSS feeds, several topics on how to send recommendations, and a topic on submitting your app to the Appstore. You can view the 1.0.2 release notes here. For more information, see Fire App Builder.

Update: Version 1.0.3 and Version 1.0.4 were follow-up releases with minor fixes.

Fire TV Stick Gen 2 Available in UK and Germany

Feb 21, 2017. The Fire TV Stick Gen 2 (officially called the “Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote) is now available the UK and Germany. It will also be available in Japan this April. For more details, see the All-New Fire TV Stick to Hit Shelves in the UK, Germany, and Japan.

Amazon Fire TV User Interface Update

Sep. 28, 2016. Amazon Fire TV Gen 2 devices received an update to the interface. The update provides a more cinematic experience that offers video trailers and content screenshots to help customers access the content they want more quickly. Third-party apps are also more visible on the homepage in recommended rows. Accessibility improvements were included that allow customers to use Fire TV and any compatible apps with the VoiceView screen reader. (See the original announcement.) To upload the new Fire TV assets required for the new UI, see the instruction in Image Asset Guidelines for Appstore Submission. The user interface update will be applied to generation 1 devices in a later phase.

Fire App Builder 1.0 Released

Nov 4, 2016. Fire App Builder was released on September 29, 2016. Fire App Builder provides a Java-based framework that you can use to easily and quickly build streaming media Android apps for Amazon Fire TV. Fire App Builder lets you build an engaging, high-quality media experience on Fire TV following best practices and techniques — without having to develop all the code yourself. Fire App Builder’s code is Java-based and uses Android Studio, Gradle, and other tools common to Android app development. Fire App Builder is released as an open source project on Github (github.com/amzn/fire-app-builder) under the Apache 2.0 license. See Introducing Fire App Builder for Amazon Fire TV for the original announcement.

Fire TV Stick (Generation 2)

Sept 28, 2016. Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, referred to as Fire TV Stick (Generation 2) in the documentation, was released on September 28, 2016. This next-generation Fire TV Stick is 30 percent faster than the original best-selling version, offers access to more than 300,000 movies and TV episodes, and includes the Alexa Voice Remote—for only $39.99. Now sporting a quad-core processor, it has the horsepower to let your high-performance apps and games shine. Read more about it here: Introducing the All-New Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote. You can see the specs for Fire TV Stick (Generation 2) on Fire TV Device Specifications.

Amazon Fire TV Documentation Updates

The following table lists significant updates or new pages to the Amazon Fire TV documentation. This includes Fire TV and the related app frameworks (Fire App Builder, WASK, etc.) for building Fire TV apps.

Date Page Details
January 16, 2018 Version 1.0.7 Release Notes

Alexa Integration

VAST Ads Component (updates for interacting with videos)

Mix Free Content with Login-Required Content

Beginning-to-End Process Maps for Building Your App (updated with process maps)

BrightCove Media Player Component

Optional Home Screen Changes (Fire App Builder)
1.0.7 release for Fire App Builder
November 8, 2017 Fire TV specifications Specifications for Fire TV Stick Basic Edition added.
November 3, 2017 Fire TV specifications CPU details for all Fire TV devices (which run Fire OS) updated with "Supports 32-bit apps."
October 13, 2017 Site theme update for docs pages The web pages for docs were updated to match branding of other site pages. Backend processes for authoring and publishing docs were completely retooled with a docs-as-code process. This new authoring/publishing framework will make it easier to publish doc updates in a quicker, more consistent and uniform way.
October 13, 2017 Debug Your Web App Updates to the doc to match updates in the Web App Tester tool.
September 28, 2017 Fire TV Device Specifications Linked to Bluetooth profile for each device to provide supported profiles.
September 28, 2017 “Audio Focus” section in Developer Tools

“Naming Conventions” section in Get Started

Fire OS Overview updates

“Remove uses-amzn-sdk” from App Manifest” section in Targeting Amazon Devices

Updates related to Fire TV (Gen 3) release
September 27, 2017 Developing for Amazon Fire TV Devices Running Fire OS 6

Fire TV Device Specifications

Identify Amazon Fire TV Devices

Audio and Video Synchronization

New docs for Fire TV (Gen 3) release
May 16, 2017 Fire TV Device Specifications

Fire TV Edition FAQ

Identify Fire TV Devices

Playing 4K Ultra HD Videos on Fire TV

Documentation updates related to Fire TV Edition.
May 8, 2017 Recommendations FAQ Recommendations questions and answers.
May 2, 2017 Version 1.0.4 Release Notes (Fire App Builder) Release notes for version 1.0.4 release
April 14, 2017 Version 1.0.3 Release Notes (Fire App Builder) Release notes for version 1.0.3 release
April 6, 2017 Version 1.0.2 Release Notes (Fire App Builder)

