21 Amazon Fire TV Tips for Streaming Fans
Not everything in the Amazon Fire family is lit. The Fire Phone went out a long time ago. But on the media hubs front, Amazon has done very well with its Fire TV lineup.
The pricier devices offer more bells and whistles, of course, but the average user won’t see that much difference on the screen. The interfaces are the same across the product line, and all iterations use apps and games you can get directly from Amazon.
What’s really important is the sheer number of media services they support:
(naturally), Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO (but not HBO Max), Crackle, E! Now, FX Now, Showtime Anytime, Cartoon Network, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, PBS, A&E, Cartoon Network, CNN, Fox News, NBC, and Sling TV, to name only a few. You can even order an Uber or a Domino’s Pizza.
There’s a plethora of games on the platform. No one’s claiming Amazon’s devices are going to replace a PlayStation or Xbox for game quality, but Fire TV devices are a fraction of the price of the big consoles, as are the games.
There is a lot to love about Fire TV devices. There’s also a lot about them you may not know. Keep reading for a closer look at some tricks and tips Fire TV owners will love.
You are reading: 21 Amazon Fire TV Tips for Streaming Fans
- 1 Change the Name
- 2 Delete Voice Recordings
- 3 Clear Your Data
- 4 Stop Advertising in Its Tracks
- 5 Talk to the TV
- 6 Fire TV Remote App
- 7 Disable Auto-Playing Video
- 8 Examine What You’re Watching
- 9 Free Movie Night
- 10 Listen With Bluetooth Headphones
- 11 Get a Workout
- 12 View Local Content
- 13 Parental Control Settings
- 14 Stick it to the Hotel Wi-Fi
- 15 Re-pair the Remote
- 16 Restart With the Remote
- 17 Stick It to the Click
- 18 Don’t Discount the HDMI Extender
- 19 Get Your Live
- 20 Take a Pass on Passwords
- 21 Get Home Faster
Change the Name
Whenever you buy an Amazon-made device like a Kindle, Echo, or Fire TV, Amazon assigns it a name. This also happens for Kindle and Audible accounts across devices. That’s a lot of confusion if you have a lot of the same devices and accounts, particularly if you buy apps or content and want to make sure they get
delivered to the right device
It’s easy to change the names of all your Amazon devices. In the browser, go to the
Manage Your Content and Devices page(Opens in a new window)
and select the Devices tab. Click your device and select the Edit link. In the pop-up window, change the name to whatever works best for you.
Delete Voice Recordings
Amazon stores recordings of everything you request as a voice search to your Fire TV in order to improve accuracy. You can delete the recordings, though, even though it “may degrade your experience using the voice features,” according to Amazon’s warning.
Manage Your Content and Devices page(Opens in a new window)
, select your device and click Delete Voice Recordings > Delete. You can also
delete these voice searches
one at a time using the Amazon Alexa mobile app—go into Settings > Account Settings > History, click on an entry for something you said, and then click Delete recording.
Clear Your Data
Amazon knows a lot about your shopping habits, and if you have a Fire TV, it also knows what you’ve been watching and listening to. To clear out that data every once in awhile, open the Fire TV interface and navigate to Settings > Applications > Managed Installed Applications. Select an app like Amazon Music or Prime Video and select Clear data or Clear cache to begin anew.
Stop Advertising in Its Tracks
You can’t stop the Fire TV from advertising but you can stop it from tracking you for advertisement purposes. Turn off targeting by going to Settings > Preferences > Privacy Settings > Internet-Based Ads and turn it off. Here, you can also turn off the ability for the Amazon Appstore to collect information on the frequency and duration of use of downloaded apps.
Talk to the TV
And why are your voice searches available via the Alexa app? Because Fire TV works with Amazon’s digital voice assistant. You can talk to it in the app, via the remote, and the Fire TV Cube with built-in Alexa access. You can also control Fire TV with a nearby Alexa-compatible speaker. Just say something like “Alexa, play The Boys” or “Alexa, open Netflix.”
Here’s how to set it up
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Fire TV Remote App
The original Fire TV Stick did not have a voice search option. Correct that or just make your other Fire TV devices easier to operate by downloading the Fire TV remote app (
Android(Opens in a new window)
iOS(Opens in a new window)
The phone will need to be on the same Wi-Fi network as the Amazon Fire TV to work; if you have a dual-band network, make sure your phone and Fire are both on the same frequency, either 2.4 or 5GHz. When you first fire up the app, the name of your Fire TV should appear on the smartphone screen. Tap it, then punch in the four-digit code that comes up on the TV screen and it’ll give you complete control.
The app provides just as much control as the included remote plus the full on-screen smartphone keyboard for entering info like user names and passwords. There’s also a microphone for Fire TV voice capabilities. In short, the app will make you wonder why Amazon bothered making a hardware remote.
Disable Auto-Playing Video
If you’re searching for something to watch and pause on some of the marquee images long enough, they will start auto playing with sound. That’s annoying. On the Fire TV interface, go to Settings > Preferences > Featured Content > Allow Video Autoplay and turn it off. While you’re at it, turn off Allow Audio Autoplay, too.
Examine What You’re Watching
Amazon owns IMDb and with that come some perks for you. When you’re watching something on Prime Video, you can quickly get info you might otherwise Google by using the X-Ray feature. On the remote, press the up or down keys and you’ll be able to scroll through info about the cast, find out what music is playing in what scene, and get trivia, all while you continue watching.
Free Movie Night
You’re used to visiting Amazon-owned IMDb to see what you’re watching, but what about using it to actually watch something?
