Amazon is poised to launch a third generation version of its Alexa Voice Remote that ships with a number of its most popular Fire TV streaming devices. While Amazon previously kept things really simple with the Alexa Voice Remote, which has the front and center microphone buttons and universal controls for your sound system or TV, things get a little more complicated with the latest design update.
The US retail company added a series of one-touch shortcuts to popular streaming services like Prime Video, Netflix, Disney +, and Hulu (a US-only streaming service), as most of that app’s original content is now in included is Disney + under the new ‘Star’ sub-brand in the UK and Europe). These colorful buttons allow viewers to quickly return to their favorite streaming service with a single press of a button – without having to navigate the menus with the D-pad.
OK, maybe we’re a little unfair. For example, if Netflix is the only video-on-demand service you’ve subscribed to – and it’s everything you’ve ever seen on your Fire TV – this could be a legitimate upgrade for you. It’s convenient to be able to jump back into the app immediately with a single press of a button.
However, Amazon recently redesigned its Fire TV software from the ground up to get better recommendations for viewers. Amazon keeps track of what shows you’re watching and suggests similar box sets or movies to suit your tastes. And these suggestions are tailored for the streaming services you already use. You won’t find constant suggestions only available in expensive new subscription services that you don’t want to pay for.
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The revision of the Fire TV software also brought individual user profiles for viewers. Households that rely on a Fire TV Stick in the living room can still get personalized suggestions from Amazon’s clever AI based on their viewing habits … rather than younger viewers sneaking in to watch Peppa Pig in a row and Paw Patrol before daybreak. In addition, each viewer can track their progress via a box set so that you can watch programs at different speeds and still return to the latest episode directly from the main menu with a single touch of a button.
All of these innovations are standout … but if Amazon went to great lengths to ensure that they can recommend your new favorite movie to you, why is the new remote pushing you to bypass the menu entirely and jump to Disney +?
If the third generation Alexa Voice Remote has customizable keyboard shortcuts that may be different, you can pre-program them based on your viewing habits and the streaming service you can pay for and watch. This new design makes the previously minimalist and sleek Fire TV remote look a bit like an advertisement for any movie streaming direct debit that you haven’t yet committed to.
The new remote design will be available shortly in the US with no knowledge of when (or if!) The trip across the pond will take place.