How to turn off ‘Collect App Usage Data’

By default, Amazon has enabled the Fire TV to allow their Appstore to collect info on how often and how long you use their downloaded apps. If you feel extra generous about opening up your privacy, feel free to leave this as it is. However, if you are like me where you want to limit what information companies have access to and want to retain your privacy, turn it off using the below instructions.

Menu -> Settings -> Applications -> Collect App Usage Data

You can see here highlighted below that by default, this is set to ‘ON’. Click it and turn it off.

2015-01-05 10.12.28

2015-01-05 10.12.37

2015-01-05 10.12.46

You will receive confirmation as above. This is how you can turn off Amazon app store from collecting your app usage data.


Difference between Fire TV and Fire TV Stick

What is the difference between the amazon fire TV and fire TV stick aside from the obvious, the price. Amazon has a good side by side comparison of the device if you click on a link on the fire TV stick product page.

See which Fire TV is right for you
Compare Fire TV Stick and Amazon Fire TV (available now)

Price and Size
Let’s get the two obvious differences out of the way, the price and the size. Full retail price of the fire TV stick is $60 cheaper but we have seen Amazon offer discounts to both devices respectively. The fire TV is larger in size and heavier in weight but it’s not big enough to matter to move people unless you live in a RV. Most people won’t be carrying the fire TV around. However, the fire TV stick may come very useful to road warriors who travel a lot. Amazon created the setup portal on the fire TV stick to allow you to sign into your any WiFi connection through the setup screen. This should allow you to sign on to your hotel’s WiFi connection with its network and password.

What exactly is a processor and what does it do? Simply put, the processor is the CPU which is essentially the brain of your device. Dual core means the device has two separate CPU and quad core means the device has four separate CPUs at it’s disposal. The two processors are not the same. Fire TV’s processor is a Qualcomm Krait 300, quad-core to 1.7 Ghz each CPU. The fire TV Stick processor is a Broadcom Capri 28155, dual-core 2xARM A9 up to 1 Ghz. It isn’t so easy to compare the two processors as they are different. Each core’s utilization also depends on how the apps are programmed. Unlike PC’s, you have no control over how the device or apps use the CPU. One thing for sure is that the Fire TV will perform computations faster than the Fire TV stick. You will likely see very minimal difference when watching videos or music except for load time but you will experience difference when playing games.

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
Amazone Fire TV uses a Qualcomm Adreno 320 chip as it’s GPU and the Fire TV stick uses a VideoCore4. Neither supports over 60hz of refresh rate but both support 720p and 1080p hdtv. So if you have that 240hz refresh rate TV, it won’t come to full use with either device.

Storage and Memory:
Both devices have 8 GB of internal memory used for storage. I haven’t come to a conclusion HOW the devices use this but I presume it is used for preloading content to avoid buffering delays during streaming. You cannot watch any content when wifi is off so those on a boat without wifi is out of luck. Fire TV uses 2 GB LPDDR2 @ 533 mhz external memory while the Fire TV Stick has 1 GB of build in memory. I haven’t seen any reports of anyone trying to upgrade the fire TV memory but I don’t see why anyone would want to do that.

The Fire TV has a built in mic which allows you to perform voice search for content. The Fire TV stick remote does not have voice search but you may purchase the Fire TV remote or simply download the Fire TV app for voice search which I have video demo here.

The Fire TV has an Ethernet port which can provide a much more reliable and ensure fast connection between the router to your device. However, your TV and Fire TV will need to be at a location that is relatively near your router unless you want a long Ethernet cable threading through your house. Both support WiFi which works for most people unless you have poor wireless connectivity where your device is located. In that case, you can purchase a repeater available at (where else?) Amazon!

Optical Audio Output:Optical outputs are a must for audio junkies to connect to your home receiver for surround sound, sound bar, and sub-woofers for that low base. The Fire TV will allow you to directly connect to your receiver but the fire TV stick will be limited in this aspect. However, not all is lost. If you want improved audio from your fire TV stick, you may connect your home theater system to the audio output of your TV and it will be almost equivalent. My TV has an optical out which I have connected to a Vizio sound bar and it works well.

