Amazon Fire TV For Dummies
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No device is completely infallible. This article explains ten of the most common problems related to Fire TV software and hardware, and shows you how to solve every one of them.

Fire TV devices, such as the Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Stick 4K, and Fire TV Cube, are extremely simple, spartan even, when viewed from the outside. They’re devoid of moving parts; the Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick 4K have but a single port for the power supply and the Fire TV Cube has just a few ports in the back. But don’t let that Zen-inducing outer shell fool you — inside every Fire TV device is a complex and sophisticated array of electronics.


The good news is that these intricate innards enable Fire TV to perform its streaming magic. The bad news is that, when it comes to electronic devices, “complex and sophisticated” almost always leads to some kind of trouble. That’s just a fact of modern life, although it doesn’t guarantee that your Fire TV device will one day bite the digital dust. In fact, that’s very unlikely because Fire TV devices are known to be remarkably robust and nearly error-free.

Did you notice that hedge-word nearly in that last sentence? Alas, yes, sometimes even Fire TV devices behave strangely.

Troubleshooting general problems

Before getting to the specific problems and their solutions, I want to take you through a few very basic troubleshooting steps. Many problems, particularly problems related to your Fire TV device, can be solved by doing the following three things (each of which I explain in more detail in the sections that follow):
  • Restart your Fire TV device.
  • Update your Fire TV device’s system software.
  • Reset your Fire TV device to its factory default settings.
Try restarting your Fire TV device to see if it solves your problem. If not, move on to updating the software and see if that helps. If there’s still no joy, only then should you try resetting your Fire TV device to its factory default settings.

Restarting your Fire TV device

If your Fire TV is having trouble playing media, connecting to Wi-Fi, pairing with a Bluetooth device, or doing any of its normal duties, by far the most common solution is to shut down the device and then restart it. By rebooting the device, you reload the system, which is often enough to solve many problems.

There are three ways to restart either a TV that has a Fire TV device attached or a Fire TV Edition Smart TV:

  • If you still have access to the Fire TV interface, choose Settings, choose either My Fire TV (for Fire TV Stick or Fire TV Cube) or Device & Software (for Fire TV Edition), and then choose Restart.
  • On the Fire TV remote, press and hold both the Select button and the Play button for about five seconds until Fire TV restarts.
  • For a Fire TV device or a Fire TV Edition Smart TV, unplug the device’s power cord, and then plug it back in.

You may be tempted to just plug the Fire TV device back in again right away, but hold on a second. The Fire TV device has internal electronic components that take some time to completely discharge. To ensure you get a proper restart, wait at least three seconds before reconnecting your Fire TV’s power supply.

Checking your Fire TV device for software updates

Your Fire TV device uses internal software — called Fire OS (OS is short for operating system) — to perform all sorts of tasks, including connecting to your Wi-Fi network, handling media playback, and saving your settings. If your Fire TV is acting weird, and restarting the device doesn’t help, you can often un-weird the device by updating Fire OS. Sometimes installing a new version of the operating system is all you need to make your problem go away. In other cases, updating the system may fix a software glitch that was causing your problem.

Here are the steps to follow to check for and install Fire OS updates:

  1. Choose Settings.
  2. Choose either My Fire TV (for Fire TV Stick or Fire TV Cube) or Device & Software (for Fire TV Edition).
  3. Choose About.
  4. Choose Check for Updates. When you highlight the Check for Updates command, the right side of the screen shows the current version of Fire OS, as well as the last date Fire TV checked for updates. Fire TV checks to see if an updated version of Fire OS is available. If an update is waiting, Fire TV downloads the update and then displays the Install Update command. Fire TV installs this update automatically the next time it determines that you’re not using your TV.
  5. If you’d rather install the update right away, choose Install Update. Fire TV installs the update. During this process, leave your device on and don’t press any buttons on the remote.

Resetting your Fire TV device

If your problem is particularly ornery, restarting or updating the device won’t solve it. In that case, you need to take the relatively drastic step of resetting your Fire TV device. I describe this step as “drastic” because it means you have to go through the setup process all over again, so only head down this road if restarting and updating your device don’t solve the problem.

How you perform the reset depends on your device:

  • Fire TV Stick or Fire TV Cube: Choose Settings→My Fire TV→Reset to Factory Defaults.
  • Fire TV Edition: Choose Settings→Device & Software→Reset to Factory Defaults.

