You might finally be able to watch something you want to see on your hotel room TV. Amazon announced an update for its Fire TV and Fire TV Stick Tuesday that could give the gizmos a leg up over competing devices since they now stream on public Wi-Fi networks where the Chromecast and Apple TV usually can't.
For road warriors, travelers and college students, the update could make it much easier to stream from Amazon Prime Instant Video, HBO Go and Netflix on the road. Most gadgets without a built-in display are usually unable to bypass the password-protection used by hotels, colleges and other public networks. That's because they often require users to sign-in on a "splash screen," or log-in page that pops up asking for a username and password.
The update also allows the larger Fire TV to connect with Bluetooth headphones, for wireless streaming without disturbing a spouse, kids or roommates. It also includes new shortcuts to the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick’s menu, which makes it easier for the devices to mirror the display of a smartphone or tablet. Amazon also announced it would begin selling its Fire TV Stick -- which competes against the Google Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick -- in the U.K. and Germany.
“Customer response to Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick has been overwhelming -- we’ve been working hard to build more of both as quickly as possible, and we’re excited to be adding new features we think customers will love,” Peter Larsen, vice president, Amazon Devices, said in a release. “In the U.K. and Germany, Fire TV is already the best-selling streaming media box on Amazon, and we’re thrilled to be bringing our fastest-selling Amazon device ever -- Fire TV Stick -- to the U.K. and Germany.”
Amazon says Fire TV now can store downloaded apps and games on USB devices, but not videos or music from Prime Instant. Existing users should see the updates roll out in the next day or so.