Apps Availability:
As we stand today when this post was written, there are 898 apps available on the Amazon App store for Fire TV and 706 apps available for the Fire TV stick. I expect this number to change. You can click Amazon Appstore to see if they have the app that you want. You can filter the apps at the right menu by selecting the device you want to limit. The same apps will be available to you when you navigate the Amazon appstore on your Fire TV or Fire TV sticl.

amazon fire tv app

Fire TV Require Subscription like Netflix?

There seems to be some confusion as to what Fire TV and Fire TV Stick offers in terms of content such as Netflix and other subscription based streaming services. First of all, Fire TV and Fire TV Stick is a streaming device produced by Amazon. The device enables your TV to stream thousands of TV episodes, movies, video clips, and music. It also enables you to play games by installing apps and using your remote.

Technically, you do not need any subscription to any service to enjoy the product by itself. All you need is an Amazon account to sign in. If you do not have one, you will need to create one. Through Amazon’s appstore, you will be able to install apps which have free content and services. However, without any subscription, you will be limited to services such as Youtube, certain Watch ESPN clips and games, Pandora, and apps such as Twitch.

In order to get the most out of your Fire TV / Stick, you should have at the minimal Amazon Prime. With Amazon Prime, you get hundreds of TV episodes and movies for free. They also recently launched Amazon Prime Music where you can add songs or playlists and simply play. Alternatively, you can use Amazon Cloud and add pictures and stream them to your TV as a large digital photo frame during a party.

For paid services such as Netflix, Hulu plus, HBO Go, and others, you will need a paid subscription in order to enjoy those content. If you are not sure if the app you need is there, check out this link from Amazon and search it.

Fire TV Remote App with Video

One of the benefits to the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick is the availability of the free app which is available for iOS and Google Play store. The below snapshots are from the Google Play Store.









Once installed, open the app and select the device. I forgot to turn on the WiFi on my Samsung Galaxy S4 so I wasn’t able to find it initially.






Once found, select your FireTV Stick.











Once you are in, you will go through a quick tutorial on how to use the app. It is quite useful as not all the functions of the app is that intuitive or self explanatory.

Below is a snapshot of the app.

On the top row and from left to right, it is the options menu, the voice search, and keyboard.

In the gray region, you can use it to navigate through the menu by using your finger and swipe to the menu you want on your TV.

At the bottom row, there is the back, home, and menu button.






If you hit the 6 small dots just above the home button, you can expand to additional menu for rewind, play, and fast forward.









To use the voice function, slide down your finger from the mic at the top of the screen down. While keeping your finger on the screen, say your keyword that you want to search. Once you are done, let go of your finger.









See my video demo below.

Opening the battery cover for Fire TV Stick Remote

One of the complaints I have heard is how hard it is to open the battery cover on the Fire TV Stick Remote. I did a video on how it can be opened. Please note that I have already opened it during my unboxing video so it is a bit conditioned. I did have trouble when I first opened it but as you can see now, I can open it with one hand (thumb).

Using the Fire TV Stick HDMI Connector

I completely forgot about the HDMI extender which came with the Amazon Fire TV Stick when I was making this video last night. It was late and I was a bit tired but this extender has resolved my issue of not being able to access the USB port on the Amazon Fire TV Stick. I made a video and have uploaded it to youtube detailing how to use the HDMI connector. It worked like a champ. For aesthetic reasons, you may want to use zip ties to hide the TV stick and the USB cables.

Fire TV Stick Won’t Fit in TV HDMI Port

I came across a problem with my Fire TV Stick. My Samsung TV doesn’t have enough room to plug the USB cable for my Fire TV Stick! See for yourself. I don’t have a good answer right now. I had problems connecting the Fire TV stick to the other HDMI ports as it didn’t fit. I didn’t want to jam the HDMI port on my TV as I use it for my cable box, PS3, and Chromecast.

Update: Issue is resolved. See updated post here.