You might be asking yourself “what does a firestick do” if you’ve received one as a gift, if someone is asking for one as a gift, or if you’ve been thinking about ditching your cable TV service.
The firestick, or Amazon Fire TV Stick, is a small device that you connect to an HDMI port on your television. The firestick then uses your wireless connection to get on the Internet and start streaming videos from places like Netflix, Hulu and, of course, Amazon.
If you were to compare the firestick to another device, it would be comparable to something like an Apple TV or a Roku. This is a class of product called a set-top streaming device, and is specifically meant as something that can stream video from the Internet to your TV.
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You can also read our guide on 10 things to know about the Firestick, including answers to questions like how much data does Firestick use?
The process for setting up a firestick can be simplified as:
- Connect the firestick to an HDMI port on your TV.
- Connect the power plug to an electrical outlet.
- Turn on the TV and switch it to the HDMI port to which the firestick is connected.
- Complete the initial setup by following the instructions on the TV. Part of this process will involve connecting to your wireless internet connection.
- Play videos through the channels that are on the device by default, or start downloading additional channels (many of which are free) from Amazon’s channel store.
The only money that you will spend directly for the firestick is the amount that you pay when you purchase it. Any other expenses that you will incur for activities related to the firestick will come from things like your Netflix or Hulu subscription, or for any movies that you rent or purchase from Amazon or other services.
When it comes to actually defining what it is that the firestick does, it can serve as a replacement for your cable TV subscription, or it can supplement your cable TV if you still want to keep it.
The Firestick effectively turns any HDMI television into a Smart TV by letting you stream videos from a number of different services. You can also use it to play some games as well, and Amazon even sells a game controller (click to view on Amazon) that you can use for that purpose.
The firestick includes a remote control that you use to navigate its various menus. Newer versions of the firestick remote control include voice control, which lets you search for videos by pressing the voice button and saying the name of the video.
If you are planning to get a firestick for your home and want to stream videos, then it’s important that you have a high-speed Internet connection. Netflix has an article that highlights the sorts of speeds that your connection will need to reach if you want to be able to smoothly stream video in your home.
The Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, which you can find on Amazon here, is the lowest-priced option for the device, and is the one that most people elect to buy. Its hardware components are listed below:
- Processor – Quad-core ARM 1.3 GHz
- GPU – Mali450 MP4
- Storage – 8 GB internal
- Wi-Fi Connectivity – Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi supports 2×2 MIMO 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
- Bluetooth – Bluetooth 4.1
- Ports – HDMI and Micro USB for power
- Audio Support – Dolby Audio, 5.1 surround sound, 2ch stereo, and HDMI audio pass through up to 7.1
- Output Resolution Supported – 720p and 1080p up to 60FPS
Amazon also has another device, called a Fire TV, that supports 4K resolution. You can find that device on Amazon here.
Hopefully this article has helped to answer the question of what does a Firestick do and provided you with enough information to determine if it’s the right gift or product for your needs.
If you have been thinking about ditching cable and were wondering how you would watch movies or TV shows, then the Amazon Fire TV Stick could be the solution for you. It’s affordable, fast, has access to most of the streaming services that you might want to use, and it’s easy to set up.
If you’re considering getting a Fire TV Stick, but you still have some questions about it, then check out our Amazon Fire TV Stick FAQ.
Kermit Matthews is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with more than a decade of experience writing technology guides. He has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Computer Science and has spent much of his professional career in IT management.
He specializes in writing content about iPhones, Android devices, Microsoft Office and many other popular applications and devices.