Amazon has started rolling out a feast of new Fire TV features in the US and Canada.
The new Smart Home Dashboard is the biggie. It lets you view and control smart home devices from the comfort of their couch, making it simple to toggle smart lightbulbs on/off, view connected doorbells and (from 2022) adjust wi-fi thermostats.
It's already possible to do all of the above using voice commands, but the nifty Smart Home Dashboard should make it a doddle to keep track of connected gadgets. To pull up the new dash, Fire TV users can just say, "Alexa, show me my smart home dashboard". It looks similar to the experience found on Amazon's Echo Show smart displays, including the newly-launched wall-mounted Amazon Echo Show 15.
The 'Amazon-built' Omni Series and 4-Series TV get an interesting new feature, too. Alexa Home Theater automatically gives you the option to pair your TV to compatible Echo speakers during setup (you'll get a notification in the Alexa app).
Sound from HDMI-connected devices such as games consoles can also be routed though Alexa Home Theater setup. The feature already works with the Omni and 4-Series, but it will soon work with Fire TV Stick 4K Max (when connected to your TV's HDMI eARC port).
As for Alexa, a new Alexa Shortcut Panel appears on screen when you press the remote’s Alexa button. It's basically just a shortcut to "smart home controls, weather, news, and your video library". The feature will be rolled out to Fire TV devices in the States first, apparently.
Lastly, Amazon is bringing Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit to the Omni and 4-Series TVs. It also says that Zoom will be coming to the top-of-the-line Omni series in "the coming weeks" (you'll need a compatible webcam, mind).
These are the best TVs going
See the best Amazon Fire TV Stick deals
Streaming stick stand-off: Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite vs Fire TV Stick (3rd Generation) vs Fire TV Stick 4K: which is best?