The lure of streaming may be the ability to watch what you want on demand, but for sports and other programming best experienced live, Amazon Fire TV is introducing a new enhancement to its platform.
The “Live” tab, which is currently rolling out on Fire devices and smart TVs, is next to “Home” in the main navigation menu. It highlights live offerings from free services like Pluto and Red Bull, subscription bundles like Philo and PlayStation Vue, and Prime Video Channels outlets including MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, PGA Tour Live, HBO and Showtime. Programs pulled in over the air with an antenna are also included in the tab. While it isn’t a conventional grid or listings repository, the new feature is designed to remind streaming viewers of what’s being beamed out into the world the old-fashioned way.
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Erika Takeuchi, Fire TV’s Head of Global Integrated Marketing, announced the new feature in a blog post. The current wave of live sports including Wimbledon, Women’s World Cup and Major League Baseball, she reasons, can induce “fear of missing out” in many viewers.
“I’m personally a huge tennis fan, and I’ve noticed that as more and more apps and services have launched, it has become more difficult to see what’s on live right now,” Takeuchi wrote. “Last night, I was rifling around and found there was tennis streaming live on PlayStation Vue, Prime Video, and Tennis TV, and my head was spinning as a major wave of FOMO set in.”
Tiles showing recently viewed apps can also be customized by viewers who “favorite” certain apps they use regularly.
While it doesn’t get a specific mention in the Amazon blog post, political news is another element in the new tab, with last week’s Democratic debates proving the latest example of simultaneous, live viewing.
The strategy by Amazon, Apple and traditional pay-TV operators of embracing overall viewing, both live and on-demand across many platforms, stands in contrast to Netflix’s more insular approach. The streaming giant has repeatedly denied having any interest in sports or other live programming, saying the fundamental premise of its brand is content delivered on demand.