Amazon Fire TV is one of the most popular streaming devices in the world. It has more than 50 million users worldwide, supports almost all of the largest streaming services in the world, and connects to every Alexa-based smart home kit you’ve set up in your house. One thing Fire TV can’t, however, is tune local TV channels … until now.
Unfortunately, the ability to jump from a boxset binge on Netflix to a movie on Disney + and straight to the local news and weather through the same Fire TV interface is not yet available in the UK. Instead, local channels are currently only available in the US. The Seattle-based retail giant has added local channels from 88 cities.
Currently, support for local news is limited to some of the newest entries in the Fire TV franchise, such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Stick 4K, and the Amazon Fire TV Cube.
Better still, Alexa’s voice control works with these new additions. So you can use the remote control to ask Alexa to “play local news” instead of chasing through the tiles, or you can enter a search with the control pad. Amazon’s news aggregate service is free to watch (though you’ll need to look through some ads) so you don’t have to be a Prime member to tune in.
Fire TV has been able to broadcast national news for some time, while an update was released late last year to bring local broadcasts to 12 of the largest cities in the United States including New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas , Atlanta, Houston, Miami, Tampa, Boston, San Francisco and Seattle. With 88 other cities, the feature is also coming to less populated areas.
“Local news helps our customers stay connected to important topics and updates in their communities,” Charlotte Maines, director of Amazon Fire TV, told the brilliant team at TechRadar. “Last year in particular, local news has been incredibly helpful in an uncertain environment, and our viewers continue to ask about other news options. This expansion will bring a truly local experience to both Fire TV and the streaming industry. “
Amazon recently redesigned its Fire TV interface to streamline the entire experience. As part of this rework, a live tab has been added to the top of the homepage that allows viewers to quickly jump into live sporting events, news, terrestrial channels, and more. The Live tab has also been added in the UK but is currently mainly used for sports. Whether we will see smaller local broadcasts like regional ITV lists being put on this tab in the future remains to be seen.