Newbies Firestick Basics

We see a very high percentage of Free Streamers & Kodi users start their journey using a Firestick.  I can certainly see the logic and appeal as they are less expensive options to learn the in's and out's.  Firesticks are also widely available and sound simple to installation as you just need to plug it in.  Once you have your Firestick you have to decide what you are going to ‘Side load' onto it to start your media center right. We are going to take you some of be basics of how to set up your Firestick and some of the options you will have.  In this article we are going to review Kodi as the Media Center  and follow with a second article showing you the alternatives in apk form.  Now that we know what we are going to be getting into let's take a look at Firestick basics.

Firestick Basics

Setting Up Your Firestick – Common Mistakes

USE HDMI ADAPTER CABLE

Use the small HDMI adaptor  cable that comes with the a Firestick to connect the FireStick to the TV. Plugging the firestick directly into your TV without the small HDMI Adaptor cable could cause performance issues with your FireStick due to the device overheating or the HDMI interfering with the WiFi signal. Regularly check that the HDMI adaptor is still firmly connected to both your Firestick and TV.

POWER STICK WITH MAINS PLUG SUPPLIED

Always power the firestick by your mains adaptor provided.  You may be tempted to power your firestick by removing the mains plug and using the TV's own USB ports. This method of powering the stick, very often, does not supply enough energy to the device in order for it to run correctly. Most TV USB ports are well below the required 2a feed required. (You could damage your TV too and burn out the USB port).

ONLY USE THE POWER CABLE SUPPLIED

Don't  use any old phone or tablet chargers in place of the cable amd plug supplied with your firestick.  As covered above, not all chargers will be rated high enough (2a) and could cause issues with melting plugs or worse a potential firee hazard.

TO ALLOW KODI OR OTHER APPS TO BE INSTALLED

  • Go to Amazon Fire menu:
  • Settings
  • Developer Options and enable both ‘ADB Debugging’ and ‘Apps from unknown sources‘ options.

 

You are now free to download and install apps from outside of the Amazon App Store onto your Fire TV Stick or Box.

OPTIMISE YOUR FIRESTICK

How to Optimise Fire Stick

Remove any unwanted extra apps from your Firestick. When you first get your Firestick it will come with a lot of pre-installed apps that you will never use and are only taking up valuable memory. You can very easily free up that memory so you will be able to use it for some Apps you will actually make use of.

To uninstall games and apps from your Fire TV:

  • Go To The Main Fire TV Setting Menu:-
  • Select Settings
  • Applications
  • Manage Installed Applications
  • Find the app you want to uninstall and select it
  • Choose the Uninstall option and then follow the on-screen instructions.

Tip: You can also uninstall apps from Your Apps & Games. Use your Fire TV remote to highlight the app you want to remove, then press the Menu  button to view more Options, including Uninstall.

FIRESTICK REMOTES –  SHORTCUT FUNCTIONS

Fire TV Remote Shortcuts

1.  Cycle through Fire TV screen displays: SELECT + RIGHT + BACK + REVERSE

2.  Reboot FireTV: SELECT + PLAY

3.  Reset FireStick / Fire TV to Factory DefaultsSELECT + RIGHT + BACK + REVERSE

FIRE TV HELP

1. Fire TV Screen Displays

Your FireTV can display itself using at least a few different screen display settings.  This means that you can change the aspect ratio, which is the ratio of the screen width to the screen height.  Change FireTV screen display using SELECT + RIGHT + BACK + REVERSE.  Then use your TV’s settings to change how your TV displays your Firestick’s picture.

2. Reboot Fire TV

To reboot the Fire TV, you have two options: a soft reset and a hard reset.  A soft reset is short for “software” reset, which is when you tell the device to attempt to shut itself down and turn itself back on again.  On the other hand, a “hard” reset is short for “hardware” reset, which is when you actually pull the power plug from the unit to shut it down – then put the plug back in to turn it back on.  A FireTV soft reset can be done by pressing SELECT + PLAY.  If a soft reset doesn’t work for you, try a hard reset (just unplug the power cable and plug it back in).  This can come in handy in the all-too-common “Kodi frozen” scenario.

3. Reset Fire TV to Factory Defaults

If your FireTV is acting “all funny like”, you can reset that back to the factory default settings by pressing SELECT + RIGHT + BACK + REVERSE.  This will completely erase everything on your FireTV and restore it to like new (well, new software anyway).  Keep in mind that even though you reset your FireTV to like-new software settings, the hardware itself will still be aged (and possibly damaged if your FireTV overheated too many times).

Add Utilities

ARES KODI STARTER PACK

Inside this handy pack you will find direct links to download various versions of Kodi, SPMC and multiple Kodi Forks you can download onto devices.  You will also find some very useful tools such as the Mouse Toggle App and The AppStarter App that will help get you started.

Ares Kodi Starter Pack

APP STARTER

This is an alternative launcher to use as your Fire TV Devices Home Screen. & provides a means to install Kodi & SPMC with ease. You can also use this app to update Kodi & SPMC as new releases are made. Very simple even for a novice.

MOUSE TOGGLE

Mouse Toggle Air Mouse App allows for more navigation functions on your remote.  For a Guide to Downloading and using The Mouse Toggle Air Mouse App please see here:-

Mouse Toggle

KODI/SPMC OR A KODI FORK ON FIRESTICKS

There are many wonderful ‘Kodi Forks' available for you to use.

A modified or tweaked version of Kodi Media Centre is referred to as a Kodi Fork or Fork.  Developers will fork the program to maximize usability across different platforms and operating systems.  Some will work better for a particular device or version of Windows or Android.  Below is a guide explaining in more detail and showing which Kodi Fork is best suited for which devices.

What The FORK To Use?

What the FORK to do?

Once You Have Added Your Kodi Fork 

Once you have ‘Side Loaded' your Kodi Fork onto your Fire TV Stick/Box you can then start your search for the perfect Build to suit your personal needs.  For the best results you are better to try and stick to the smaller builds or Builds made for Fire TV Devices.  Some of the larger Builds may struggle to perform on a Fire Stick.  With the help of Ares Wizard you will find that it is fairly painless to try builds out and see which is better suited to you.  For A Guide On Installing Ares Wizard and Installing Builds Please See Here:-

Install Builds Using Ares Wizard

Install Builds Using Ares Wizard

In Conclusion

Finally, we, at Team Ares, welcome you to join us on our Forum for help, guides and updates to suit all levels of tech knowledge.  For anyone totally new to Kodi and Free Streaming we have a ‘Kodi Beginners Section' containing Beginners Guides, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), A Jargon Buster and a place for Kodi Beginners to ask questions.  We are always happy to assist you with any issues, questions or requests you may have from our Forum here:-  Ares Project Forum.  We hope you have learned some new ways to manage your streaming and picked up a few tips.  This article just touched the surface on Firestick Basics and Kodi in this article.  Stay tuned for our next article which will delve a little further into streaming with alternative apks.