Local Channels on Fire TV

basic tv networksCan you get local channels such as CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, CW (CBS+Warner Bros.), or Telemundo? These are channels that are widely available by using an over the air antenna for free. In some areas, these channels are not available unless you have a high power over the air antenna. This poses a problem for say people who live in apartments where installing a high power antenna on the roof is not possible. The only means to get access to these channels are through paid subscription services such as cable, fiber, or satellite TV. Cable cutters would love to swap out these paid services and stream.

I tried installing a few apps from the Amazon App store from Fire TV. It was a mixed bag of what is available vs what isn’t available. One thing that was consistent was that no apps provided live content for free. If the app from a major TV network offered live content on Fire TV, it was for people with paid subscription. As for what is available, you have a mixed bag. For example, the NBC app offered dateline episodes for free but America Ninja Warrior and America’s Got Talent required a sign in from a paid subscription.

A possible alternative would be to pay for Sling TV. With Sling TV, you get a handful of popular TV networks for $20/month.

Looks like it is not possible to truly cut the cord if your residence is outside the TV signal area.

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Turn your TV into a Digital Sign – App

I will explain how you can turn your TV into a digital sign using just an app and Fire TV stick. This is great when you want to turn your TV into a sign for a restaurant menu signage, instruction or floor plan, directory of an office building, daily schedule of the day at a hotel banquet all, funeral home, pictures at a dental office and more. Here is what you need.

The app is free for the first 30 days. After, you can sign up for an annual unlimited subscription of SignageCreator. With this subscription, there are over 1000+ templates which you can use to create your sign. Signagecreator have two pricing plans. Standard license is for $100/template for just one use. Unlimited usage is for $30/month.

If you want to make it vertical, you can change the setting on the TV and use the app and set it up the way you want.

digital sign app

Trigger Alexa with Fire TV remote

fire tv remote alexaIn May, Amazon enable Alexa on its Fire TV remote. This allowed Fire TV owners to use Alexa as you had an Amazon Echo. If you already have an Echo, then this would not be foreign to you.

Movies / TV
With Alexa, you can trigger it to control a movie. You can ask Alexa to play a movie, TV show. It will also search from your active add-on subscriptions as well as third party apps. You can also use it to trigger a certain app.

Examples:
Play the movie [title]
Start playing the TV show [title]
Launch the app [title]
Open the [title] app

Music
You can also trigger music you have on your Prime Music library to simply listen to one of the Prime stations. You can rate a song by saying you like it or do not like the song. This will help Alexa rate the type of song it chooses for you. You can completely skip songs or rewind but cannot fast forward or rewind or change volume. Bummer. This is possible with Echo.

Audible and eBooks
Through Alexa, you can use your Fire TV to read eligible Kindle books in your library. You can even see the title and book cover on your TV. Neat!

News Flash Briefing
One great feature I love with Alexa is that you can ask her to read you the news flash. Go into the Alexa app and select your news source. You can select national, international, local news, sports, and weather source / location. All you say is “Alexa, What’s my news flash?” or “Alexa, Whats my flash briefing?” and it will read a 5-10 min briefing of the latest news from what you selected. I use it when I sit down and enjoy my breakfast. You can also set up your commute location and it’ll give you the congestion condition!

Shopping
No surprise to anyone, you can use Alexa to buy things on Amazon. It is a bit clumsy as you need to know the exact item you are interested in buying in order to buy through Alexa. If you ask Alexa to buy something, it will select the top result for that category and display the item. It is a bit easier to re-order something if it is something you have purchased in the past such as detergent, razor blades, diapers for example.

Weather / Traffic
Asking Alexa for the weather is also another one of my favorites. My kids use this almost every day to determine if they can wear shorts for the day! I don’t use the traffic much as I don’t commute to an office 🙂

Q&A / Jokes
This is kind of an easter egg hunt. You can ask “Alexa, how are you doing today?” or “Alexa, good morning” and she will read back a quote or a comment.

Wikipedia
Alexa also has access to a database of facts. You can ask how far you are to say New York city, ask for conversion such as cooking, time zone, and more. You can ask celebrities or athlete’s age!

Lists (To do / Shopping)
Alexa can aggregate shopping list and to do list. You can use it as a personal assistant to remind you to do something and check it on your Fire TV or on your app later. You can also have Alexa read out your shopping or to do list using your remote.

There are much much more features which you can do with sports scores, movie info, local search, and some features which are voice only where nothing will display on your Fire TV. For all features, check out:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201859020

 

Erosnow available on Fire TV

erosnowErosnow, the Bollywood movie entertainment production group has signed a deal to offer its on demand service to Fire TV. Eros International is a publicly traded company on the NYSE and has been a big player in distribution and licensing of the latest Hindi, Tamil, and other Indian language movies and TV shows across Fire TV users. The huge library of films will be accessible to users across US, UK, and Western Europe.

