What Is the Amazon Fire TV Stick and How Does It Work?
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The number of streaming video devices on the market continues to grow as consumers flock to popular services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. But if you’re new to the technology, it can be difficult to find the streaming device that’s best for you.

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One of the best options currently on the market is the Amazon Fire TV Stick. Along with the low cost, the streaming device plugs directly into an HDMI port, making it a strong choice for anyone with limited space near their TV.

In this article we’ll be taking a closer look at the Amazon Fire TV Stick, explaining how it works, and telling potential buyers what they need to know before making a purchase.

What Is the Amazon Fire TV Stick?

Amazon Fire TV Stick Remote

Most of today’s streaming video options are small boxes that sit near the television and attach via an HDMI cable. But the Amazon Fire TV Stick is a bit different.

As suggested by the name, the device is a small, stick-like dongle that’s a bit larger than a USB flash drive. It’s 3.4 inches tall and 1.2 inches wide. On the end of the device is a standard HDMI plug designed to be placed into any open HDMI port on a television.

As long as your TV has an HDCP-compatible HDMI port, which is found on any modern set, you’ll be good to go once you have connected a micro-USB power cable and chosen a Wi-Fi network.

Amazon also includes a small Alexa Voice Remote with the Fire TV Stick. This allows users to navigate the Fire TV Stick interface and even interact with Amazon’s personal assistant Alexa.

Alexa support opens up a vast amount of different skills and other commands. One of the best is the ability to play music with just a simple press of the microphone button voice command.

How the Amazon Fire TV Stick Works

The real draw of the Fire TV Stick is video content. Since the device is from Amazon, you can view movies and television shows on Amazon Prime Video. Here are the best Amazon Prime movies The 20 Best Movies to Watch on Amazon Prime The 20 Best Movies to Watch on Amazon Prime Of the thousands of movies on Amazon Prime Video, how do you sort the wheat from the chaff? We found some absolute classics. Read More to get you started.

And that’s far from all. You can access a wide range of other subscription services including Netflix, HBO Now, and many others. Cord cutters will be happy to hear that streaming TV services like Hulu, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, or DirecTV Now are also available on the device.

First, you enter your Amazon account information and pair the remote.

Amazon Fire TV Stick Homescreen

There are six major sections to explore: Search, Home, Movies, TV Shows, Apps, and Settings. Users will always start at the Home section. To move across the different sections and content, you’ll use the navigation trackpad on the remote. The center of the trackpad is used as the select button.

Instead of needing to use the different buttons on the remote itself, you can accomplish a large number of tasks by pressing the microphone button and speaking to Alexa. You can use voice commands to play a movie or TV show, search for content, search within apps, control playback, launch apps, control live TV apps, and more.

What You Need to Know about the Fire TV Stick

Here are even more facts you need to know about the Amazon Fire TV Stick:

Amazon provides access to a wide variety of different apps to download. But something you may not know is that the device runs the Android. So it’s possible to sideload Android apps to the Fire TV Stick How to Sideload Apps on an Amazon Fire TV Stick How to Sideload Apps on an Amazon Fire TV Stick Here's how to install Fire Stick apps that aren't available on Amazon. Read More . The best way is using an Android phone, but it can also be done on a Mac, PC, or Linux machine.


One type of app you won’t have to worry about sideloading is a web browser. We’ve compared two of the best Amazon Fire TV Stick browsers: Firefox and Silk The Best Web Browser for Amazon Fire TV Stick: Firefox vs. Silk The Best Web Browser for Amazon Fire TV Stick: Firefox vs. Silk You probably already know that you can browse the web with Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick. But what's the best browser to use? Read More .

Just like other Amazon hardware products, the Fire TV Stick features parental controls. During setup, parents can set a 5-digit PIN password. The PIN will be required to play content rated Teen or above or make a purchase.

You don’t need the Alexa Voice Remote to control the Fire TV Stick. Make sure to download the Amazon Fire TV Remote app for Android or iOS. Along with navigation through a on-screen navigation, the app also supports voice search.

If you already own an Amazon Echo device, you can link the Fire TV Stick and voice control the streaming device.

Where to Buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick

There are two versions of the Amazon Fire TV Stick to choose from. The best place to purchase both options is from Amazon itself. The streaming devices are also available at a large number of other retailers including Best Buy and Target.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K brings Ultra HD content to any compatible 4K television. It also offers a better Wi-Fi antenna design. Another perk is a second-generation Alexa Voice Remote that offers a physical power button and volume controls.

Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote, streaming media player Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote, streaming media player Buy Now On Amazon $49.99

For anyone with just a 1080p HD set, the standard Amazon Fire TV Stick is less expensive and offers access to all of the same content and apps. Definitely make sure you take a look at our essential apps for the Amazon Fire TV Stick. You’ll also receive the older Alexa Voice Remote.

Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, streaming media player - Previous Generation Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, streaming media player - Previous Generation Buy Now On Amazon $39.99

In the box of both options, buyers will find the Fire TV Stick, the Alexa Voice Remote, two AAA batteries, a power adapter, and an HDMI extender. The extender provides better Wi-Fi reception and will allow users to not crowd out any nearby HDMI ports.

Enjoy the Show With an Amazon Fire TV Stick

As you can see, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is the perfect way to bring all the advantages of a streaming video device to your TV. The inexpensive price, small size, and access to a huge amount of different services makes the Fire TV Stick a great choice for most users.

And if you decide to take the plunge and make the purchase, make sure you know how to set up and use the Amazon Fire TV Stick How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Fire TV Stick How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Fire TV Stick Here's how to set up and use your Amazon Fire TV Stick for best performance, plus fixes to common Fire TV Stick issues. Read More first.

Explore more about: Amazon Fire Stick, Amazon Fire TV, Media Streaming, .

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  1. Fed Up
    June 18, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Not much use. I don't have internet and can't download stuff from amazon onto a flashdrive, so wanted to know if I could download to thisb - it doesn't tell me, just waffles about online stuff. We are not all rich, techies, some of us are little old ladies on a budget pension who have no TV signal thanks to UK terrestrial TV not covering our area.

  2. Derek
    November 10, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    When doing a review like this you may want to mention your location. By the way you praise the amount of content on Amazon Prime Video you must be in the United States, since here in Canada the amount of content and quality...or lack there of, is ridiculous and Amazon should be ashamed of even promoting this service here. Prime subscribers in Canada should receive a discount since Prime Video is NOT a value added option.

    • Les
      January 20, 2019 at 9:35 am

      It's not just limited to Canada, Derek. Over here in Germany, Netflix has about 1/3 of the content that Netflix USA has available. I haven't compared Amazon Prime yet, as I've only recently tried a trial subscription. But now I'll look at that and decide whether Prime is worth the money. Thanks for the heads-up.

    • Les
      January 20, 2019 at 9:39 am

      Does it make a difference if you're using NTSC or PAL broadcasting systems? I bought a Fire TV Stick here in Germany, although I bought it on a US base, and I can get it to work on two TVs that are multi-system, but I cannot get it to work on my US TV which is strictly NTSC. I tried it on the US TV and the multi-system TV which are only 3' apart. Works on the multi-system TV but not the NTSC TV. I also tried it on two different HDMI connections on the US TV, with no luck. Wondering if I need to order one from the States to use on the NTSC TV.