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Amazon Fire TV just added free local news app — and Roku should be worried

Amazon Fire TV adds big live TV local news app to fight Roku
(Image credit: Amazon)

A free Amazon Fire TV News app is rolling out to devices starting today, delivering live and on-demand local news to 88 major U.S. cities. As Amazon pushes against platform king Roku's dominance in the streaming device market, this could be a way to make Fire TV more competitive.

As detailed in Amazon's announcement, the dozens of channels include "popular local stations from news distributors such as ABC Owned Television Stations and CBSN," in locations including Detroit, New Orleans, Orlando, Phoenix and Salt Lake City. It follows a 2020 rollout that had other large markets, such as Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia.

The Fire TV news app will have a tab for local news, and it will automatically add your nearest stations based on your closest metropolitan area. Of course, there is also an Alexa integration: users can say "Alexa, play local news" to their Alexa Voice Remote or Fire TV Cube to see what's going on in their area right now.

Currently, Roku provides free news through a series of services available in the Roku Channel. Those include national news apps like CBS News as well as Local Now (both of which are free on Fire TV). 

That said, Amazon providing a dedicated section for news (and surfacing it all more prominently with the new dedicated news app) might make it easier for people to find this programming on Amazon than on Roku, which keeps things silo'd off for you to find when you're hunting — if you decide to look, that is. 

Here is the full list of cities that Amazon is serving local news to now:

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Austin, TX
  • Bakersfield, CA
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Beaumont, TX
  • Billings, MT
  • Boise, ID
  • Boston, MA
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Butte-Bozeman, MT
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Chicago, IL
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Cleveland, OH
  • College Station, TX
  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • Columbia, SC
  • Columbus, OH
  • Corpus Christi, TX
  • Dallas, TX
  • Davenport, IA
  • Dayton, OH
  • Denver, CO
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Detroit, MI
  • Fayetteville, AR
  • Fresno, CA
  • Fort Myers, FL
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Great Falls, MT
  • Green Bay, WI
  • Greensboro, NC
  • Harrisburg, PA
  • Hartford, CT
  • Helena, MT
  • Houston, TX
  • Huntsville, AL
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Lafayette, LA
  • Lansing-Jackson, MI
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Lexington, KY
  • Little Rock, AR
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Louisville, KY
  • Macon, GA
  • Memphis, TN
  • Miami, FL
  • Midland, TX
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Missoula, MT
  • Moosic, PA
  • Nashville, TN
  • New Orleans, LA
  • New York, NY
  • Norfolk, VA
  • Omaha, NE
  • Orlando, FL
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Pittsburgh, CA
  • Portland, ME
  • Portland, OR
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Richmond, VA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • San Angelo, TX
  • San Antonio, TX
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Spokane, WA
  • St. Louis, MI
  • Tallahassee, FL
  • Tampa, FL
  • Temple, TX
  • Toledo, OH
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Tyler, TX
  • Waco, TX
  • Washington, D.C.
  • West Palm Beach, FL