When it comes to watching your favorite shows and movies at home, making a decision about which streaming device to use can be tough. From Roku’s entire line of streaming devices to Google’s Chromecast and Apple TV, there’s no shortage of streaming boxes and sticks that plug into the back of your television and provide hours of entertainment via the internet.
If you don’t already own any of these devices, however, we recommend taking a long, hard look at Amazon’s line of Fire TV devices. Starting at just $39 for the 1080p Fire Stick, Amazon’s streaming device allows you to watch everything from Netflix to Hulu to HBO Now—and yes, Amazon’s own Prime Video service—all from the comfort of your couch.
But the entertainment options don’t stop there. If you’re looking to expand your options for streaming video and you’re willing to put in some work, you can truly unlock the full potential of your Amazon Fire Stick. There’s no shortage of unofficial third-party apps you can find online, but one of our favorites, CinemaHD, is an excellent choice for anyone who loves movies and television and wants the latest entertainment available. If you’re wondering how to install CinemaHD on your Fire Stick, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll cover securing your Fire Stick for streaming, enabling the installation process, and downloading the installation file from the web. Let’s dive in.
Using a VPN
When using CinemaHD, you’re streaming copyrighted content hosted online. Though some users risk their privacy by choosing to stream pirated content without the protection of a VPN on their device, we highly recommend using a VPN service to protect your data, especially if you’re using one of the less-than-legal services on this list.
Though having a VPN on is very rarely the wrong choice, the privacy it adds to your device isn’t needed to enjoy your favorite services regularly. And, although we also say that the less information you give internet service providers and online companies the better, the truth is that a VPN won’t be right for everyone. While overall a VPN provides security for your internet connection and seems like it would always be beneficial, there are a few downsides. Some VPNs can cause a slower download speed, increasing buffering and lag times. It is also not always clear exactly how encrypted your network is so you may not be getting the level of protection you need for whatever it is you’re doing. Luckily you don’t NEED a VPN for your day to day activities, but strongly conder it for the purposes listed in this article.
In general, your Fire Stick doesn’t necessarily require a VPN. However, if you’ve found your way to this page, it’s probably because you’re using your Fire Stick for something that Amazon probably didn’t intend the device to be used for. Be it basic piracy apps like Showbox or Terrarium TV, or more complicated applications like Kodi, which allow you to load your Fire Stick with a completely new interface, there are several apps that can drastically enhance your viewing experience. These systems are easy to set up and use, but there’s a big reason why people turn away from them: they aren’t entirely legal.
While thousands of users get away with consuming pirated content on the internet every day, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone gets away with piracy. If your ISP catches you, you can land yourself in some hot water, including losing access to your internet or even facing significant fines from groups like the MPAA. Generally you get a warning notification from your internet provider first. They don’t WANT to ban a paying customer, so they inform you that you need to stop, and if they see the same activity then they can take more action.
So, if you’re looking to consume pirated content on your Fire Stick, the best way to go about keeping yourself safe, and in the clear is to avoid getting caught by using a VPN. Most popular VPNs weren’t necessarily designed with piracy in mind, but they do support keeping your internet use secret so that you can catch up on the latest hit series online without having to pay for cable or subscribe to yet another streaming service. As long as you’re using a VPN, your ISP won’t be able to see your internet traffic. To check out some of our favorite VPNs, check out our guide to using VPNs on the Fire Stick here.
Turn on Unknown Apps
To sideload applications like CinemaHD on your Fire Stick, you’ll need to start by turning the option on within the settings of your device.
Start by waking up your device and holding the Home button to open the quick actions menu on your Fire TV. This menu has a list of four different options for your Fire TV: your list of apps, sleep mode, mirroring, and settings.
Select the Settings menu to load your list of preferences quickly. Alternatively, you can head to the home screen of your Fire TV and scroll to the right at the top of your menu and select the settings option.
Next, press the down arrow on your remote to open up the settings menu. Fire OS has its settings menu set up horizontally rather than vertically, so scroll through your settings menu from left to right until you find the options for My Fire TV (In older versions of Fire OS, this is labeled as Device).
Hit the center button on your remote to load the device settings. For most users, these options are mostly there for restarting or forcing your device to sleep, as well as viewing the software settings for your Fire Stick. However, there’s one option here we need to change before we can move forward. Click on Developer Options from the device settings; it’s the second down from the top, after About.
Developer Options only has two settings on Fire OS: ADB debugging and Apps from Unknown Sources. ADB debugging is used to enable ADB, or Android Debug Bridge, connections over your network. We won’t have to use ADB for this (a tool included in the Android Studio SDK), so you can leave that setting alone for now.
