How to get started with your new Amazon Fire TV streaming box. We reveal our best seven essential tips and tricks for connecting headphones, casting your mobile phone, setting your own screensaver and setting up parental controls on the Fire TV, plus how to game on Amazon’s streaming device.
So you’ve joined the streaming TV generation with a shiny new Amazon Fire TV – good for you. You might already know some of the basics, such as how to use Netflix, but there’s a lot more to Amazon’s TV streaming box than just kicking back with your favourite show.
From gaming to mobile screen mirroring and setting up parental controls to protect your kids, this little box of tricks can do it all. Here’s our pick of the seven best things you must try when you set up your new Amazon Fire TV.
Get started with the Amazon Fire TV: How to get gaming on your Fire TV
The Amazon Fire TV is more than just a streamer for movies and videos, it’s a gaming console too. You can even opt to splash out extra and get a dedicated gaming controller, for truly immersive gaming experiences.
There are plenty of Android games on offer so why not try a few out? Asphalt 8 is a great racing game that, as the name suggests, has been developed over sometime to offer a great experience that you’d think was full-on console gaming rather than over a streaming device.
Read next: Best Amazon Fire TV apps and games
Get started with the Amazon Fire TV: How to connect your Bluetooth headphones
If watching movies, TV and gaming on your Android TV is too addictive to stop, even after everyone else in the house has retired to bed – don’t worry. Connect your Bluetooth headphones instead and carry on in your own little world of telly streaming, without disturbing the rest of the family.
This can be easily done in Settings > Controllers and Bluetooth Devices > Other Devices.
Get started with the Amazon Fire TV: How to mirror your phone on your TV screen
Using the Amazon Fire TV you can clone your phone’s screen onto your TV’s massive display. Yup, that means anything on your smartphone can be supersized, from YouTube videos and Facebook feeds to games and even certain risque websites you might want to throw into full screen, for some hands-free entertainment.
Make sure you have Miracast support on your phone, and then turn on mirroring on the Fire TV from Settings > Display and Sounds > Enable Screen Mirroring. You can then go to the Casting setting in your phone’s settings menu and get started.
Get started with the Amazon Fire TV: How to use voice search
Pesky typing whenever you want to search for something is so last century; now it’s all about voice. Thanks to Amazon’s smart voice controls you can talk into the Amazon Fire TV remote or app remote and search simply, without the need to type. This is surprisingly accurate and you may find yourself using that as the main method of search in the future.
If you’re worried about these searches being saved for whatever reason, there’s also an option to clear your search history. This can be done from your online Amazon account by going to your profile menu section.
Get started with the Amazon Fire TV: How to set your own screensaver
Sure the layout of Amazon Fire TV is fine, but why not personalise it a bit? Yup, you can add your own background on the Fire TV so you’re met with your own photos and images every time you fire up (hoho) the box.
One of the easiest ways to do this is with your Amazon Cloud Drive. Just upload your chosen background pic to the Cloud Drive, then access it from your Fire TV to “Set as Screen Saver”.
Get started with the Amazon Fire TV: Second screen viewing
One of the cool things about Amazon Fire TV is that you can use a tablet as a second screen while viewing movies and TV, to get background info on whatever you’re watching.
As well as checking out the actors in every scene, you can take a look at trivia and other behind-the-scenes tidbits, all fed in from IMDB. The catch? It only works on Amazon Prime Video and with an Amazon Fire tablet right now. Still a nice touch though.
Get started with the Amazon Fire TV: How to setup Fire TV for the kids
Thanks to Amazon’s family friendly approach, you’re able to lock certain content using a PIN so your little ones can’t get to it. That includes certain movies, shows, games and even music and photos. Crucially, this Fire TV feature also locks purchases so you don’t end up with a huge bill.
Of course this means you’ll need to tap in the password to access your content, over and over, but you’ve got that peace of mind at least.