Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick are highly capable media streamer available for extremely attractive prices. The Fire TV has an MSRP of $99 and can regularly be found for $80 or less. The Fire TV Stick has an MSRP of $39. For users that sign up for three months of Sling TV, even bigger discounts can be achieved with both media streamers.
Amazon is about to make the Fire TV/Fire TV Stick experience even more compelling with an over-the-air (OTA) software update that will land within the next few weeks. The biggest feature is perhaps the addition of USB storage support on the Fire TV. This will allow you to connect a USB mass storage device to the device’s single USB port and expand beyond the internal 8GB that comes from the factory. Amazon says that customers will be able to store both apps and games on external storage.
Another addition — and a big one I might add — is support for captive portals. If you’ve every tried to connect to in-room Wi-Fi at a hotel or dorm room, you’ve likely encounter the web authentication prompt that requires you to agree to terms and conditions in order to use the service. The Fire TV and Fire TV Stick are the first media streaming devices to enable this functionality, so you should feel free to pack either one in your luggage on your next trip out of town.
Other features that will be included in this OTA update include Bluetooth headphone support (Fire TV only), the ability to browse and search Prime Playlists, Hidden PIN entry, and remote shortcuts for device sleep and display mirroring.
In addition to the new features announced for the Fire TV and Fire TV stick, Amazon also announced the Fire TV Stick will become available in Germany and the UK starting on April 15.