Amazon Fire TV Tips, Tricks and Hidden Features: 12 secrets you might not know about the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, including all the best hacks you need to make the most of your new streaming gadget.
Amazon’s Fire TV has quickly become one of the best ways to turn a dumb TV smart. The cheap Fire TV Stick, which recently got a 2017 update, makes any HDMI-enabled television much more capable than even £2,000-plus sets in terms of services and apps, while the Fire TV box can take the place of a games console and is now capable of 4K streaming.
There’s more to these ultra-accessible gadgets than you’ll appreciate when you first take off the cellophane and jam in the remote’s AAA batteries, though.
Here are 12 tips, tricks, hacks and secret features you might not know about the Fire TV family.
Fire TV vs Fire TV Stick – choosing the right device for you
First of all, let’s explain the key differences between the Fire TV box and its more affordable sibling, the Fire TV Stick.
While the Fire TV box may be twice the price, it’s a lot more powerful and has access to more games as a result.
You’ll see some slow-down in 3D games at times with the Stick, for example, as it uses a remedial dual-core CPU. It’s fine if you want a cheap media machine, but it is no console-replacer.
The Fire TV Box is a lot more powerful, with a 64-bit MediaTek 8173C CPU that has two Cortex-A72 cores and two Cortex-A53 cores – equivalent to the power of a very good mid-range phone. It also has more connections, with an Ethernet port, optical audio output and a USB. Finally, it can output in 4K where the Stick’s max resolution is 1080p.
The “all-new” 2017 Fire Stick has a much more powerful processor and is absolutely fine for streaming TV shows and films.
However, if you’ve not yet bought a Fire TV device and want to play games, you’re better off with the box version. It supports many more games because it has that extra power on tap – the likes of Minecraft: Pocket Edition, Asphalt 8 and many others simply don’t work on the dual-core Fire TV stick, even if you sideload them.
More on that later, but now it’s time to look at how you can make the most of your Fire TV.
1) Find shows in Netflix and iPlayer with voice control
When the Amazon Fire TV with mic first launched, it would only look up Amazon goodies: movies from Amazon and apps from the Amazon Appstore.