Recommendations in Fire App Builder

Send Global Recommendations

Send Related Recommendations

Customize the recommendations with Amazon Extras

Configure a Media RSS (MRSS) Feed

Customize the Look and Feel

Google Analytics

Track Feed Attributes That Aren’t Used in Fire App Builder

Submit Your Fire App Builder App to the Appstore

Various documentation updates for the 1.0.2 release. These topics are either new or substantially updated.
March 10, 2017 Recommendations Overview

Send Recommendations that Include Amazon Enhancements

Test Your Recommendations

Best Practices with Recommendations

New documentation on how to send recommendations to a row called “Recommended By Your Apps” on the Fire TV home screen.
March 5, 2017 Documentation index page. The top navigation bar of the Developer Portal now includes a Docs link that provides an index to all documentation on the Developer Portal.
Jan 20, 2016 System X-Ray Overview

Developer Tool Options

Customize System X-Ray

Updated details about System X-Ray and the Developer Tools Options menu.
Dec. 14, 2016 Amazon Development Framework Comparison Detailed comparison between Web App Starter Kit for Fire TV (WASK) and Fire App Builder.
Nov 29, 2016 Notifications for Amazon Fire TV Updated to explain upcoming the Notification Center functionality that will be included in the Fire TV UI refresh release.
Nov 23, 2016 Specifying Your App’s Installation Location Update with emphasis on preferring external storage on app install. Also includes details for app installs across platforms.
Oct 25, 2016 Image Asset Guidelines for Appstore Submission Updated graphics and instruction for the Fire TV Assets section. Instead of generic diagrams, the graphics include real samples with more gradations shown in the content safe areas.
Oct 20, 2016 Getting Started Developing Apps and Games for Amazon Fire TV New sidebar navigation on the right with expandable/collapsible sections
Oct 2, 2016 Fire App Builder: A Starter Kit for Java-based Amazon Fire TV and Android Apps Extensive documentation (more than 30 pages) about how to use Fire App Builder to create Java-based Android TV apps for Fire TV.
Sep 29, 2016 Identify Fire TV Devices Contains feature identifiers for Fire TV Stick (Generation 2)
Sep 28, 2016 Image Asset Guidelines for Appstore Submission Contains image asset guidelines for the Fire TV Assets section of the Images & Multimedia tab used during app submission.
Sep 28, 2016 Fire TV Device Specifications Includes specifications for Fire TV Stick (Generation 2). Also contains content from Media Specifications on the same page (for consolidated and centralized information). Information is organized through navtabs.
Sep 16, 2016 Android TV Development versus Fire TV Development New page that explains what to account for when developing for Fire TV.
Sep 14, 2016 Getting Started Developing Apps and Games for Amazon Fire TV Revision based on new site workflow
Sep 10, 2016 Using System X-Ray on Fire TV New page that provides details for troubleshooting app issues through a System Xray overlay.
Sep 5, 2016 Getting the Advertising ID on Fire TV New page that provides details for getting the advertising ID.
Sep 1, 2016 Playing 4K Ultra HD Videos on Fire TV. New page with guidelines for developing 4K apps along with Extension support library for Fire TV.
Aug 30, 2016 Amazon Fire TV homepage The homepage was migrated to the new version of the Developer Portal site (which is rolling out incrementally).
Aug 5, 2016 Identifying Amazon Fire TV Devices. New methods for identifying Fire TV devices – look for the feature instead of the model + manufacturer.
July 23, 2016 Fire TV Device Specifications Updated with H.265 details, Widevine support, and other details.
July 22, 2016 Dolby Integration Guidelines New page that provides technical details for supporting Dolby audio.
July 1, 2016 Media Players Updated info about supported media players, with an emphasis on the Amazon port of Exoplayer.
June 10, 2016 Handling Audio Focus with Voice Interactions New section on how to handle audio focus when voice interactions start.
June 16, 2016 Voice Search New section on how voice search versus text search works, and what returns for both searches.
June 1, 2016 Persistent sidebar navigation Right sidebar appears throughout Fire TV docs to allow easier navigation within the Fire TV documentation.

Amazon Fire TV Blog Updates

You can follow the latest news about Fire TV by reading the Fire TV category on the blog.