Amazon has stepped up with a new solution in 2023: Fire TV Channels.
The tech giant recently announced the launch of this new app that aggregates more than 400 streaming content providers. This includes content from some of the most recognizable brands in the television industry.
Sounds great! But how does it stack up against some of the well-established free streaming TV apps already on the market?
I decided to find out. For the purposes of this review, I tested the Fire TV Channels app on an Amazon Fire TV. I’ll first explain what the app is in further detail, and then I’ll highlight the things you need to know before deciding to try it out on your own.
Table of Contents
- What Is the Fire TV Channels App?
- 4 Things To Know About Fire TV Channels
- Final Thoughts: Pros and Cons
What Is the Fire TV Channels App?
Fire TV Channels is a new, free app available to streamers who use a television or streaming device that is powered by the Fire TV operating system.
It aggregates some of the most popular FAST (Free Ad-supported Streaming Television) channels available. In total, there are more than 400 content providers. This includes options from recognizable brands like ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, Reuters, Bloomberg and MLB.
Amazon launched the new app with the following promotional video explaining its functionality:
4 Things To Know About Fire TV Channels
If you’re considering using this new app as a cable TV or live TV streaming replacement, here are some things you should know first:
1. This Is For Fire TV Users Only: Other Streamers Are Out of Luck
The Fire TV Channels app is available on Amazon Fire TV devices in the United States only. There are no downloads, sign-ups or fees required.
The app should automatically be on your Fire TV device. Amazon provides the following instructions to access it:
“To get started, ask Alexa to ‘Play Fire TV Channels’ to open the app and browse free content. Or, navigate to Fire TV’s ‘Your Apps & Channels’ screen and click the Fire TV Channels app. Once you’ve used the app, you can quickly find it again in the Recently Used Apps row on your Home screen.”
For now, this means access to this app is reserved for Fire TV users. This is similar to the strategy used by Samsung, which offers Samsung TV Plus as a free streaming product for customers with Samsung smart TVs or devices.
2. This Is Different Than Amazon Freevee
You may have read “Amazon” combined with “free streaming TV” and just assumed that this is the same app as Amazon Freevee.
While there may be some content overlap between the two apps, they are clearly different products.
Freevee has a deep library of on-demand movies and TV shows that are not available on Fire TV Channels. It also reaches a wider audience.
In addition to being available on Amazon devices, Freevee is available to download on non-Fire TV devices, such as Apple iOS or Google Android supported devices.
As we mentioned above, that’s not true for Fire TV Channels at this point. You must have a Fire TV device to enjoy the Fire TV Channels app.
Freevee, which was formerly known as IMDb TV, is still among our top recommended free streaming TV apps. You can read our full review of it here.
3. Your Channel Options Are Plentiful
One of the coolest things about Fire TV Channels is that you get access to many of the popular FAST channels in one spot. You don’t have to shift between one free streaming service to another, and you don’t have to download individual apps from these content producers.
When you’re on the app, Amazon presents the content in genre segments. You’ll pick which type of content you’d like and then it offers you live streaming options from there.
Here’s a sampling of some of the recognizable names from each featured genre that have content included within the more than 400 channels offered:
- ABC News Live
- FOX LiveNOW
- CBS News
- NBC News Now
- Scripps News
- Newsmax TV
- Cheddar News
- Reuters NOW
- FOX Weather
- AccuWeather Now
- CBS Sports HQ
- PGA Tour
- Fubo Sports Network
- Prime Video Sports Talk
- USA Today Sports
- NBC Sports (on demand)
- FOX Sports (on demand)
- Sports Illustrated (on demand)
- MLB (on demand)
- The Hollywood Reporter
- IGN Entertainment
- The TMZ Channel
- People TV
- E! News
- Rolling Stone
- TODAY AllDay
- America’s Test Kitchen
- Gusto TV
- Martha Stewart
- Tastemade Travel
4. The User Experience Is a Live/On-Demand Hybrid
Many free streaming TV services offer a menu of live channels that is separate from a menu of on-demand TV shows and movies.
This isn’t that.
The Fire TV Channels app does not have movies or old TV show archives available to stream. But I did notice that much of the content it promises from some of the names listed above isn’t exactly “live streaming” either. Let me explain.
If you’re looking for news and weather, you’re going to find that there are live TV channels that you can tune into around the clock with live streaming giving up-to-date news. You’ll be able to flow through those rather seamlessly once you select “news” on the app and begin streaming a channel of your choice. You’ll only have to swipe left or right on your remote to change the channel.
But when it comes to Sports, Entertainment, Cooking, Gaming and Travel, you’ll find that there is a mixture of live and on-demand content.
You may find live sports news streaming on CBS Sports HQ, but when you tap to change the channel on your remote you may find yourself watching a prerecorded clip of a debate show or a short highlight from a game played last night.
Note: Your live sports options are going to be extremely limited on this platform. Most of what you see is highlights, news and debate.
Or in the entertainment space you may find a livestream from TMZ next to a three-minute gossip clip from The Hollywood Reporter.
Honestly, this is a little frustrating. The live TV streaming channel experience is much better on a service like Pluto TV. And there are more robust on-demand offerings there, as well as on apps like Tubi and The Roku Channel.
Final Thoughts: Pros and Cons for Fire TV Channels
|FREE!||Only available for Fire TV users|
|Strong collection of live news channels||Lack on-demand movies and TV shows|
|No downloads necessary, app comes loaded on Fire TV devices||Many of the advertised brands are clips, not live channels|
Bottom Line: We have reviewed quite a few free streaming TV services at Clark.com. This one has one of the more thorough collections of live news streaming channels. That alone makes it worth considering.
And when you throw in popular livestreaming sports news channels like CBS Sports HQ and popular weather channels like FOX Weather, I could see many cord cutters satisfied by staying up-to-date through this app featured on their Fire TV’s home screen.
If you have a Fire TV, I recommend checking this out for free access to live national news, sports news, weather updates and maybe even some entertainment news and gossip.
However, I wouldn’t recommend purchasing a Fire TV just to gain access to it. You can find much of this content spread across other free streaming services like Pluto TV, Tubi TV and The Roku Channel.
For an optimal free streaming experience, I recommend using this app in tandem with those to get a more robust live channel and on-demand movie library.
Have you tried the new Fire TV Channels app? We’d love to hear about your experience in the Clark.com community.