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Amazon Fire TV Stick Review – A Cord Cutting Solution?

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My Amazon Fire TV Stick review covers my experience with the device. If you want to cut the cord, the Amazon Fire Stick can save you big money.

The Amazon Fire TV stick is another in a growing line of cord cutting options for those who want to slash their cable bill. We canceled DirecTV 18 months ago and the Fire Stick has replaced a lot of the content we watch as we’re Amazon Prime members. This Amazon Fire Stick review shares our experience using the device.

The Fire Stick is actually the second of two streaming options by Amazon. They first introduced the Amazon Fire TV as a set top box that streams content and costs $89. Here’s our Amazon Fire TV review if you prefer a set-top box option with a few more upgrades.

What Comes With the Fire TV Stick?

 

The Fire TV Stick is incredibly easy to use. As you can see from the picture below, it comes in a small box from Amazon and contains the following items:

 

Amazon Fire TV Stick                   Amazon Fire TV Stick

 

It’s not only easy to use, it’s very simple to set up. We’ve had bad experiences in the past setting up wireless routers and other pieces of technology that claim to be easy to set up but then require us to spend an hour or two on the phone with a customer service rep in Malaysia to work correctly. The Fire Stick was the complete opposite.

You take the Fire Stick out of the box, put the batteries in the remote and connect the USB cable to the dongle and then to your TV. I actually recommend, as does Amazon, to plug it in to a surrounding outlet as they provide updates to it that you will not get if you simply plug the stick into the TV. Do keep in mind the cord is a somewhat short; thankfully, we have an outlet within reach.

Once I got the Fire TV Stick out of the box we were watching a video within five minutes. In actuality, the time potentially could be less than that, but Amazon has a short intro video that walks you through how to us it as well as an option to sign up for Amazon Prime if you’re not currently a member.

As an aside, Amazon does allow you to sign up for a free 30-day trial of Prime by purchasing the Fire Stick if that’s something you want to consider.

Amazon Fire TV stick

 

Fire Stick Features

 

If you want to cut the cord, features are going to be a big thing for you. As a whole, the Fire Stick does not disappoint when it comes to features. The first thing most are concerned with are the channels you receive. Here is a list of the channels available through the Fire TV Stick:

  • Netflix
  • Crackle
  • HBO NOW
  • Watch ESPN
  • Watch HGTV
  • CBS AllAccess
  • Watch Food Network
  • BBC News
  • Hulu
  • Disney Junior
  • MLB TV Premium
  • Showtime
  • Hulu Plus
  • A&E
  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • iHeart Radio
  • Spotify
  • History Channel
  • NBA Game Time
  • PBS Kids
  • Bloomberg TV
  • Huff Post Live
  • And, of course, Amazon Prime videos

I will add that the HBO Now feature does cost $15 per month, though they do offer a free 30-day trial to test it out. We’ve added it since cutting the cord and it works great. Amazon also recently added Showtime and Starz as other add-on features for $8.99 per month if you like those channels.

Additionally, if you’re looking for a no-contract cable option, check out DirecTV’s new service in my DirecTV Now review. A no-contract cable option, get a free 7-day trial of DirecTV Now to see how the service works for you.

**Additional tip: Love NFL football but don’t know how to watch your favorite team without cable? Here’s how to watch NFL games without cable and still catch all the action!**

The Amazon Prime app is the only app that is loaded on the Fire Stick, but adding the others is relatively simple. You can also add other apps through the Amazon App store if you like, and is fairly straightforward to do.

Beyond the channels you can watch, the Fire TV Stick also has a number of games you can play but many require the Amazon Fire TV game controller, to play them.

Having used the Fire Stick for two years now I’d say you don’t need to have a Prime membership to buy and use it. Yes, it does add to the features of course, but there are plenty of options available through the standard apps and those available through the Amazon App store – you can still access things like Netflix, Hulu and your Amazon video library.

I’ve not used any of the other similar options out there like the Roku, but here is a visual from the Amazon site that covers the differences in what each offers to get a flavor of how the Fire TV Stick stands out.

Fire TV stick

What to Like and Not Like About the Fire Stick

 

I have really liked what I’ve seen from the Fire Stick over our time using it. The price alone has made it worth it. There are a few other things to really like about the Amazon stick, such as:

It’s incredibly simple to use. You can get the dongle set up and ready to go in under 10 minutes. You can’t beat that.

Fast platform. I was curious as to how fast the platform would be and have not been disappointed. The platform is super fast and ultra responsive.

A huge amount of content available. Whether or not you have Amazon Prime, there is a lot of content available on the Fire TV Stick. If you do have Prime, then you’ll be even more impressed with the available content – it competes quite well with Netflix in my opinion. Many have asked about receiving local channels since cutting the cord. We use the Mohu Leaf 50 to get local channels and it works great. Since we canceled DirecTV, getting content has been important. The Fire Stick won’t let you down in that department. It is important to keep in mind that the Amazon Fire Stick will not replace all of your channels, it gives access to the previously mentioned channels and apps – you may need other resources to get all the channels you want. It’s also important to point out that in some cases the chosen channel or app will ask for the login information for your cable provider. I have found that the login details for your Internet provider will work at times, but it’s completely dependent on the channel/app and your provider.

Simple to use remote. The remote, while on the smallish side, is simple and easy to use. It’s relatively easy to move around the on screen platform through the remote and when you need to type things in it’s very responsive. Amazon recently introduced a new Amazon Fire TV Stick with voice remote that’s a great addition for those wanting something more advanced.

Great wireless coverage. Our router is at the other end of the house, on a different floor, and picks it up at full strength.

New X-Ray Feature. The newly added X-Ray feature allows you to identify favorite actors or songs in shows and find them in other shows or movies.

Excellent storage capacity. The Fire TV Stick offers 8 GB of internal storage vs. 2 GB from the Chromecast.

