A week ago, I came across an eBay listing for $24.99 Amazon Fire TVs. The listing
is still active and is for just the Fire TV itself, without the power adapter or remote. I was intrigued because the seller had sold hundreds, and the units were factory sealed by Amazon in made-to-fit small retail boxes, different from the standard retail box. I ordered one and it arrived today. Here’s what you should know if you’re considering buying one.
The eBay listing says these Fire TVs are new, but that’s not entirely true. Yes, they are factory sealed by Amazon with the same frustration-free pull tab found on the regular retail Fire TV packaging, so in that sense they are new. But what’s inside the box is obviously a refurbished device that was probably purchased by someone, returned, and repackaged by Amazon. A little research on the seller, Cargo Largo, reveals they deal in “the sale of undelivered and excess inventory”, so they likely purchased these units wholesale from Amazon.
The unit I received was practically new without a single scratch or fingerprint, however the plastic wrap and protective strip around the unit were not applied with the same precision as one would find on a brand new device. The serial number on the box matched the serial number reported by the Fire TV itself. The serial number indicated that it started life with version 126.96.36.199 of the Fire TV software. I had no trouble bypassing the initial update, but unfortunately it arrived with software version 188.8.131.52 so this particular unit was not rootable. I would guess that, just like the refurbished Fire TVs sold by Amazon, these will all have different software versions. Some will be rootable, while others will not be rootable; it’s luck of the draw.
If you’re planning to control your Fire TV with a keyboard anyway, this is a pretty great deal. Buying a $19.99 power adapter gets you a functioning Fire TV for $45 plus shipping. If you buy one to use with just a keyboard, be aware though that you’ll need a Fire TV remote to complete the initial setup since the first thing the Fire TV does is search for a remote and there doesn’t seem to be a way to get past that screen without connecting a remote. Once you’ve completed the setup, you won’t need the remote again. Even if you factor in the Fire TV Stick’s non-voice remote for $14.99, you’ve still got a complete Fire TV for just under $60.