The FireTV Stick is an android-based system, no different than an android phone, tablet or personal computer. Essentially, streaming TV is watching TV on a computer.
For those migrating from cabe or satellite TV, there is a learning curve. But with patience and knowledge, it is less expensive, while opening up so many more options as to what to watch.
The following are FAQ’s you may not know, or may know and need to reference them.
The hardware, the FireTV Stick, comes with two main items, the “Stick” itself that is loaded with apps to watch, and the remote to control the Stick. The Stick plugs into a TV and has a power connection for an outlet.
You can buy one Stick and transfer it to any TV in your home, any where you go! Just plug it into an HDMI port and your ready to watch YOUR TV, at a hotel, visiting relatives, around the country, other countries, everywhere! Just connect to a WiFi speed of 20 mbps or more and you’re streaming!
Connecting to a TV
For the non-technical, selecting the FireTV device’s home screen could appear to be a daunting task. But it isn’t and it is rather easy once understood. TV inputs were originally created to switch between devices such as cable/satellite, DVR, gaming devices and more with the various ports in the back of the TV. It is the same concept with HDMI ports.
There are normally on all TVs now three HDMI ports on the back, HDMI1, HDMI2 and HDMI3. When a TV is first turned on, the screen is on the default home screen of the TV. A user must change the input to the HDMI port the FireTV is connected to.
For example, if the FireTV is connected to HDMI1, the user, after turning on the TV, must select the input button on the remote, at which time all ports will be displayed. Simply choose HDMI1 and the Amazon FireTV home screen will display (Make sure the FireTV is plugged in and on.) It’s that easy!
Most TV’s in the past 10 years have HDMI ports in the back. This is the standard connection for the FireTV Stick, as it comes with a short HDMI connection. Full Stream Ahead TV recomends using an HTMI extension of 1′ to 3′ on all TV’s specifically because many TVs have the HDMI ports in the back that are hard to reach when the TV is attached to a wall or locations where the HDMI port is hard to reach with the short FireTV HDMI cable. With the several ways home users can enjoy their FireTV Stick if they have more than one TV, the HDMI extension is easier to move the FireTV Stick when a user wants to move it to another TV.
Using 1 FireTV Stick (One user.)
If only one FireTV Stick is going to be used at one time, on different TV’s in the residence, by using a 1′ to 3′ HDMI extension on each TV, the FireTV Stick can be easly removed from one TV and plugged into another TV. In this manner a user can enjoy the full benefits of streaming on any TV in the home.
Using 2 or More FireTV Sticks (Multiple users.)
If there is more than one user at a time wanting to stream, multiple FireTV Sticks should be set up and installed on multiple TV’s. If you have three TV’s and two FireTV Sticks, easy disconnect from one TV and attach to the third TV is easy. Or, if there are three TVs in constant use, having three FireTV Sticks, one on each is the most convenient. Three FireTV Sticks on three TVs for example is the most convenient. At a one time purchase of $50 for each FireTV Stick and modified for the full enjoyment of streaming live and on-demand TV is the most convenient set up.
Using the FireTV as a Mobile Device
The greatest advantage to using the FireTV is its mobile capability besides that with home use. Going to travel? Take it with you! Unplug, pack it and a stop over at a hotel, bed & breakfast or visiting family, just plug in, log into wifi and you have the full enjoyment of streaming live or on-demand TV that you do at home!
While there is the term Wifi and WiFi, the official term is Wi-Fi, the connection and access to the internet. It is important to understand Wi-Fi and it’s connection to streaming TV.
Connecting a FireTV Stick to a home home wireless provider or any available wireless network is easy. On the FireTV Stick home screen at the top menu, select Settings, then select Network and all available wireless networks will appear. Choose the appropriate network, input your username and password and click Ok. Click the Home button on the Stick’s remote and the home screen will appear and streaming can begin.
You can have all the correct hardware, all the correct add-ons, but if you don’t have enough Wi-Fi speed, all else fails.
20 mbps (megabytes per second) is enough for one Stick. If you have two Sticks on two TV’s running at the same time, you need 40 mbps. Most basic packages from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) gives you enough. But more is better. An upgraded package at 100 mbps is justified for the cost. To check your current speed, www.speedtest.net can test your Wi-Fi speed. As an example, if you will have 3 Sticks being used at the same time, 80 mbps is appropriate. The key is making sure you have 20 mbps for each Stick being used.
There are three main accounts one would want to register on the FireTV Stick. An Amazon account, a VPN account and an IPTV account. An Amazon account is required. It is free, but you can subscribe to Amazon Prime, which we do and is the only other streaming movie and show provider besides IPTV that we subscribe to and recommend. There are also other third-party accounts one could register to enhance the FireTV Stick experience.