Not everything is perfect with the Fire Stick, though there are only a few things I don’t like, such as:

Limited voice search. It is available but you must download a smart phone app to use it. That being said, the new voice remote option is a great way to solve this problem.

One click ordering. You may like one-click ordering, though we prefer not to have it in our house thanks to having young kids. You can disable that through setting the Parental Controls, so it’s not that much of a hassle.

My Amazon Fire TV Stick review covers my experience with the device. If you want to cut the cord, the Amazon Fire Stick can save you big money.

 

Amazon Fire TV Stick Review – My Take

 

We’ve been using the Amazon Fire TV Stick for two years now and are really enjoy it. Since cutting the cord we’ve begun to use it a lot more and really like its simplicity.

There is a ton of content available through the device and while a good bit of it isn’t free – like Netflix or Hulu Plus, if you already subscribe to one of those services you’ll find the Fire TV Stick seamlessly integrates with your TV watching habits.

We also like that we can travel with it and use on any TV we like. We’ve bought the Nupro Travel Case for Fire TV Stick to keep the dongle, remote and adapter safe and in one place.

That being said, there are plenty of other cord cutting options, from the TiVo Roamio if you want a DVR without a monthly fee, to the Roku streaming stick and Sling TV that can save you significant money.

If you’re an Amazon Prime member the Fire Stick can really maximize the value you receive from the membership. Amazon has a library thousands of titles large and growing daily.

The other feature I really like is that you can use the dongle on any TV in your house. So, if you have multiple TVs you can simply pull it from one and plug it in another without a problem – as well as a new feature that allows you to take it with you if you travel.

The Fire TV Stick, won’t replace all the shows you watch, but with the wealth of content they do have, it goes a long way towards getting you there while allowing you to cut the cord on cable. Now if I can just get my football I’d be set. 🙂

 

Do you still have cable? What cord cutting options have you tried and come to like? How much do you spend for your cable or other cord cutting options per month?

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to GoBankingRates, Investopedia, Lending Tree and more.

199 Comments

  • Bryan says:

    Con: They do tend to be a bit more sluggish than their regular FireTV, but that isn’t to much of an issue. You get used to it

    New Pro: I like that the latest update allows an easier time connecting to hotel WiFi platforms that require you to go to a special web page. This makes them great for when you go on vacation!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Good to know Bryan. We’ve not had much issue with sluggishness, but interesting to know the set top box is a bit faster.

      I know, I really like they added that as well. We don’t watch much TV on vacation – but a great option to have.

  • I’ve had AppleTV for quite some time now which I enjoy. If I didn’t this definitely seems like great replacement, for a cheap price. Who needs cable anymore anyways?

    • John Schmoll says:

      I’ve heard relatively good things about the Apple TV. I believe they just added the HBO app, which is great to see.

    • Phil Davis says:

      No CNN…No CNBC…No MSNBC…no Turner Classic moves and much more is NOT included.

      • Phil says:

        update….8.15.2017…was working fine last night, then I thought I would connect it to the HD tv in the Kitchen……will no longer give me a start screen…reboots over and over and over …this product lasts about six months…then you throw it out.

  • I like the portability aspect. Not that we go on trips to watch TV, but it is sometimes nice to watch a movie in a hotel room without paying $17.99 though the hotel medium. Vacations are often the only time I get to watch an entire movie in one setting!

  • Right now I have a “smart” Blu-ray player in my living room and one in my bedroom too that I use to stream Netflix on those two TVs and that is what I mainly use. Unfortunately, I can’t use them to access Hulu, which I also subscribe to. I like that this option is able to be used with lots of different streaming options. That’s great! I usually have to use my laptop to watch the shows I want on Hulu.

  • Kalie says:

    We don’t have cable, and found that a less than $5 HDMI cable connecting our laptop to the computer does the job of a fire stick. It is slightly less convenient because it is a cord, but can be left plugged into the TV like the fire stick.

    • John Schmoll says:

      We’ve done that as well Kalie, especially for shows we miss for some reason and want to watch straight from the given channel’s website. The only problem we’re finding is some are starting to not allow it for free.

  • Donna says:

    I have no problem cutting the cord to cable tv however I also get my internet access through my cable company Time Warner package “deal”. My problem is maintaining good internet access after the cord is cut. Internet is my go for everything for selling stuff on Craig’s List and how too video’s to learn new thing’s for making extra cash. I have learned so much on the internet. I refuse to use Verizon as my ISP but need access somehow. Anyone have any ideas about that?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Great question Donna! You’d want to talk with Time Warner to see how that would impact your pricing for internet service. They’re not dependent on each other, you can have service without the cable, though it’s likely it’ll jack up what you’re paying for the internet service. It’s worth a call at the very least.

      • Kelly P says:

        Just cancelled cable package with TWC. Extreme Internet (50Mps) standalone is around $84 per month. Expensive but far cheaper than the $223 a month I was paying for package that I rarely watched. I own 3 Fire Sticks that are sync’d to one fully loaded prime account. The connection to my Kindle is also a plus. Love it!

      • Suzanna Gibbons says:

        We don’t have cable but we do have internet and wifi….less then $30.00
        Right now we just to free TV …you know…digital….with the fire stick do you pay for all the things like HBO?

        • John Schmoll says:

          Good question Suzanna. For something like HBO, yes you’d have to pay. They run a subscription based service so you’d find that with any cord-cutting option. A few of the channels/apps are free, then the rest depend on if your ISP allows access or possibly a subscription based service like HBO Now.

        • Jason Bell says:

          I absolutely hate it.I cant get any live local channels or live espn.

