Amazon Fire TV For Dummies
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Fire TV makes your life simpler by bringing a bunch of streaming services under a single roof. However, that simplicity hides a complicated system that takes a while to master. To help you smooth out that initial learning curve, this Cheat Sheet offers a handy reference to a few important Fire TV things. Here you’ll find a quick guide to the most important Fire TV settings, a list of 50 — yep, 50 — of the most useful Fire TV–related Alexa voice requests, and a comprehensive glossary of words and phrases related to Fire TV and streaming stuff.

10 Crucial Amazon Fire TV Settings

Amazon Fire TV works just fine right of the box, but it’s configured for the average user. If you don’t answer to the description “average,” then you’ll want to run through the following list of settings to customize Fire TV to your liking:

  • Parental Controls: Create a five-digit PIN that prevents kids from launching Fire TV apps or making purchases via Fire TV. You can also restrict Amazon Video content based on ratings. Choose Settings→Preferences→Parental Controls.
  • Sleep Timer: If you find yourself falling asleep at night while watching TV, you can ensure that your Fire TV device also falls asleep by setting the Sleep Timer. Choose Settings→Sleep Timer.
  • Channel Management: If you have a Fire TV Edition Smart TV or a Fire TV Recast, you have access to live TV. Use Channel Management to work with those channels (for example, by adding a channel to the Favorites list or hiding a channel). Choose Settings→Live TV→Channel Management.
  • Uninstall: Get rid of any Fire TV app you no longer use. Choose Settings→Applications→Channel Management, select the app, and then choose Uninstall.
  • Picture Settings: Get your TV picture looking its best by adjusting the mode, contrast, brightness, and other settings. Choose Settings→Display & Sounds→Picture Settings.
  • Sound Settings: Get your Fire TV sound output just right by tweaking bass, treble, balance, and more. Choose Settings→Display & Sounds→Sound Settings.
  • Navigation Sounds: By default, Fire TV displays a little “click” each time you press Up, Down, Left, or Right on the remote’s navigation ring. If you find that annoying, you can turn it off. Choose Settings→Display & Sounds→Navigation Sounds.
  • Featured Content: These settings enable you to control whether the Featured Content rotator that appears in the Movies and TV Shows tabs automatically plays video and audio when you navigate into the rotator. Choose Settings→Preferences→Featured Content.
  • Do Not Interrupt: Turn on this setting to shut off all notifications from all apps. Choose Settings→Preferences→Notification Settings→Do Not Interrupt.
  • Restart: This isn’t really a setting. Instead, you select Restart to shut down and then restart your Fire TV device, which is a useful troubleshooting step. Choose Settings→Device & Software→Restart.

The 50 Most Useful Alexa Voice Requests for Amazon Fire TV

Fire TV comes with Alexa for making voice requests. You access Alexa via the Voice button on the Alexa Voice Remote, the Voice icon in the Fire TV mobile app, or by saying “Alexa” to the Fire TV Cube (or an Alexa-enabled device, such as an Amazon Echo). How useful is Alexa to you as a Fire TV user? Judge for yourself by checking out the following 50 voice requests tailored to Fire TV.

Get around the Fire TV interface:

  • “Go Home.”
  • “Go to Live.”
  • “Go to Your Videos” (or “My Videos” or “Videos”).
  • “Go to DVR” (only if you have Fire TV Recast installed).
  • “Go to Movies.”
  • “Go to TV Shows.”
  • “Go to Apps.”
  • “Go to Settings.”

Search for shows:

  • “Show me the movie [movie title].”
  • “Show me the TV show [series title].”
  • “Show me [actor] movies.”
  • “Show me [genre] movies.”
  • “Show me [genre] TV shows.”

Play a movie trailer:

  • “Play the trailer for [movie title].”
  • “Show the trailer for [movie title].”

Control movie or TV show playback:

  • “Pause.”
  • “Resume” (or “Play”).
  • “Rewind” (rewinds 10 seconds).
  • “Rewind X
  • “Fast-forward” (fast-forwards 10 seconds).
  • “Fast-forward X
  • “Next episode.”
  • “Previous episode.”

Display the channel guide:

  • “Channel guide.”
  • “Open channel guide.”
  • “Show me the channel”

Change the channel:

  • “Change to [channel or network].”
  • “Go to [channel or network].”
  • “Tune to [channel or network].”
  • “Watch [channel or network].”

Change the playback volume:

  • “Volume up.”
  • “Increase the volume.”
  • “Raise the volume.”
  • “Louder.”
  • “Volume down.”
  • “Decrease the volume.”
  • “Lower the volume.”
  • “Softer.”
  • “Set volume to X” (replace X with the volume setting you want).
  • “Volume X” (replace X with the volume setting you want).
  • “Mute.”
  • “Unmute.”

