Amazon cutting off Fire TV Stick sales to frequent buyers


It seems Amazon is keeping track of how many Fire TV Sticks a customer has purchased in the past and is not allowing anymore to be purchased once a certain quantity has been reached. A reader, who tells me they have purchased approximately 22 Fire TV Sticks in the past from Amazon, has sent me the above screenshot showing that they are no longer able to purchase any Fire TV Sticks from Amazon. Regardless of how many Fire TV Sticks are added to their cart, the quantity is changed to zero with a message indicating that zero is the new “maximum allowable” Fire TV Sticks they can purchase.

Limiting the total number of Fire TV Sticks a customer can purchase is likely an effort by Amazon to impede resellers who preload Fire TV Sticks with piracy software and sell them on sites like eBay for a profit. There are several resellers who have individually sold thousands of Fire TV Sticks each. This listing alone, for example, has sold over 7,000 units. The Fire TV Stick has quickly become the go-to device for TV show and movie pirates, thanks to its inexpensive price and flexible Android-based operating system.

Limiting sales is just the latest action taken by Amazon to deflect the Fire TV Stick’s growing piracy reputation. Last year, Amazon removed Kodi, a media player app, from their appstore, because occording to them “it can be used to facilitate the piracy or illegal download of content.” While Kodi itself does not provide access to pirated content, its unrestricted add-on capabilities have allowed third-parties to develop piracy add-ons that stream pirated TV shows and movies directly through Kodi. The thousands of Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks on eBay advertising free movies and TV shows come preloaded with these piracy add-ons.

Amazon’s ban of FireStarter, a popular alternate Fire TV launcher app, last month was also likely related to their effort to make the Fire TV Stick less desirable to resellers and pirates. FireStarter was used by many piracy resellers as a means to bypass the default Fire TV interface and simplify access to pirated content.

It’s unclear if Amazon’s new purchasing limitations extend to the Fire TV also, or if it only applies to Fire TV Stick sales. I’m told Best Buy is also limiting Fire TV Sticks to 1 per customer in their physical stores and 3 per customer through their website, but it’s unknown if that restriction is related to Amazon’s limit on total sales.


  1. Thomas says:

    Hi guys, I am a new Fire TV owner. I come onto this website often now and I see that half of the articles are about Kodi. What is the benefit of Kodi other than for piracy reasons? This is an honest question, I’m not trying to be offensive.

    • AFTVnews says:

      The primary use of Kodi is to play local content. If you have videos stored on external storage (like on a USB drive or microSD card) or on your PC, you can use Kodi to play those files on the Fire TV. The Fire TV itself does not have a media player capable of playing local content, so people who have a personal video collection have to use third-party apps like Kodi.

      Kodi can also play music and display photos. It can also stream media over the internet using add-ons. There are official add-ons which are safe and legal, but there are also unofficial add-ons. Some unofficial add-ons stream pirated content, as mentioned in the above article.

      • Thomas says:

        Thank you for the great reply. That certainly explains why people love it so much. I was just confused because every youtube video I watched about Kodi was piracy related.

        • Adam says:

          That’s probably because the people that use Kodi/SPMC legitimately to play local content already have the minimal level of tech savvy to set it up and run it. IOW, if you have a collection of local content and can actually get it to the FireTV, you’re past the level of skills it takes to have Kodi/SPMC run it, no YouTube tutorial required.

          OTOH, the people that need to buy a Kodi stick to get free movies and TV… they’re probably NOT the brightest LEDs in the array. Quite likely someone had to tell them to go to YouTube too.

          • Natethomas says:

            Many of those youtubers aren’t always the brightest bulbs either. When the new default skin was announced, a youtuber reviewed it and wondered what addon was being used to populate the home screen. I think some of them are completely unaware of the fact that there is any such thing as the local library.

    • Jason D Thomas says:

      You can look at a movie in the movie section of the Firestick home screen and there will be a low purchase price to watch the movie for example $2.99. Then when you go into kodi you can watch it for free. That is what the hype is about. If you do not load kodi it kinda feels like a waste after seing what it can do. I love kodi and know how to load every app in 5 minutes. I can get movies that are not in theatres yet for free. Free fights , everything.

