Did you deck yourself out with some sweet Alexa enabled devices this Christmas? I sure did, and the more I use them, the more I love them. Especially my Fire TV (which I’m watching right now), because it offers so many possibilities. I may have transitioned my parents over to using more of these devices because they’re starting to see how they can enhance their lives. As far as Fire TV goes, your best bet is the Fire TV 4K, especially if you have a TV that can support it. But if you’ve got an older TV (like I do) you can opt for the Fire TV Stick. It will definitely still do the trick. They both offer similar functionality. These tips will hopefully help you get the most out of what you’re watching.
Make Good Use of Alexa
Alexa is available for both the Fire TV Stick and the Fire TV 4K, so you might as well make good use of her. (That sounded kind of dirty, but that wasn’t my intent) . You can ask her to do a whole host of things, like control playback, play music or find content based on name, genre or actor. She’ll even dig up Netflix content too, as long as you’ve got a subscription. If you’re unsure of what else to ask though, the Fire TV has a handy guide. Navigate to Settings > Alexa > Things to Try for inspiration.
Say Goodbye to the Remote
How many times have you lost your remote? Any remote. It manages to fall down between the cushions in the couch, or somewhere in your bed with all your pillows. Well, I have and the Fire TV remote is just small enough to get lost into complete oblivion. But there is an app that will do everything that your physical remote does. In fact, some might suggest that its better. You can still order Alexa to do whatever you want, but what’s really great about this app is that you can also pull up a keyboard in order to put passwords in a lot faster.
One of the things that separates Fire TV from the competition is its good selection of games, and playing the more involved titles with a fiddly remote is far from ideal. In fact, some of them won’t even allow it. If you want to upgrade your gaming skills, you can get a Fire TV Game Controller. It comes complete with a D-pad, dual joysticks and shoulder buttons for taking on the tougher stuff, plus it comes with all the functionality of your regular Alexa remote, so you don’t even have to chop and change between gaming and boxsets.
Bluetooth Headphone Capabilities
With the Fire TV, you can set up a pair of Bluetooth headphones. Just navigate to Settings > Controllers and Bluetooth Devices > Other Bluetooth Devices to get your headphones paired.
Change Your Location
Alexa is clever, but only when you give her the right stuff to work with. If you move from where you first set up your Fire TV you’re going to want to re-enter your postcode so you can get personalized updates on things like the weather in your location.To do that, head to Settings > Preferences > Location and enter your current postcode there.
Turn Off Auto-Play on Featured Content
The new Fire TV has a fancy new interface, which focuses on some featured content. This usually includes a video highlight of a show, which will autoplay if you hesitate on it. Go to Settings > Preferences > Featured Content, where you can choose to turn off video and audio autoplay independently.
Set a Personalized Screensaver with Prime Photos
If you leave your Fire TV for too long, it will kick off a photo roll of some beautiful scenery from around the world. But if you’d rather see your own vacation photos, you can! To do so, though, you’ll need to make use of Prime Photos – the unlimited cloud photo storage that comes bundled in with your Prime package.
To choose them, go to Settings > Display & Sounds > Screensaver and pick the collection of photos you want to appear. You can also choose the slide style, slide speed and start time in this menu too.
Turn on Parental Controls
Amazon is serious about parental controls which stops little ones from seeing things they shouldn’t – not to mention racking up massive bills on movie rentals and game downloads. A 4-digit PIN separates them from the stuff you don’t want them to see, but you can also set restriction levels. This is defaulted to “Family”, which sees Amazon Video content rated PG and below as fair game and PIN free. You can personalize this in Settings > Preferences > Parental Controls, with the option to put a PIN lock on purchases, any app launches, and Prime Photos, plus set the viewing restriction level. Don’t forget third-party apps might need their own controls setting.
Use an Amazon Tablet as a Second Screen
This might be my favorite feature of the Amazon devices. If you’re watching a movie on your Fire Tablet, and you want to continue watching it on your TV, you can. Press the Second Screen icon (a screen with an arrow in it) on the Watch button on your tablet, select your Fire TV and you’re away. Just be sure both devices are on the same wi-fi network, and both are signed in to the same Amazon account. You’ll want to ensure Second Screen Notifications are turned on on your Fire TV first though (Settings > Displays & Sounds > Second Screen Notifications). This enables second screen controls on your tablet so you can control playback, as well as lets you access X-Ray functionality for whatever you’re watching.