Well this friggin’ sucks.
At first, I thought it was some kind of mistake on my part. That I somehow hit a button during my TV’s startup that triggered the ad to play, but then my husband started noticing this phenomenon on his Fire TV, too.
Unfortunately, this is a feature, not a bug.
As first reported by Cord Cutter News, apparently a new update changed the default location of the Fire TV cursor. Now, instead of the cursor starting on the navigation menu, it starts on the big-ass banner ad that always takes up half of any Fire TV home menu. Since highlighting a banner ad at any time triggers the ad to play, now the first thing your Fire TV does upon startup is beam you an ad.
There doesn’t seem to be a real fix for this. You can disable video ads on the homescreen by heading to the settings menu, selecting preferences, then featured content, then switching off the “allow video autoplay” option, but that only replaces the video ads with a static image. (While you’re in those settings, you might also want to disable the audio autoplay as well in case you’ve got kids or pets that might accidentally turn on your TV.) After turning that option off, now when my TV starts up I get a slideshow instead of a video. Thankfully you don’t have to wait for the ad to end, you can quickly hit the Home button or hit down on the cursor to bring up the homescreen.
I hate this.
I get that as long as there’s been “content” there have been ads. I’m okay with that. I accept that it costs money to make the things I want to watch and ads are a way to generate some of that money. But it’s the increasingly disruptive delivery system for these relatively benign pieces of our culture that I have a problem with. Pop-up ads aren’t new, as anyone who remembers dial-up internet can attest. Even pop-up ads on TVs aren’t new, but there’s a reason we’ve devoted considerable resources to limit their impact online — we simply don’t want this particular flavor of shit, knock it off.
Since Amazon is determined to ruin my experience, from now on, I’m watching TV exclusively from the last place relatively unspoiled by ads — my Xbox.