  2. Fjtorres says:

    Kodi is a media center application.
    By itself it streams media locally across your home network directly, without a PC app as intermediary. So if you have a cheap Network Attach Storage hard drive or your router has a USB port, you can stream from the drive to your FireTV directly.
    Kodi also has a horde of perfectly legal plug-ins, like the one that finds online lyrics for your ripped music CDs and displays them as the song plays. Others connect you to Hulu, Netflix, and browser-based streaming services, even if they don’t have a FireTV-specific app.

    In my case, I use a FireTV stick (typically $39) Kodi to replace my WD TV live streamer box, that typically runs $80-100. Both do a great job streaming local video in most any format but the WD TV Live doesn’t provide access to as many commercial music and video stresming services. Or the other FireTV features, like Alexa.

    Over the years I have ripped my CDs to Flac lossless and DVD sets to ISO files. Normally you need a PC to play those files–Kodi lets you replace the PC with a Fire TV stick.

    In some ways, the ebay resale problem is of Amazon’s own doing.
    If they had allowed Kodi to stay in the store it wouldn’t be hard to get it integrated into their interface so there wouldn’t be a need for helper apps or a market for pre-configured sticks.

  3. Jonas Leary says:

    Its hit or miss at bestbuy physical stores. some limit you to three but will alow mulitple transactions, while some have no limit at all, even within the same city.

  4. Perez says:

    Good. Who legitimately would have need for more than 20 units purchased from a personal account? Death to the scumbag piracy resellers and their customers should be ashamed as well.

    • Adam says:

      I prefer this tactic over the heavier handed (IMO) tactic of banning Firestarter.

      I’m an Amazon Prime user that watches Prime content and rents movies from Amazon, and I use SPMC without any non-standard addons, piracy related or other wise, but I much, much, MUCH prefer the simple interface of Firestarter to the morass of the Amazon interface when it comes to simply starting Netflix, Youtube, or whatever.

      I’m a legal user of the FireTV, I support Amazon’s ecosystem with my dollars, go after the pirates in a way that treats me like a customer, not a subject.

  5. ferdinand tagpis says:

    Why are they so concern about what we do with the fire sticks, we can do whatever we want. We did purchased it, so it ours now..Who cares what we do with it,

    • Adam says:

      I mostly agree with you, but HERE I see their point.

      You and I using the stick however we want is one thing.

      Individuals that is buying more than 20 of them at a time is something else.

      Those guys aren’t customers, they’re resellers that are commercially selling thousands of Amazon branded products that by default break the law, and make Amazon look bad when the addon stops working.

      Again, THIS particular measure by Amazon isn’t going to affect you and I, and hence, is not what you’re talking about when you say Amazon shouldn’t care what we do with something we buy.

      • Johnny says:

        That sounds to me similar to the anti-scalping arguments you hear from sports teams. (“Enterprise” “resale”) etc. I happen to disagree but I can respect the fact that it was well-reasoned.

        My thoughts are with the op. Once you buy a fire stick, That’s where the agency of Amazon stops. Once it is sold, it is no longer Amazon’s property. If you want to take it apart and make earrings out of it, that’s your right.

        Of course, the flip side of that is that BEFORE they sell it, they have the right to limit it however they want. It is their product to create, if you do not like it, buy from a competitor (or if there aren’t any then make yer own and compete).

        But as far as Amazon having rights regarding re-sellers… Hey, re-selling is just commerce, my man. It’s what EVERY bodega does… Shop at Smart n Final… Mark the price up. Shoot, at least the pirate boxers (I like that name for them!) provide SOME form of service (even if it usually DOES SUCK… I just spent HOURS untangling the mess some cock-ring made of me dad in-law’s android box).

        Anyhow, I know it is crazy to post a comment disagreeing with someone and NOT call them a bunch of names but, hey, gimme a break.

