If you are considering to buy an Amazon Fire TV 4K Stick but have the same questions as I had before, here are a few tips and answers.
In this post I will not explain what Kodi is (the best media center software we have) or how to configure it. You will find many how-to‘s online. (You need Kodi! Look at the add-on’s you’d be missing.)
Usually I am using Raspberry Pi‘s or Odroid C2‘s for media centers, but the hardware of the Fire TV 4K Stick is too good to be missed. It is much faster and more capable than the hardware of the brand new Sony TV I tested, for example. That one was really terrible, with a sluggish Android and a horrible media center (who codes such garbage?) What an embarrassment for Sony.
The Fire TV 4K Stick works without internet. You can use it for media playback even if the internet is down or if you want to use it offline all the time. Example: A slide show in a shop window.
You will need to connect it to the internet (wireless) once during setup. Also to install updates at that time, which you should do.
If the stick is offline you can neverteless start apps by going to
Settings→Applications→Manage Installed Applications
and launch the app.
Installing apps (like Kodi) is easy. Here‘s one way:
- Enable external sources
- Install the Downloader app
- Use Downloader to download Kodi
- Install Kodi and configure the usual way
If you follow one of the more detailed guides I suggest you download Kodi not from one of the obscure links they often suggest but directly from kodi.tv/download, selecting the 32-bit version for Android.
If your stick is very slow after you configured Kodi, one possible reason could be that you have enabled audio passthrough in Kodi. I had done that, but after switching it off the stick was again lightning fast. You don‘t need it anyway.
The stick has no „off“ button. You also cannot power it down from within Kodi. You‘ll have to pull the plug if you want to switch it off. The stick does not seem to mind.