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How to Use an Amazon Fire TV Stick with a Computer Monitor

The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a great little streaming solution to turn just about any TV set into a full-featured media station. As long as you have a good WiFi connection and a decent Internet speed, you can get access to a huge array of content for free and even more if you’re willing to pay a few dollars a month. The Fire TV Stick is designed to work with television sets, but what happens if you don’t have a television sitting around your apartment?

Many of us have moved away from TVs, instead switching to only using a computer and our phones for entertainment. If you happen to have an external computer monitor sitting around, here’s the good news: it will almost certainly work with your Fire Stick, with no additional work on your end.

Let’s look at the basics and the advanced techniques of using a computer monitor with your Fire Stick, and whether or not you’ll need extra hardware to do it.

The Basics

If you want to know whether or not you’ll need to put in extra work to figure all this out, here’s the easiest way to do it: plug it into the back of your monitor, switch inputs, and see if it works. If it shows up without any issues, you’re ready to go, and you don’t need to examine the rest of this guide. You may need to dive into your settings menu to adjust your audio out, depending on how you have speakers hooked up to your monitor, but for most people, it’s as simple as this.

However, if it’s not working for you, it’s worth diving deep into input requirements—especially if you have an older monitor—to figure out whether or not you need to investigate the root cause of the problem.

Input Requirements

Theoretically, the Fire TV Stick requires a monitor with an HDMI input. Modern monitors all support the HDMI standard and have at least one input port so this won’t be a problem. The Fire TV Stick uses an HDMI output, so a monitor with an HDMI port will accept your Fire TV Stick without any issues. The Fire TV Stick uses HDCP encryption to copy-protect certain forms of content, however, and some earlier HDMI-equipped monitors may not support that standard. There is a workaround for that issue if it arises, however.

Additionally, the Fire TV Stick’s HDMI output can be passed through an adapter box and converted to either RCA output (for really older monitors) or DVI output (for newer monitors but still in the pre-HDMI era).

Regardless of what type of monitor you use, it will need to have at least 720p resolution. Monitors with less than that level of resolution won’t work with the Fire TV Stick’s output regardless of what you do with it.

Audio Requirements

TV with no sound isn’t really going to cut it, so you also need a way to get audio from the Fire TV Stick. If your monitor has built-in speakers, you’re in business. If your monitor has no sound, then you’ll need a sound adapter.

Additional Hardware

Whether you will need additional hardware depends on the monitor you’re trying to connect to your Fire TV Stick. For an HDMI-equipped HDCP-compliant monitor with built-in sound, you won’t need any additional hardware at all. You can just plug your Fire TV Stick in and go. However, if you use an older monitor you may need to incorporate some additional hardware components. Here are a few that could be useful.

View HD Mini Splitter

[22]

The View HD VHD-1X2MN3D [23] splitter is a little box that basically lets you take one HDMI signal and split it to two HDMI outputs. You might use this if you had a game console or DVD player that you wanted to use with two different video displays. For our purposes in this article, however, the View HD unit is useful because it has the capability to strip out HDCP encryption from an HDMI signal. This is useful if you have an HDMI monitor that doesn’t support HDCP. As this adapter is known to have the HDCP-stripping property, I would advise sticking to this model if you need HDCP encryption removal.

Foscomax HDMI to RCA Composite Audio Converter

[24]

This handy little converter cable [25] takes an HDMI signal and turns it into an RCA signal, with both audio and composite video outputs. You would need this converter if you have a monitor that uses RCA jacks for video and sound. You could also use it to send the video to the monitor while sending the audio to a separate speaker. Note that to connect this to your Amazon Fire TV Stick, you will need a male-to-male HDMI adapter as well. I have personally used this specific adapter and it works great, but there are lots of others on the market.

HDMI to DVI Converter

[26]

These are pretty generic items; this one [27] from Amazon Basics will probably suit you. This is what you’ll use if your monitor has a DVI port but not an HDMI port. You will however need an audio extractor, as DVI doesn’t natively support audio signals.