    • jack says:

      Because Amazon is not just a retailer but a content provider too. So they see it as cutting into their revenue stream,

  6. atone says:

    I think Amazon wants a majority of their buyers of Amazon stick to primarily be Amazon Prime members getting their content from them and not solely use it for Kodi/sideloaded APK purposes. They don’t want to supply mostly a majority of sideloaded/kodi firetv stick sellers and watch them turn it into a profit on ebay. (Amazon must think selling higher priced jailbroken/kodi Firetv sticks is like selling scalped tickets. Someone else is making a greater profit off their own product without a “license”.)

    • I suspect Amazon makes minimal profit on the FTV Sticks and wants to maximize the likelihood that purchasers are purchasing other stuff too. I believe you need an amazon account to register the Fire TV devices. That makes it easier for you to buy stuff from Amazon. One of the things Kodi users are less interested in buying is a streaming service — which Amazon sells. As the article noted, most volume purchasers are impacting Amazon’t bottom line more than the sale of the devices is.

      I have bought a LOT of FTV devices. I have five in my home. I have a couple more that I loan out to people who want to try streaming. I have a bunch more that I have purchased for friends and family members who do not transact business over the internet and/or have no credit cards. Two of these have Kodi installed — one of the loaners and one of the ones in my house.

      So, I’m not a very good Amazon customer except that I subscribe to Prime and I buy a lot of stuff from them. (I have a trampoline in my cart right now.)

      I will probably renew my Prime subscription in September, but I will likely try Sling TV before then and may move on. This is only a little piece of that decision, but there are a LOT of little pieces.

  7. Andy says:

    It would appear Amazon are shooting themselves in the foot. Since the days of copying copy protected VHS tapes, those that want pirated content will find a way to watch and download it regardless. My argument has always been, if the studios weren’t so greedy and reduced the price of legal downloads, discs etc, it would all but eliminate the market for pirates.

    • Natethomas says:

      Those who want to will. In this case, Amazon seems more to just be cutting out the middle man and making it slightly harder for the unskilled. Seems like a legitimate strategy.

      • Reflex says:

        Amazon knows they can’t stop everyone. The goal is to not be the weakest link. That makes it someone else’s problem.

    • Reflex says:

      True, I mean $10/month for Netflix, Hulu or Prime is obviously way, way overpriced. If only they’d make a way for me to get hundreds of thousands of movies and tv cheaply….


  8. Michael says:

    I think there is even more to the Fire TV series limit story.

    Many AFTV units are being sold to overseas buyers. Those are customers that Amazon wants to have in the future when the stick and box become available. We know Amazon wants to become a global company and wants to sell the AFTV worldwide. If their first taste of the device is poor, it will be hard to get them back. I’m sure they are trying to get Amazon Instant Video set up in every country they have a presence.

    I’m sure that when Netflix made the announcement that they are now in 130 countries, I’m sure Jeff thought….We can do that!

    Shutting down piracy is important to the movie/TV/music studios and will help with bringing Instant Video negotiations further along. But also to provide a better experience when the product is introduced in new countries is a big focus of Amazon. I’d be willing to bet they get a few emails from overseas customers that can’t use the product. And of course the Ebay seller has long changed his seller I.D. and has bought hundreds more to fleece a few more unsuspecting overseas buyers.

  9. TechyChris says:

    Any media streaming device, regardless of manufacturer, can be modified and/or used in some way to facilitate piracy. A company could expend ALL of its resources and still never snuff it out so this is just silly. Time to move on and concentrate on making better more innovative products.(Just my opinion)

    • Adam says:

      In this specific case, they’re not doing what you’re complaining about. They’re not trying to make it more difficult to modify the product to use for piracy, they’re limiting sales to a number that is so ridiculously high that the only people affected are the ones that are commercially reselling Amazon branded products specifically configured to pirate.

      This measure is not even going to hit the people that are configuring a Firestick to get free movies for parents or whatever.

      This measure doesn’t affect people that buy a Firestick and load Kodi with addons to stream pirated material at home, it affects the people that are buying them by the gross and commercially reselling them as specific Amazon branded piracy machines.

