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A Beginner’s Guide to the Amazon Fire TV Stick
A 101 on the Amazon Fire TV Stick - what it is, where to get it and most importantly, how to use it.
Editor’s note: ScreenCloud champions the use of the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K with our digital signage software only because they work so well together. We do not own or sell Amazon Fire TV Sticks, so for troubleshooting specific issues with your Amazon Fire TV Stick (e.g. how to use Netflix) please contact Amazon directly. [Updated May 2021]
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is so much more than a plug-in device to watch TV, Netflix or Prime on. It can be a powerful tool for connecting your screens and scaling up your digital signage strategy. If you’re not sure what you can do with your Amazon Fire TV Stick, read on.
What is an Amazon Fire TV Stick and what does it do?
In 2014 Amazon unveiled the Amazon Fire TV (1st Generation): a set-top box that could turn any TV into a smart TV and provide entertainment by streaming shows and apps directly on your screen. This was a seminal moment, and the beginning of easily getting content up onto a TV screen. In essence, it’s a media player that allows you to connect a TV to the internet.
This quickly evolved into the Amazon Fire TV Stick, a plug-in device rather than a set-top box.Smaller in size and remotely powered, the TV Stick (or “Firestick” to its friends) has similar functionality to its big brother with the ability to stream TV shows and channels – and ScreenCloud digital signage software.
Amazon Fire TV device comparison
As ScreenCloud is hardware agnostic, our digital signage software can play on most hardware devices. These devices are run by Amazon’s Fire OS operating system, powered by Android, and to save you reading time, we only recommend the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K for use with ScreenCloud.
To note: the Fire TV Stick (1st generation - 2014) and Fire TV (1st generation - 2014), have both been discontinued and are not supported by ScreenCloud software. You also don’t need an Amazon Prime account to use ScreenCloud, but you do need an Amazon account.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (from $39.99)
Release Date: 2018
Best for: 4K Ultra HD streaming + ScreenCloud digital signage software
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (powered by Fire OS) is Amazon’s most powerful media streaming plug-in device, taking over from the Amazon Fire TV Gen 2 model. It’s also one of the cheapest options for turning any screen into digital signage – although it comes with no remote device management capabilities.
But the Fire Stick does come with voice control via Alexa Voice Remote (“Alexa, open ScreenCloud”). It also gives you the ability to stream in 4K Ultra HD, Dolby Vision, HDR and HDR10+. For customers who are looking for an affordable digital signage hardware solution that’s fast and easy to set up, we recommend the Fire Stick TV 4K.
How to set up the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K with ScreenCloud digital signage
- The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K plugs directly into your screen’s HDMI port (via the HDMI extender if possible for better wifi reception).
- Connect the Fire Stick to the power adaptor and plug into the wall outlet.
- Connect the TV Stick to the internet following the instructions on screen.
- Download and set-up the ScreenCloud player.
Amazon Fire TV Cube (from $199.99, released 2019)
Release Date: 2019
Best for: Voice control
The hands-free (Alexa) Amazon Fire TV Cube is the fastest and most powerful TV streaming device Amazon has. But while it is supported by ScreenCloud, we don’t recommend it as a vehicle for digital signage. It is great for changing channels without having to look for the remote though.
Amazon Fire Stick Lite (from $29.99, released 2020)
Release Date: 2020
Best for: Basic streaming
The most affordable Firestick, the Fire Stick Lite is just that: a lighter version of the Fire Stick 4K. Although it does have the Alexa Voice Remote, this does not feature TV controls and cannot control the power or volume on your TV, soundbar or receiver. It also doesn’t feature 4K streaming capabilities. Again, ScreenCloud is supported, but we wouldn’t recommend the Fire Stick Lite as a digital signage solution.
Amazon Fire TV Stick (from $39.99, released 2021)
Release Date: 2021
Best for: Basic streaming + TV control
Let’s save time. The Fire TV Stick is exactly the same as the Lite, except it has 3rd Gen Alexa Voice Remote and can control your TV channels and volume. Which, let’s face it, is much easier than shoving your arm down the back of the sofa for the remote.