  • Jim De Leonardis says:

    I have 6 cable boxes from cablevision in my office for each room. I have triple play which gives me internet, phone and TV. Can the fire stick in each room replace my cable boxes or give me negotiation options with cablevision?
    I have quite a few in my house as well.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Good question Jim. Not knowing what all you use your cable to watch, I don’t know if it’d replace it per se. Personally speaking, we use the Fire Stick to access a fair number of things. They have apps available to download (many are free) that allows you to watch different shows plus access to the channels I listed above. We get many (which isn’t that much) of the network shows from the Internet and have HBO Now through the Fire Stick. The only thing we’ve not fully replaced is sports. The nice thing about the Fire Stick is it’s portable so you can move it from TV to TV. Hope that helps!

      • Stephie says:

        My contract with Direct TV is about to expire. Just to get the bare bones is $66 a month. I keep it only to watch HGTV and Univision. Would I be able to watch them with firestick? Also, miss not having TLC and Bravo. Just can’t do the expense right now.

        • John Schmoll says:

          I’d check into Sling TV or DirecTV Now (you won’t be able to get them all on the Fire Stick) as both should be able to get you at least the first two channels, if not all 4. They’re $25 & $35/month, respectively, and neither require a contract. That $66/month will go up before you know it and there’s no sense to pay that much if it’s just for bare bones.

          https://www.frugalrules.com/go/sling-tv
          https://www.frugalrules.com/go/directv-now

        • Tamara Gillam says:

          Have you looked at SlingTV?
          Their basic package is really good.
          Right now I am under contract without dish. My base package is $34.99 and I add regional sports for $10/month. The monthly lease fees on the dvr and second receiver are what I don’t like! $22/month!

  • Sally Matamoros says:

    What about ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, FX, USE, ION WTVZ, ANC, SPIKE TV, TNT, HISTORY CHAN, ANIMAL CHAN, and HGTV. These are the main channels we watch. Our Smart TV have Netflix. Will I be able to view any of these. I now have cox for internet and cable.

    • David Goins says:

      What about ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, FX, USE, ION WTVZ, ANC, SPIKE TV, TNT, HISTORY CHAN, ANIMAL CHAN, and HGTV. These are the main channels we watch. Our Smart TV have Netflix. Will I be able to view any of these.

  • John Schmoll says:

    Good questions Sally. You won’t be able to get the main networks on the Fire Stick, or most other devices like this for that matter. In most cases a simple satellite will get you all the network channels. I discuss how we do that here – https://www.frugalrules.com/cancel-directv-save-money/

    The Fire Stick does allow you to get the History Channel. Most of those other channels either have apps you can download through the Fire Stick and, if not, you can access them online in most cases. Hope that helps. 🙂

  • Catherine Watkins says:

    I am really interested in the first stick? HOw do We watch local channels and ones like 106 of we go basic on dish tv?

  • stephanie matchus says:

    Thank you for this info John! I have been way overspending and trying to figure out the best of the best and keeping just those. I currently pay for the full suite of channels with xfinity (my husband LOVES history channels), netflix, amazon prime, spotify, and sirius. I have been trying to figure out how to get this way down.. what are your top choices? I am thinking about keeping Netflix, getting an Amazon Fire stick and spotify for music…thoughts?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Not a problem at all Stephanie, happy to help. We were in the same boat, spending over $100/month on DirecTV – which I talk about here – https://www.frugalrules.com/cancel-directv-save-money/

      I’d stay with Netflix and possibly add the Fire Stick as it’s well worth the one-time cost. We do both and get virtually most of the same content we were prior and are saving $80/month. The Fire Stick gets you access to the History Channel so that’d be good for your husband. For Spotify, we have the family plan which is $15/month. We recently added that as we both work from home so it’s worth the expense. Hope that helps, let me know if there are any more specific questions I can answer. 🙂

    • Helen says:

      We got the Amazon Fire TV today and set up as easy. Downloaded Kodi and have access to all our regular channels and will be calling Xfinity tomorrow!

  • Chris says:

    John, how does it work with the HDMI cable? Is there some sort of adapter to the USB end of the Fire Stick?

  • Doris Jones says:

    I am buying the fire stick and cutting the cord on Dish. Your answers have given me all the info I need.

  • Kathy Morris says:

    Thank you, John!
    Your answers/advice/knowledge with Amazon Fire Stick are very helpful to those of us who just “don’t get it!”
    Again, THANK YOU!!

  • Rhonda says:

    John:

    What about accessing networks such as Bravo and Lifetime? We just ordered the Fire Stick with voice remote today, and are looking into antennas for access to local channels (local news, etc)……so we are that much closer to “cutting the cord”….excited yet nervous…

    • John Schmoll says:

      Congrats on cutting the cord Rhonda, you’ll love the savings! I’m not very familiar with the options on those channels. I’d check to see what content they offer on their websites as well as on YouTube. You may be able to get a fair bit of the content that way.

  • Andrea says:

    Hi John, if I buy a firestick for each TV. Can they be used at the same time??

    • John Schmoll says:

      Great question Andrea! Amazon allows you to stream from your account from two separate spots at once. So, in theory, you are able to. The only thing to be mindful of is if your Internet connection is fast enough to allow for both without any lagging.

  • Steve says:

    What about ESPN and the Golf channel, will I be able to access either?

  • Charli says:

    OK so , if I get the firestick and add hulu plus (if that’s how it works) would I get football and mostly my normal stuff ( big bang theory , 2 broke girls ) stuff like that , or would I need an antenna?? Don’t want to sound ignorant but really I have no clue. And what about my children’s tv in their rooms, they watch TV.

    • John Schmoll says:

      I believe that would take care of most of it. I’m not that familiar with Hulu, but I believe they carry most network shows. For stuff like football, on local channels, you’d need an antenna. For antennas/fire stick they only work on one tv so you’d need multiples in your case.

