How To Connect your Amazon Fire TV Stick to WiFi Without the Remote
The Amazon Fire TV stick is an extremely handy and highly portable device for getting streaming content on any TV; all you need is a wireless Internet connection and a TV with an HDMI port. You can also use it (at lower resolution) on an ordinary TV with RCA connections and a converter kit; this one works very well although you will also need a female-to-female HDMI connector. This convenience and portability has led a lot of people to take their Fire TV Stick on the road with them when traveling. The combination of free hotel Wi-Fi and nice big TVs in most chains makes a Fire TV Stick a perfect traveling companion for overnight stays or long-duration visits. Unfortunately, many people forget to bring an important component of the system along with them: the remote control.
It’s a disaster! You’ve got your TV, you’ve got your TV Stick – but how can you hook up the Fire TV Stick without the remote? Well, you’re in luck. As it happens, it’s possible not only to connect your Fire TV stick without the remote, you can even use most of the functions of the Fire TV Stick once you do get it connected. In fact, there are at least four different ways to do this. One is quite simple, but you have to have the right hardware on hand. The second way is a bit trickier and requires you to have two devices (such as a smartphone and a tablet) and to know your home network’s SSID and password. The third way is easy, but you have to have brought an Echo or Echo Dot with you. The fourth way is also easy: borrow another Fire TV Stick remote. In this article, I’ll lay out how all three solutions work and walk you through each one.
Method one: use an HDMI-CEC remote
HDMI-CEC stands for HDMI-Consumer Electronics Control, and it is a relatively new standard for consumer electronics that allows for a high degree of interoperability between devices that connect via HDMI. For example, say you have a Chromecast connected to your TV, and your TV’s input mode is currently set to a DVD player connected on another HDMI port. If you instruct the Chromecast to start playing something on the TV, it will automatically change the input on the TV to the Chromecast’s input without you having to find the remote and change the setting yourself. So how does this help you?
If the TV you’re trying to use is CEC-compatible, then you will be able to control your Fire TV Stick using the TV’s remote control. Unfortunately, although CEC came out with the HDMI 1.3 standard in 2002, not every TV made since then has implemented it, as it is an optional feature. But most high-quality TVs should have it, and if your TV supports it then your troubles are over…if you haven’t turned off CEC on your Fire TV Stick! (It is on by default.)
You may want to check to ensure that it is enabled on your Fire TV Stick, however. To check:
- Navigate to Settings and Display and Sounds.
- Select Display and Settings and check HDMI-CEC and ensure it’s enabled.
You may need to enable CEC on the television as well. The option will be found under the TV’s Settings menu. Unfortunately, most TV manufacturers don’t call it CEC, instead “branding” it with their own made-up and meaningless label. Here is a list of some of the most common TV brands and the name they’ve given the CEC feature:
- AOC: E-link
- Hitachi: HDMI-CEC
- LG: SimpLink or SIMPLINK
- Mitsubishi: NetCommand for HDMI
- Onkyo: RIHD
- Panasonic: HDAVI Control, EZ-Sync, or VIERA Link
- Philips: EasyLink
- Pioneer: Kuro Link
- Runco International: RuncoLink
- Samsung: Anynet+
- Sharp: Aquos Link
- Sony: BRAVIA Sync
- Toshiba: CE-Link or Regza Link
- Vizio: CEC
Enable CEC (by whatever name) on the TV, hook up your Fire TV Stick normally, and you should be able to both set up your Fire TV Stick and control it with the TV remote. You won’t have access to the voice control features of your device, but you’ll be able to get by with the navigational controls on the TV remote.
Method two: use your smartphone as a hotspot and another device to control the Fire TV Stick
If your TV doesn’t support CEC, or if for some reason you have it turned off on your Fire TV Stick, then you may be wondering why you can’t just use your phone as the remote for your Fire TV Stick. After all, there’s a Fire TV app for your smartphone, and at home you could use your phone as a remote anytime – even using the voice controls! Unfortunately, there’s a catch. Your smartphone doesn’t talk directly to the Fire TV Stick – instead, they both have to be on the same WiFi network. And remember, your Fire TV Stick is already set to work on your home WiFi network – which, presumably, you did not bring with you on your trip. And with no way to interface with your Fire TV Stick to change its network connection to that of your local WiFi, they won’t be able to talk with one another, so the smartphone remote control won’t work.
But there is a clever way to get it to work. Here’s what you do.
- Set up a smartphone or other device as a wireless hotspot. When you enable the hotspot, set your SSID and network password to be the same as they are on your home network, the one that the Fire TV Stick is attuned to.
- Install and run the Amazon Fire TV app on a second device. This can be a tablet, your second phone, or a borrowed phone. You’ll only need it for a minute.
- On the second device, connect to the wireless hotspot you created in step 1.
- Now your second device (the remote control) and the Fire TV Stick are connected to the same WiFi network, and can see one another!
- Connect your Fire TV Stick to the TV. Your second device will be able to see and control the Fire TV Stick.
- Use the second device to reset the network connection on your Fire TV Stick to that of the local WiFi network at the hotel or wherever you are staying.
- Turn off the hotspot.
Now you can use either your second device or your first device as the remote control for the Fire TV Stick! (Note that the reason you need two devices is that a smartphone can’t connect to its own wireless hotspot for its network connection.) As long as you know the SSID and password of the last network you connected your Amazon Fire Stick to, you’re golden.
One interesting possibility with this two-device solution is that you once you have re-established the network connection for your Fire TV Stick, you can use an Echo or Echo Dot to control the Fire TV Stick instead of using your smartphone or tablet. You’ll need the smartphone or tablet to do the initial configuration, as you can’t change the network settings with the voice commands, but once that’s done you can attune your Echo or Echo Dot to the same network and use the voice command feature to control your Stick.
Method three: borrow or buy another remote
The final way of getting your Fire TV Stick connected is to borrow or buy another Fire TV Stick remote and use it to connect the Stick to the local network. If you can find another Fire TV Stick user, you could ask to borrow their remote. Alternatively, you can visit an electronics or TV store and purchase a Fire TV Stick there in order to get access to the remote. In either event, you will need to pair the new remote to your own Fire TV Stick. This is relatively simple.
- Hold the Menu, Back and left arrow buttons down simultaneously on the remote for 10 seconds or so.
- Reboot your Amazon Fire Stick.
After the reboot the replacement remote should work, and you can then set up your Fire TV Stick. You can then either keep the new remote (if you have it lent from someone) and use it, or configure your phone as a remote as described above. If you purchased the remote, you can then return it to the store (although please be considerate and re-pair the remote and the Fire TV Stick it came with, so that the next purchaser isn’t stuck with a remote that mysteriously doesn’t work with his or her new Stick).
Do you know of any other methods for connecting a Fire TV Stick without the remote control? Please, share your ideas with us in the comments section below if you do!
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