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Beware! Amazon Fire TV firmware upgrade bricks rooted devices

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Update

It seems that there has been an issue with interpretation of the note posted on AFTVnews and triggering of eFuse doesn’t actually cause complete bricking of Amazon Fire TV.

“When triggered, the eFuse puts the Fire TV into a low-level recovery mode. The Fire TV is not permanently bricked if this eFuse is triggered”, reads an update on the site. You can read more about it here.

Original Story

Amazon is coming down hard on those who have rooted their Fire TV devices through its latest firmware upgrade, which according to folks over at XDA Developers bricks the device is applied.

Rooting of devices is a common way of bypassing limitations enforced by device manufacturers and in case of Fire TV, rooting allows users to access to digital media from USB storage devices and also allows users to download apps from Google Play Store.

In its latest firmware upgrade for Fire TV, Amazon has included a mechanism through which rooted Fire TV devices will be rendered useless if upgraded.

According to a note accompanying the latest firmware upgrade, “Self destruct” eFuse added to kernel which gets triggered if an older bootloader is used. This means Fire TVs that update to stock 51.1.4.1_user_514013920 can never be downgraded, even if a method to root them is discovered”.

This means that if you apply the update to a bricked Fire TV device, you will end up with a irrecoverably bricked device because of ‘eFuse’ which will ensure that you can’t roll back the firmware update.

According to Rbox, a very active member of XDA Forums, Amazon has incorporated “an extra service to the kernel ramdisk that blows an efuse which prevents the old bootloader from working.” Further Rbox notes that Amazon has modified the bootchain to use either the same fuse or something else “to prevent downgrades. So once a box gets 51.1.4.1 stock, it can never be downgraded.”

So, what is the reason behind this? It obvious – to ensure that users who buy Fire TV buy or rent digital media and help Amazon make some money as the company isn’t making any money from the device itself. Rooting the device will give users access to a competing app store, which won’t make Amazon any money.