  • Berni F says:

    Have you tried a Sling subscription? I think I’m going to go with the fire stick + very basic sling. That way hubby has his sports and considering I already have Prime (for many other reasons), I’ll still save a bunch over my $120/mo cable bill. Thanks for your review.

    • John Schmoll says:

      I have Berni. You can see my review of Sling here – https://www.frugalrules.com/sling-tv-review/

      Sadly, Sling leaves a lot to be desired. We tried it about 6-8 months ago and just got a 7 day free trial again this week and it doesn’t seem that they’ve cleared up their issues. It has significant buffering issues and can lag quite a bit. I’ve read that’s a known issue, but hopefully you won’t run into that.

  • Kim says:

    I am thinking about buying a Fire Stick, and downgrading to basic cable so we can still watch local news and live TV. My husband has heard from friends that the cable service can scramble your service and it can take up to a week to get it straightened out. I find that hard to believe, have you heard any stories like that?

  • cathi says:

    How about amc? Can I watch amc with firestick?
    Thanks.

  • Alicia says:

    Me and my husband finally cut ties with DirecTV and I must say it’s a weight lifted. I was considering getting the fire stick or a roku device specifically for being able to access PBS kids video for the little one. Does the fire stick allow you to watch content on PBS kids without signing in with a cable TV provider?

    • John Schmoll says:

      That’s awesome y’all cut the cord Alicia! Yep, you should be able to watch PBS Kids without a problem on the Fire Stick. I don’t know about Roku, but you’re good to go with the Fire Stick.

  • jon says:

    Can you run two firesticks on two different televisions in two separate rooms on one amazon prime account? One room for the kids and another for adults? If not, this would be a deal breaker for me.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Great question Jon! We just discovered last week actually that when we tried to access YouTube via the Fire Stick on 2 separate TVs, at the same time, on the one account that one got booted. I don’t know if that means that you can’t have 2 accessing Amazon content, or something like Netflix, through the Fire Stick at the same time but it did pose a problem with YouTube.

  • mary says:

    How much does it cost for an amazon prime account do I need the prime account for the fire stick

  • Abby says:

    How do you access sports channels on the fire stick? I am thinking about cutting the cord with Dish for sure, but my husband loves his sports; ESPN and the games.
    Are you able to watch shows live? Meaning a show comes on Thursday night, can I watch it on Thursdy or do I need to wait until Fridy night?B

  • Jean says:

    How do I record a movie or say a soap opera with the fire stick?

    • John Schmoll says:

      The Fire Stick does not offer a DVR feature unfortunately. Assuming it’s on one of the networks, you’d need a satellite to get the local channel and a DVR to record it. Hulu may also be an option as they carry most of the networks.

  • Charlotte says:

    How can you get into the apps like hallmark channel without a cable provider? I have an antenna and the fire stick & would love to watch “watch ESPN” and “hallmark movie channel” but it asks for a cable provider and I don’t have one. Any suggestions?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Unfortunately many of those do require a cable subscription – which basically defeats the point of the app. 🙁 I have heard that, in some cases, you can get past it with the log in info for your internet service provider – it’s worth a try.

  • Kathy says:

    I’d love to try the Fire Stick. Can I get Investigation Discovery TV and True TV? Is there a total listing somewhere of what you can get as far as stations go?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Those channels aren’t available on the Fire Stick unfortunately Kathy. The channel list above covers the large majority of channels they offer.

      • Jean says:

        What’s the use of getting the fire stick then by the time we get all the stuff that’s on the fire stick it’s going to cost as much is cable anyway

        • John Schmoll says:

          That’s actually not the case Jean. We’ve had the Fire Stick for over a year, without cable, and save nearly $90 per month. The point of the Fire Stick is it allows you to access a ton of content. We get most of our content this way. When you add in a antenna to get local channels you can get most everything.

  • Jean says:

    And you can’t even get your regular TV stations or record without a DVR I know her record. I think I might have to stay with my television unfortunately ?????

  • Laurie Jones says:

    What about recording episodes when your away ? I love my DVR . And what about Bravo…E and local channels ?

  • Karl Wallin says:

    I recently moved to Ridgefield, CT, my only cable provider is Comcast and they do not carry the YES NETWORK, also I am not allowed a satellite dish.

    What would be the best way for me to obtain the YES NETWORK before the 2017 Yankees season begins?

    Thanks – Karl

  • kris Foley says:

    i’m worried about the firestick being illegal, is this a valid concern?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Nope, not illegal at all. It’s all content that creators have licensed to be made available on Amazon so they’re being paid and very legal.

      • Kristina Foley says:

        what if it’s something called “jailbreak” or “rooted” ? I’m not tech savvy but if it’s “jailbroken” and i watch a movie currently in the theatre , then that must be illegal, right?

        • John Schmoll says:

          Good question, but that’s something completely different. If you’re using the Fire Stick for the intended purposes and not trying to steal anything then you’re just fine. 🙂 They even say that on their site, so you have nothing to worry about.

  • Jack Knoll says:

    John, I definitely need to cut the cord (cable). I have 2 fire sticks (1 for each TV). An older one that the remote froze on and a new one with Alexia. I spoke to Amazon about the remote but they couldn’t unfreeze it. So I bought a new one. Then I found out about the remote app which is free and works very well. Anyway we now have Time Warner with wifi, HBO and SHOW at $187 a month. We also have Netflix at $9.95 a month. If I cancel TWC, do I need wifi to connect with the fire stick? We also use the record feature on the TWC box extensively. What do you recommend? Thanks in advance, Jack.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Sounds like you’re to a great start Jack and, yes, you do need to cut the cord – it’s definitely worth the savings. 🙂 To answer your question, yes, you would still need wifi as it’s streaming across the Internet. For DVR, there is unfortunately not many services that offer that right now so you’d have to buy one outright. A good one to look at is the Tivo Bolt, I talk about it in this post:

      https://www.frugalrules.com/cancel-directv-save-money/

  • Tasha says:

    Can you watch things like vh1 oxygen and kid shows on the fire sticks?

