I’ve been using Android boxes for a couple of years now, but in terms of ease of use, portability and overall simplicity the Fire Stick has all of the others beat in a host of different ways and with the new devices soon to be released.
Why Is the Fire Stick so Good?
As a media device the Fire Stick supports a host of different services. Amazon Video (of course!), Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Spotify and Sling TV are only a few of the services supported. There are loads more although you should definitely ensure that they are available in your region.
The Fire Stick has quickly and easily become a way to turn a “dumb TV” smart. And while the list of services supported is robust and growing, the fact that you can get them in 4K on this tiny little stick is simply astounding. Here are 4 hacks that can transform your Fire Stick into a multimedia powerhouse.
Use Your Voice
When the Fire Stick initially launched, voice search was restricted to Amazon Video and Music. Fortunately recent updates have extended this simple search capability to Netflix and iPlayer (depending on region support) and with any luck Spotify will soon join this group. Once you’ve started searching with your voice, you will be amazed at how much quicker and easier it is and you’ll wonder why you waited so long.
Control the Fire Stick With Your Phone
While controlling your Fire Stick with your voice is all well and good, let’s be honest, that pesky little remote is pretty easy to lose behind the couch or under the cushions isn’t it? Fortunately Amazon has released and official iPhone and Android smartphone app that lets user control their Fire Stick with their smartphone!Even better? The app is not only free, it offers voice control too.
Control the Content With Parental Controls
With parental controls you have two areas where you can protect yourself and your family. The first place is your Amazon account itself. Here you can ensure that not only is the content appropriate, you can also make sure that no one is able to download additional apps or make purchases without your consent.
The second place to make adjustments is in the app itself. Netflix for example lets you create separate profiles for yourself and your children and you can customize these based on age.
Kodi Media Centre
When you first launch your new Fire Stick the app library can be somewhat sparse. Fortunately there are workarounds available that can give you access to all of the apps on the Android Play Store.
One of the most popular apps to increase viewing choices is Kodi and it's easy to setup on the Fire Stick.The best part about Kodi is that you can install a host of other apps and add-ons within it to further expand its capabilities. Many of these are only available within Kodi.
Once you’ve learned how to setup Kodi, there are a host of other apps that you’ll want to consider adding to your Fire Stick as there really is no reason to be restricted to the ones on the Amazon App Store as you’ll find that side loading apps is really quite simple and easy.
You are not restricted to streaming content only with your Fire Stick. Plex is another free app that is available from the Amazon App Store and it is definitely worth exploring.
You will need to install the Plex Media Server software on your personal computer which then search your network for content. Once you’ve chosen the media you want to share, simply use the app on your Fire Stick to play it on a big screen!
Stream From Your Smartphone
The Amazon Fire Stick supports a streaming media protocol known as Miracast. This basically lets you turn your Fire Stick into a Chromecast or Apple TV in terms of screen sharing the content from your Android Smartphone.
To set this up, ensure that your smartphone and Fire Stick are on the same Wi-Fi network and click on Display Mirroring in the Display and Sound section of Settings. To start mirroring your screen, simply click and hold down the home button and then choose a compatible device from the mirroring menu.
Bonus – SideClick Remote
This is unfortunately something you will need to buy, but as an avid user of the Fire Stick, I can 100 percent warrant that it is worth the cost. The Fire Stick remote is amazing with its voice capabilities and overall simplicity, but the generation 2 version at least does not let you control your TV so you’re still stuck with two devices which can be real pain.
SideClick has released a nifty little device that attaches to your Fire Stick remote and provides eight new programmable buttons! You can quickly and easily customize this device to control the power and volume as well as input and even simple stereo! It’s definitely worth the investment.
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