Every FireTV Stick on initial setup needs to be registered with an Amazon account. This can be done in two ways, set up an Amazon account with a secondary account you create just for the Stick. However, if you have Amazon Prime, you would want to use your main account so that you can access all of the Prime movies and shows with that account. Amazon has an app on the Stick for you to access Prime. Your main account is recommended if you have, or will be subscribing to Prime.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is highly recommended. ISP’s are known to “throttle down” internet speed. Without a VPN, ISP’s can see where and what you are viewing. They now differentiate between email/web surfing access to video access. If they see you are watching streaming TV, they may throttle your speed. This is called Differentiation. A VPN will hide the difference in how you are using the internet.
Full Stream Ahead TV recommends CactusVPN. We have tried a number of others and because a VPN travels out to hide the IP and comes back, and with many others we have experienced a great slow down in internet speed. CactusVPN we have experienced, has little internet speed loss.
Formerly known as DurexTV, SportzTV http://jc.durextv.xyz/, is becoming, if not already, one of the most popular Live TV providers. It has over 6,000 streaming channels. It is competitively priced, but having more channels than most of the other IPTV services. The price is $15 for up to two Firesticks. If you have a third or more Firestick, you can subscribe to their $20 package.
It has Local Stations of the major networks of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox in many cities across the United States. If you miss your favorite daytime TV show on the East Coast at 2 p.m., you can easily tune to a Midwest or West network several hours later and watch it! Also, if a live sporting event is not available in your area, simply search for a network in a different location and watch it! Further, sports networks such as ESPN and Fox have 20 to 30 choices to choose from, events such as high school and college not available elsewhere. Further, while the other IPTV providers have available a number of stations across the world, SportzTV has a large number of channels in many countries not available with the other IPTV providers, from the American continent including the Caribbean to Europe and Asia, worldwide.
In a basic FireTV Stick, applications of all kinds can are installed and can be installed from the Amazon store. However, most of these Movies, TV Shows, News, Sports, Documentaries, Series and more come at a monthly subscription price. Each, added up, will cost hundreds in a monthly price.
For a modified FireTV Stick, add-ons can be installed, free. These add-ons are built on the Android system, which is the operating system of the FireTV Stick. These add-ons are in the APK format ((Android Packaging Kit.) Many of the APKs in the list below are available for installation on a FireTV Stick. These are just a few of the APKs for streaming Movies and TV Shows and more for your enjoyment:
Cinema APK: An easy to use streaming APK that is gaining popularity among the masses. It has a complete library of Movies and TV Shows and works extremely fast on nearly any device. With real-debrid and trakt.tv integration, Cinema has the ability to make your streaming experience the best possible. There are thousands of titles which are sorted into Categories including Genre for an easy screening process. Links are served up in high quality and often times available in 1080p HD.
CyberFlix TV: A clone or replica of the ever-popular Terrarium TV APK. Since the discontinuation of this app in the Fall of 2018, many forks have been created but fallen short. However, CyberFlix has shown it is here to stay. The CyberFlix TV APK works best when integrated with real-debrid. If you do not have a real-debrid account, you may experience a lower quality streaming experience due to a lesser amount of sources or links available. CyberFlix has the ability to add subtitles and an external video player including the most recent version of MX Player. If you were a fan of the Terrarium TV APK, CyberFlix is the perfect alternative.
TVZion: Another new APK to the streaming scene, TVZion is an all-inclusive app abundant with Movies and TV Shows for viewing. It has been recently updated and is working fabulously. One of the best features TVZion offers is the ability to auto-play content. For those who don’t like the trial and error of finding a working source, this is a great benefit. However, sometimes TVZion works best with the auto-play feature disabled. Similar to those listed above, real-debrid and trakt are also available as added benefits to this already awesome app.
CotoMovies: An upgraded version of Bobby Movie which has been a popular streaming APK for quite some time. There are tons of options for Movies and TV Shows and can be sorted by Genres and more. One thing to note about CotoMovies is it’s easy to use interface which provides content by quality. After making a selection, users can often choose between 720 and 1080p HD streams. Unlike others listed above, CotoMovies does not support real-debrid or trakt.tv, however, most streams work flawlessly without these subscriptions. One of the best features of this APK is that there are no pop-up advertisements to distract you from streaming.
MediaBox HD: This APK is filled with a of updated content for your viewing pleasure. With real-debrid and trakt integration, it is sure to be one of your favorite apps. The Discover Page within MediaBox HD sets it apart from other APK’s as this offers trending titles, as well as a “Just Pick a Movie For Me” button which is fantastic for those who are unsure what they would like to stream! Subtitles, External Video Player, and more make MediaBox a must-use app that may become one of the most popular available. It is currently working extremely fast and shows no signs of slowing down.
The foregoing add-ons change periodically, Full Stream Ahead TV modifies Sticks with those that have been effective for a while. For those who subscribe to our video series to learn how to keep up-to-date on new add-ons, they will have the most beneficial streaming TV FireTV Stick.
