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How Does a Firestick Work? All You Need to Know

by Lisa Hayden
How Does a Firestick Work

So, you’ve finally gotten that Firestick everyone’s been talking about, but you’re too impatient to browse an entire manual for directions. What do you do, and how do you make it work? If you’re stuck in such a pickle, I’ve got you. Here’s a summary of the steps you can take to get that device up and running. 

You must follow these steps to start streaming your favorite content successfully:

  • Plug your Firestick into your TV using the provided HDMI cable.
  • Plug the power cable into the wall outlet.
  • Connect the device to the internet/wifi and login into your account to start streaming.

That should do it!

You’re Firestick still isn’t working? Don’t worry. This guide covers everything you need to know about a Firestick, including its functionality.

What Is a Firestick?

The Firestick, also known as the Amazon Fire TV Stick, is a streaming device that transforms any regular TV into a smart TV. The machine lets you access the internet through your non-smart TV, stream videos, play music, install various android apps, and even play integrated games using the remote. This Amazon product allows you to watch movies and favorite TV shows from famous streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and YouTube. 

You can also use Firestick on a smart TV and not only on a regular one. You’re good to go if your TV has an HDMI port or uses HDMI adapters with composite or component ports. 

How to Setup Your Fire TV Stick

Ensure you have everything you need before setting up a Firestick to your TV. These items include:

  • A compatible TV – FireStick works on any TV with HD or UHD resolutions and an HDMI port. 
  • Wi-Fi
  • An Amazon account – You don’t need an Amazon Prime subscription to use the device but rather a typical account profile with Amazon. 
  • Batteries for your remote

Take these steps to set things up:

  1. Connect the power adapter to your Firestick device and plug it into the wall outlet.
  2. Connect the Firestick HDMI cable to your TV.
  3. Turn on the TV and select the correct HDMI source.
  4. Put the batteries into your remote and press the home button to pair it with the device for a few seconds
  5. Connect the device to the internet and log in using your Amazon account to begin streaming.

How to Pick the Firestick That’s Right for You

The right Amazon FireStick for you depends on your budget for a streaming device and the type of features you’re looking for because each version comes with unique functionalities. Each box connects to your TV’s HDMI ports and gives you access to popular streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, and Hulu. Yet, the boxes still have slight differences, especially if you have a high-resolution TV. 

Amazon’s three set-top boxes include:

  • Amazon Fire TV Stick
  • Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
  • Amazon Fire TV Cube

Amazon Fire TV Stick vs. Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite 

The Amazon Fire TV Stick and FireStick Lite are similar because both boxes support the same HD or HDR resolutions and can function with Alexa. Still, the most significant difference is found in the remotes, whereby the FireStick remote has power and volume buttons for your TV while the Lite version doesn’t. Moreover, the Firestick box has built-in Dolby support, while the Firestick Lite needs HDMI audio passthrough for Dolby compatibility.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (2ND Generation) Vs. (3RD Generation)

These two boxes have similar processors and storage space, making them excellent options. Nevertheless, the Amazon Firestick 4K is more advanced than the 3RD Generation because it has incredible specs and lets you stream content in 4K, provided your TV supports this resolution. Both versions also have an Alexa -controlled remote, but 3RD Generation comes with TV controls. 

The 3RD Generation Freestick is a less expensive alternative to the 2ND Generation for users who don’t need 4K video playback.

How Does Firestick Work With Internet?

The Firestick box requires a wireless internet connection because the device lacks an ethernet port. You must set up your Wi-Fi to access your favorite streaming content, and the following steps will help you learn how to connect your Amazon FireStick to Wi-Fi.

  1. Connect your Amazon FireStick to your TV through the HDMI port.
  2. Plug the Firestick into power.
  3. Select the “settings” option at the top of your Home Screen.
  4. Choose the “Network” option with the Wi-Fi signal icon.
  5. Select your home network.
  6. Enter the Wi-Fi password.
  7. Select “Connect” to start streaming content online.

Ensure you have a stable Wi-Fi network, to begin with, because of the FireStick auto-adjusts your TV’s video quality to the best option available. Once you’ve connected to a wireless connection, you can log into your account and start streaming content from apps like Netflix.

What Does a Firestick Do for a Smart TV?

Yes, your smart TV offers various functionalities similar to Firestick, like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. However, compared to the Fire TV Stick, your TV falls short in certain aspects. For example, Firestick offers a more extensive range of content options from which you can stream media files. Your smart TV may have restrictions on downloading specific applications otherwise available on the Amazon streaming product. 

Similarly, newer versions of the Firestick, like the Fire TV Stick 4K, have the new Alexa Voice Remote included, which gives you a hands-free experience while managing your content. The only catch with this feature is that you must have a second Alexa-enabled device nearby for it to function correctly. Furthermore, you get faster and smoother loading times and regular updates with Firestick than with your smart TV. 

Does Amazon Fire Stick Need Internet?

Yes, you need an internet connection to stream online content on your Amazon FireStick. Without it, you can only access offline content such as downloaded movies and TV shows from third-party services such as Kodi.

How Does Fire Stick Work Without Cable?

