Amazon Fire TV Tips & Tricks: Control Your Streaming Device
(Pocket Ribbon) – Amazon offers a few Fire TV devices, from the entry-level Fire TV Stick Lite to the Fire TV Stick 4K Max and Fire TV Cube. These all come with an Alexa Voice Remote, so not only can they access streaming services, including Netflix and Amazon’s own Prime Video, but they can also respond to voice commands like an Amazon Echo speaker. The Fire TV Cube even has its own built-in far-field microphones so Alexa can hear you.
Whatever Fire TV device you own or want to buy, here are plenty of tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your streaming media player.
To use Alexa via the voice remote, press and hold the microphone button on the remote and ask what you want – no need to say “Alexa”.
You can also use an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or other Alexa device to control your Fire TV, meaning you don’t need the remote at all. If you have an Echo in the room (or Fire TV Cube), you can just bark commands and the Fire TV Stick will obey.
Alexa on Fire TV can do pretty much everything an Echo can, but with the benefit of visual maps. For example, say “what’s the weather like?” and Alexa will answer for your current area.
Here are some other commands you can try:
“What was Manchester United’s score?” – or any other sport or team of course. “What’s on my agenda?” – you can also specify days, etc. “Who is the lead singer of Coldplay?” — or any other band or trivia question. “Play Happy Mondays!” – your Fire TV plays songs from an Amazon Music or Music Unlimited account. “Jump ahead one minute!” – all kinds of commands can be executed during video playback. “How’s the traffic?” – you need to set up your commute or travel details in the dedicated Alexa app for iOS, Android or Amazon Fire devices. “What’s in the news?” – again, set your favorite news source in the Alexa app; Sky News is set by default.
You can also listen to radio programs, audiobooks and much more. Check out our separate guide to learn more about Alexa.
Using Voice Search
You can also use Alexa to search for content with your voice.
Just say the name of a TV show, movie, actor, director, etc. and the search results will bring up all the relevant content. The beauty of Amazon’s system is that it returns results not only from Amazon’s services, but other services as well. So if a show or movie is on Netflix, it will appear in the results and you can choose where to watch it.
Take your Fire TV Stick on holiday
It is possible to take a Fire TV Stick with you on holiday, as you can connect it to the hotel’s Wi-Fi, even if the internet requires additional credentials to log in, such as room number. It also works if, for example, you’re a student and need to share WiFi in a dorm room. Just go to Settings > Network and find the network you want to connect to. If more details need to be entered, a web page will open with the additional boxes required for the hotel or public location.
It therefore works just like a smartphone or tablet. Once the network connection is established, you can start using the Fire TV Stick.
Determine your location
When you first start up your Amazon Fire TV Stick, you will be prompted for your Amazon account information and a zip/postal code. The first is to link it to your account whether you have a Prime membership or not. The zip code is to make sure you get accurate details based on your location, such as local weather reports via Alexa. If you haven’t set your zip code or need to change it at a later date, you can find the option in Settings > Preferences > Location.
Change featured content
The home screen has a large bar at the top that recommends content – usually from Amazon. By default, video trailers and such are played automatically, but you can disable that option. Go to Settings > Preferences > Featured Content, and you can disable “Allow auto-playing video” and “Allow auto-playing audio” separately. By disabling them, you will save internet bandwidth and usage – for example, if you are on a limited data plan or are using a hotspot.
Turn off notifications
Certain installed apps can interrupt your viewing experience with pop-up notifications. These probably won’t interfere too much, but if you want to turn them off just go to Settings > Preferences > Notification Settings and you can hide all notifications by turning on “Do not interrupt” or from app to app.
Disable targeted ads
Some apps on the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Fire TV, including those from Amazon, target you with advertisements depending on previous data it has collected about your interests. You can turn this off. You’ll still see ads, but they’re not based on aggregated data – no more data is even collected about your interests and “ad profile.” Go to Settings > Preferences > Advertising ID and you can disable them there and/or reset your “Ad ID”.
Set parental controls
The Amazon Fire TV devices offer extensive parental controls that allow you to PIN-protect purchases and apps, even the Prime Photos app, so a four-digit PIN is required before you can access any of these features. In addition, you can set the available viewing level without the need for a PIN.
For example, if you enable parental controls, the default viewing level is “Family,” which allows viewing all Amazon Video content rated PG and below with a PIN. Anything with a higher rating requires the PIN to be entered each time. You can also set the ratings to General (You), Teen (12, 15), and Older (18, Unrated, Unrated). Go to Settings > Preferences > Parental Controls to enable and customize parental controls.