You can’t connect to your Wi-Fi network

Wireless networking adds a whole new set of potential snags to your troubleshooting chores because of problems such as interference and device ranges. Here’s a list of a few troubleshooting items that you should check to solve any wireless connectivity problems you’re having with your Fire TV device:
  • Restart your devices. Reset your hardware by performing the following tasks, in order:
    1. Turn off your modem.
    2. Turn off your Wi-Fi router.
    3. After a few seconds, turn the modem back on and wait until the modem reconnects to the Internet, which may take a few minutes.
    4. Turn on your Wi-Fi router.

      Many Wi-Fi devices these days are all-in-one gadgets that combine both a Wi-Fi router and a modem for Internet access. If that’s what you have, instead of performing steps 1 through 4, you can just turn off the Wi-Fi device, wait a bit, turn the device back on, and then wait for the device to connect to your Internet service provider (ISP).

    5. Restart Fire TV.
  • Look for interference. Devices such as baby monitors and cordless phones that use the 2.4 GHz radio frequency (RF) band can wreak havoc with wireless signals. Try either moving or turning off such devices if they’re near your Fire TV device or Wi-Fi device.

Keep your Fire TV device and Wi-Fi router well away from microwave ovens, which can jam wireless signals.

Many wireless routers enable you to set up a separate Wi-Fi network on the 5 GHz RF band, which isn’t used by most household gadgets, so it has less interference. Check your router manual to see if it supports 5 GHz networks.

  • Check your password. Make sure you’re using the correct password to access your Wi-Fi network.
  • Check your range. Your Fire TV device may be too far away from the Wi-Fi router. You usually can’t get much farther than about 230 feet away from most modern Wi-Fi devices before the signal begins to degrade (that range drops to about 115 feet for older Wi-Fi devices). Either move the Fire TV device closer to the Wi-Fi router or, if it has one, turn on the router’s range booster. You could also install a wireless range extender.
  • Update the wireless router firmware. The wireless router firmware is the internal program that the router uses to perform its various chores. Wireless router manufacturers frequently update their firmware to fix bugs, so you should see if an updated version of the firmware is available. See your device documentation to find out how this works.
  • Update and optionally reset your Fire TV device. Make sure your Fire TV device is up to date and, if you still can’t connect to Wi-Fi, reset your Fire TV device.
  • Reset the Wi-Fi device. As a last resort, reset the Wi-Fi router to its default factory settings (see the device documentation to find out how to do this). Note that if you do this, you need to set up your network again from scratch.

You’re having trouble streaming media

Streaming media on Fire TV works well most of the time, but problems can arise, particularly the following:
  • The media never starts.
  • The media takes a long time to start.
  • The media plays intermittently.
  • The media stops playing and never resumes.
It’s maddening, for sure, but most of the time you can fix the problem. I say “most of the time” because there are a couple of situations where media streaming just doesn’t work well:
  • When you have a slow internet connection speed: Media files are usually quite large, so for these files to play properly you need a reasonably fast Internet connection. Amazon recommends at least a half a megabit per second (0.5 Mbps), but realistically you should probably have a connection that offers at least 8 Mbps download speeds for HD content.
  • When you have an intermittent internet connection: If you live in an area with spotty internet service, that now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t Internet connection makes streaming media impossible.
What if you have a zippy internet connection and strong service all the time? First, congratulations! Second, there are a few things you can try to get media streaming to work better (or at all). Try these troubleshooting ideas in the following order:
  • Restart your Wi-Fi router and Fire TV device using the steps I outline in the preceding section.
  • If you have other devices accessing your Wi-Fi network, shut down any devices you’re not using.
  • Move your Fire TV device closer to your Wi-Fi router. Your Fire TV device must be within 230 feet of the router (115 feet for older routers), but the closer the two devices, the stronger the Wi-Fi signal.
  • Make sure your Wi-Fi router isn’t situated near devices that can cause interference, such as microwave ovens and baby monitors.
  • Make sure your Fire TV device isn’t close to a wall or a metal object.
  • If your Fire TV device is sitting on a low shelf or even on the floor, move it to a higher location.
  • If your Fire TV device is inside a cabinet or similar enclosure, take it out.
  • If you’re having streaming problems with a particular app, run through the following steps to clear the app’s application data:

An app’s data includes your app account info and any settings you’ve configured for the app. If you clear the app’s data, it means you have to enter your login info all over again and reconfigure your settings, so be sure you want to perform this operation before proceeding.

  1. On your Fire TV device, choose Settings→Applications→Manage Installed Applications.
  2. Choose the app you’re having trouble with.
  3. Shut down the app by choosing the Force Stop command.
  4. Clear the app’s data by choosing Clear Data→Clear Data command.