Firestick uses a Wi-Fi connection to fetch your intended media content online, which doesn’t require a cable provider. Cable users get their TV and internet connections through a cable provider which needs cable internet to get a Wi-Fi connection in their homes.

On the other hand, you won’t need a cable provider anymore if you change your internet provider to mobile or ADSL. 

However, before canceling your cable provider, always ensure you fully understand what to expect from the Firestick. You might not find your favorite local channels on the major online streaming platforms unless you’re using a jailbroken Firestick. 

Do You Need a Subscription for Amazon Fire Stick?

While you need an Amazon account to access Firestick, you don’t need any Prime subscription. You can decide to buy content off Amazon or opt for the many movies, music, and TV streaming applications or services available in the app store. These apps include Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, which is already a default application that comes with the package. 

How to Get TV Channels on Amazon Fire Stick?

Did you know that your Firestick lets you stream live TV channels worldwide, including your favorite local programs? You no longer need a cable or antenna to access local media content such as sports, news, and music.

You can consider a few options to access these local channels on your streaming device, including using standalone network apps such as CNN or subscribing to skinny bundles. You can also use a digital antenna with the Amazon Fire TV Recast to watch broadcast TV. 

The skinny bundle option involves downloading a third-party application; you can use an IPTV to watch local live channels. Most of these services are usually free for the user. 

Is Firestick Worth It?

The Amazon Firestick is worth all the hype. This device is an affordable yet excellent value for money, offering a broad range of streaming services online. Similarly, the Fire TV Sticks come in different versions, each with its perks to give you more options that are compatible with your TV.

With Alexa installed, you can also use voice commands to search and control your content in the Firesticks. The device also automatically adjusts your video quality to give you the best results based on the strength of your network connection. The Amazon Firestick is a solid choice when investing in a streaming device for your regular TV.

What Is a Jailbroken Firestick?

A jailbroken Firestick is a regular Fire TV Stick with the power to install third-party applications without restrictions. In this case, jailbreak doesn’t involve modifying any system code or installing firmware invented by “rogue” developers. Jailbreaking simply means unlocking the Firestick and giving yourself access to third-party applications and services on the Amazon device that would’ve otherwise been restricted. The changes are made to the settings alone, giving you unlimited entertainment opportunities. 

You can either buy jailbroken firestick or unlock the device yourself. Vendors that sell unlocked Firesticks buy the original device from Amazon and configure them the right way. They then install third-party IPTV services like Kodi before selling you the jailbroken machine. However, you should first be familiar with the legal implications of buying or selling jailbroken Fire TV Sticks before participating in such activities. 

What Channels Are Free With the Fire Stick?

Your Amazon FireStick provides you with a list of apps that are free to install and stream video content. Some of these apps offer free content to a certain level and may require subscriptions for unlimited access. Other apps give you entirely free media content but have numerous ads on their platform and may even require you to create a membership with them. 

Let’s look at some of the free channels with your FireStick.

  • YouTube
  • IMDB TV
  • Crackle
  • Popcornflix
  • Tubi TV
  • Pluto TV
  • PBS
  • Nick Jr
  • TED TV
  • Pluto TV
  • Kanopy
  • Hoopla
  • Freeform
  • FilmRise Classics

Is There a Monthly Fee for Fire Stick?

No. There isn’t any monthly cost set for Amazon Firestick. Once you purchase the Amazon product, you only need to set it up and enjoy streaming your preferred content. However, you must have an Amazon account to access the contents of Firestick.

Logging into your Amazon account doesn’t also give you access to the media content in various streaming third-party apps like Netflix or Hulu. You must buy individual subscriptions for each service and log into them using the proper credentials before you can start watching. 

Do You Need Wi-Fi for Fire Stick?

Yes. Amazon Firestick can only work with a Wi-Fi network. Your Firestick device requires an internet connection to stream media content onto your TV. However, this doesn’t mean that the device is useless without Wi-Fi or a strong internet connection. You can do a few things, primarily through some pre-installed applications that work offline. 

For instance, with an app like Kodi installed on your Firestick, you can download movies and TV shows to watch while offline. The media files are still accessible even without an internet connection. Similarly, you can also connect your Firestick to a projector and play media files initially saved offline without connecting to Wi-Fi.

Is Netflix Free With a Fire Stick?

No. Netflix doesn’t come free with the Amazon Fire TV Stick; you must buy a Netflix subscription to stream its content on Firestick. A Netflix subscription plan costs about $9.99 for the basic plan, $15.99 for the standard plan, and $19.99 for the premium subscription. 

You can also opt for Amazon Prime Video, Amazon’s streaming platform, which offers a broad selection of movies and TV series. You’ll need an Amazon Prime account to access the videos on the platform. Other streaming services or apps available on Firestick that require individual subscriptions include:

  • Hulu
  • Disney Plus
  • HBO GO/Max
  • ABC
  • AMC
  • CBS
  • Comedy Central
  • Discovery +
  • Crunchyroll
  • Starz

Unmatched Entertainment

How does a FireStick Work? We’ve covered the details concerning this topic and so much more to help you get the most out of your Amazon FireStick box. Sometimes all you need is a new pair of batteries to get your device up and running again for an eventful evening full of streaming adventure. 

 

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