We live in a golden age of movies. Younger readers may find this hard to believe, but there was once a time when watching a movie meant going to a theater and seeing what was showing, and that was it. There were no movies at home. Well, maybe someone had an 8mm projector and a couple of (boring) short films about bears or something, but Star Wars? You saw Star Wars when it was in the theater, or you didn’t see it at all. Times have certainly changed.
Today, we all have access to gigantic libraries of movies, both new releases and classics (and not-so-classics) of the past. Whether you use your smartphone, your computer or a TV, you’re able to access enormous numbers of legitimate (and not so legitimate) copies of movies. Sites like Hulu, Netflix and Prime Video stream terabytes of video content on a constant basis. You can watch pretty much anything you want to watch whenever you want to watch it.
One of the more common solutions for consumers to stream video to their television is the Amazon Fire TV Stick. This raises the question – can you download movies to your Fire TV Stick? Not directly. The Stick doesn’t have local storage in which to store any video; it has to stream things from another source. However, there are ways to download movies onto other devices for later consumption. In addition, your Fire TV Stick is able to access Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Netflix, or similar services, to get movies that way. In this article I’m going to show you several different options for getting movie content onto your Fire TV Stick.
Stream movies on the Fire TV Stick
The first and easiest way to gain access to movies is to use Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, or another service. Just install the appropriate app. You will need a subscription for most such sites, although there are some good free alternatives, and surf the available libraries to your heart’s content. Note that not all movies you might want to watch are going to be available on any one service; sometimes you have to bounce around between several different sites to find what you’re looking for.
There are a number of good paid and free streaming services; here are some of the most popular ones.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is a bundled service that’s included for free with a subscription to Amazon Prime, Amazon’s flagship quick-and-free-delivery option for its online retail business. Prime generally costs $119 per year or $12.99 per month. For most people, the Prime Video subscription is not the primary reason for getting Prime, but it is a really nice bonus with a lot of solid high-end movie and TV content.
Netflix is one of the most popular streaming services around. With plans starting at $9/month, it’s an excellent choice for a main video streaming service. There are lots of movies, TV series and an ever increasing amount of original content.
Hulu is another major streaming site, with the very attractive benefit of offering upgrades to premium channel packages like HBO and Showtime. It also produces some high quality original content. Starting as low as $5.99 a month, Hulu also offers some free content, usually older seasons of shows it has licenses for and classic movies.
Pluto TV has the advantage of being completely free to watch, as well as providing a really nice cable-TV-like array of channels that really feels like you have a (low-end) cable TV subscription. There aren’t a lot of premium movies or shows, but the price is right and the service is very reliable.
Classic Cinema Online
Classic Cinema Online is one of the all-time greats among free service providers. There are no new movies here, because CCO focuses purely on the old classics, and there are some truly amazing films (and a lot of B-movie filler) on the site. This is a must-have for fans of old Hollywood.
Popcornflix is owned by Screen Media Ventures and has licenses to show more than 1,500 movies, streamed free. They have a good mix, with some films that nobody has ever heard of but quite a few classics and even some newer films.
Viewster is an indie-oriented streaming channel with a lot of fan-made and independent content. It has a lot of animation and anime, so if you’re a fan of those genres, this is definitely a site worth checking out.
Use Kodi to watch downloaded movies on an Amazon Fire TV Stick
If you want to actually download content, have it on your local network, and then stream it to your Fire TV Stick on demand, then Kodi is the solution for you. Kodi is a media server system that takes a little work to get set up with, but once it’s working, it’s fantastic. You’ll need to install Kodi both on your Fire TV Stick and on whatever computer are setting up as a media center. Here’s how to do it.
- Select Settings on the Fire TV Stick Home screen.
- Navigate to Device and Developer Options.
- Turn Allow apps from unknown sources On.
- Navigate back to the Fire TV Home screen.
- Use Search to find Downloader and select to install it.
- Open Downloader and allow it to access your photos, media and files.
- Downloader will prompt you for a URL, add ‘http://kodi.tv/download’ and select Go.
- Select the most recent build of Kodi and then Install.
- Navigate back to the Fire TV Home screen.
- Select Your Apps & Games and find the Kodi app.
- Install Kodi onto the computer that has all your media.
- Open Kodi on the computer.
- Select the gear icon to open Settings.
- Select Service Settings and then select UPnP/DLNA.
- Toggle Share my libraries and all options on.
- Open the Kodi app on your Fire TV Stick.
- Select Files from the left menu and Add videos.
- Select Browse and then UPnP Devices.
- Select Video Library and select OK.
- Rename the library if necessary and browse it to play your movie.
If you follow these instructions, you should be able to stream your downloaded movies to your Amazon Fire TV Stick. Kodi is exceptionally good at managing itself and should find the other Kodi app, link to it and stream content directly to it. One more way to enjoy your content!
Want more information about how to stream video?
Like the torrenting scene? Check out our review of alternatives to Putlocker for streaming movies.
You need fast Internet to get good streams – check out our tutorial on optimizing your network speed.
Want a little more information about Kodi? Here’s our guide to watching movies on Kodi.