Netflix, HBO Go among the latest universal voice search functions on Amazon Fire TV

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Netflix, HBO Go voice search coming to Amazon Fire TV & Amazon Fire Stick with over-the-air update

Netflix and HBO have been added to Amazon Fire TV’s universal voice search. Now users can search for content from the two streaming providers within the Amazon interface.

The features were announced on Tuesday, and will be added automatically as part of a free, over-the-air software update.

For now, the voice-search only works for HBO GO, but HBO Now will also be added soon, Amazon said in a released statement.

New features coming to all Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick customers starting include:

Universal Search expanded to over 75 apps and channels

Amazon says the Fire TV and Fire Streaming Stick now has support for universal search across more apps and content providers than any other streaming media player. If a TV show or movie is available on multiple apps, Fire TV will now show you viewing options – watch, stream, rent, or purchase – so you can choose an app or channel based on convenience and value. Watch out Roku.

Personalized recommendations

Subscribers to Netflix or HBO can quickly see personalized recommendations in custom rows available directly from the Fire TV home page. Amazon is promising to have similar custom rows for other apps in the coming months.

Voice control to fast forward, rewind on Amazon Video

Using just your voice, Amazon Video users can now jump forward or go back in a video any amount of time. Just say “skip ahead two minutes” to jump past the opening credits. Miss something because you were interrupted? Just try “rewind 30 seconds.” Ready for the next episode? Just say “next.” Very cool. Hopefully we’ll see these features added to Netflix and other apps someday too.

Sports updates

If you say “give me my sports update”, you will see the latest scores and game info from your favorite sports teams on your Fire TV. To select your favorite sports teams, go to Settings within the Alexa app, using a browser or your Fire tablet, iOS or Android device.

REVIEW: Amazon Fire TV is the best device for live streaming TV

OUR TAKE: TIMING AND COMPETITION

It was only a matter of time before Amazon added more voice features to Fire TV.

Why? Competition and customer demand.

The much-awaited addition of voice functions for Netflix and HBO GO come at an interesting time in the streaming device biz.

Roku is expected to release a slate of new devices in the fall, along with NVIDIA Shield TV. One criticism that Amazon Fire products have gotten since their inception was that they were too “Amazon-centric” and only catered to its own content.

The new voice features will begin to chip away that criticism, and allow Amazon to promote itself as more of a product-neutral device.

The Fire TV is one of the lowest priced 4K media streamers on the market, around $20 less than the Roku 4. Will Roku roll out a less pricey 4K device this fall? We’ll see.

Labor Day brought a $15 price drop for the Amazon Fire TV, and a $5 drop for the Amazon Fire Stick. So the endgame for Amazon seems to be selling as many devices as they can before customers become enamored with the latest shiny new toy on the market.

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  1. Amazon Fire TV review (2016) -- Cord Cutting Report

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