Beaming an old webpage to your TV is harder than it looks, which is why it’s sometimes helpful to have a built-for-TV web browser at your disposal. Sure, it’s probably easier to pull up the troublesome website on your smartphone or tablet, but there’s no substitute for the big screen. That’s why Amazon brought Silk Web Browser, its in-house browser for Fire OS devices, to its Fire TV set-top box lineup this week.
Bing is the default search engine for the Silk Web Browser on the Fire TV, and it’s the first thing you see after you launch the application. (Luckily, you can change it to Yahoo! or Google’s homepage by digging through the settings menu.) Otherwise, the experience on is a dead ringer for the Silk Web Browser on Amazon’s Fire tablets, especially when it comes to playing videos — you get a full array of playback controls including play/pause, fast forward, and rewind, which map to the Fire TV remote’s physical buttons.
Silk Web Browser has been in the works for a while, it turns out. Evidence emerged in March of this year, when a few crafty folks discovered that you could sideload the tablet version of the Silk Web Browser onto Fire TV devices and it would work with the remote control. A few months later, an official beta version of the Silk Web Browser prematurely appeared in the Amazon Appstore.
Unfortunately, Amazon hasn’t made a lot of progress on compatibility in the interim. Silk Web Browser only supports the 1st and 2nd generation Fire TV, the 2nd generation Fire TV Stick, and all version of Element and Westinghouse’s Fire TV Edition televisions. The 3rd generation Fire TV is the odd one out, oddly, but it’s a safe bet that Amazon’s working on a fix.