Amazon has announced that its Fire TV devices are now receiving an immediate firmware update that will introduce a set of new and enhanced features. The update has been made available for the first and second-generation Fire TV set-top box, as well as the Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote models. Firmware version 5.2.1 brings additional power and parental control features which will allow parents to better control the viewing habits of children, as well as introducing additional capabilities to Amazon’s Alexa voice controlled digital assistant.

The main introduction to Amazon’s Fire TV devices through firmware version 5.2.1 comes in the form of new viewing restrictions. Owners of either the Fire TV or Fire TV Stick can use these new viewing restriction capabilities to block playback of movies and TV shows directly from Amazon Video.

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There’s also built-in support for a curated selection of third-party apps that offer similar content. Amazon’s integration of viewing restrictions is based on the content’s ratings category, and should introduce additional peace of mind to parents and guardians. Users can turn on viewing restrictions by heading to Settings > Parental Controls > Viewing Restrictions. 

Amazon has shown extreme willing to progress and take its Alexa digital assistant to the next level for use within products like Echo, Echo Tap, and Dot. Those improvements have now made their way across to the extremely popular Fire TV series of devices. Alexa can now be asked to find local business information, such as indexing data on local restaurants, shops, and other types of businesses thanks to the introduction of a new Local Search feature.

Also thrown into the mix:

Watch Live for video subscriptions is now available on Fire TV. If you have an add-on video subscription from Showtime or Starz, you can now live stream programming the same time as the TV broadcast.

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If you like to consume Kindle books, but sometimes want to take the stress and strain from your eyes, then Alexa can now also read Kindle books to Fire TV owners. Owner of a second-generation Fire TV? Well you can now watch YouTube content in 4K Ultra HD.

Amazon’s own information suggests that the Fire TV devices will automatically download and install an available firmware update when it’s available. If you want to check for the update manually, head over to Settings > System > About > Check for System Update. Once the update is downloaded, select Install System Update, otherwise the Fire TV will automatically install the update up on the next restart, or if it’s been idle for over 3o minutes.

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