  • Sharon Murphy says:

    Can fire stick be connected to my telephone to connect to Netflix

  • Barry says:

    Have to keep my College football and Bowl games but I really want to cut cable! I wish Amazon would step up with sports.

    I am a Prime member but need internet to purchase items, as I do a lot on Amazon.

  • Jose says:

    I am setting up my 2 Smart TV’s, with the Mohu Leaf 50 antenna. I also have the Amazon Prime membership and i recently got Directv Now with the Apple TV. But i want to change and use the Amazon Fire TV box because it allows me acess to over 7,000 apps. to download. And also sideload apps onto the box to use for tv streaming. I am paying $50 for Fios internet 50/50. And for the Directv Now $35 monthly trial. I am waiting it out with Directv Now to fix their bugs and add missing local sports channels like MSG and SNY. Also CBS Network. John, am i on the right track to lowering my cable bill and maybe cutting it altogether.

  • Chuck and Lori says:

    Thank you so much for the info regarding cutting the cord…we have been considering making a change for quite some time, but have had no idea where to start! So….we like to watch network TV, HGTV, History Channel, Fox and CNN. It sounds like we would just need a Fire stick and a digital antenna..? Is there a monthly cost for anything included with the Fire stick like Hulu, Netflicks, etc? Also, it sounds like this setup would include Wi-Fi. What is the monthly cost for that? We currently pay $200 per month for cable/internet! I apologize for all of the questions, but we are old and don’t currently use anything but traditional cable. Thanks again for the great info!

    • John Schmoll says:

      You’d need something like Sling TV or DirecTV Now to access some of those channels.

      Yes, there is extra cost for Hulu/Netflix as those are separate services. No worries, there’s definitely opportunity for big savings.

  • Mark says:

    I have tv with a cable card option , which I am not useing. Can a card help in cutting cost?

  • Donald says:

    Really great information here! I am so wanting to dump DiSH – they are forever dropping content due to contract disputes, now CBS is out along with CW, I’ve ready DiSH has lost over 121 channels and is responsible for 1/3 of all contract disputes, I want to dump them and the bill. I am locked into a contract but I think since they no longer provide what I pay for I could get out on a breach of contract loophole – not sure.

    I am looking at Amazon, already a Prime member and use the Fire Stick think and also looking at Sling, which has nearly everything I want in programming. I have Netflix as well and can get local off a leaf antenna inside.

    I do rely heavily on the DVR feature from DiSH and will lose the access to my external hard drive of movies connected to the DVR, can’t figure out a way around their encryption.

    Are there monthly fees associated with the FireStick? The Sling package is $25, awesome value.

    Are there guides to browse on FireStick and Sling? Finally, is there a PVR solution to losing the DVR – does Tivo make something to integrate all these sources to mimic DVR capability?

    I’m getting nailed for $72/month on their skinny pack as I must have Fox news ($10) and I pay for the locals ($10) and the DVR. They are a shady bunch and cutting the cord is essential, but also maintaining the level of programming and functionality is also a matter of some concern.

    Any tips greatly appreciated to dump DiSH and keep content. I want to work with a budget of no more than $40 – $50/month – I’ll handle the one off equipment buys just fine.

    Thanks much – sorry for so many questions.

  • Mike Murphy says:

    Very curious about this product. Are there fees to theses apps? Like ESPN?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Nope, no fees – aside from the $39 to buy the Fire Stick.

      • Custo says:

        Yes there are fees. The firestick itself is a one time purchase price. If you want to actually watch something you’ll have to pay monthly subscription fees. Channel pear is totally free but only allows 5 channels at a time unless you subscribe. Half of Channel pears stations never work. Only way to get anything free off the firestick is installing kodi.

        • John Schmoll says:

          That’s actually not correct Custo, the Fire Stick does give you access to a handful of things for free. Beyond that, others are dependent on whether or not your ISP has an agreement with the particular provider – like Watch ESPN for example. Kodi, on the other hand, allows you to steal content which I would not recommend.

  • tiffany harris says:

    does the firestick provide live streaming content or is everything pre recorded shows?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Good question Tiffany. It’s largely stuff from apps from the respective providers – so not really like just turning on the TV and watch something live. That said, it can help get access to that through services like DirecTV Now or Sling TV.

      • tiffany harris says:

        ok so question would you love live tv or pre recorded shows.

        • John Schmoll says:

          It really doesn’t make much difference to us to be honest. We run our own business and have young kids so we rarely get to watch something as it’s live on TV. As long as we can get access to the few shows we do like that’s all that really matters.

  • tiffany harris says:

    so how do someone contact you directly? I would like to discuss something with you.

  • tiffany harris says:

    so basically with the firestick you have to opt into apps for live streaming correct which means you will be paying for those apps and it will eventually start adding up.

    • John Schmoll says:

      No, not at all. Most of them are free. The Fire Stick just provides an outlet to get them all, whereas you’d have to go to them respectively. There are a few that do have a charge, like HBO or Showtime, but that’s the case regardless of how you get them.

  • Sheila Stepanovic says:

    I have been working on the whole firestick thing for awhile. With 8 tv’s in the house, I’ve firesticked 7 of them & dropped $120 a month in fees. I have one cable box left, but would really like to “cut the cord” completely & go only to internet service. I already have hd antenna’s for local channels & hulu. Here’s my confusion. Some apps ask for your service provider & then you have to activate it with a code they give you. The provider they are asking for, is it cable or internet? If I cut cable, will these free apps still work? Example is TBS. One app did not list Comcast as an option, so I put A T & T, & it still worked, so making this more confusing.

    • John Schmoll says:

      In most cases it’s the cable provider unfortunately. Some will allow you by with the log in info for your Internet provider, but most are the cable provider. It varies channel by channel unfortunately.