JTech HDMI Audio Extractor

[28]

The final major tool in your arsenal is an HDMI audio extractor [29]. This item lets you convert an HDMI input into an HDMI output plus RCA sound output. This is for monitors which don’t have any sound capability. The JTech unit is well-reviewed and reasonably priced, but I haven’t personally used it and there are plenty of alternative choices.

Cables and Adapters

If you’re going to be using RCA adapters, you’ll need RCA cables as well. They are very inexpensive and easy to find; however, if you use the Foscomax converter, it has RCA cable outputs already and you won’t need additional adapters. You may also need additional HDMI cables or HDMI male-to-male adapters. All of these things are usually easy to find and inexpensive at your local big box store or an online vendor.

Hooking it Up

Hooking it all up should be relatively straightforward, though there are a lot of possible cable paths depending on what exact hardware to which you are connecting.

HDMI HDCP-Compliant Monitor with Audio

If your monitor has audio built-in, just plug your Fire Stick into the HDMI port of your monitor and switch inputs. No other steps necessary!

HDMI HDCP-Compliant Monitor without Audio

If your monitor doesn’t have computer speakers built-in, but does have an audio output port (which most have), just plug your Fire Stick into your monitor as normal, then make sure your speakers or headphones are plugged into the audio output port on the back of your monitor.

If your monitor has no audio output whatsoever, you can use the audio extractor from JTech linked above to export your audio.

  1. Connect the Fire TV Stick to the JTech HDMI Audio Extractor.
  2. Connect the JTech to the monitor with an HDMI cable.
  3. Connect the JTech to the speakers with RCA cables.

HDMI Non-Compliant Monitor with Audio

  1. Connect the Fire TV Stick to an HDMI male to male adapter.
  2. Connect the other end of the male to male adapter to the View HD Mini Splitter.
  3. Connect the View HD Mini Splitter to the HDMI port of the monitor.

HDMI Non-Compliant Monitor without Audio

  1. Connect the Fire TV Stick to an HDMI male to male adapter.
  2. Connect the other end of the male to male adapter to the View HD Mini Splitter with an HDMI cable.
  3. Connect the View HD Mini Splitter to the JTech HDMI Audio Extractor.
  4. Connect the JTech to the monitor with an HDMI cable.
  5. Connect the JTech to the speakers with RCA cables.

DVI Monitor with Audio

  1. Connect the Fire TV Stick to the JTech HDMI Audio Extractor.
  2. Connect the JTech HDMI Audio Extractor to the HDMI to DVI adapter.
  3. Connect the JTech HDMI Audio Extractor to the monitor’s RCA’s input with RCA cables.
  4. Connect the HDMI to DVI adapter to the monitor’s DVI port.

DVI Monitor without Audio

  1. Connect the Fire TV Stick to the JTech HDMI Audio Extractor.
  2. Connect the JTech HDMI Audio Extractor to the HDMI to DVI adapter.
  3. Connect the JTech HDMI Audio Extractor to the external speaker with RCA cables.
  4. Connect the HDMI to DVI adapter to the monitor’s DVI port.

RCA Monitor with Audio

  1. Connect the Fire TV Stick to an HDMI male to male adapter.
  2. Connect the male to male adapter to the Foscomax composite converter.
  3. Connect the Foscomax converter to the monitor with the built-in RCA cables.

RCA Monitor without Audio

  1. Connect the Fire TV Stick to an HDMI male to male adapter.
  2. Connect the male to male adapter to the Foscomax composite converter.
  3. Connect the Foscomax converter to the monitor’s video inpout with the built-in RCA cables.
  4. Connect the Foscomax converter to the external speaker with the built-in RCA cables.

Once everything is connected, turn on the monitor and connect the Fire TV Stick’s power adapter. You may have to fiddle with the settings on the monitor to use the correct input. Once that’s done, you should see the Fire TV Stick setup screen and can get started streaming!