If you have Amazon Fire TV, you will now be able to browse the web using Silk browser. Amazon just released Silk browser for its media gadgets, which makes it compatible with the first and second generation Fire TV’s, the second generation Fire TV Stick and the various smart televisions with Fire TV Edition built in. Amazon has been working on the browser since last March, and the beta version was actually leaked this past June. What you can’t do is install Silk browser onto any third generation Fire TV’s as they run a new version of Amazon’s Fire OS and the Silk browser may be incompatible with it. Silk works pretty much like any other browser, but you’ll use the Fire TV Remote to search, enter URL’s and play videos. You can also use your voice to dictate – which is a lot like Apple TV’s use of Siri. Although, some are saying that it doesn’t work well on the Fire TV.
The browser seems to be fairly bare bones and doesn’t really look like it’s been customized for use on a TV screen. But, in Amazon’s defense, browsers aren’t generally designed for TV screens. The point of the browser for Fire TV isn’t really for web searches, but rather for online video. Which is good, because the cursor (for example) moves around via the directional buttons on the remote. This is functional, but it’s quite a bit more cumbersome than just grabbing your phone to perform a search or load a webpage.
The app also includes a section of content called “Trending on the Web”, which highlights popular videos, including those from news sources like CNBC, CNN, Fox and others. You can play, pause, fast forward and rewind these videos using the buttons on the remote, instead of the cursor, which makes for easier viewing. Amazon hasn’t formally announced the app just yet. What’s funny is that when you launch the Silk browser, you will see bing.com as the first screen. This is funny because I’m not a fan of Bing.
If you press the menu button on your remote, you will be able to enter URL’s and access the search engine. You do have the option to change the search engine to Google or Yahoo. And please do. Immediately. While Bing is the first page you see when initially launching the Silk browser, this is not your homepage. Instead, opening up Silk will take you to the last page you visited during your previous browsing session. So watch out.
This update makes sense, doesn’t it? I mean, that’s the browser available in Fire Tablet, so if they’re going to make a browser available for Fire TV, Silk seems to be the obvious choice. That being said, this isn’t the only way to access the internet on a Fire TV device. You can use the App Downloaded if you want to access websites or download files to install directly on your device. While I think Silk is a bit clunky, it’s miles ahead of Downloader in terms of web browsing, so this is definitely a welcomed addition to the platform.