To access the movies, navigate to the Amazon App store and install the ErosNow app. From there, you will be able to search and watch movies similar to Netflix.
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I browsed a bit and you can watch popular movies such as Bajirao Masani, Piku, Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon, Calendar Girls, Kuch Kuch Locha Hai. You can see the rest of the most popular Hindi movies here.

Amazon Fire Stick User Guide Manual

If you have been searching online for Amazon’s own user guide manual for the Fire TV Stick, you came to the right place. The overwhelming trend for most electronic manufacturers are shipping their products without a manual. Instead, they include a quick setup guide on how to connect your device to get started then provide a link to the full instruction manual which will be available online. Amazon has their Fire TV stick user guide online which you may download or view online anytime.

Amazon Fire Stick User Guide

It is a pdf file so you will need an app / software that allows you to view Adobe Acrobat files. It has the following table of contents.

Fire TV Stick Basics

•Fire TV Stick Hardware Basics on page 5
•Navigate Your Amazon Fire TV Device on page 6
•Main Menu Basics on page 8
•Settings Basics on page 10
•Register or Deregister Your Amazon Fire TV Device on page 12
•Access & Remove Content on page 13
•Set Up Parental Controls on page 15
•Use Your Voice to Search Amazon Fire TV Devices on page 16
•Differences between Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick on page 17

Remote & Game Controller Basics

•Remote Basics on page 20
•Compatible Remotes for Amazon Fire TV Devices on page 26
•Game Controller Basics on page 27
•Pair a Remote or Game Controller on page 29

Fire TV Remote App Basics

•Fire TV Remote App Basics on page 31
•Download & Pair the Fire TV Remote App on page 33

Quick Fixes

•Can’t Connect to Wi-Fi on page 35
•Can’t Pair a Remote or Game Controller on page 36
•Video Issues on Your Amazon Fire TV Device on page 37
•Basic Troubleshooting for Amazon Fire TV Devices on page 38
•Can’t Pair the Fire TV Remote App on page 40

Set Up Fire TV Stick

•Get Started with Fire TV Stick on page 42
•Set Up Fire TV Stick Hardware on page 44
•Set Up a Wireless or Wired Connection on page 45
•Connect Your Amazon Fire TV Device to a Public Wi-Fi Network on page 46

Watch Movies & TV Shows

•Buy or Rent Movies & TV Shows on page 48
•Watch Movies & TV Shows on page 49
•Use an Amazon Fire TV Device as a Display Mirroring Destination on page 50
•Use an Amazon Fire TV Device with a Second Screen Device on page 51

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How to watch Amazon Prime videos offline

Amazon announced a series of new products but hidden among the new products is a new feature that will really get a lot of people onboard to not only Fire TV but for Amazon Prime. The new feature? Offline viewing of Amazon Prime videos. Previously, the only way to watch Amazon Prime videos was to stream them. To watch any Amazon Prime or any videos through offline you had to buy or rent it. Only then will you be able to download the video and watch without an Internet connection. After this announcement, you will now be able to download Amazon Prime videos for offline viewing. (edit) This feature was previously only available to Amazon Fire devices. Now, this has been enabled for Android and iOS devices. Note that not all Prime videos are available offline. Amazon is working closely with content owners to obtain rights so that you can view these offline.

Before you can download the video you want to watch offline, you need to download the Amazon Video app. If you have a Kindle Fire, you can download this app through the Amazon App store. This app is not found on the Google Play or Apple App store.

Follow the below instructions for Android / iOS Apple iPad or iPhone devices:

Install Amazon Video App for Offline Video Viewing:

for Android

If you do not have the Amazon App store, you will first need to install it. First, navigate to this website:

www.amazon.com/gp/video/splash/sd/t/appstore

Next, follow the instructions and download the Amazon Appstore.

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Open the file that downloaded called ‘AmazonApps.apk’. It is an executable file to install an app. You will get the below screen asking you to install the app. If you have problems clicking the install button, you will need to disable any screen filter apps such as a blue light filter in order for it to work.

If you still get an error, go to phone settings -> security -> enable ‘unknown sources’ which will allow you to install apps from unknown sources.

 

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After a bit, you will get to the below screen asking you to sign into your Amazon account. If you already have an Amazon account from Amazon Shopping, the same login will be used. Click the ‘sigh out and use a different account’ link if you want to use another account.

 

 

 

 

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Once inside the Amazon Appstore, search for the Amazon Video app. It is a free app with the below icon.

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Click install and go through the same process as above when you installed the Amazon App.

 

 

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Once installed, open the Amazon Video App. From here, you can navigate through Prime videos. If you see a download icon next to the video, it means you can download it for offline viewing.

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Make sure you are on WiFi connection when you download it. I did a test by downloading the Pilot for an Amazon Prime exclusive series, “Transparent”. After I downloaded the Pilot, I turned on Airplane mode and the play icon was displayed.

 

 

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I hit play and I get a pop up saying that I have a 76 day offline viewing period. Seems overly generous unless you are going off on a long boat ride across the Pacific!

