One of the elements that many new Amazon Fire TV viewers have indicated they have missed is a live TV listing directory.
Amazon has come to the rescue with live TV listings for linear channels from several major apps. This a feature that essentially supercharges the Fire TV for viewers.
The directory is not unlike the same sort of listing that cable or satellite viewers are accustomed to that allows them to page through the channels to see what is currently on the air.
At this point, more than 200 channels are available for live viewing over the course of various apps.
Here’s a step-by-step process to add channels to the directory and then use it for watching live streaming channels on your Fire TV.
What apps are involved?
First, download the following apps:
Two other apps — IMDB TV and News by Fire TV — are already supplied with the Fire TV device.
Do you have to log into any of the apps?
Only one of the services — Sling TV — requires viewers to log in prior to their channels showing up in the directory.
Although Sling TV is a pay television service, there is a free television tier on Sling TV. In order to view it, consumers need only sign up on the service’s website (sling.com) with a username and password to establish an account but stop prior to entering any financial information on the website.
After creating an account, viewers can then log in on the Sling app. The screen they are presented with shows they are viewing what is called “Sling Free” — a preview of the service with a limited number of options and channels for viewers.
Of course, if you are already a Sling TV subscriber, then this step has already been handled for you.
Where do you find the channels on the apps?
From the Fire TV home screen go to Settings > Live TV > Manage Channels.
Before you click on Manage Channels, you’ll see the total number of channels that will show up in the TV listings. After you click on Manage Channels, you should see each of the apps mentioned above listed. If any of them are not listed, back-up one screen to Live TV, then select Sync Sources. Each of the apps is listed. By selecting each of the apps, any channels not listed are added to the full directory. After you’ve finished syncing up each of the sources, back up one level, then go up and select Manage Channels to confirm that each of the apps are listed, along with the number of channels for each.
As of today (May 11) the channel count for each service is as follows:
- IMDB TV: 35 channels
- Pluto TV: 49 channels
- Plex: 46 channels
- Red Bull TV: 11 channels
- Tubi: 8 channels
- News by Fire TV: 9 channels
- Sling TV: 45 channels
Selecting favorite channels
From the channel listing for each service, you can select individual channels as favorite channels - these will appear at the top of the listing for each service.
Using the TV listings
To view the free channel listing, viewers can use the Guide button under the Live tab. The directory moves quickly and very smoothly. It allows viewers to quickly jump from channel to channel across services without the delays involved in getting into and out of various apps.
Many new viewers are accustomed to traditional TV listings, so this is an easy way for them to ease into the world of streaming, especially when it comes to free television content.
There are only two minor complaints I have had — and I don’t know that I can refer to the first point as a complaint as much as an occasional annoyance — is that there are some duplicate channels between services. Case-in-point: CBSN is on three of the different services, which means it appears three different times in the free TV listings.
The second issue I have with the listings is that they are not comprehensive. Pluto TV, for example, has many more channels, overall, than the 49 listed. Likewise, Tubi has additional news channels over and above the eight channels in their listings.
I’m hopeful that given the number of apps with linear television channels — like Stirr and even Peacock, among others — that Fire TV will continue to expand their listings service beyond the seven services they are providing today, and that they will work to expand the listings provided to allow viewers to even better supercharge their Fire TV devices and obtain listings for more online content on an ongoing basis.