Instead, scroll down to the setting below ADB and press the center button. This will enable your device to install applications from sources other than the Amazon Appstore, a necessary step if we’re going to sideload CinemaHD onto our device.
A warning may appear to let you know that downloading apps from outside sources can be dangerous. Click OK on the prompt and click the Home button on your remote to head back to the home screen.
With the ability to install apps from unknown sources now enabled, we just have one more step to go. We’ll need to install an application from the Amazon Appstore to correctly download and install these APK files, since, out of the box, your Fire Stick doesn’t have this capability.
While there isn’t a specific browser application available for download inside the App Store, there is an app that allows you to download content directly to your device.
Using the built-in search function or using Alexa on your Fire Stick remote, search for “Download,” “Downloader,” or “Browser.” All three will bring forth the exact same app we’re looking for.
The app, called Downloader, has a bright orange icon with a down-facing arrow icon, and the developer’s name is “troypoint.com.” The downloader has hundreds of thousands of users and is generally regarded as a very high-quality app on the Fire Stick.
Hit the download button to add the app to your device. You won’t need to keep the app on your Fire Stick after we’ve used it for this installation process, so don’t be afraid to uninstall the app if you’d rather not keep it around.
Once the app has finished installing, hit the Open button open Downloader on your device. Click through the assorted pop-up messages and alerts detailing updates to the application until you’ve reached the main display.
Downloader includes a bunch of utilities, all neatly outlined on the left side of the application, including a browser, a file system, settings, and more.
However, what you’re going to want to pay attention to is the URL entry field that takes up most of the display. This is what you’ll use to download CinemaHD.
Downloading the APK
With Downloader installed, we can finally move forward with installing CinemaHD. To do this, all you’ll need is the proper APK download link for the application you want to install, and, thankfully, we have a direct link to FireAnime for you to plugin. Using your Fire Stick remote, type the following URL into the field provided, then hit Go on your Fire Stick.
Note: This link will install the newest stable version of CinemaHD on your Fire Stick. If you’re interested in using the beta version of CinemaHD, follow along with the guide at the bottom of this page. You can install both the beta and stable version of CinemaHD on the same device without uninstalling, so if you’re curious about what’s coming in v2.0.1 of CinemaHD, you can try it out below.
That link will provide you with a recent version of CinemaHD, and, thanks to the auto-update built into the application, you can update the app once it’s been launched.
With the CinemaHDAPK now downloaded onto your device, all that’s left to do is install the app directly onto your device. When the installation display for CinemaHD appears on your screen, you’ll be greeted with a message that tells you what the app can do and what information is can access.
For anyone who has installed APKs on Android devices previously, this screen will immediately look familiar. Though it’s the Amazon-themed version of the installation screen, it bears a strong resemblance to Android.
Use your remote to highlight and select the Install button, and your device will begin to install the app.
Once the installation has completed, use the menu button on your remote to open the app on your device. When CinemaHD opens on your Fire Stick, you’ll likely be met with the option to update the application. This is normal, and you should absolutely follow the directions to update the application. The app doesn’t take long to update, and once it’s finished, you’ll be greeted with the standard CinemaHD layout. From here, you’ve completed the installation, and you can start streaming whatever you want.
You can use your Fire TV remote to browse through the application and see what is available to watch. If you want to sort by category, you can find that option on the right side of your display.
We did notice one odd thing about the app’s user interface. Once you start streaming something through the app, you’ll have to use the directional pad on your remote to control playback rather than the actual playback controls. However, it’s not too much of a hassle, and we think it’s worth it in exchange for the vast streaming library that CinemaHD offers.
Outside of this one small limitation, however, everything else seemed to work correctly on our device, making it easy to change settings, options, stream settings, and much more right on the device itself.
Using the Beta Version
Currently, two versions of CinemaHD exist for devices like the Fire Stick, and it’s important to pick the one that suits you best. While the version we highlighted above is the newest stable version of the app, there’s also a beta of CinemaHD that allows you to test out the most recent version of the app.
Keep in mind, though, that the beta version may be unstable. While the latest version will have newer features and capabilities, don’t be surprised if you run into a few bugs. As a result, it might be better to stick with the stable version.
If you want to try out the beta version of the app, follow the exact instructions laid out above to install CinemaHD, but use the following URL instead:
That link will install the newest beta on your device. For most users, however, we suggest sticking with the standard version of the app.
Amazon Fire Sticks and Fire TVs offer the ability to stream a variety of TV shows, movies, and other content right from your TV. But, if you want to take things a step further, there are some great apps you can download to greatly expand the amount of content that you can access.
CinemaHD is one of our favorite sideloaded streaming apps currently available on the Fire Stick, but it’s far from the only app. Stay tuned to TechJunkie for more Fire Stick guides, including guides for sideloading some of the best apps online today.