One question that arises, “Is streaming legal?” The following is Full Stream Ahead TV’s research and opinion alone. We do not condone the downloading and use of copyright material. We do condone that which is legal under the current streaming laws of the United States and recommend those who use a modified FireTV Stick to do the same.
Copyright Law Regarding Downloading/File Sharing and Real Time Streaming
To determine copyright law and the internet, one must understand the difference between downloading/file sharing and real time streaming, as downloading/file sharing of copyrighted material is illegal. There is no copyright law that pertains to real time streaming.
Definitions of Downloading and Real Time Streaming
The definition of streaming: “Streaming video is content sent in compressed form over the Internet and displayed by the viewer in real time. With streaming video or streaming media, a web user does not have to wait to download a file to play it. Instead, the media is sent in a continuous stream of data and is played as it arrives.”
The definition of Illegal downloading: “Obtaining files that you do not have the right to use from the Internet. Copyright laws in the United States prohibit Internet users from obtaining copies of media that they do not legally purchase.”
The courts have regularly held that illegal downloading of copyrighted material is an infringing act that can subject both the downloader and the facilitator to civil penalties.
Streaming, on the other hand, especially on a FireTV Stick, is the ability to watch live and archived content as it plays. The activity does not reproduce the protected content as is the case when a file is reproduced and disseminated through downloading. A stream plays and disappears from the watcher’s screen afterwards.
So, is a FireTV Stick user violating law?
Based on the understanding of copyright law and the difference between downloading and streaming, no, for the following reasons:
1. Streaming content is not the same activity as downloading content. Downloading saves a copy of a work locally and distributes that copy to other parties illegally. Stop a movie or TV show and look for it in a folder on the FireTV Stick and you won’t find it, it wasn’t downloaded;
2. Not only are you not downloading, you are not performing any file sharing;
3. You’re paying for a subscription to the channels;
4. Many of the thousands of channels available on the FireTV Stick when modified are “free” channels, being able to choose many U.S. markets and their local stations and thousands of public channels worldwide. Staying within those free channels is what Full Stream Ahead TV subscribes to. For example, there are over 100 local channels from each of the 4 major networks – ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, a combined 400+ local channels.
The Type of Streaming that is Legal and Illegal
Jim Gibson, director of the Intellectual Property Institute at the University of Richmond law school, told Business Insider that devices such as the FireTV Stick, even modified is not illegal.
He states that online content breaks the law in two cases: 1 – When the user downloads even part of a file — called “pseudo-streaming” — it counts as a copy of copyrighted material, which is illegal and, 2 – when the user displays content as a “public performance” — namely, when it’s shown to a substantial number of people outside the normal family circle and its close acquaintances — it also constitutes a copyright violation.
So what is Pseudo streaming? – It allows the random seeking of channels – movies and shows with the http protocol. Initially, while the file is played from the beginning, a user may then wish to point to a part of the file which hasn’t been downloaded yet. This capability is called “seeking” and it makes possible to download and start playing any part of the media file. This is often referred to as pseudo-streaming. The modified apps placed on the FireTV Stick do not offer this capability, so therefore, there is no pseudo-streaming, and hence, no violation of law.
Understanding IGMP and RTSP Protocols that Don’t Violate Law
IPTV primarily uses IP multicasting with Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) for live television broadcasts. On-Demand programs primarily use the Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), both of which are real streaming, not pseudo streaming or downloading. Both are real time streaming protocols, not a pseudo streaming protocol.
Real Time Streaming transfers real-time data from multimedia to an endpoint device such as the FireTV Stick by communicating directly with the server streaming the data. The protocol establishes and controls the media stream between client devices and servers by serving as a network remote control for time-synchronized streams of continuous media, such as audio and video. It does not stream the multimedia itself but communicates with the server that streams the multimedia data. When a user pauses a video he is streaming, for example, RTSP conveys the user’s request to pause the video to the video streaming server, because it is not on any downloaded file.
RTSP started as a way to allow users to play audio and video straight from the internet, rather than having to download media files to their devices. The protocol has been applied for various uses, including internet camera sites, online education and internet radio.
Jim Gibson also went on to say, “It always depends on the uses. GM can make a car. You can use it as a getaway car in a bank robbery, or you can use it to get work. So we don’t say that GM is on the hook just because it provides a technology that could possibly be used illegally”.
The same goes for streaming devices, the FireTV Stick is not illegal, the real time stream is not illegal, but if someone purchases a hard drive and modifies it to download movies and TV shows that are copyrighted, then it becomes illegal. However, while Full Stream Ahead TV does not condone such activity, a home user could in different ways set up a FireTV Stick or another android system to do just that.
Learn to Stream
Join us to learn how a basic FireTV Stick works, right out of the box, from hardware to the settings menu to the default software. Also learn how to use a modified FireTV Stick – installed 3rd party add-ons such as Live TV (Internet Protocol TV – IPTV) and On-Demand TV providers.