The Fire TV mobile app can’t pair with your Fire TV device

After you have your Fire TV device set up, the Fire TV mobile app will automatically locate and pair with the device. This enables you to use the app as a remote control for the Fire TV device (and, if you have Fire TV Recast, it also enables you to use the app to watch and record over-the-air TV programs).

It’s all very convenient, but that convenience goes out the window if the Fire TV mobile app can’t locate or pair with your Fire TV device. If that happens, optionally curse your rotten luck and then try these troubleshooting techniques:

  • Make sure your Fire TV device and the device that’s running the Fire TV mobile app are connected to the same network.
  • Check to see if another device on your network is currently mirroring the display of your Fire TV device. If your Fire TV device is currently being mirrored, the Fire TV mobile app won’t be able to pair with the Fire TV device, so you need to first stop the mirroring.
  • Restart Fire TV.
  • Restart the device on which the Fire TV mobile app is installed.
  • Disconnect a Bluetooth device or Fire TV remote (including any device running the Fire TV mobile app) from your Fire TV device. Fire TV supports up to seven connected devices, so if you’re already at that limit, your Fire TV mobile app won’t be able to pair with the Fire TV device.
  • (Advanced) Log in to your wireless router and search the advanced settings for Multicast support. If you see an option for toggling Multicast, make sure that setting is On. (See your wireless router manual to learn how to log in and access the router’s settings.)
  • (Advanced) Log in to your wireless router and check to see if a static IP address has been assigned to your Fire TV device. If so, configure the router to assign an address to the Fire TV device automatically. (Again, see your router manual to learn how to work with IP addresses.)

Your Fire TV screen is blank

If your Fire TV Edition Smart TV or the TV to which you’ve connected your Fire TV device shows a blank screen, here are a few things to check out:
  • Make sure the TV is plugged in and turned on.
  • Make sure the TV is set to the correct input:
    • For a TV with a Fire TV device attached, switch to whatever input the Fire TV device is connected to.
    • For a Fire TV Edition Smart TV, make sure the TV is using the Fire TV input (press the Home button on the Fire TV remote to display the Fire TV Home screen).
  • For a Fire TV device connected to the TV via HDMI, disconnect and then reconnect the device.
  • If your Fire TV device is connected to your TV with an HDMI cable or HDMI hub, try replacing the cable and/or the hub.
  • On the Fire TV remote, press and hold both the Up button on the navigation ring and the Rewind button for about ten seconds. Fire TV begins running through the available resolutions for the TV and displays each resolution for ten seconds. If you see the text for a particular resolution, choose Use Current Resolution.
  • If you have a second-generation Fire TV Cube (which supports 4K), make sure you’re using a high-speed HDMI cable.

You don’t hear audio during playback

If the video portion of a stream appears just fine, but you don’t hear the audio portion, then some troubleshooting is in order. Here are a few techniques to run through:
  1. Check that the TV audio isn’t either muted or set extremely low.
  2. If your TV is connected to a receiver or similar audio output device, make sure the device is turned on and correctly connected to your TV.
  3. If you’re playing sound through your TV’s speaker, make sure the speakers are turned on in the TV’s settings. For a Fire TV Edition Smart TV, choose Settings→Display & Sounds→Sound Settings, and then set the TV Speakers setting to On.
  4. For a Fire TV device connected to the TV via HDMI, disconnect and then reconnect the device.
  5. If your Fire TV device is connected to your TV with an HDMI cable or HDMI hub, try replacing the cable and/or the hub.
  6. For a Fire TV Stick or Cube, try turning off Dolby Digital Plus Output. Choose Settings→Display & Sounds→Audio→Dolby Digital Output, and then choose Dolby Digital Plus Off.

You’re having trouble connecting a Bluetooth device

Fire TV devices support a wireless technology called Bluetooth, which enables you to make wireless connections to other Bluetooth-friendly devices, such as headsets, speakers, and smartphones. This section provides you with a few common Bluetooth troubleshooting techniques.

You don’t see a Bluetooth device

Not surprisingly, you can’t make a Bluetooth connection if you can’t see the device on the Fire TV device’s Add Bluetooth Devices screen (which you display by choosing Settings→Remotes & Bluetooth Devices→Other Bluetooth Devices→Add Bluetooth Devices).

