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July 2019



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Amazon TV Fire Stick for dummies

Last week I took delivery of my Amazon TV Fire Stick but didn’t try to set it up until yesterday. I pre-ordered the gizmo when it was on offer at £19.00 (usual price £35.00), which is pretty good considering that it’s a one off payment. I wanted this because I wasn’t making the most of my Amazon Prime film and video streaming. I also wanted to be able to see BBC iPlayer programmes on a big screen.

My first problem was that I simply couldn’t open the remote control to put the batteries in. Of course I thought, ‘You duffer! Why are you so hopeless?’ Then I Googled the problem and found that it’s quite general and one that people consider a design fault. The suggested solution (from users, not Amazon) is to use a little knife. I did. It worked. First problem overcome. Connecting everything was easy. Then came:

Problem two. I’d previously watched a couple of YouTube videos about set up. Watching these guys, they just plugged everything in and the Fire Stick logo appeared on the screen instantly without them fiddling with their TV sets. This didn’t happen to me. The instructions say: ‘Select the appropriate HDMI input’. It took me a while to work this out (my TV manual was useless and I did say this was for dummies) but all you do is select AV using your TV remote. Yes, it seems obvious, but there may be other people out there for whom it isn’t. As soon as I’d done that, it was all systems go. It found my BT hub quickly, and I entered my wireless code when prompted. It knows at once who you are and asks if you want to use that account or change it. You have to wait a while for ‘updates’ (already?) then you get the cheery chappy introductory video.

After that I had a play. Downloaded the iPlayer app, which didn’t take long, and experimented. It’s easier to find a programme than it is on the PC. You go to ‘find a programme’ and see an alphabet grid. If you click on say, ‘G’, all programmes beginning with G are listed, so you don’t have the faff of typing in a whole programme name. I selected Gardeners’ World, just to try it out, and in no time I was watching Monty. Easy to stop any time you want to and the back button is your friend.

Any videos and music which you already have from Amazon are listed for you and once you’ve downloaded any apps you want, they’re in your app library. So, quite user friendly and very good value, is my verdict.


Thank you for this post. I wondered how easy setting up a TV stick would be as I have Google Chrome one on my Amazon wishlist :)

ETA: I didn't know Amazon Fire did one so I should look at that before I buy anything.

Edited at 2015-04-20 11:09 am (UTC)
If you search online, you will find several videos/articles comparing Chrome and Amazon. Of course, you don't know who's behind the comparisons! I think the consensus when I looked was that the Amazon one is better value.
I don't know about Chrome, but the Amazon stick is very small and also fits a port at the back of my TV, so I don't even see it.
I generally do a lot of research before buying anything and read all the reviews. A friend recommended the Chrome one so I just added it to my wishlist and it's been sat there for a while. Having just had a quick look there seems to be three that are widely used (Chromecast, Roku and the Fire). I'm not using Prime (have Netflix instead) so I'm not sure that the Fire is necessarily best for me. I need to research more once I'm ready to buy one :)
There is a Netflix app for the Fire.
Yes, I saw that. I also found some comparison sites which showed which each device was capable of. Each has their own particular strong points. Fire has the most storage and Chrome the best Wi-Fi connection. All do BBC iplayer but not all do 4OD or ITV player. I won't bother with Roku and I might wait to see what happens with the new and upgraded sticks. Nothing is ever simple :)