You may need to adjust parental controls separately for other services, such as Netflix.
Calibrate your display
Some apps may require you to make sure the Fire TV device is properly calibrated for your screen size. This will require you to check the options on your individual television, although there is a handy screen in Settings with arrows to show the correct scale. You can find it in Settings > Display & sound > Display > Calibrate display. The gray arrows above, below, left and right should be visible with the dot ending on each edge. If not, adjust your TV settings.
Set your own photos as screensaver
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can use your own photos, taken with a smartphone or camera and stored in the Prime Photos cloud service, as your Fire TV screensaver. Prime Photos is a free, unlimited cloud storage service for all Prime members, which can be set up to automatically save all your smartphone photos, uploaded to via a browser or app, or linked to a Facebook and/or Twitter account to view posted images. to be synchronized socially.
You can learn more about Prime Photos and how to access your account here† If you have photos stored on Prime Photos, they can be accessed through a Prime Photos app pre-installed on a Fire TV device. You can also set them to work as your screensaver.
A Fire TV Stick will automatically cycle through beautiful photos of landscapes if you leave a menu screen still for too long. You can change the photos shown by going to Settings > Display & Audio > Screen Saver. Here you will see “Amazon Collection” as the default album, click on it and you can change it to any collection or folder of your own images that you have stored on Prime Photos. You can also change the way the images are moved and the speed at which they are refreshed.
Disable Menu Clicks
By default, the Fire TV menu clicks when you scroll. Turn off this sound by going to Settings > Display & audio > Audio and turning off Navigation sounds.
Cast the screen of your phone or laptop
Fire TV makes it easy to cast your device to your TV screen. If it’s connected to the same Wi-Fi network, you should also see the name of your Fire TV device in the list of available places to cast. Unfortunately, this does not work with Apple devices.
Fire TV Remote App
If you’ve lost your remote, you can still control your TV through the Amazon Fire TV app, which not only allows you to navigate the Fire TV menu, but also gives you access to voice controls, just like a regular Fire TV. remote control. look at the Google Play Store version of the app hereand here is the version for iOS.
It’s easy to install apps — mainly from the home screen or search — but it’s less obvious how to uninstall them again if you want to free up some space for new downloads. To remove an app, go to Settings > Applications > Manage installed applications and scroll down to the app you want to remove. Click on it and you’ll see the delete option three lines down. You can also delete all your saved data from these apps in the same menu.
Rename your device
If you want to change the name of your device to something tastier than [Your name’s] Fire TV, you can easily change the name to something else like Living Room TV. You can go to this website in your browser and select the name of the device you want to change.
You can also do it on your phone by opening the Alexa app > Devices > Echo & Alexa > and then choosing the device you want to rename.
Add games to Fire TV
Sick of binge eating? You can also play games on your Fire TV device. Sure, it’s not PlayStation 5, but the Fire TV does have access to some classics like Sonic, Crazy Taxi, and a few Final Fantasy titles, as well as some Amazon Fire TV exclusives like Jeopardy and Who Wants to be A Millionaire. Add games by scrolling to Apps in the menu at the top of the Fire TV home page, then select games from the drop-down menu that appears.
Delete your voice recordings
Every time you talk to Alexa, it saves your voice commands to help her get to know your voice better. You can start deleting all these recordings by going to the Manage your content and devices page in your browser, or do it in the Alexa app, by going to Settings > Alexa Privacy. From there, you will be taken to a Review Voice History page, where you can choose to delete your voice recordings from the last 24 hours, 7 days, or 30 days.
Restart your device with your remote.
Amazon’s voice control remote has a neat trick for resetting your TV Stick. Just press the Select button (center of the circle on your controller) and the Play/Pause button. Press and hold them both for five seconds and your device should reset.
Pair Bluetooth headphones for silent streaming
You can easily set up your favorite Bluetooth headphones for listening. This may not seem convenient to some people, but it’s better than risking waking up your significant other or missing lines of dialogue because the volume is too low. Just go to Settings > Controllers & Bluetooth Devices > Other Bluetooth Devices, sync from there and follow your headphones instructions to finish syncing the devices.
You can also add a controller for gaming using the same process. It works with some Bluetooth controllers, but check compatibility before buying one.
Written by Rik Henderson and Maggie Tillman. Editing by Britta O’Boyle.