Amazon Fire TV adds a Free tab featuring apps, movies, TV and news

Amazon’s Fire TV platform now has its own rival to Roku’s popular free movies and TV hub, The Roku Channel. Today, Amazon introduced a new “free” section on Fire TV that makes it easier for customers to find free movies, TV shows, news and other content, across its apps — including IMDb TV and Twitch — as well as third-party sources like TUBI, Pluto TV, Crackle, The CW and others.

The tab will also point users to other apps offering free content, like Red Bull, PBS and PBS Kids.

The browsing experience within the free section on Fire TV is slightly different than on The Roku Channel, however. While the latter focuses solely on the content that can be streamed for free, Amazon Fire TV’s section starts off with a row of “featured apps.” And Amazon’s own app, IMDb TV, sits prominently in the first position.

Below this, Amazon then offers thematic, horizontal rows of curated content. This includes a set of personalized recommendations of free movies and TV shows across categories like new, trending and popular, plus a row dedicated to Amazon’s News app on Fire TV. Amazon says most of the content on the Free tab will be sourced from other providers, not from Amazon itself.

In addition, the Free tab will feature other types of free content to watch, including unlocked content from streaming services and a row dedicated to Kids & Family programming that’s free through Prime Video.

Amazon says that across Fire TV, users have access to more than 20,000 free movies and TV episodes via apps like IMDb TV, Pluto TV, TUBI and others. But the Free tab isn’t necessarily trying to pull in all this content — only a curated selection.

The launch of the Free tab does indicate Amazon is aware of the challenge Roku presents with its free movies and TV hub, which has grown to become one of its top channels and attracts customers to its platform. Roku, in its Q1 2020 earnings, said it now has 39.8 million active users as of the end of March. Amazon, meanwhile, had announced 40+ million actives in January — meaning the two are still very much neck-and-neck in terms of user growth.

Amazon Fire TV’s new Free tab is live today in the U.S.