Uh-oh, this new redesigned Amazon Fire TV remote isn’t a good sign
Amazon is poised to launch a third-generation version of its Alexa Voice Remote, which ships with a number of its most popular Fire TV streaming gadgets. While Amazon has previously kept things really simple with the Alexa Voice Remote, which puts the microphone button front and centre as well as universal controls for your sound system or telly… things get a little more complicated with the latest design refresh.
The US retail firm has added a number of one-tap shortcuts to popular streaming services, like its own Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu (a US-only streaming service, since most of the original content from this app is now included in Disney+ under the new ‘Star’ sub-brand in the UK and Europe). These brightly-colour buttons are designed to let viewers quickly jump back into their favourite streaming service with a single tap – bypassing any need to trawl the menus with the directional pad.
OK, maybe we’re being a little unfair. For example, if Netflix is the only video on-demand service that you’re subscribed to – and it’s all you ever watch on your Fire TV, this could be a legitimate upgrade for you. Being able to instantaneously jump back into the app with a single tap is handy.
However, Amazon recently overhauled its Fire TV software from the ground-up with a focus on better recommendations for viewers. Amazon tracks what shows you’re watching and will suggest similar boxsets or movies based on your tastes. And these suggestions are tailored to the streaming services you’re already using – you won’t find constant suggestions only available in pricey new subscription services you have no intention of paying for.
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The reworking of the Fire TV software also brought individual user profiles for viewers. So, households that rely on a Fire TV Stick in the living room will still be able to get personalised suggestions from Amazon’s clever AI based on their viewing habits …and not those of younger viewers who sneak in to watch back-to-back Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol before the crack of dawn. It also allows each viewer to keep track of their progress through a boxset, so you can watch shows at different speeds and still jump right back into the latest episode from the main menu with a single tap.
All of these innovations are stellar …but if Amazon has put so much effort into making sure it can recommend your new favourite movie to you, why does the new remote push you to bypass the menu completely and jump to Disney+?
If the third-generation Alexa Voice Remote had customisable shortcut buttons that might be different, as you could pre-programme them based on your viewing habits and the streaming service you’re paying for and able to watch. As it stands, this new design makes the previously minimalist and sleek Fire TV remote start to look a little like an advert for all the movie streaming Direct Debits you haven’t committed to yet.
The new remote design is coming soon in the United States, with no word on when (or whether!) it will make the journey across the pond.
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