Amazon announced this morning that its streaming media players Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV stick will be soon receiving a software update that will deliver a series of new features, including support for expandable USB storage and wireless Bluetooth headphones on the Fire TV, the ability to watch via Wi-Fi that requires authentication on both devices, and more. Additionally, the company says that the Fire TV Stick is now available in two new markets, the U.K., Germany and Austria.
The devices will be available in those new countries for pre-order today, and will begin shipping on April 15.
Captive portal support will make the two devices the first streaming media players which offer the ability for users to watch via Wi-Fi that needs you to authenticate, Amazon notes. That includes places like hotels, airports or even college dorms, in some cases.
Meanwhile, the expandable USB storage option for Fire TV means that users will now be about to increase their Fire TV storage to have more room for apps and games.
Fire TV will also soon support Bluetooth headphones, allowing users to listen privately to their movies, TV shows and games without disturbing others nearby. This is a big selling point for those who live with roommates, for example, as well as parents who are trying to watch TV or play games, but don’t want to wake the kids. The lack of a headphone jack has also been one of the drawbacks to Fire TV, previously, when compared with other devices like the Roku 2 and Roku 3, for instance. So it’s good to see the company take steps to solve the problem as best it can, without having to releasing new hardware.
Other new features include the ability to browse and search Prime Music playlists from both devices, which allow you to find songs based on mood, activity, artist or decade. And both devices will now support a hidden PIN entry so others can’t see your secret code on the screen while making purchases, as well as new shortcuts that let you sleep or enable display mirroring by pressing and holding the remote’s Home button.
All of the added features will be delivered via a free, over-the-air software update, Amazon says, though it wouldn’t provide an exact timeframe. Instead, the company promised the features’ arrival in the “coming weeks.”