Amazon Fire TV Update Bricks My Device

Yesterday at lunchtime, I was watching the first season of The Americans. Later in the afternoon, I wanted to watch another episode. When I launched my Fire TV device – connected to my TV via an AV receiver – I saw a dialog that said “Optimizing Storage and Applications.” This lasted about ten minutes, and the device then restarted. I saw the Amazon logo. And that’s the only thing that displayed.

I tried the usual fixes: unplugging the power cable and plugging it in again, and restarting the device. I saw the Amazon logo. And nothing else.

Amazon’s support suggested I hold the back and forward buttons on the remote, which, they said, would reset the device to factory settings. I saw the Amazon logo. And that’s all.

Eventually, it was clear that my device auto-updated, and that it was bricked. I tried to find information about updates. Amazon has a web page with version numbers, but no dates. There is very little information on the internet about updates to this device. I found some suggestions that there was an update in February. My device would have updated a while ago if so.

Amazon was pretty good about this. They’re sending me a new Fire TV, even though mine is more than six months out of warranty. But, hey, you break it, you pay for it.

So just a warning: if you have a Fire TV (mine’s the first generation), and it bricks, you’ll know why. (I’m interested to know if I’m alone, or if this has happened to others.)