Once you are done, you can simply delete the video from your account.

How to watch Prime videos offline through iOS devices (iPad and iPhone)

To watch Amazon Prime videos offline, you simply install the Amazon Video app from the Apple App store. Once you install it, you can follow the same instructions as we have for Android.

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Amazon Fire TV Stick and Samsung TV Compatibility Issues

samsung_firetvIf you have been having issues with getting your Samsung TV to detect recognize your Amazon Fire TV Stick, you are not alone. Many users are reporting that they are having compatibility issues with their Samsung TV and Fire TV Stick. The issues stem from not being able to connect the Fire TV stick into a HDMI port to the TV not recognizing the device. Several people have called both Amazon and Samsung who seems to acknowledge the issue but stop short of admitting fault.

If you are one of the unlucky ones who are having issues, try the below tips.

1) Upgrade the firmware to both FireTV stick and your Samsung TV.

For most users, your Fire TV Stick should have the most current firmware. The only exception is if you have opted not to upgrade when it prompts you to do so. For Samsung TV’s, updating the firmware is not so simple. First, you navigate to Samsung’s firmware page. Next, select your TV. If you do not know your TV model or do not remember, sneak to the side of the TV and you will find it. It is usually in the format xx##x#### where x is an alphabet and # is a number. The first set of # is the size of your TV. Find the latest firmware and download it to a USB thumb drive. Remember the filename. Take your USB thumbdrive then plug it to your TV. From the TV’s menu, go to settings and look for an option to upgrade firmware. Follow the instructions. It should ask you to select the firmware file. After a few min. the firmware to your TV will be upgraded. Now, try to plug your Fire TV and see if it will be detected.

2) Toggle Anynet / Anynet+

Most of you may already know or been using this but Samsung has a proprietary program built into all of its TV’s called Anynet+. What it does is it allows you to use a remote control and control various devices through its connected network. There is some suspiscion that it is actually Anynet or Anynet+ which is preventing the Fire TV Stick to be detected. A user on Amazon forums stated that they got it to work by following these steps:

-Plug the Fire TV stick in an HDMI port powered by USB port
-Hid the refresh button (red button)
-A message should pop up with the message, “anynet device”. Click yes or ok
-Your Fire TV Stick should now be visible.
-If not, go through your input and try to locate the Fire TV through different HDMI connections

Still have issues? Leave a comment.

 

Fire TV Stick Overheating and rebooting Problems

Some users have complained that the Fire TV Stick gets really hot and reboot on its own. This is unusual as I have not encountered this problem. The TV Stick does get warm but not uncomfortable to touch. Chromecast users reported similar issues early in production and Google never mentioned anything or admitted to any flaw. It is possible that it was due to some software code and an update fixed it. What can you do when the Fire TV sticks reboots due to overheating.

For the most part, the Fire TV Stick should work without any issues even if it is warm. If the Fire TV Stick freezes or its response is lagging or is slow, you will want to try to fit it. Here are some tips to resolve overheating issues.

First, you can completely unplug it for 2 min. then plug it back in. This will allow the Fire TV Stick to clear all cache and reload fresh. If that doesn’t fix it, try a factory reset. You will have to go through the hassle of setting up again but it shouldn’t take long. If that still doesn’t fix the overheating issues and your device continues to lag or freezes, I would return the device to Amazon and get a replacement. Amazon’s return service is very quick and simple and you shouldn’t have any issues.

How to mirror your Windows phone with Fire TV Stick

Many Windows phone users were jealous of their Android and iPhone counterparts for having numerous low-cost options to mirror their screen to their TV. Previously, the only option for Windows phone user was to purchase a Miracast dongle which isn’t a great option and can be hit or miss. Well Fire TV Stick just released an update which will allow you to mirror your Windows phone to your TV! All you need to do is set up your Fire TV Stick to mirror mode by pressing the home key on your remote. Next, go to your Windows phone settings and select ‘Project My Screen’. Below it, you should be able to see the name of your Fire TV Stick. Select it and you will be able to mirror your Windows phone.

https://www.thurrott.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/phone-connected.jpg

 

Amazon Prime introduces Ad-Free Radio Stations

This couldn’t come at a better time. I was listening to Pandora when I was starting to get annoyed at the ads that have noticeably increased recently. Not only this, they can also stop the music and have you interact with ads in order to continue. I don’t listen to Pandora enough to justify the subscription fee and their selection is subpar compared with other options. Google Play has also offered free 3 months of trial on their music service but again, it will eventually require payment. Today, I received an email from Amazon regarding its new Ad-free prime stations. I have used Prime services for some time now and this is great news particularly if you want to use stream songs over your Fire TV and fire TV Stick. Navigation is simple. Through a PC browser, you can watch the song, title, and progress through the song. You also have the option to add it to your Prime music playlist to listen or buy later. You can also use a thumb up / thumb down for Amazon to learn your taste. You also have the option to share what you are listening to your Facebook wall.

prime