Amazon is expanding the universal search feature of its Fire TV and Fire Stick streaming devices with a software update that’s being released today. The update adds big names like Netflix and HBO Go, bringing the number of search compatible apps or channels to 75. Amazon says that more services like HBO Now are on the way. With the update, Amazon says it has the “broadest cross-provider search of any streaming media player.”
On top of this, Amazon is borrowing a page from the likes of Chromecast. When users search for a show or movie, Fire TV will now show users all the different places that it’s available and whether they can stream, rent, or buy the title.
It’s a simple but welcome update, since this area was one of the few that we took issues with when we reviewed the Fire TV 2 last fall. Back then, Verge senior editor Lauren Goode wrote about how, when she asked Alexa to call up Netflix titles like Narcos or Chef’s Table, the Fire TV would only show her related videos and search results. Today’s update should fix that problem.
Also announced today were some improvements to how Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant, is integrated into the Fire TV experience. Users will now be able to say things like “rewind 10 seconds” or “skip ahead five minutes” when watching videos from Amazon Prime Instant. There’s also a new Alexa-activated sports update feature, where users can quickly call up a snapshot of the latest scores and info from their favorite teams. And finally, Amazon will start letting users create custom rows of apps, channels, and personalized recommendations on the Fire TV home screen.