The Amazon Fire TV stick is an extremely handy and highly portable device for getting streaming content on any television. Once you own one, the only other thing you need is a wireless internet connection and a television with an HDMI port. This convenience and portability has led to a lot of people who travel a lot—be it for work or leisure—to take their Fire Stick on the road with them. With its small size and easy setup, bringing the Fire Stick along means you only need to input the WiFi password of your hotel or Airbnb to gain access to the device; once you’re connected to the web, you’re already logged into your Netflix account, or the accounts of any other streaming service you use.
Unfortunately, disaster can strike, and if you forgot to bring the remote control with you it might seem like you’re out of luck. Well don’t worry—we’re here to help. Not only is it possible to connect your Fire Stick to the internet if you forgot to bring a remote, but you can continue to use your Fire Stick without a remote once you have it connected. Let’s take a look at how.
Use an HDMI-CEC remote
Are you near a Walmart or Best Buy? Chances are you might be able to pick up a third-party remote, similar to a universal remote, for just a few bucks. These remotes are typically designed to control all sorts of devices, including Roku, Apple TV, and most relevant to this article, Fire TV. Some are more universal, offering their support for all sorts of different boxes, while others are marketed directly for Fire TV owners. You might be wondering how it works, but generally, it’s actually pretty simple, using a universal standard known as HDMI-CEC.
HDMI-CEC stands for HDMI-Consumer Electronics Control, and it is a relatively new standard for consumer electronics, allowing 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 in your current predicament?
Well, as we mentioned, you might be able to pick up a smart universal remote that does the work for you. But if you’re lucky, and you’re staying at a place that has a newer television, you might be able to control your Fire Stick right from the remote your television is using. 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. Most high-quality TVs should have it, though, 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. 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.
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.
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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