Joining the roster of most in-demand home entertainment technologies, Amazon Firestick guarantees its users of quality experience in media streaming. This portable device turns any television with an HDMI port into a smart TV, adding “tens of thousands” of channels and other software applications, music, and game console features.
If you think the product box and device manual say it all, you’re wrong! There is always more to it, and here are the ten things you need to know on how to maximize the use of Amazon FireStick.
#1 – Voice Command
Equipped with state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, Amazon FireStick allows its users to do voice search and voice control. To use Amazon’s Alexa via remote control, press the microphone button and tell Alexa what you want to do. Alexa will respond orally and with graphical representation on your TV screen.
The search engine of FireStick incorporates everything from Amazon services and other streaming platforms. If what you’re looking for is in another application, it will still show on the results page.
#2 – Turn-Off Notifications
Installed applications on your device often send a pop-up notification that might interrupt your streaming experiences. To turn this off, click the Settings > Preferences > Notification settings and toggle the “Do Not Interrupt” mode. You can also do it on an app-by-app basis.
#3 – Parental Controls
One of its key features is its user-friendly approach which includes intensive parental controls. Through this feature, you can manage the content that you and your family members will be watching.
For example, you can protect your purchases and apps with a 4-digit pin code and regulate the viewing level of video content. “Family” is the default level in which videos/films rated PG and higher that are not suitable for young audiences will require a PIN.
Users can manage the media ratings to General (U), Teen, and Mature (18, Not Rated, Unrated). To change this, go to Settings > Preferences > Parental Controls and select the viewership level you desire.
The said function is also a learning opportunity, with the proper educational channels for kids. Check this resource for early learners’ use of technology for more guiding principles.
#4 – Display Calibration
There are times where there are uncalibrated displays according to the size of your TV screen. As a result, it may appear distorted, stretched, or shrunk. That’s why you must do a calibration on your device, and fortunately, you don’t have to do it every time you want to view something; you only need to do it once.
To initiate the calibration, toggle your FireStick Settings > Display & Sound > Display > Calibrate Display and press the remote’s up and down buttons to change the screen view.
#5 – Mirror Your Device
Casting your device to your TV screen is simple with FireStick. If it’s connected to the same internet or Wi-Fi network, the name of your FireStick should appear in the list of devices where you may cast your smartphones, tablets, or laptops. However, Apple users may not be able to enjoy this feature.
#6 – Play Games with your FireStick
Are you tired of binge-watching? Luckily, you may also use your FireStick device to play games! Sure, it is no PS5 (PlayStation 5), but it does offer access to classic games such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Crazy Taxi, Candy Crush Saga, Crossy Road, and a few Final Fantasy titles. You can add games by navigating to Apps on the top menu of the FireStick page and selecting the app from the drop-down menu that shows. You can also surf the web for games that you would like to play.
To use a game controller, plug it into the FireStick device through a USB port (if available) or connect it over Bluetooth. To begin connecting, navigate to Settings > Controllers & Bluetooth Devices > Game Controllers, and then click the controller’s name to start pairing.
#7 – Control your FireStick with your Smartphone
Whether you are an iOS or Android simp, you can still use your FireStick with your smartphone. You only need to download the Amazon Fire TV app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. The app provides the same functionality as your real remote (except the power and volume buttons). The remote app features a touchpad in place of the navigation ring and Select/OK button.
To navigate FireStick and any installed apps, swipe up/down or left/right on the touchpad. Then, simply tap anywhere on the touchpad to click.
#8 – Connect your Bluetooth Speaker/Headphones
You can sync a Bluetooth headphone or speaker to your FireStick to manage your device’s audio.
For example, you may attach a Bluetooth headset if you want to watch a movie late at night and you don’t want to disturb your roommates. Alternatively, if you want a more dramatic audio experience, link your FireStick with Bluetooth-enabled external speakers.
To connect your device to your FireStick, head to Settings > Controllers & Bluetooth Devices > Other Bluetooth Devices > Add Bluetooth Devices, and wait as the FireStick searches for Bluetooth devices. Then, click your device’s name and pair it with FireStick.
#9 – Holiday Treats with FireStick
You can take a FireStick on your vacation as long as you can connect it to Wi-Fi or the internet. It is also helpful if you are a student and need to share dorm Wi-Fi. Go to Settings > Network and choose the network you wish to connect. If further information is necessary, a site will appear to fill in the information requested by the hotel or public venue. If you already establish a network connection, you can use your FireStick.
#10 – Privacy Protection
Like many of the biggest tech platforms, Amazon collects as much data about its users as possible—both to enhance the way the FireStick functions (for example, with suggestions) and to better target people with advertising. Some apps will target advertisements at you based on past data it has obtained about your interests.
If you’d prefer Amazon wasn’t keeping such tight tabs on you and your streaming device, go to Settings > Preferences > Privacy Settings. Turn off all the options to prevent data collection on your device and app usage and eliminate adverts based on your profile of interests.
Though the above seems too much, it’s certainly not everything!
Visit FireStickTricks.com for more advanced ways and other tricks you can do with your FireStick!
Indeed, Amazon FireStick offers one of the promising streaming media technologies in the market these days. This might appear just as an oversized flash drive placed in a box but digging deeper into the device’s interface (UI) and features, you’ll discover that it can do a lot more than you would have thought.