This simple Fire TV app is indispensable for anyone that sideloads APKs

If you’re someone that sideloads apps onto your Fire TV, you’ve probably installed an app at some point that ended up looking squashed, stretched out, or even cut off. If not, it’s probably only a matter of time before it happens to you. This is because a lot of smartphone apps rely on the device they’re installed on to tell them what screen orientation to use. Since the Fire TV expects all apps to only be displayed in landscape mode, some sideloaded apps intended for smartphones behave strangely in that unexpected environment. The solution to this is dead simple and it’s thanks to an app that I have been recommending for years and that I install on every one of my Fire TVs. Read more ›

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Why your Amazon Echos and Ring cameras are about to start using more data / bandwidth and how to stop it

Amazon is about to start rolling out something called Amazon Sidewalk to Amazon Echos, Echo Dots, Echo Shows, Echo Studios, Ring cameras, and more. You may have recently received an email about it. Amazon Sidewalk is a shared network that allows your devices, as well as other people’s devices, to communicate with each other and the internet. If enabled on your account, you’re allowing Amazon to use a portion of your internet bandwidth and data for a shared network that anyone can tap into. Read more ›

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How to pair a 2020 Chromecast Remote to a Fire TV and why you would or wouldn’t want to do it

One thing that surprised me about the 2020 Chromecast with Google TV is its remote. From the pictures, I thought I’d hate it, but, after actually using it, it isn’t so bad. I’m not a fan of the button placement, but it fits nicely in the hand and has an interesting look. The Chromecast remote does work with the Fire TV, with some major caveats that I’ll get into, and at only $19.99, some may consider it as an alternative to the $29.99 Fire TV remote. Here is an explanation of what does and doesn’t work on the Chromecast remote when using it with a Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, or Fire TV Cube, as well as instructions for how to pair the two together. Read more ›

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How to PIN Password protect an Amazon Fire TV or Firestick

The Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Edition televisions don’t technically have a way to just password protect the entire device from being used, like you would lock your phone or tablet. However, a recent change to the options for child profiles on the Fire TV does now provide a way to essentially lock out the regular Fire TV interface with a PIN code. Here is how to do it. Read more ›

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How to Enable or Disable the Profile Selection at wake on an Amazon Fire TV and Firestick

Amazon recently added the option for Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks to always ask for a profile to be selected when the device wakes up. This was done so that the Fire TV’s regular interface can be locked out by default. If you want this capability or if you find it annoying, here is how to turn it on or off. Read more ›

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How to access a File Browser and Internal Storage on an Amazon Echo Show

As you may or may not know, the Amazon Echo Show line of smart displays run an OS based on Android. Despite my hopes and dreams, modding an Echo Show to do more than what it was originally intended to hasn’t been possible because the device is pretty locked down. A reader of AFTVnews by the name of Wilson C. just stumbled on a way to bring up Android’s default file manager and browser internal files on an Echo Show. Even though I haven’t thought of any use for this new peek behind the curtain of the Echo Show, here are instructions for how to do it, in hopes that someone else might think of something interesting to do with the information. Read more ›

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How to tell if Netflix, HBO, Disney+, or other streaming service is actually displaying 4K or 1080p video on a Fire TV or Firestick

It’s sometimes hard to tell if you’re getting the maximum resolution possible out of your streaming service of choice on an Amazon Fire TV, since they all dynamically adjust the picture quality based on your available bandwidth. Whether it’s a new Fire TV Stick Lite and you’re wondering if YouTube is showing 1080p video in a kids room at the edge of your WiFi network range, or it’s Prime Video on your Fire TV Cube and want to ensure you get full 4K video for movie night on your best TV, here is how to definitively know the exact video resolution being streamed. This method works for any streaming service on any Fire TV model, be it a newer Fire TV Cube, Firestick, older Fire TV box, or Toshiba/Insignia Fire TV Edition television. Read more ›

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How to update your sideloaded HBO Max on Amazon Fire TV and Firestick — Updated Feb. 2021 w/ Latest APK

Since HBO Max is not yet available in the Amazon Appstore, it must be sideloaded. Instructions for how to sideload the app can be found here, but you might be wondering how to update the app once you’ve already installed it. The process for updating is identical to sideloading. Simply open the Downloader app, enter the URL to the newer APK, download it, and install it. The new version will automatically update/replace the old version. You do not need to uninstall the existing version first. A new version 50.2.0.37 of HBO Max was just released and you can get it by entering bit.ly/firehbo (see update below) into the Downloader app. If you need more detailed instructions, follow this guide. Read more ›

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How to install Quibi on unsupported Amazon Fire TVs and Firesticks

An official Quibi app has just launched on some Fire TV devices, but they’ve excluded most Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks from being able to install the app. If you’d like to sideload the app on any of these unsupported Fire TV models, just use my Downloader app and enter bit.ly/ftvq (Alternate Mirror: bit.ly/ftvqb) into the app’s URL field to download and install the Quibi APK. If you need a more detailed step-by-step instructions for sideloading, see this guide. Note that, since I don’t have a Quibi subscription, I have not checked to see if the app works on any of the unsupported Fire TV models, but I suspect it’ll work fine on at least some of them. Let everyone know in the comments if you have success sideloading the app and on which device.

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How to Sideload apps on the 2020 Chromecast with Google TV using Downloader


Google’s new 2020 Chromecast with Google TV has changed a lot about the underlying Android TV operating system that it runs on, but what hasn’t changed too much is the ability to sideload apps. Sideloading, which is the process of installing APK app files from a source other than the Google Play Store, is possible on the new Chromecast, but Google makes you jump through a few more steps than was previously necessary on Android TV. Here is a step-by-step guide for how to sideload apps using Downloader on the Chromecast with Google TV. Read more ›

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