Get information about TV shows and movies:

  • “What is the IMDb rating for [TV show or movie title]?”
  • “Tell me about the movie [movie title].”
  • “When was movie [movie title] released?”
  • “Who stars in [TV show or movie title]?”
  • “What is [actor]’s latest movie?”
  • “What movie won the Best Picture Oscar in [year]?”
  • “Who won the Best Actress Oscar in [year]?”
  • “How many Oscars has [actor] won?”

Some Amazon Fire TV Terms You Should Know

Okay, you’re slowly but surely becoming a Fire TV aficionado, perhaps even a maven. However, it’s not enough in today’s world just to be good at something. No, you also have to sound like you’re good at that something. The best way to do that is sprinkle your cocktail party conversations and social media posts with a few choice words and phrases that tell everyone you know what you’re talking about. For Fire TV, here are a few to consider:

  • 1080p: A screen resolution that uses 1,080 scan lines with progressive scanning.
  • 4K: See Ultra HD.
  • 720p: A screen resolution that uses 720 scan lines with progressive scanning.
  • à la carte: A streaming media service where you pay for just the channels you want to watch.
  • audio streaming: Mostly prerecorded music through services such as Amazon Music and Spotify, as well as podcasts through services such as myTuner Radio and Plex.
  • buffer: An area of memory or storage that’s used to store the next few seconds or minutes of playback.
  • cable-replacement service: A streaming service that offers TV show and movie bundles that are similar to those offered by cable services.
  • closed captioning: See subtitles.
  • content: Another term for media.
  • cord-cutter: A person who severs her relationship with her cable company and finds alternatives to cable elsewhere.
  • discoverable: A Bluetooth device that is broadcasting its availability for pairing with another device.
  • far-field microphone: A microphone optimized to distinguish a voice from the ambient room noise even when that voice is far away.
  • HD: See HDTV.
  • HDTV: A screen resolution that supports both 1080p and 720p.
  • horizontal resolution: The number of pixels in a single scan line from left to right across a TV screen.
  • input source: The incoming connection that the TV uses to display a signal on its screen.
  • interlaced scanning: A TV technology in which the odd and even scan lines of the screen are rendered separately.
  • IR blaster: See IR transmitter.
  • IR transmitter: An electronic component that sends commands to a device using infrared signals.
  • live streaming: As-it’s-happening audio or video, such as on-the-air TV programs delivered by your cable provider or Fire TV Recast, live concerts or sporting events, Internet-based audio or video phone calls, or video feeds of a specific place or scene.
  • media: Anything you can “play” via Fire TV, including movies, TV shows, games, music, slideshows, and home videos.
  • mirroring: Sending a mobile device’s video stream to a Fire TV device.
  • over-the-air: A live TV broadcast signal that can be picked up using an HDTV antenna.
  • over-the-top: A TV service that’s delivered via a broadband Internet connection.
  • OTA: See over-the-air.
  • OTT: See over-the-top.
  • pair: To connect two Bluetooth devices.
  • pixel: A picture element; a point of light that uses a combination of red, green, and blue.
  • progressive scanning: A TV technology in which all the scan lines of the screen are rendered at the same time.
  • resolution: The sharpness of a TV screen, measured in pixels.
  • rotator: A Fire TV interface element that, when you navigate into the Featured section of the Movies or TV Shows tab, begins automatically rotating through the content.
  • scan lines: The number of pixels in a vertical column from top to bottom of a TV screen.
  • second screen experience: Watching media on a main screen (such as your TV) and using a second screen (such as tablet or smartphone) to control playback and display extra info about the media, such as the cast and music.
  • selector: The Fire TV interface feature that tells you which screen element is currently selected.
  • skinny bundle: A streaming media service bundle that includes only a small number of channels.
  • smart home: A home that contains one or more devices that enhance home life by increasing convenience, providing information, and enabling automation.
  • streaming: A method of sending media over the Internet from a server to a computer where the media begins playing within a few seconds and continues until the media is complete.
  • streaming media device: A device that enables you to access and watch streaming media.
  • streaming media playback: The capability of playing, pausing, rewinding, and fast-forwarding an incoming media stream, usually by pressing buttons on a remote control that comes with the streaming media device.
  • streaming service interface: A method for discovering and interacting with services that offer audio, video, or live streams.
  • subtitles: Text transcriptions of the voice track in a TV show, movie, or video.
  • UHD: See Ultra HD.
  • Ultra HD: A screen resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.
  • vertical resolution: See scan lines.
  • video streaming: Mostly prerecorded TV shows and movies through services such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.
  • wake word: The word you speak to put Alexa into listening mode on a Fire TV Cube or similar Alexa-enabled device.
  • X-Ray: A feature that displays background information about the currently playing media, such as the cast, music, and scenes.

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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