Ever think your Amazon Fire TV or Amazon Fire TV Stick would make a great traveling companion? Thanks to an upcoming software update, according to Amazon, both devices will be the first streaming media devices you can connect to Wi-Fi that requires Web authentication, which includes Wi-Fi at most hotels and some universities.

The update to the Fire TV settop box offers a few additional advantages. These include being able to connect a USB hard drive for expanded storage for downloaded games and apps, and the ability to listen to shows, movies, and music privately thanks to support for Bluetooth headphones. (The private-listening feature on the current Roku 3 and Roku 2 players is something we've liked, though those boxes do it via a headphone jack on the remote control rather than through Bluetooth.)

If you take advantage of the Amazon Prime Music service, you can now tap into one of a number of curated playlists directly from both the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.

And good news for parents with tech-savvy kids with good eyesight: A new "hidden PIN" feature hides the numbers you select when entering a PIN onscreen to confirm purchases on Fire TV or Fire TV Stick. Plus, new shortcuts can put the players to sleep or enable display mirroring using a single button on the remote.

—James K.Willcox

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