Amazon’s Fire TV streaming devices, as well as the recently introduced Fire TV Omni and 4-Series televisions, are getting new capabilities and functionality today. A Smart Home Dashboard, which looks similar to what’s already available on Amazon’s Fire tablets and Echo Show smart displays, is at the top of the list of new features.
The dashboard, which is only accessible in the United States and Canada, provides quick access and on/off toggles for Alexa-connected lights, plugs, and switches.Smart cameras have their own section in the dashboard, complete with a snapshot of their view — but no live view until you click into them.
Previously, you could use the Alexa Voice Remote on the Fire TV to operate your smart home devices with voice commands, but it’s always good to have an actual interface on the screen for these stuff. For its SmartThings platform, Samsung offers a TV dashboard, while the Apple TV has a semblance of one via Control Center. Additional capabilities, such as smart home groups and smart thermostats, will be introduced to the dashboard next year, according to Amazon.
On the issue of Alexa, Amazon is also introducing an Alexa Shortcut Panel, which appears on-screen when you click the Alexa button on the remote. You’ll be able to access “smart home controls, weather, news, and your video collection” using this. This capability will be “broadly” carried out across all devices in the United States, according to the firm. Amazon is also improving the audio quality of its service. The ability to use Echo speakers (like the Echo Studio if you’re feeling fancy) as speakers is being expanded by Amazon and will be available on the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max and the Fire TV Omni / 4-Series.