  • Kari says:

    I just set up my Amazon fire stick this evening and added all the tv networks I typically watch to the APPS page. My intent is get rid of cable eventually but what I’m already struggling with is how do know what to watch on any given evening. I’m so used to flipping through the cable providers TV guide to see what’s on that I’m afraid I’m not going to know what’s playing on any given evening. How do I overcome my usual channel guide surfing?

    • John Schmoll says:

      I know the feeling, but it’s very freeing to be quite honest. It took some getting used to but I love not having to waste that time. We sit down and know what we want to watch, then turn it on so we save all that lost time.

  • Chris Rose says:

    So I have a Roku tv which I guess is also called a smart tv. I haven’t cut the chord to cable because I want to get live tv. I’ve been looking at Sling for $25/mo. Is this Fire Stick something folks get when they don’t have a smart tv?

  • Krystal says:

    John,
    Sorry, but even after reading all of these responses I’m still a little confused. At points it’s mentioned that the apps on the fire stick are free to use, but then it also says many require a cable login (making them not free). What percentage of the apps would you say are free to actually watch content on? If we truly cut the cord, will we not be able to watch ESPN, A&E, etc?

    • John Schmoll says:

      No worries Krystal, that’s a fair question. It’s hard to say as it’s dependent on the ISP you have. Some have agreements with more channels, allowing you to log in with your ISP credentials – so it’s hard to give a clear percentage basis of what to expect as it can vary from location to location.

  • Heidi Galway says:

    Hello
    I am guessing these cable companies are based in USA. I am in England using Sky cable. Is there any chance you may know if I can get Watch, Drama and Alibi on the Fire stick plus music video channels.
    Many thanks.

  • Maurie Ock says:

    I have read all the comments here but still don’t know what you can watch for free without subscribing to more apps that you have to pay for. I see your list but are most of those named just those we can access with fire stick…but have to pay to join them or use them? Do you have a list of what is 100% free to watch with fire stick??

    • John Schmoll says:

      Hi Maurie,

      I actually touched on that topic with Krystal above, just a few days ago. Unfortunately, it depends on the ISP you have so I really can’t say. Some of the channels require you to have cable and log in with your cable credentials. Some allow access with the login credentials from your ISP – thus allowing you access without needing to pay for cable. Ultimately, you’re not paying for something more (unless you have something like HBO) but getting access through something you’re already paying for – your Internet provider or a cable provider.

  • Randi McKee says:

    We are on the verge of purchasing the fire stick to cut our cable off and your site was most helpful.
    My co worker purchased a “jailbroke” stick already loaded with several apps to watch local Chanels, sports and networks not available already on the stick. How do you feel about this type of purchase? I’ve read to steer away from these.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Glad to be of help Randi, you’ll love the savings! Great question. I know those are available – it adds a software that allows you access to shows, movies, etc that you’d normally be required to pay for. I personally wouldn’t do it as it’s not worth the risk of getting caught and I wouldn’t feel right effectively stealing something that’d normally would cost me. We watch so little as it is that it’s not really worth it.

  • Skip says:

    Playstation Vue is also a good way to stream live tv, and you can get FOX local live, the other 2 ABC and NBS are on demand CBS as always doesn’t play well with none cable companies

  • Bonny Baca says:

    Hello John, I am getting a lot of knowledge reading through everyone’s comments and questions and your answers! I am also considering getting rid of Dish. I pay for one of the lower pkgs, but am still paying ALOT for home shopping networks, sports, advertising that one gets tired of hearing over, over and over again and a few local channels. I get my internet service through my phone company (DSL) and have 1.5 Mbps (which Fire stick said I would need minimum of) I ordered a Fire stick that will be available 4/15/17 and am looking forward to seeing how it works and ditching Dish!! I already have Netflix, Amazon Prime, and will look into Showtime for the boxing that my husband likes to watch so I am pretty much ready to go! I will miss FoxNews tho. I checked into the antenna you were talking about for my local channels that I really like to watch and, of course gives me “local news”…won’t work for me; any local stations are way over 50 miles from me ( my local stations come out of Albuquerque, NM which is located approx. 200 miles from me). In fact, where I live, the only thing within 50 miles of me are other ranches! I might consider increasing my internet to 4Mbps, which will increase my phone bill by a little, but a far cry from Dish!! And maybe another Fire stick for TV #2!?. Thanks for all the good info. I’ll let you know how it works so you can pass on the info if you have anyone else that is located “out in the middle of nowhere” :>)

    • John Schmoll says:

      Glad to be of help Bonny! Sounds like you’re going to have some good savings here soon. 🙂 I’d personally recommend moving up in speed as that’ll provide better streaming for you. And, yes, a second Fire Stick would be needed if you want to use it on your other TV. Technically, you can move it between the two, but might be more hassle than it’s worth for you.

  • Paul Denehy says:

    Hi John – I watch a lot of CNN. If I cut the cord and get the FireStick, will that station be available? THx!

  • Gary Moore says:

    Any access to NBC, CBS or Fox networks?

    Thanks

  • Kelly says:

    I don’t have a TV but I use my computer and a large monitor to stream Netflix etc. Does the fire Stick work in my computer?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Good question Kelly. Per Amazon’s site, it likely won’t in most cases as the HDMI on most laptops is for output. I’ve admittedly not tried it, so not 100% certain. That being said, depending on what you want to watch it might be already available online on the site of the particular channel.

