Amazon Fire TVs gain smart home dashboard and other new capabilities

Mike Wheatley

Amazon’s Fire TVs are getting a host of new features, among them a new “home dashboard”, the addition of AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support and HDMI eARC-based wireless audio capabilities.


The biggest new feature that will be seen by the most Fire TV users is the new Smart Home Dashboard, which lets users see all of their connected smart home devices and control them from the safety of their sofa. So, they can easily toggle smart lightbulbs on and off, view their security cameras, or adjust the Wi-Fi based thermostat, for example.

Some sharper users will know they could already perform the above action using voice commands, but the Smart Home Dashboard gives them a visual display through which they can keep track of everything. To pull up the dashboard just say “Alexa, show me my smart home dashboard” and it will pop up immediately. The experience is similar to that found on the Amazon Echo Show’s smart display.

Another interesting new featre is in store for those who have just bought one of the recently-launched Amazon Omni Fire TVs and the older 4-Series Fire TVs. Alexa Home Theatre automatically enables the TV to be paired with compatible Echo speakers during set up, through a notification in the Alexa app.


HDMI-connected devices such as games consoles can now route their audio through Alexa Home Theater too. This was already the case with Amazon Omni and 4-Series Fire TVs, and will soon work with the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, when connected to the TV’s HDMI eARC port.

Alexa itself is getting a new Alexa Shortcut Panel that appears on the screen when users press the Alexa button on the remote. This is really just a quick shortcut to the smart home controls, weather, news and video library, Amazon explained. It will roll out on all Fire TV devices in the U.S. first, before going live globally later.

Furthermore, Amazon said Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit compatibility is being added to the Omni and 4-Series Fire TVs, which should be good news for iPhone and iPad wielders. An finally, Amazon said its Fire Omni TVs will soon be able to access the Zoom apps to make video calls using the TV. That feature will be available in the “coming weeks” and will require users to purchase a compatible webcam.