Amazon Updates Fire TV: New Channels, Sidebar Navigation

Amazon continues to expand its FAST portfolio, updating the Fire TV app with new channels from Variety, GameSpot, Rolling Stone, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Funny or Die, TVLine, Honest Trailers, Looper, Slash Film and more. They join the 400-plus Fire TV Channels that Amazon launched in May when the free streaming service debuted with content ranging from sports and entertainment to cooking, travel and gaming, featuring brands such as ABC News, FOX Sports, CBS Sports HQ, IGN, IMDb and Martha Stewart. In addition to responding to Alexa voice commands, Fire TV features a newly introduced navigational sidebar for browsing.

Fire TV Channels are available through U.S. Fire TV devices and accessed through the Your Apps & Channels screen, with no need to create an account and no additional download required.

Amazon continues to expand its “offerings as free, ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) grows in popularity as an alternative to paid streaming,” writes The Verge, noting that “in addition to Fire TV Channels, Amazon also owns Freevee, a FAST service that’s currently available as a standalone app or through Prime Video.”

In May, Amazon added more than 100 Prime Video originals to Freevee “to help draw in more viewers looking to hop into a library of always-on shows,” The Verge explains.

“Right now, Fire TV Channels is exclusive to the Fire TV and comes built into your Fire TV OS,” reports Cord Cutters News, explaining that “once you’ve used the app, you can quickly find it again in the Recently Used Apps row on your Home screen.

Amazon says in a news announcement that it’s “made finding something great to watch easier than ever with the Fire TV Channels app,” which “brings all your favorite content into one destination with easy-to-browse categories and curated playlists for any interest.”

“There have been a constant stream of innovations in the last few years as channels and services seek to attract maximum viewers,” writes Variety, noting that “free ad-supported streaming TV channels have gone from being playlists of four to six hours to seeing a majority of content airing within a day being single-run.” Variety refers to the prevalence of single-IP channels — which it says have “become a force across the world” —  as “brandification of FAST.”

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