How to Work a Firestick

Watch TV, stream shows, and play video games

Amazon's Fire TV Sticks are popular streaming sticks that bring app and media functionality to your TV. This page is a comprehensive guide for using a Fire Stick after completing the Fire Stick setup process.

How to Use the Fire TV Stick Remote

There have been a number of different Fire TV Stick remotes released over the years but they all generally function the same.

Your remote is paired to your device during the Fire TV Stick setup process. You can also pair more than one remote to a Fire TV Stick if needed.

Press the small circle button at the top of the remote with the microphone or white circle icon before saying a voice command—the large ring functions as arrow keys for navigating the Fire TV Stick operating system and apps. Press the large ring's center to make a selection when you highlight an item on the TV.

The voice command, select, and navigation buttons highlighted on two Amazon Fire TV Stick remotes.

Use the button with the house icon to return to the Fire Stick Home screen. The button with three horizontal lines on it brings up an additional menu when pressed. It kind of works like a right-click on a mouse or a long press on a smartphone or tablet.

If you lose your remote or it stops working, you can use your smartphone to control your Fire Stick instead.

The arrow button to the left of the Home button is the Back button. Press it to return to the previous screen in an app or menu.

The media control buttons are pretty self-explanatory though it's important to note that the Play button also wakes a Fire Stick from sleep.

What Fire Stick Do I Have?

It can be a bit hard to check what model Fire TV Stick you own, as the sticks themselves have almost no labeling on them.

The easiest way to work out what Fire Stick you have is to check the packaging if you still have it. If you threw away the box and manuals, you can still view your Fire Stick’s type within its operating system. To do this, turn it on and select Settings > My Fire TV > About.

Amazon Fire TV Stick settings with streaming stick model name highlighted.

The model type should be highlighted, while its serial number and other details should be visible to the right.

Does Fire Stick Work With Any TV?

Amazon’s Fire TV Stick devices can connect to any TV with an HDMI port. Fire Sticks work with traditional TVs and newer smart TV models with a built-in app and streaming features.

An Amazon Fire TV Stick being plugged into an HDMI port on the back of a TV.

4K Amazon Fire TV Stick models do work with non-4K TVs but their resolution will be downgraded to 1080p HD.

In addition to TVs, you can connect Amazon Fire TV Sticks to computer monitors and movie projectors. If they have an HDMI In port, it's also possible to use a Fire Stick with video game consoles and other devices, such as the Xbox One.

What Can I Do With a Firestick?

Amazon Fire TV Sticks essentially add smart TV functionality to non-smart TVs. Here are some of the things you can do with a Fire Stick.

Amazon Fire TV Sticks aren't just limited to a single TV either. When traveling on holiday, you can also connect your Fire Stick to your hotel room's TV or use it with another TV at home.

Can You Watch Normal TV on an Amazon Firestick?

It’s possible to watch free-to-air broadcast TV and pay-TV cable channels on an Amazon Fire Stick. However, instead of receiving broadcast data via an antenna, satellite, or physical cable, channels are streamed over the internet using their official Fire Stick app.

TV and streaming apps in the Fire Stick app store.

Many local TV channels offer apps that you can download to watch their live broadcast, and most also provide content that you can watch on-demand. Many global TV stations such as the BBC, Al Jazeera, and NHK World also offer their content via their Fire Stick apps.

Free-to-air and cable channels are available on Fire TV Stick devices via their official apps.

If you have access to a cable channel as part of your cable, mobile, or internet provider’s plan, you can also view their content on your Fire Stick if they have an app. For example, if your plan includes the Hallmark Channel, you can download the Hallmark Channel app on your Fire Stick, log in with your account information, and watch it.

Fire Sticks support a feature called Single Sign-On. When you log into a cable channel’s app with your provider’s information, the Fire Stick will show you all of the other channel apps included with your plan.

Is There a Monthly Fee for Firestick?

Fire Sticks are generally free to use after the initial purchase, though additional paid subscriptions are required to access streaming services via many apps.

Owning an Amazon Fire TV Stick does not give you free access to the Amazon Prime Video streaming service, which needs an active Amazon Prime membership to use.

While you can use apps such as YouTube, Spotify, and several others for free, services such as Disney Plus, Netflix, Paramount Plus, and cable channel apps need a paid membership to use just as you would if you were accessing their content on a smartphone or computer.

What Channels Are Free With Firestick?

The selection of channels that are available to use for free will depend significantly on what service provider, if any, you use.

The Tubi app on an Amazon Fire TV Stick.

For example, your internet service provider’s plan may include free access to various cable channels such as History Channel, Hallmark, and Cartoon Network. In this case, you can download those apps on your Fire Stick, log in with your provider’s information, and access their content without paying any additional fees.

Check with your mobile, internet, or TV provider to see if you have access to cable channels or streaming services.

If you don’t currently pay for a cable or internet package that includes access to channels, there are still many free apps that you can use. Here are some free apps worth trying. You can download each app on your Fire Stick.

  • Your local TV channels’ apps
  • Tubi
  • Crackle
  • Plex
  • Pluto TV
  • NHK World
  • TED Talks
  • BBC iPlayer
  • Al Jazeera
  • Fox News
  • Red Bull TV
  • Vudu
  • Crunchyroll
  • YouTube
  • Twitch

Can I Play Video Games on Amazon Fire Stick?

Amazon Fire TV Stick devices support a variety of video games that you can download and play via its built-in app store, just like a regular app. You can play Fire Stick video games with the standard Fire Stick remote or connect a wireless video game controller to the streaming stick via Bluetooth.

Xbox and PlayStation console controllers that support wireless connectivity can connect to Fire Sticks.

Some video games worth trying on your Fire Stick are the Asphalt 8, Tetris, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame, and Sega Classics. You can also cast games to your Fire Stick from your smartphone, tablet, or computer to play them on your TV.

FAQ
  • How do I use an Amazon Fire Stick without a remote?

    If you misplaced your physical remote control, you can use a smartphone as a Fire Stick remote. Download the Fire Stick Remote app > log in to your Amazon account > and enter the connection request code to connect the app with your Fire Stick. Use the arrows and familiar button shortcuts in the remote app to browse and play content.

  • How do I use a Fire Stick remote to control my TV?

    You can use HDMI-CEC device control to use your Fire Stick remote to power your TV off and on and immediately switch to your Fire Stick HDMI input. On your TV, go to the device settings and look for a feature called CEC, HDMI-CEC, CEC Control, or whatever your manufacturer calls it. On your Fire Stick, select Settings > Display & Sounds > HDMI CEC Device Control > On.

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