The age of streaming television has brought along plenty of advantages compared to the old way of watching television, but if there’s one thing we miss, it’s the ability to stream live events and premieres. Sure, plenty of content can wait until the next day, using services like Hulu or iTunes to watch the newest episode of your favorite TV show the following night. Other content, however, like awards shows or sporting events, really require live television to get the most out of them. But without paying upwards of $50 per month for a cable subscription, or around the same price for a monthly online streaming subscription like Hulu Live or YouTube TV, there’s only so many ways you can get live television for cheap.
Thankfully, if you’re willing to sideload apps onto your Fire Stick and you understand the risks involved with certain apps on Fire OS, you can install Mobdro on your device to gain access to a ton of live streaming television channels. Mobdro is one of the best ways to watch live TV on your Fire Stick without the use of Kodi. It’s an app designed around being able to easily access streams of all your favorite channels, from live movies to news stations like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News, to premium channels like HBO, to locals like ABC and NBC. The app takes most streams from the east coast, so plan on everything airing in Eastern time zones.
If you’re ready to install Mobdro, dive into the app installation instructions below.
Using a VPN
When using Tea TV, 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.
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 isn’t a standard application available through the Amazon Appstore. Be it basic piracy apps like Showbox or Terrarium TV, or more complicated applications like Kodi, which allow you to fully load your Fire Stick with a new interface, along with thousands of applications and add-ons to completely change how you watch movies forever. These systems are easy to setup 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 you’re caught by your ISP, you can land yourself in some hot water, including losing access to your internet or even facing major fines from groups like the MPAA.
So, if you’re looking to consume pirated content on your Fire Stick, the best way to go about keeping yourself safe from getting caught is to use 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. 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 on your Fire Stick, you’ll need to start by turning the option on within the settings of your device. Start by opening up your Fire TV display by waking up your device and holding the Home button on your Fire TV remote to open the quick actions menu. 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 quickly load your list of preferences. Alternatively, you can head to the home screen of your Fire TV and scroll all the way to the right along the top list of your menu, selecting the settings option.
Press the down arrow on your remote to move to the settings menu of your display. 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 Mobdro 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 in order to properly download and install these APK files, since out of the box, your Fire Stick can’t actually do it. 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. That app is, appropriately, called Downloader. It has a bright orange icon with a down-facing arrow icon, and its developer name is “TroyPoint.com.” The app has hundreds of thousands of users, and is generally regarded as a great application for your device. Hit the download button on the Amazon Appstore listing for Downloader 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 on the app listing to 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. That said, the main aspect of the application we need is the URL entry field that takes up most of your display inside the application.
Downloading the APK
With Downloader installed we can finally move forward with actually installing Mobdro. 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 Mobdro for you to plug in. Using your Fire Stick remote, type the following URL into the field provided, then hit Go on your Fire Stick.
That link will provide you with a recent version of Mobdro, and thanks to the auto-update built into the application, you can update the application once it’s been launched. With the Mobdro APK now downloaded onto your device, all that’s left to do now is install the app directly onto your device. When the installation display for Mobdro appears on your screen, you’ll be greeted with a display that alerts you to the information Mobdro 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’s still very ‘Android.’ Use your remote to highlight and select the “Install” button and your device will begin to install the app.
Once installation has completed, use the menu button on your remote to open the app on your device. Mobdro opens on your Fire Stick, you’ll be met with the option to update the application. This is normal, and you should absolutely follow the options to update the application. The app doesn’t take long to update, and once it’s finished, you’ll be greeted with the standard Tea TV layout. From here, you’ve finished installation and the options for streaming on Mobdro are left up to you.
For the most part, the app is fairly easy to browse. It has a clean layout and design, making it easy to navigate with your Fire Remote, especially if you’re used to Android-style app layouts like this. You can view a whole list of categories at the top of the application, including the ability to scroll through channel listings (which, with so many channels, can be difficult to navigate), along with categories like News, Shows, Movies, Sports, Music, and more. These allow you to select the channel you want to tune into based on the type of content you want to watch; however, if you’re looking for a specific channel, it’s often easier just to search or the listing instead of browsing for it.
As listed above, the streams take place on the Eastern coast, so assume all programs run in EST time zone. And of course, we should also mention that the app is delayed by a couple minutes, so expect your favorite shows, sports, and movies to start just a couple minutes after they usually do (in our test, most streams were delayed by about 120 seconds). You’ll be hard pressed to find any live TV app streaming online that doesn’t have a delay—even from official cable carriers—so in our opinion, it’s not a bad tradeoff.
Mobdro 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.