Uses for the Amazon Fire TV Stick (other than digital signage)
As the Amazon Fire TV Stick essentially turns any screen into a smart screen that connects to the internet you can:
- Watch Netflix, or other internet streaming services like Amazon Prime or Hulu
- Use Alexa Voice Control to control the a TV
- Search the internet
- Connect to online games
- Search YouTube from a TV
- Share photos to a TV screen
Where to buy and how to set up an Amazon Fire TV Stick
Is it difficult to buy and set up an Amazon Fire TV Stick? In a nutshell, no. These types of media devices are accessible to anyone with a TV screen and internet connection. Which is why they are so ideal for finding an affordable digital signage solution. And surprisingly, you can also buy an Amazon Fire TV Stick from retailers other than Amazon.
You can buy an Amazon Fire TV Stick from pretty much any hardware store. Here are a few examples of stockists:
From the UK:
From the US:
How to buy an Amazon Fire TV Stick in a location where it’s unavailable
If you reside in a country such as Thailand or New Zealand, you may find yourself unable to get Amazon to ship out a Fire TV Box or Stick. We have found a way around this in the past by ordering from B&H link here.
How to setup your Fire TV Stick
Before you set up your Amazon Fire TV Stick check you have everything you need including:
- A compatible TV - this is any TV that has HD or UHD plus a HDMI port (most TV screens today will have this)
- A wireless internet connection
- An Amazon account. You don’t have to be an Amazon Prime customer to use the Amazon Fire TV Stick but you do have to have a regular Amazon account. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, you can create this on setup.
- 2 AAA batteries for your TV Stick remote
Here are the steps you need to get things setup:
1. Add power
Plug the power adaptor into your TV Stick and plug the other end into a power outlet.
Then ensure your TV Stick is turned “on”.
2. Attach to your TV’s HDMI port
Plug the Fire TV Stick directly into the HDMI port on the back of your TV, or use a HDMI extender if you don’t want it plugged directly into the screen.
3. Select your channel
Turn your TV to the same channel that the TV Stick is plugged into (i.e. HDMI1, HDMI3). You should then see a loading screen with the "Fire TV Stick" logo.
4. Add a remote
Pop a few batteries into your remote. Once you’ve done this it should automatically pair with your stick. If your remote doesn't pair, press and hold the Home Button for up to 10 sections to send it to "discovery mode" so you can complete the pairing process.
Further remote troubleshooting details here.
5. Connect to the Internet
Follow the instructions onscreen to connect your TV Stick to your Wi-Fi network.
6. Register your device
Follow the on-screen instructions to register your Fire TV Stick to your Amazon account.
Check out our guide for setting up your Firestick with ScreenCloud.
How to install the ScreenCloud Player on the Amazon Fire TV Stick
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is one of the most affordable ways to connect multiple screens for an effective digital signage strategy. All it takes is for you to download the ScreenCloud Player app on the Firestick. Instructions can be found here.
If you’re unsure if the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is the right hardware for you, check out our video on how to choose the best low budget digital signage media devices.
Amazon Fire TV Stick FAQS
Does the Amazon Fire TV Stick have to be plugged in to work?
You can try to use the Amazon Fire TV Stick with the USB power from your TV alone, but it is unlikely this will be enough. You’re much better off plugging your TV Stick into the mains instead.
Does the Amazon Fire TV Stick have Bluetooth?
Yes, the TV Stick is Bluetooth enabled. Read Amazon’s guide on how to pair a Bluetooth accessory with your Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Does the Amazon Fire TV Stick have YouTube?
To use YouTube with the Amazon Fire TV Stick you can download the YouTube app from the Amazon App Store.
Does the Amazon Fire TV Stick need WiFi?
Yes you need WiFi to power the TV Stick. The device does not have an ethernet port so WiFi is the only way to connect your device (and TV) to the internet.
What channels do you get with the Amazon Fire TV Stick?
View this list of channels that can be downloaded through the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Editor's note: Article updated May 2021
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