Don’t like giant ads on Amazon Fire TV? Then don’t buy one

A promo for a show on Amazon Freevy.
Oh no! Full-screen promotion for a service on the platform that you basically got for free! Phil Nickinson/

There has been a bit of controversy for some time regarding Amazon Fire TV and advertising. It’s not like that Is Ads on home screen, mind that. This is not at all new. Rather, you are being pushed to a full-screen promo upon coming out of sleep mode because you are landing right on top of the featured carousel, which in turn triggers a full-screen ad. First, you have to click on the carousel to expand it.

In light of this uproar, it’s worth reminding us what the Amazon Fire TV is.

Yes, Amazon Fire TV is a platform on which you can watch all types of videos from all types of sources. You can watch Netflix. You can watch YouTube TV. You can watch Apple TV. You can watch Amazon Prime Video.

And, yes, Amazon Fire TV is a platform with which you use countless other apps and services, including listening to music. Or looking at your photos. Or controlling other connected devices and smart-home services. You can also take advantage of Luna, Amazon’s cloud-based gaming system. Or as long as you’re working on an Android-based device, you can really get into the weeds and do some Android-based wizardry.

These are all the things you can do with an Amazon Fire TV device. But they don’t define the Amazon Fire TV device. No, it comes in the first word of the name. Amazon.

Fire TV is, first and foremost, Amazon Fire TV. And that means it’s a portal into which Amazon gets to see and touch different aspects of your digital and, increasingly, physical world in multiple ways. Amazon Fire TV is not a benevolent streaming platform that lets you watch what you want without paying attention in the least to what you’re doing. In fact, quite the opposite. The same applies for any — and every — other Amazon service, whether it’s retail, or Amazon Web Services, or its latest major foray into health care. Amazon doesn’t just sell you something, pat you on the head, and send you on your way saying, “Enjoy storming the castle, boys,” without even looking at the portal you could easily access in your life. has put.

When you buy technology in the 21st century you make a deal with the advertising devil. Spend wisely.

That’s the deal we all make with Amazon. And Google. And Microsoft. And apple. In fact any modern company that sells us something. Make no mistake: You may have purchased the hardware. But you never own the experience, as Fire TV fans were painfully reminded this month. You will be subject to unwanted advertising. (Ever know someone who said: “Give me all the advertising!”) You will be burdened with promoting the company’s own products. Was it ever like this?

Then the question is what to do about it. One Fire TV fan blog (which, like this site, also has a lot of display ads) recommends reviewing Fire TV products on Amazon only. This isn’t a particularly smart way to go about things.

If you want to punish Amazon for doing something you don’t like, there’s really only one way to do it: Stop using the product. Buy something else. Vote with your wallet.

(And I also highly recommend something like a pi-hole in theory.)

You make a compromise when you buy a streaming device at a lost price, and this isn’t unique to Amazon. This is also true for Roku, which is basically an advertising company now and streaming platform later. This is true for Google. And others. That trade-off is that you get a much cheaper – and in all fairness, a really good – streaming device for a lot less money. And in return you get ads and promos and God knows how much data mining. It wasn’t a secret when you bought it, and it shouldn’t be a surprise now.

If you don’t want ads and promos imposed on you, it’s best not to use modern streaming devices. Or at least use one that makes some pretense at privacy. Or the one that tops our list of the best streaming devices you can buy – the lack of display advertising is a big reason why.

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