IMDb TV(Opens in a new window)
has lots of movies and TV shows, as well as some original programs. Just add the channel to any Fire TV to screen old and new favorites. You can also add movies and shows via your browser. It’s free, but there are ads, like most
free video-streaming services
Listen With Bluetooth Headphones
If you don’t want to disturb the household with your late-night Netflix binge, throw on a pair of
and sync them to the Fire TV. Do it in Settings > Controllers & Bluetooth Devices > Other Bluetooth Devices. Audio will then go to the headphones until you turn them off.
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Get a Workout
Instead of going to the gym, you can get a workout at home with your Fire TV. You don’t have to have
to download and use the
Peloton app(Opens in a new window)
. Sign up for a subscription and you can use it with any exercise equipment you own or just to do some cardio or yoga. There are lots of other
fitness apps available(Opens in a new window)
on Fire TV, or you can use the YouTube app to find some.
View Local Content
Streaming services like Netflix and Prime Video are nice, but what if you want to watch content you already own? Your easiest option is Plex. Install the
media server component of Plex(Opens in a new window)
on a PC running Windows, macOS, or Linux (or on your
network attached storage
); link in your video, photo, and audio files; and load up the
app on the Fire TV(Opens in a new window)
. You’ll be enjoying your viewing choice on the TV screen in no time. It’s free for a few viewings, but eventually you’ll have to do an in-app purchase for full streaming.
, which is free, open-source software for managing your local collection of movies, TV shows, music, and photos. For more, check out
for installing and setting it up.
Parental Control Settings
It’s a fact: kids like to watch streaming TV, too. That means you probably need to turn on parental controls so they don’t watch some of the R- or TV-MA-rated items available from Amazon. (This tip goes for Amazon content specifically—third-party services like Netflix and Hulu typically have their own parental controls to set up via the PC.)
Go into Settings > Preferences > Parental Controls, and click it on/off. You’ll have to enter a PIN code (twice on first setup) you can use to get access to more grown-up content (and make purchases) later. The controls can also totally block use of games and apps and viewing of photos by unauthorized users. It’s not super-strong, but it’s better than nothing. (If you prefer, go into your
Amazon Video settings(Opens in a new window)
on a PC, turn on the parental controls there, and then the restrictions apply across all apps and devices that access the service.)
Stick it to the Hotel Wi-Fi
If you want your favorite shows to travel with you, include a Fire TV Stick in your luggage (assuming the hotels don’t disable the HDMI ports on the TVs in the rooms—that’s a jerk move, hoteliers.)
The problem is, hotel Wi-Fi and several other types of hotspots typically require a web browser to log in. The Stick supports this. You go to Settings > Network and find the network you want and click it. If a web page login is required, a browser window should pop up. To navigate between fields, hit the menu button. Best to use the smartphone-based remote if you’re going to need to fill in a lot in the fields. Once the Fire TV Stick is connected, the browser window should close.
Re-pair the Remote
If your existing remote doesn’t want to pair with your Fire TV device—I had this problem during a battery change—it’s easy to fix. Hold down the home button (the one with a house icon, naturally) for five to 10 seconds. That will usually do the trick. This is also how you pair up brand-new remotes or game controllers. They have to be Fire TV-compatible, of course.
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Restart With the Remote
Having some performance or lockup issues with an Amazon Fire TV device? Too stuck to the couch to get up and unplug it and plug it back in? (I’m exhausted just typing it.) Well, you don’t have to, it’s possible to restart Fire TV devices remotely. Press and hold the Play button and Select button simultaneously for about five seconds. Soon, you’ll get that splash of color and a logo on screen showing you the Fire TV has rebooted.
Stick It to the Click
Turn off that click sound that happens every time you navigate your Fire TV. Go to Settings > Display & Sounds > Audio > Navigation Sounds and turn it off.
Don’t Discount the HDMI Extender
You’d think that having such a small, self-contained device to stick into an HDMI port would make it easier, but that proximity to the center of the TV (in some cases) can make it hard for the Wi-Fi signals to find the device properly—and Wi-Fi is how it talks to the remotes and the internet. That’s why Amazon throws in a little 3-inch HTML extender dongle with the Fire TV Sticks. Use it. It makes it easier to plug and unplug the Fire TV Stick, easier to connect to the network, and in my experience, even keeps the device cooler.
Get Your Live
Living right next to the Home tab on Fire TV is the Live one. It puts all your
live TV viewing options
in one place. If you subscribe to Prime Video channels like HBO, Showtime, MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, and others, you’ll be able to access them all here. And even if you don’t pay for live TV, there’s free content on
Pluto TV(Opens in a new window)
Red Bull TV(Opens in a new window)
. Fire TV Edition smart TV owners and Fire TV Recast customers also can get all their antenna channels in this spot.
Take a Pass on Passwords
If you’re not a cord cutter and use your Fire TV to access networks apps, then you don’t have to remember your password every time you want to switch to a new channel. Sign in to one network app once and the rest of the ones linked to your cable package will all follow suit.
Get Home Faster
Flipping through HDMI options to get to your Fire TV can be annoying. But you can make it so that every time you hit the Home button on the Fire remote, you get right to your Fire TV. Hit Menu on your TV remote and look for CEC or for one of
these proprietary names from manufacturers(Opens in a new window)
and select it. Now on your Fire TV, go to Settings > Display & Sounds > HDMI CEC Device Control and makes ure it’s set to on. Once that’s done, pressing the Home button on your Fire remote should bring you right to Fire TV.
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