If you don’t see a Bluetooth device, try the following:

  • Make sure the device is turned on and fully charged.
  • Make sure the device is discoverable. Most Bluetooth devices have a switch you can turn on or a button you can press to make them discoverable.
  • Make sure the Bluetooth device is well within 33 feet of your Fire TV device, because that’s the maximum range for most Bluetooth devices. (Some so-called Class 1 Bluetooth devices have a maximum range ten times as long.)
  • If possible, reboot the Bluetooth device. If you can’t reboot the device, or the reboot doesn’t solve the problem, restart your Fire TV device.
  • Check with the Bluetooth device manufacturer to ensure the device is capable of being paired with Fire TV devices. Specifically, you need to find out whether the device supports either of the following Bluetooth profiles:
    • Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP)
    • Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP)

You can’t pair with a Bluetooth device

As a security precaution, many Bluetooth devices need to be paired with another device before the connection is established. You initiate the pairing by tapping the device on the Fire TV device’s Add Bluetooth Devices screen (choose Settings→Remotes & Bluetooth Devices→Other Bluetooth Devices→Add Bluetooth Devices).

In some cases, the pairing is accomplished by entering a multidigit passkey — sometimes called a PIN — that you must enter. Fire TV devices don’t support Bluetooth PINs, so if your device requires a PIN, you’re out of luck.

Otherwise, you may find that even though the device shows up fine on the Add Bluetooth Devices screen, you can’t pair it with your Fire TV device.

First, try the solutions in the previous section. If none of those steps does the job, check to see if the Bluetooth device is already paired with another device. Bluetooth stuff can only pair with one device at a time, so before you can pair the device with Fire TV, you need to disconnect the device from its current pairing.

If you still can’t get the pairing to work, tell Fire TV to start over by forgetting what it knows about the device:

  1. On your Fire TV device, choose Settings→Remotes & Bluetooth Devices→Other Bluetooth Devices.
  2. Highlight the Bluetooth device name.
  3. Press the Menu button. Fire TV asks you to confirm the unpairing.
  4. Press Select. Fire TV removes the device from the Other Bluetooth Devices screen.
  5. Choose Add Bluetooth Devices.
  6. Press the switch or button that makes the device discoverable.
  7. When the device reappears on the Add Bluetooth Devices screen, highlight the device and then press Select to pair with it again.

Your Fire TV device is unresponsive

Perhaps the most teeth-gnashingly frustrating problem you can encounter in technology is when a device — particularly one you paid good money for — just stops working. The device appears to be on, but tapping it, shoving it, gesticulating at it, and yelling at it are all ineffective at making the device respond.

If that happens to your Fire TV device, try the following troubleshooting steps, in order:

  1. Wait a few minutes. Sometimes devices just freeze up temporarily and then right themselves after a short break.
  2. Check your Wi-Fi network to make sure it’s working properly and that your device is connected.
  3. Restart the device.
  4. Check to see if your device is using the most up-to-date system software.
  5. Reset your device.

You changed your Wi-Fi network password

Your Fire TV device needs access to your Internet-connected Wi-Fi network to do its thing. When you first set up your Fire TV device, getting the device on your network by entering your network password is one of the first chores. That usually works flawlessly, but what happens if down the road you change your network password? In that case, you need to reconnect to your network by following these steps:
  1. Choose Settings→Network. You see a list of available networks, with your network at the top of the list.
  2. Highlight your network.
  3. On the Fire TV remote, press Menu to run the Forget This Network command. Fire TV asks you to confirm that you want to forget the network.
  4. Press the Select button on the remote. The Fire TV device disconnects from the network and returns you to the list of available networks.
  5. Choose your network.
  6. Enter your new network password and then choose Connect. Fire TV reconnects you to your network.

A Fire TV app doesn’t work properly

If a Fire TV app won’t start, freezes, or runs erratically, here are some troubleshooting suggestions you can try to resolve the problem:
  • Restart Fire TV.
  • Force the app to quit by choosing Settings→Applications→Manage Installed Applications→Force Stop.
  • Clear the app’s cache (an area of memory that the app uses to store oft-used data) by choosing Settings→Applications→Manage Installed Applications→Clear Cache.
  • Clear the app’s data by choosing Settings→Applications→Manage Installed Applications→Clear Data.
  • Uninstall the app by choosing Settings→Applications→Manage Installed Applications→Uninstall, and then reinstall the app.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Paul McFedries is a technical writer who has been authoring computer books since 1991 and has over 100 books to his credit. These books include Alexa For Dummies, Amazon Fire TV For Dummies, and Cord Cutting For Dummies. You can visit Paul on the web at

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