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How To Get Local Channels on an Amazon Fire TV Stick

Posted by Robert Hayes on August 31, 2019

The Amazon Fire TV stick is a remarkable way to get all sorts of streaming video content directly onto your TV without the hassle and expense of a cable solution. All you need is a good Internet connection, and you can watch a huge variety of free video content, as well as upgrade to paid channels and services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. About the only thing missing from the Fire TV stick is your local channels. However, there are ways to get your local channels on your Fire TV stick. In this article, I will lay out several different alternatives to get access to this content.

There are at least five ways to get access to local content on your Amazon Fire TV stick.

Digital Antenna + Media Server Software

The most conceptually straightforward way is to buy a digital antenna, attach it to a computer running a media server solution such as a Plex Media Server, and then install the Plex client app on your Fire TV stick. This will let you access all those local channels via the Plex app on your Fire TV stick. Setting up a Plex server isn’t completely trivial, however, and how to do it is outside the scope of this article. Check out this tutorial on how to connect your Plex server to your Fire TV stick. The advantages of this approach are that you will get every local channel that broadcasts in your area, and it’s absolutely free once you’ve paid for the antenna. The disadvantage is that you’ll be dependent on the physical signal, so if there is bad weather or you are far away from the broadcaster, your picture quality may degrade.

Channel-Specific Apps

Many TV stations have their own Amazon Fire TV Stick apps. However, these apps only work for the one channel, so if you want to add all your local channels, you will have to hunt down all the separate apps. Still, this is a bargain-basement solution that will also be quite reliable. In addition, lots of cable channels have apps as well. Finding the apps is easy – in your Fire TV Stick, go to Apps -> Categories -> Movies & TV.

Kodi

You can get access to some local programming via Kodi, an open-source media server solution that has a lot of repositories (add-ons) that offer local channels from all over the world. The disadvantage of Kodi is that the repository community is fairly anarchic – you’ll have to do a lot of searching and looking for the channels you want. The plus side is that it’s again free, and there are a LOT of channels of all sorts of content that you won’t find anywhere else. Of course we have a walkthrough on installing Kodi to your Fire TV Stick.

Skinny Bundle

One easy way to get local programming is to buy access to it via what the TV industry has started to call a “skinny bundle”. If you’ve ever had cable TV, you know that the packages they sell you tend to be huge, with dozens or even hundreds of channels. While great in theory, these “fat bundles” usually included huge amounts of content that you didn’t want and would never watch, yet were forced to pay for. Today, non-cable providers have started to offer skinny bundles. Skinny bundles are selections of channels, usually curated around a theme or customizable by the user, that sell for a lot less than the cable companies charge. Skinny bundles are delivered over the Internet, so you don’t need a cable or satellite connection to get them – just a good Internet connection. The advantage of this approach is that you know what you’re getting, and it’s reliable and very easy to set up. The downside, of course, is that it costs money.

Since the skinny bundles are the most practical solution for most users, I’ll discuss several good ones and give more information about them. Note that for skinny bundles, your local IP address is very important, because that’s how bundles “know” which local channels to show you. Sometimes your ISP may give you an IP address that doesn’t match your physical location, so it’s important to check this before you order a local bundle. You can check what location your IP address is assigned to at Whatismyipaddress.com. If your address doesn’t match your locale, you’ll want to contact your ISP.

When selecting a service to use, check out their channel list before you sign up. Some services offer different channels in different regions. It makes sense to select the service that shows the most local content in your city rather than the service you like the look of best. It’s up to you though. Each service should have a page dedicated to channel listings.

For example fubo lists available channels and regions on this page. Sling TV lists theirs here, DirectTV Now here and so on.

Sling TV

Sling TV is a neat service that includes basic channels as a core package and then lets you add on the other channels you want. There are three main package levels, Sling Orange, Sling Blue and Sling Orange and Blue. All offer a range of channels and features depending on where you live. Sling TV offers a 7-day free trial.

Sling Orange costs $15 a month for over 30 channels and a single stream. Blue includes almost 50 channels and up to three streams for the same price while the top tier combines the two packages for $25 a month. (Prices as of April 2019.)

Hulu Live TV

Hulu Live TV has one of the widest channel selections of any of these services. Much depends on where you live and the main page requests your zip code to tell you exactly what you can expect. This service includes many of the local and national channels you pay a whole lot more from with cable and offers HD streaming to any device, including the Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Hulu Live TV costs $44.99 a month, which includes a complete subscription to the usual Hulu content. Exact channel selections will vary as above. It is expensive but the amount of content available is huge. There is a 7-day free trial.

DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now is similar to Hulu in that it offers a huge selection of local channels and national ones. Again, it depends on your zip code but the selection should include your local networks as well as the national ones, plus lots and lots of sports and movies and pretty much anything you care to view.

DirecTV Now is priced similarly at $50 per month for 40+ channels, including HBO. There is also a “Max” option at $70 per month which adds HBO, Cinemax, 10 additional channels, and more sports coverage. There is a 7 day free trial and they often run discounts or promotions that can offer a little saving.

fuboTV

fuboTV is lesser known but a must-try for sports fans. Their local channel listings used to be non-existent but thanks to pressure from users and the competition the service is upping its game. It now offers a range of local TV channels as well as national ones within their packages. It is still sports-centric but has a wider product list now. fuboTV costs $44.99 per month or $49.99 per month for the ‘fubo Extra’ bundle. That gets you over 75 channels, two streams and Fire TV support. The fubo Extra gets you over 90 channels, two streams and the same Fire TV support. There is also fubo Latino that includes Spanish language content or Portugues with Portuguese language content. There is of course a free trial offer.

Multi-Channel Apps

Finally, there are a number of apps available for the Fire TV stick that provide free access to hundreds of TV channels, including local content stations for many areas. This may not get you local channels for YOUR area, but rather for major metro areas – but it’s always worth looking, and these apps provide huge quantities of high-quality content legitimately (sometimes) and for free (always). I’ll review some of the ones that we’ve tested.

Aside from the dubious legitimacy, there are two potential problems with these multi-channel apps. One is that there is no programming guide and no program selection; you don’t get to pick a particular program and watch it from the beginning, pause it, etc. Rather, you’re opening up a channel, and what’s playing is what’s playing. The other problem is that the streams do not always work perfectly; in testing these apps on a decent but not remarkable Internet connection, I was successful in launching particular channels perhaps 90 to 95 percent of the time. It usually works. It doesn’t always work. On the other hand, it’s free.

LiveNet TV

LiveNet TV is an app that provides access to more than 800 channels, including movie, entertainment, news, sports, kids, cooking, and much more. The app has channels from the US, the UK, Europe, Pakistan, India and other locales. For the most part, the channels are not going to be local to your area, but there are some channels (especially in the news category) that are purely local. The app is ad-supported, so periodically you may have an advertisement pop up as you launch a program, but ads are largely non-obtrusive.

Because of the questionable ownership of some of the material on LiveNet TV, the app is not available in the app store and it has to be sideloaded onto your Amazon Fire TV Stick. Fortunately this is straightforward, and I will give you a quick walkthrough.

  1. If you have not already downloaded the Downloader app from the Amazon store, do so, as it is the basic tool used to access files from your Fire TV Stick.
  2. Go to the Settings menu and set “Apps from Unknown Sources” to on, and “ADB Debugging” to on.
  3. Launch the Downloader app and navigate to https:\\livenettv.to.
  4. Scroll down to the Install button and tap it using your Fire TV Stick remote.
  5. Let the install run and accept whatever prompts are provided.
  6. Open the app and browse through the 800+ channels that are available!

When you first select a stream on LiveNet TV, it will ask you what video player you want to use to show the stream. There are a number of options listed, but most of them are not going to be installed on your Fire TV Stick. You can go looking for them in the app store or via sideloaded locations, or you can just choose the “Android Video Player” option, which IS pre-installed on your Fire TV Stick.

Mobdro

Mobdro is similar to LiveNet TV but has a more US-focused channel lineup. There are movie, news, sports, religion, kids, and other channels, and the app is constantly adding more as the streams become available. The news channels in particular are likely to be locally focused, and there are search functions to allow you to find the channels you are looking for specifically, rather than having to scroll through hundreds of screens of channel icons, which is fun at first but becomes tiring if you just want to find CNN and check the news. The Mobdro interface is more sophisticated and has better controls than the other apps.

The installation procedure for Mobdro is similar as well. The app is not available in the app store and it has to be sideloaded onto your Amazon Fire TV Stick. Fortunately this is straightforward, and I will give you a quick walkthrough.

