How to set up and use Amazon streaming devices

Amazon’s streaming devices are a quick and seamless way to stream movies, music and live channels to your TV screen. There are three devices in the range: the $39.99 Fire TV Stick, the $49.99 Fire TV Stick 4K and the $119.99 Fire TV Cube. Visit our Amazon streaming devices review to learn more about the different options available.

The streaming sticks are teeny tiny set-ups that plug into the back of your TV, while the Cube is a box-shaped device that sits on the TV stand. For 4K streaming, you’ll want to opt for the 4K TV Stick or the Cube. And for 16 gigabytes (GB) of storage versus 8 GB, choose the almighty Cube. 

Read on for set-up advice and all the tips and tricks you’ll need to know to make the most of these nifty devices.

How to set up your Amazon streaming device

Thankfully, the Amazon Fire Stick set-up process is pretty simple. Setting up the Cube is slightly different, but either shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes from start to finish.

Setting up the Amazon Fire TV Stick

  1. First, plug the device into an HDMI port at the back of your TV. If there’s not enough room between the wall and the TV, plug the Stick into the HDMI extender and then connect the extender to your TV’s HDMI port.
  2. Then, plug one end of the micro USB cable into the Fire TV Stick and the other end into your TV’s USB port or the wall via the USB power adapter. 
  3. Turn your TV on and select the correct HDMI input using your remote. For example, if the Stick’s plugged into HDMI2, you’ll need to head to that source channel. The Fire TV logo should show up automatically.
  4. Grab your Fire TV Stick remote and insert batteries. Press any button to bring it to life.
  5. Follow the instructions on your TV screen to pair your remote with your Stick. You’ll also be prompted to connect to your Wi-Fi network and to log into or sign up for an Amazon account.
  6. Parental control and audio test features will be recommended next.
  7. Then you’ll reach the download stage. Your Fire TV Stick will download any applicable software updates and ask if you want to install any popular apps.
  8. You’ll then be taken straight to the Fire OS home screen to browse and stream to your heart’s content.

Setting up the Amazon Fire TV Cube

  1. Plug the Fire TV Cube into one of your TV’s HDMI ports. 
  2. Take the included power cable and plug one end into the back of the Cube, and the other end into a power outlet.
  3. Switch on your TV and select the input source that matches the HDMI port you connected the Cube to.
  4. Insert batteries into your new voice remote, then hit the Play/Pause button to activate it.
  5. Follow the instructions on your TV screen to connect your Cube to your Wi-Fi, and sign in to or register for your Amazon account.
  6. You’ll be prompted to set parental controls and download popular apps. Feel free to skip this if you’d prefer to sort everything at a later date.
  7. Finally, you’ll be asked if you want your Fire TV Cube to control your TV and other equipment. If the answer’s yes, just follow the on-screen instructions. Or skip it.
  8. Your Cube is ready to enjoy.

How to use your Amazon Fire Stick or Cube

So, you’ve got your device set up and ready to go. Your next question is: How does Amazon’s Fire TV Stick work? And what about the Cube? From installing apps to using voice commands, here’s everything you need to know.

Download your favorite streaming apps

There are thousands of apps and channels to browse on any Amazon streaming device. And downloading them is easy. From the home screen, head to the top navigation bar and select Apps. From Netflix to Spotify, this will show you every streaming app available. To install an app, highlight it with your remote, press Enter and Enter again. Some apps will ask you to log in or sign up to access live TV and on-demand content; others don’t require registration. Finding all your downloaded apps is easy. Just hold down the Home button and press Apps.

Visit our guide on the best channels and apps to download on your Amazon device.

Use Alexa voice commands

Both the Fire TV Stick and Cube have voice control, powered by Amazon’s Alexa. The Stick comes with a remote that has a built-in microphone, while the Cube features hands-free voice technology. If using the remote, press and hold the microphone button to say a command. With the Cube, just say, “Alexa.” You can ask Alexa to do many things like open an app, search for specific content and pause, play and fast-forward videos. 

Turn your phone into a remote

If you’re glued to your phone, you can use it as a replacement for your voice-enabled remote. It does everything the Fire TV remote can do, including doubling up as a microphone. Just download the free Fire TV Android or iOS app. 

Mirror your phone on the big screen

You can even mirror whatever’s on your phone to your TV screen — an ideal move if you’ve run out of storage on your Fire device. This only works on Android devices that are using an operating system of 4.2 or newer. Not all Fire devices have this feature, either. Check if your Fire device supports screen mirroring by holding down the remote’s Home button and locating the Mirroring icon. If it doesn’t show, it’s not going to work. But if the icon is there, head to your phone’s Settings. Select Display, then Share your screen via Miracast or similar.

Listen with Bluetooth headphones

Late-night TV watching can be a pain for people who are trying to sleep. To keep your home nice and quiet, sync a pair of Bluetooth headphones to your Fire device. Head to Settings, then Controllers and click Bluetooth Devices. Finally, select Other Bluetooth Devices to reroute your TV’s audio to your headphones. 

Our hot take

Amazon has made it super easy to set up any of its Fire TV streaming devices. Once the Stick or Cube is plugged into the TV, the on-screen instructions will teach you the rest. And when everything’s installed, you can use your favorite streaming services, play around with voice control technology and connect the likes of phones and headphones to make the most of your new device.

Lauren Sharkey