The Amazon Fire TV devices are a great place to begin your journey! For those new to streaming video, the Amazon Fire TV device connects your TV to the internet and unlocks different video content providers for you to view on a customized, on-demand basis.
Cord the Cutting 10 Years Ago
A decade ago, I had an over-the-air (OTA) HDTV antenna, a Netflix DVD mail account, and a custom-built home theater PC (HTPC) as my cord-cutting strategy. My HTPC had an HDMI output connected directly to my living room PC. It had a TV Tuner hooked to the OTA antenna that would act as a DVR for free-to-air HDTV broadcasting on Windows Media Center. Yes, it was as complicated as it sounds.
At around the same time, ABC, NBC, and many other networks started streaming online on their websites. I had my movie fix from Netflix, all the network broadcasts on DVR (if I wanted), and on-demand access to all the network shows online. It was all I needed!
It was a good solution, but it was too complicated. I had to open Windows Media Center to watch my DVR broadcasts, wait for DVDs/Blu-Rays from Netflix to watch the next movie on my list, and navigate through inputs in order to watch live TV.
Cord Cutting Today: Getting Started with Amazon Fire TV
The Amazon Fire TV devices are the complete opposite of complicated. If you purchased a Fire TV on your Amazon account, the device is preprogrammed with your login information. The device is ready to go out of the box. And setup is straightforward. It takes less than five minutes.
What you need:
- An open HDMI port on your HDTV
- An available power outlet
- A wifi network (or ethernet connection on the Fire TV)
With a few simple clicks after setup, you can easily install many of the popular apps. Then you can log in and start instantly streaming your content.
Subscription-Based Video Content
If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber, you have access to Amazon Prime Video instantly. You can click on the Video category and look for the Included with Prime or Prime Video categories to start accessing your content.
Free Ad-Supported Video Content
You can even enjoy your Fire TV without a subscription! Crackle and TubiTV are two of my recommendations for first-time streamers. These options give you the shows you want to watch without the monthly cost of some of the services listed above.
Advanced Amazon Fire TV Uses
Unlock Live TV. You can unlock live TV with an HDHomeRun digital tuner device by Silicon Dust. The digital tuner device connects your OTA antenna and converts the signal for you to view on your Fire TV and other network devices.
Stream your own content. If you already have a collection of videos, music, and other media through Amazon or another provider, you can use Amazon Fire TV to access that content over your network.
The easiest option is to install Plex on the computer where all your media is on and the Plex app on your Amazon Fire TV. Here’s a great video by Plex on how it works. With a Premium account, you can combine an HDHomeRun Tuner into a cloud DVR device!
With all the apps and devices that are able to connect with the Fire TV, there are many possibilities for you to create your own cord-cutting plan. The Fire TV is easy enough to use for the beginner and flexible enough to accommodate the power user. If you are new to cord-cutting, start with the Amazon Fire TV devices. You will not be disappointed.