How To Use an Amazon Fire TV Stick on a Laptop

Posted by Jamie on November 30, 2018

TechJunkie has been publishing a lot on the subject of the Amazon Fire Stick lately. This is partly because of continued growth of the market for the device and partly in response to reader questions and requests. Today I’m going to address a reader question directly in ‘Can you use an Amazon Fire Stick on a laptop?’ I have seen this asked a couple of times over the past few weeks so its about time we answered.

A couple of the readers travel a lot and wanted to use the combination of laptop and Amazon Fire Stick to continue watching their favorite Amazon content while away from home. A couple of others lived in dorms or shared houses and wanted to watch their TV while others watched the main TV. Either way, the question is a good one.

It is also a question without a happy answer.

Using an Amazon Fire Stick on a laptop

The Amazon Fire Stick uses HDMI to connect to your TV and stream content to the screen. Most newer laptops also have HDMI to connect to external monitors, so the two should connect and just work right?

Wrong. The Amazon Fire Stick is a broadcast device which has HDMI output. The laptop’s HDMI port is also a broadcast output to be able to send signals to external screens and mirror the laptop screen elsewhere. As both are broadcast ports, they both send the signal and are not configured to receive them. This means both HDMI devices will send signal traffic but cannot listen for it so you cannot use your Amazon Fire Stick with a laptop.

That isn’t the end of the story though as you can watch Amazon content on your laptop and you can cast your laptop to an Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Watching Amazon TV on your laptop

If you’re an Amazon Prime Video subscriber you can watch it anywhere, including on a laptop. Whether you’re on Windows or Mac, you can watch whatever you want, wherever you want. You can access Prime Video or Prime Instant Video directly from a web browser or app and don’t need the Fire TV Stick to access it.

This works for those readers who travel a lot. As long as you have wireless access where you’re staying you can watch as much Amazon TV as you like. If you don’t have wireless, you can download some titles onto your laptop before you travel so you’re not marooned somewhere with only local OTA channels to contend with.

Casting from a laptop to an Amazon Fire Stick

If you want to do things the other way round and watch movies saved on your laptop on a TV, you can do that using your Amazon Fire Stick. There are two ways to do this, one is Windows 10 screen mirroring and the other is to use Plex.

First the Windows screen mirroring method as it is easier to set up:

  1. Make sure your laptop and Amazon Fire Stick are on the same WiFi network.
  2. Hold down the Home button on your Amazon remote to access Settings.
  3. Select Mirroring.
  4. Select the notification bubble in the bottom right of your Windows 10 taskbar.
  5. Select the Connect icon from the tiles at the bottom of the slider.
  6. Select your Amazon Fire Stick when Windows detects it.

Your laptop screen should now appear on the TV that you have connected your Amazon Fire Stick to. If it doesn’t look very good, change the screen resolution on your laptop until it does. Right click an empty part of the laptop desktop and select Display Settings.

Using Plex to cast from a laptop to an Amazon Fire Stick

Plex requires a little forward planning to set up but once done you can watch whatever you want from your laptop. You will be using Plex Media Server which is another favorite of TechJunkie. It’s free and very easy to use once set up.

A laptop isn’t the ideal device to run a media server but if this is your only option it can work. Plex can play content from your laptop and send it wirelessly to your Amazon Fire Stick. If this is of interest, here’s how to do it.

  1. Download and install Plex on your laptop.
  2. Follow the installation wizard to set up Plex, add media and configure the server.
  3. Download and install the Plex app onto your Amazon Fire Stick.
  4. Leave Plex running on your laptop and open the app on the Firestick.

As long as Plex is running on the laptop and both devices are accessible on the network, the app on the Firestick should automatically detect Plex and list all the media you added during setup. Now you can stream as much as you like!

It’s a shame you cannot use the Amazon Fire Stick on a laptop but you do have options. Do you know of any others? Tell us below if you do!

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This Guide Last Updated: November 30, 2018

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