How to Install Local Channels on Amazon Fire Stick

A Bargain Basement Option That Works

Cutting the cord to your TV provider means ugly set-top-box rentals can take a hike. But cord-cutting also means you don’t have easy access to local programming. Here's how to install local channels on Amazon Fire stick so you can stay connected to your local community.

Can I Get Local Channels on Fire Stick?

Anything typically delivered over the air and received by an antenna or a TV provider is considered local programming. This programming typically stems from the major networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and PBS. There may be offshoot broadcasts from local stations too like classic TV programming, and so on.

Fire TV Stick owners basically have four options to access local channels:

  • Individual networks
  • Standalone streaming services provided by TV providers
  • Third-party services
  • Over-the-air hardware

The least expensive route is to use apps that access a TV provider’s streaming service, like Charter’s Spectrum TV subscription. With this service, you can stream local channels along with selectable cable-based networks over the internet—no coaxial cabling or set-top-box rentals required. These cost money, but services like Spectrum TV are separate from the traditional cable and satellite TV subscriptions.

Amazon fire TV Stick Remote

The next-best method is to use network-specific apps. The drawback here is that to access a network’s full content portfolio, viewers must have a TV subscription either through a provider’s traditional package (basic cable, etc) or its standalone streaming service. This is where the guide begins.

Get Local Channels on Fire Stick With Network-Based Apps

With this method, you need a subscription plan with your local TV provider. Moreover, you’ll need the plan's login credentials at least once. After that, Amazon’s Fire TV Stick will use that information to pair network apps with your TV subscription.

First, let's find and grab a major network's app. This example uses NBC.

  1. Press up on the remote’s navigation ring until you highlight the Home category.

    Select Home on Fire TV Stick
  2. Press right on the remote’s navigation ring to highlight the Apps category.

  3. Press the Select button.

  4. A sub-menu appears below Apps. Press down on the navigation ring to highlight Features on the sub-menu and then press right on the ring to highlight Categories. Press the Select button.

    Select Apps and Categories on Fire TV Stick
  5. Navigate to the Movies & TV category using the remote’s navigation ring, as shown below. Press the Select button.

    Select Movies & TV on Fire TV Stick

    You’ll find these dedicated apps for the major networks on the following screen:

  6. Navigate to an app using the remote’s navigation ring and press the Select button.

    Network Apps on Fire TV Stick
  7. Highlight the Get button on the following screen and press the remote's Select button.

    With the app installed, you can stream a limited library of full episodes, news stories, and other network content.

    Get NBC on Fire TV Stick

    To watch live TV, networks typically require a subscription through cable operators, internet service providers, network-specific subscriptions, or through third-party services.

  8. Open NBC’s app and navigate to its Live category listed on the menu. 

    Select Live in NBC app on Fire TV Stick
  9. With the guide open, select any broadcast. Here we chose the local NBC station.

    Select a local channel on Fire TV Stick
  10. The app presents a screen listing several TV providers like Cox, DirecTV, Spectrum, Verizon, and more. Select your TV provider.

    Select your TV provider Fire TV Stick
  11. You may or may not need to log in with credentials before the app links your TV provider.

  12. If you ever need to unlink your TV provider from the app, navigate to More on the menu and press the Select button.

    Select More in NBC app for Fire TV Stick
  13. Select My Profile on the following screen.

    Select my profile in NBC app
  14. Select the Unlink button listed under TV Provider and press the remote’s Select button.

    Unlink your TV provider Fire TV Stick

Limited Streaming Services from TV Providers

Unfortunately, options to watch streaming services from cable TV providers are currently limited. Chater's Spectrum TV app isn't available nor is Comcast's Xfinity service. However, you can install AT&T's WatchTV, TV, and U-verse apps as well as DISH Anywhere.

Watch Live TV from Third-Party Services

You can subscribe to third-party services that provide local channel access. For instance, Hulu offers a paid subscription that includes its standard content along with local and cable-based channel access.

Sling TV offers local programming too with pricing starting around $15 per month. Other services supporting live TV include Sony's PlayStation Vue, Google's YouTube TV, and Fubo TV.

Watch Live TV Using an Antenna

One method to grab local programming is to purchase a digital antenna and connect it to a PC. In turn, the PC needs software like Plex Media Server for Windows, MacOS, or Linux to deliver those over-the-air broadcasts across your local network. The Plex app for Android serves as a receiver.

The drawback, however, is not only the additional hardware cost, but the varying quality of digital over-the-air broadcasts.

Another option is to purchase a Tablo DVR or something similar. Again, you must purchase a digital antenna, but you don’t need a PC acting as a server. Instead, a Tablo DVR accesses your local network through Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection. It broadcasts captured over-the-air TV to your devices, including Amazon’s Fire TV Stick.

Cable-Based Networks Have Apps Too

Finally, you'll find more than 30 apps provided by cable-based networks. These include A&E, AMC, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, FreeForm, Lifetime, MTV, SyFy, TBS, TNT, and many more.

Typically you can enjoy a limited library of content from each cable network, just like ABC and NBC. To unlock everything, you'll need a subscription with a cable provider. Even more, you may find cable networks offering subscriptions to unlock exclusive content.

For instance, AMC Premier removes ads for around $5 per month. The plan also gives viewers access to episodes 48 hours early, exclusives, extended episodes, and curated content from BBC America, IFC, and Sundance. AMC must be a part of your TV subscription package, however.