  • Michael says:

    Just installed a Jailbroken Fire TV stick last week. LOVE IT !!! Movies (even in the theaters .. although those most recent do not perform so well or not streamed) .. TV Shows (I always watch) .. ready to dump my FIOS TV and probably phone (which I have the Triple Play). Just went with Triple Play for the cost-savings of other features. Also have Netflix online, which I am thinking of dumping too. Again .. had this for less than a week .. just curious of the consequences in dumping everything in depending on the Firestick?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Glad to hear about the savings Michael. The thing I’d be concerned about is getting a copyright infringement notice. I know Jailbroken Fire Sticks are popular, but from what I’ve read you can get yourself in trouble if you don’t set it up correctly. The other concern would be if Amazon has an outage – you’d likely be without anything for the duration. Just a guess, but thinking that might be a possible risk.

  • Debbie says:

    Hi, this is Debbie I have a fire stick. If I get rid of my Comcast package deal. I will have no Internet, how will I run my TVs with the fire stick. All my coworkers keep telling me I need to keep at least the Internet service, is this true.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Hi Debbie, yes you do need to have Internet to use the Fire Stick, or any other streaming service. You’d want to ask Comcast what’s needed to unbundle and only have Internet service.

  • Donna Cunningham says:

    Hi we live in a very large farm mansion and have 4 TV’s in use almost all the time plus cell phones and tablets DirecTV is costing over 250 to 400 a month. If I get 4 fire TV sticks can we run all 4 TV’s at the same time. And will I have to buy a new router for my wifi? Plus how far is the range on the fire TV stick? My room is approximately 150 ft from my router.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Not certain if you’ll need a new router or not, or the range unfortunately. One thing to keep in mind is that Amazon only allows two concurrent streaming sessions, so you won’t be able to watch something on all 4 TVs at the same time.

  • Tony says:

    Can I get pay per views on firestick? Like mma or boxing?

  • Harlan Woodson says:

    Hi john I’ve got a 60″ Vizio smart tv would it be alright to use the firestick just dropped direct going to just cable we were paying alot for the direct TV it was definitely cutting in our budget? Thanks

    • John Schmoll says:

      I’m not certain I understand the question Harlan, but I believe you’re asking if you can use the Fire Stick in your Vizio. Assuming that is your question, yes you should be able to and access a fair bit of content.

  • Renee says:

    Thank you for all of this information. I will admit I am not the most techy person out there, but willing to learn. We have smart tv’s and can get local stations by changing the input. If I get rid of uverse , I know I will still need internet service for th firestick. Will those local stations be gone, too, or can I still access them without the antenna you talk about? Also, how do we know what ISP service we have and what we can access on firestick? Is the fire stick and fire tv the same thing? If not, which is better? And, is accessing the firestick like accessing on demand, so I really wouldn’t need a dvr, as I could access what i want anytime? Sorry for the questions, but trying to sort it out.
    Thank you!
    Renee

    • John Schmoll says:

      Not a problem at all Renee and good questions. In all likelihood you will need an antenna to get locals, but most good ones are in the $30-50ish range. I wouldn’t know who you have for a ISP provider – but you would need to check with whomever it is to see if a login is required to get access to cable channels you get via streaming. You can access things at any time, for the most part, but it won’t entirely replace what you get through cable so you will want to keep that in mind. In terms of the differences between the Fire Stick & Fire TV, check out the below post as I cover that in detail.

      https://www.frugalrules.com/amazon-fire-tv-review/

  • Debra Haddix says:

    Hi, my name is Debra..my Internet connection is very slow would I be able to use the fire stick?

  • Cece says:

    I bought the fire stick a month thinking it would work like a converter box along with the movie options. I haven’t even used it because you have to go throw so many step to do anything and then you have to pay for it. I am honestly frustrated with it. I am not a techy person, am I doing something wrong?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Sorry to hear about your frustrations Cece. It honestly isn’t like a converter box with movie options. They don’t promote it that way, but it can get you access to a lot of content. It does honestly sound like you’re doing something wrong as it should take you less than five minutes to connect it to your TV & get it working. I’m VERY much so not a tech person and found it simple to set up – just follow the short video and you should be good to go. 🙂

  • Sunnie says:

    Hi, John, I love the idea of having internet-only plus the fire stick. My question pertains to the amount of data that I would be using. My ISP allows 1TB/month, how much do you use on average per month?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Good question Sunnie. You should come nowhere near that. We both work from home and are almost always on some sort of device. The closest we’ve ever come to in any given month was about 1/3 of that limit – we have the same limit as well.

  • Jade says:

    Hello, I am thinking about getting a a Fire Stick. Sports channels play a big part with my family. Do you know if we will have access to all sports everywhere? Mainly we watch Fox Sports Midwest and watch our local channels.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Hi Jade, No you would not get that with the Fire Stick. You’d need a live streaming service like Sling TV or DirecTV Now to get sports channels. For locals you’d need a satellite.

  • Preston G Baker says:

    We want to cut the cord very much, we are paying 149 per month with Spectrum.We are still learning about the streaming alternatives. Fire stick sounds good along with Hulu and netflix. But here is my probably dumb question, if we purchase our own router (D-Link wireless AC1900) do we still need to subscribe to an internet service like Spectrum or Xfinity?

  • Dana Barrett says:

    Wanting to cut the cord and have read a lot of the comments. What is the advantage of having an amazon Firestick and Sling TV. Is the Firestick required in order to use Sling TV? We don’t need Roku or Netflix as we aren’t big movie watchers. We like our local channels, Sportsman, Outdoor, HGTV, Food Network, DIY, NatGeo.
    We plan on purchasing an antenna for our local channels.
    So, in your opinion, which is the best option for cutting the cord and the most economical?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Good questions Dana. The Fire Stick gets you access to a lot of Amazon content, not to mention a fair number of apps. Sling TV is a streaming service for channels, basically a cable replacement. Remember though, that there is a lot of content on Roku and Netflix that aren’t movies but original content or broadcast episodes. Given what you listed as priority, I’d look at either Sling TV or DirecTV Now.

