Amazon enhances Fire TV's live TV experience through new integrations with multiple live TV streaming services, including Sling TV, YouTube TV, and Hulu + Live TV. Live content from these services is now displayed in key areas of the Fire TV user interface, including the Fire TV Live tab and the Channel Guide. This makes Fire TV feel more like a cable TV replacement than before.
Amazon Fire TV had already offered similar integrations with almost 20 other apps, including live TV apps like Philo and Pluto TV, as well as their own prime video channels.
However, Sling TV, YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV introduce the three largest and most popular apps for cable cutters that pay for a live TV experience. Sling TV has 2.31 million subscribers; YouTube TV has over 2 million; and Hulu + Live TV has 3.3 million.
There are three main sections to live content from these apps: the Live tab, the On Now lines, and the Channel Guide for multiple apps.
Streaming live TV over the Internet has become an increasingly popular option for cable cutters over the years as it offers a cheaper way to experience a cable television experience. Unfortunately, this gap has closed in recent months as live TV users have been experiencing continuous price increases as the services expanded their channel lineups.
However, many live TV customers remain, because despite the growth, it can still be a little less than cable and offers more flexibility – like working across platforms and not tied to a cable box.
This trend towards live content was also observed on Fire TV, according to Amazon.
The Live tab is the second most visited destination on the Fire TV interface after the home screen due to the integration of live content. In addition, live TV streaming apps on Fire TV have more than doubled the total time for apps and active customers on average since Fire TV added its live TV detection integrations.
“Fire TV is very popular with philo fans. Since integrating with Amazon's live streaming detection capabilities, the number of active Philo users on Fire TV has increased almost 2.5 times, ”said Andrew McCollum, CEO of Philo, whose TV streaming app is one of the earlier additions from Fire TV was.
To use new integrations, you must first log in to the streaming app that you subscribe to with your current account information. You can then access the app's live content from the Live tab, which organizes live content in the familiar Netflix-style scrollable lines. There are lines for things like "Live Sports" and "Live News" as well as content from your subscription channels.
From here you can jump into the Channel Guide, which offers the more traditional Grid Guide similar to cable TV.
This format is very popular with subscribers to live TV services.
For example, on Monday, Roku introduced its own live TV channel guide, accessible via a new tile, which enables Roku users to search the free live and linear content that Roku offers in a similar manner.
However, Amazon's Fire TV platform offers the advantage of Alexa integration.
This means that users can ask Alexa to open the Channel Guide or even switch channels by saying, for example, "Alexa, set to (channel name)". Depending on the setup, this works via the Alexa integrated in the Fire TV Cube, via a coupled echo device or via the Alexa Voice Remote of the Fire TV.
"We are pleased to welcome Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV to our integrated suite of live TV detection features," said Fire TV VP Sandeep Gupta, said in a statement. "We believe that the future of Connected TV is one that drives live content, simplifies the streaming and OTT landscape, and enables customers to easily discover the programs they want to watch," he added.
The integration of Sling TV started earlier this year, Amazon clarifies, but is officially announced today.
YouTube TV will be available today, and Hulu + Live TV will be available in the coming weeks.