      I don’t think your point matches this particular action by Amazon at all. (other actions by Amazon tho, definitely yes)

      • Tony says:

        You’ve nailed it. This is exactly why I think Amazon is limiting number to sell… So the middle man doesn’t resell it for a profit.

        It defeats their business of selling hardware units to Amazon prime members buying their services. They hardly make any profit from non-Prime members who leach their units just to use for kodi,sideloaded apks and games.

  10. boudyka says:

    Kodi = Piracy is zero to do with anything. This is about who owns the content and how much can be made from leasing or licensing it.

    Ever since the first radio broadcast, there have been two distinct markets, one for live/recorded content for listeners and viewers and the other is the reproduction of that content, be it vinyl/tape/cd/dvd/bluray for home use.

    The live/recorded content owners have used the “piracy” argument for nearly 100 years and if allowed, would restrict live/recorded content that is reproduced to lease only for a limited time.

    With physical media this was not possible, but with streamed digital media it entirely possible to charge for viewing of content with a time limit.

    To achieve this, they need to use access control of all manufactures devices from the content source to content delivery (we have seen this with hdcp, ultraviolet and other drm.)

    Sooner or later all the devices will be stream only digital content with no physical media. the content can only be viewed on a authorised device for an authorised length of time.

    So to the point…..Kodi is one of the dwindling software products that can play my purchased music/video on my hifi/tv, watch when I want, how I want and with whom I want, at time of my choosing and as often or as little as I want.

    I am pretty confident that I do not have the same rights, with Netflix/Amazon Prime/ Satellite/Cable or any other digital media content providers.

    They reserve the right to deny my access/remove this content, and ask for more funds to view content that I have paid more than once for, I cannot and will not allow them to decide this right, for me.

    Kodi isn’t piracy its the freedom to listen and the freedom to view.

  11. Christopher Loughrey says:

    Makes complete sense as people are buying them to sell them for profit to countries not eligible to access the Fire TV market.

  12. Jeff in T.O. says:

    Not sure where to leave this, but KODI has been removed from My Recent section and the only way I am able to launch it is through Settings/Manage Applications/ Launch KODI (or something like that). Any ideas? Thanks!

  13. Kevin Graham says:

    They have always limit sales this is not a new thing, I can buy 5 a week. Best Buy is limiting sales to 3 at the register but this is not new either.

  14. Tech3475 says:

    I know in the uk one high street retailer (Argos) is limiting to 1 unit per customer, which previously was 2.

    This i find strange since normally they dont limit sales, even when its a ridiculous amount.

    • Fjtorres says:

      It could be they are limiting retailer sales because they have limited manufacturing capacity or have already stopped production in preparation for shifting to the stick 2.0.

      Retailer sales are more of a marketing move to get their products before a larger audience than a distribution play so it wouldn’t help them much to have the sticks out of stock. Plus, with Amazon throttling ebay reseller access, the next play is to hit B&M retailers so limiting there fits the plan.

  15. Scott says:

    Does anyone know what version software that is currently shipping on the AFTV Stick if ordered from Amazon? Should I try and get one from a local retailer if I’m wanting to root one?

  16. Mark says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha!

  17. Mike Key says:

    I don’t believe this story is true. I have purchased 40 boxes and about 30 sticks in the past. After seeing this story I tried to purchase 3 and it gave me no problem. I am a prime customer , I only sell to people I know, no publicity or Ebay sales. I know these boxes inside out due to sites like this which provide knowledge, and i sell mainly because people want the easy way out. They don’t want to learn how to add Kodi or do the research they rather someone do it for them. So i install my own personal builds (hate installers) and the call me up when they run across an issue (almost like the build is free and im charging for tech support).

  18. shwru980r says:

    It’s illegal to rip DVD and Blu-Ray discs. It’s perfectly legal to access content hosted offshore through the third party addons.

  19. Malyan says:

    What if one wants to become a legitimate seller of the product (Fire TV/Stick) same way like Best Buy is. What is the procedure? I’m in a emerging market where a pilot of this product has seen overwhelming response, and would be interested in pursuing a distributorship opportunity with Amazon.

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