Streaming services appear to have taken over the TV viewing world.
Broadcast and cable television now lie on the fringes as live TV streaming services take center stage and continue to grow in popularity.
And among the top tools bringing this on-demand action into our living rooms are Amazon’s streaming devices.
But the big question for many is: Do I need Amazon Fire Stick if I have a smart TV?
Let’s find out.
Do I Need a Fire Stick with a Smart TV?
You don’t need to pair your smart TV with a Fire Stick. You can use it alright, but it is not necessary.
You use the Fire Stick to stream TV shows and other content from your favorite streaming services. Your smart TV is capable of doing the same. So as long as you can access your favorite streaming apps on your TV, you do not need the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
That said, there may be times when it makes sense to have a Fire Stick in addition to the smart TV. Here are some examples:
1. When you’ve subscribed to Amazon Prime
Your Amazon Prime membership covers Prime Video as well as Amazon Music Prime.
The two give you access to thousands of free videos and music. To a movie or music buff, it’s a good deal. For this alone, you can get a Fire Stick.
2. When your smart TV does not feature the apps you want
The streaming services you’d like to access may not be accessible through the smart TV. But you can get them via the Fire Stick. In this case, it’s necessary to buy the streaming stick.
On the other hand, if you hardly stream content, you don’t need the Fire Stick. You can use your smart TV to watch cable networks like any good old regular TV set.
What Is the Point of a Fire Stick If I Have a Smart TV?
Fire Stick offers benefits you wouldn’t get from a smart TV. The main ones are:
More streaming options
The Fire Stick offers access to more than 14,000 apps (both free and paid). That’s far more than any smart TV offers. You can:
- pick and drop as many apps as you like
- subscribe to apps that are exclusive to the Fire TV Appstore
- get more options to curate and customize your viewing experience
Compared to a smart TV, the Fire Stick is more user-friendly. There are three main ways in which this is most noticeable:
Smaller, better remote
The Fire Stick remote is compact and comes with only a few buttons. Thus, it’s super easy to operate. A first-time user will not have trouble figuring out what each button does.
By contrast, the smart TV remote is bigger, with a lot more buttons. Users press all these different buttons to maneuver through the TV menu. The whole process can seem like too much work.
Faster response time
The Fire Stick has a faster response time than the TV. Apps launch quicker, and menu items load faster than on the TV.
Fire TV Stick is 100% a streaming device. So its entire design and structure support on-demand content viewing. That’s why it loads quicker and offers a smooth streaming experience.
The smart TV is foremost a TV set, with its streaming function being an added benefit. It lacks the streaming refinement of the Fire Stick. So the streaming experience it offers can be a little bumpy.
The Fire TV Stick interface is clutter-free and easy to navigate. It takes a few steps to find, add, and launch videos or apps. And it all adds up to a pleasant user experience.
You’ll have to navigate through more menu entries to find what you need. So you’ll go through more steps to access, add, and launch the same videos on a smart TV.
Frequent software updates
Amazon updates Fire Stick software regularly. To find updates, all you need to do is check for updates in Settings, then download and install them.
By installing the latest software updates, you ensure:
- the stick continues to work as it should
- the quality of the streaming experience does not go down
Software updates for the smart TV apps interface may not be as frequent. So you don’t always enjoy the new features, bug fixes, and other solutions a software update offers.
How to Use an Amazon Fire Stick with a Smart TV?
Setting up the Fire TV Stick to work with your smart TV is easy.
- The first step involves connecting the stick to power.
Your Amazon Fire TV Stick comes with a power adapter and USB power cable.
Plug the adapter into an electric outlet. Plug one end of the USB power cable into the adapter. Then insert the other end into the Fire Stick.
- Plug the Fire Stick into your TV’s HDMI port.
Your Fire Stick also comes with an HDMI extender. When the TV ports near the HDMI port have devices plugged in, you may struggle to insert the stick into the port.
Connecting the HDMI extender to the Fire Stick will make it easy to plug the device into the TV.
- The stick comes with a remote and batteries. Pair the Fire TV remote with the TV.
To do that:
- Insert the batteries into the remote.
- Turn on the TV.
- Go to Source and select the HDMI port you’ve used to connect the stick as input.
The remote will detect the Fire Stick, and the two should automatically pair.
Sometimes, the devices won’t pair, in which case, you can:
- Press and hold the Home button until you see a “Press to start” message pop up on the screen. This takes about 10 seconds.
- Move the remote to within 10 feet (3 m) of the Fire Stick.
- Remove the batteries from the remote. Wait at least 30 seconds before reinstalling the batteries.
- Press and hold the home button.
- Reset the remote.
To reset the remote:
- Unplug the Fire Stick.
- Press and hold the Left + Menu buttons (+ Back button in some remotes) for 12 seconds.
- Release the buttons.
- Wait 5 seconds before removing the batteries from the remote.
- Replug the Fire Stick.
- Wait 1 minute before reinstalling the batteries into the remote.
- Press the home button.
The steps differ slightly for each remote. So follow the resetting procedure Amazon outlines for your remote.
If the TV and Fire TV Stick don’t pair after this, press Home on the remote for 10 seconds, then release. This extra step should complete the pairing process.
Although you don’t need a Fire Stick to use a smart TV, it’s not unusual to see folks pairing the two.
A smart TV offers a limited number of apps. But the Fire Stick is the doorway to thousands of apps and streaming services.
Get yourself a Fire Stick if:
- you’re a heavy user of streaming services
- you’ve paid for Amazon Prime services