  1. If you have not already downloaded the Downloader app from the Amazon store, do so, as it is the basic tool used to access files from your Fire TV Stick.
  2. Go to the Settings menu and set “Apps from Unknown Sources” to on, and “ADB Debugging” to on.
  3. Launch the Downloader app and navigate to https:\\mobdro.bz.
  4. Scroll down to the Install button and tap it using your Fire TV Stick remote.
  5. Let the install run and accept whatever prompts are provided.
  6. Open the app and browse through the channels that are available!

Mobdro has its own playback software so you will not need to pick a video player. Mobdro is ad-supported, but you can turn off the ads if you wish by changing a setting; if you turn off ads, then Mobdro will “borrow” your Fire TV Stick’s resources when the device is idle. That seems a little sketchy so I just leave the ads turned on.

Swift Stream Live TV

Swift Streamz Live TV has more than 700 channels available, organized into national categories, which allows you to get the local channels for the US, the UK, and literally dozens of countries in Asia, Europe and elsewhere. The installation procedure for Swift Streamz is the same as for the other apps.

  1. If you have not already downloaded the Downloader app from the Amazon store, do so, as it is the basic tool used to access files from your Fire TV Stick.
  2. Go to the Settings menu and set “Apps from Unknown Sources” to on, and “ADB Debugging” to on.
  3. Launch the Downloader app and navigate to http:\\www.swiftstreamz.com.
  4. Scroll down to the Download button and tap it using your Fire TV Stick remote.
  5. Let the install run and accept whatever prompts are provided.
  6. Open the app and browse through the channels that are available!

Swift Streamz is ad-supported and there is no way to turn the ads off that I found, but again they are not obtrusive. Swift Streamz does require you to select a video player, though as with LiveNet TV, the default Android video player is supported and available without any additional downloads.

Ready for an upgrade? Your Fire TV Stick is cool – how about adding a powerful streaming media server? You can do that with the Amazon Fire TV Cube.

Want to do more with your Fire TV Stick?

Showbox is a movie and show app that many people swear by – we’ll show you how to add Showbox to your Amazon Fire TV Stick.

We’ve got a good overview of getting the most out of your Fire TV stick.

Here’s our tutorial on using your Fire TV stick with a Vizio TV.

We’ve got a guide to watching ESPN on your Fire TV Stick.

Here’s how to install YouTube on your Fire TV Stick.

We have a walkthrough on adding music to your Fire TV Stick.

Netflix glitching out? Here’s how to fix Netflix issues on your Fire TV Stick.

 

6 thoughts on “How To Get Local Channels on an Amazon Fire TV Stick”

Gary Davis says:
How can I get local channels outside of my new area? Moved 20 miles across the GA & N.C. line & Dish now will only let me see Atlanta channels, yet we are much closer to Chattanooga & have nothing in common with Atlanta.
Reply
Chivas Regal says:
How about an antenna?? If you use an HDhomerun, Airtv, Clearchannel tv, Mohu Airwave, or possible others I am not aware of, you can use a basic HD antenna and have clear HDTV for free on your firestick with no mothly costs whatsoever. I didn’t even mention the Amazon recast which has a built in HD 500GB-1TB to DVR if you are into that. There is no need to sign up for any of these services, just do your research
Reply
Angie says:
If you use the HD antenna then I’m guessing you would need a separate HD antenna for each TV you want local channels on??
Reply
Sabrina says:
No, in fact, you don’t need a separate one. You just need a splitter to however many tv’s are in your home. Such as I have one antenna and 3 tv’s and it works on all of them at the same time. I just have a 3 way splitter going to them all. I installed it all myself in under an hour.
Cindy Gamblin says:
I have the nbc app and have live tv but I live in Delano, TN and should be getting either Knoxville Or Chattanooga local news but for some reason it is giving me Nashville local news. How do I change it? I have put in my zip code but it still won’t change over.
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Ken W. says:
Either contact the app provider, or if you moved recently make sure you update your payment address. I had to do that for sling. Then all was well.
Reply
Clarence K Rucker says:
Anything new on local live TV on firestick.
Reply
Elaine says:
What is or where do I get a Plex media server. I have Hulu on Roku in another room. Can u help me?
Reply
Freon Sandoz says:
I must be looking at the Sling channel list wrong, because I don’t see any local or network channels (ABC, NBC, CBS) at all!
Reply
Jo says:
Depends where you live. I can only get Fox and NBC On Demand (No live NBC).
Reply

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This Guide Last Updated: August 31, 2019

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