  • Stacy F says:

    So what is the cheapest way to get all the NFL season games and pre-season games? We have Amazon Prime and Netflix, no cable. We do have Performance Pro Internet (75Mbps/5Mbps) at $74.45/ mo. Need to make a change soon!! 5 people in our home constantly on internet with PS4, Netflix,YouTube, Facebook, email, etc. Also, does my internet need to be that fast?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Good question Stacy – I actually have a post coming up on it in the next week or so. The cheapest would be either Sling TV or PlayStation Vue – to get access to everything, including RedZone. Also, remember, since you’re a Prime member, Amazon is streaming 10 Thursday night games this year on the Amazon app.

  • Terri says:

    I will be moving into a new development which does not currently have cable and will not have cable for a couple months. I have been wanting to go to the fire stick. This may be a good opportunity. I do have a question though I am an avid football watcher and I like to watch my RedZone and other games that are on during the week. Would this be an issue watching these games? I will be moving in during the beginning of the football season.

    • John Schmoll says:

      The Fire Stick won’t get you RedZone unfortunately. However, if you have Amazon Prime, they’re streaming 10 Thursday night games this season on the Amazon app. That said, your best bet would be either Sling TV or PlayStation Vue to get access to the needed channels and RedZone.

  • Debby says:

    I know nothing, so you’ll know how dumb my questions are. Ok, here goes. If I buy the fire stick for $39.99 + tax, load kodi, what channels would I receive ? I mean, will I get stuff like bravo, lifetime, tlc, history, nat geo, a&e, etc ? Do I have to get Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime for the fire stick to get these channels I’m writing about. I do have old fashion rabbit ears on my tv now.

  • Germando Jordan says:

    This is just the type of analysis I was looking for. Thank you!

  • Cheryl H. says:

    This is all new to me, and confusing. We currently have 4 TVs, 4 DVRs, CenturyLink Prism.. which we love, but rates keeping going up. Currently paying $165 month cable/Wi-Fi. I am looking at either Amazon Fire Stick or Roku, with 1 DVR (to tape live NASCAR Race). According to Best Buy, I will need an indoor antenna for each TV, and an outdoor antenna if we bring a set outside.

    Will we need anything else?

    Will we be able to have 3-4 TVs going simultaneously off of Wi-Fi?

    What would be best for NBCSports and FoxSports?

    We also watch the major networks, History, HGTV, DIY, A&E, HLN Food Network, ESPN,
    CW, CMT, (optional TruTV, Disney Jr., Nickelodeon)

    With this many TVs, is it feasible and practical to “cut the cord”?

    Thanks for your advice, and for your review of the Fire Stick! Great info!

    • John Schmoll says:

      No problem, happy to help. I know it may feel confusing, but it really isn’t that difficult – even if you’re tech challenged like me. 🙂

      Yes, you will need an antenna per TV to get local channels. Most of the good ones run anywhere from $20ish-$50ish. We use the Mohu Leaf and love it and super simple to set up.

      For what you’re wanting, I’d look at either Sling or DirecTV Now. Either will get you most, if not all, of the channels you want. Sling allows one streaming device at a time, or three devices for their higher tiers and DirecTV Now allows two regardless of service level. I will also point out that Sling TV has a cloud-based DVR offering in beta so you might qualify for that since you want to record.

      To answer your question, yes it is most definitely possible to cut the cord given what you’re looking for. I will be honest, you will likely need to make a few sacrifices but it’s also important to realize those sacrifices could save you $100 per month, if not more. Speaking as someone who made those sacrifices, you’ll soon realize the savings is far better and you really won’t miss what you sacrificed. 🙂

  • Cheryl H. says:

    Thank you very much for all the valuable input on my situation and this blog. It is wonderful that you are taking the time to help so many others. Have a nice day!

  • Lori says:

    We are looking to cut the cord, and go to streaming. We watch all local channels, as well as lifetime, ESPN, HGTV, oxygen, TNT, TBS, etc. and we currently have a DVR on three TVs. There are many iptv services out there, and we want to explore options other than the ones mentioned here. What is the best way for us to be able to record our favorite shows on all of these channels on any of the 3 Tv’s?

  • Carlos says:

    I’ve read so many reviews on the Fire Stick and I STILL don’t understand what it gives you over what any Smart TV already has? Pretty much every app mentioned on the stick is already available via Samsung apps. What am I missing here? The first thing always mentioned is that it ”comes with Netflix”…but isn’t this still a separate paid subscription? It’s on every Smart TV I own already. I just don’t get it, but I might be missing something huge here and no know it.

    • John Schmoll says:

      That’s a good question Carlos. Not everyone has Samsung, so they may have a TV that doesn’t offer all those apps. The big thing for me is the portability of the Fire Stick. If you travel at all and take your Fire Stick you can use it on most, if not all, TVs allowing you access to any apps you have installed on it. Additionally, it gives you access to anything on Amazon relatively simply.

      • Carlos says:

        Thank you John…the portability actually does make sense to me, but Amazon is another one I always hear mentioned, and both my Samsung (various models), and LGs already come with. My TVs are not cutting edge but pretty much have access to everything I hear mentioned by the Fire Stick ..espn, hbo, showtime, netflix, amazon, etc. Not trying to malign it. I’d like to cut the comcast cord as well…just could not understand how the Fire Stick was helping in any way. It sounds like SLING could help, but I haven’t run those numbers, although eyeballing it..looks like it’s cheaper. The portability of the Stick i can understand. Thank you for taking the time.

  • sandy says:

    I am so confused when it comes to the fire stick.My cable bill is 150.00 monthly not including internet with Verizon and I am fed up.I recently visited a friends house who has the fire stick and she has all the local tv channels along with all of the basic cable channels and all the premium channels.That is what makes me want to get the fire stick if I can get the same features she has,but looking at the questions all of that is not offered.How is she receiving all of this and how can I get the same viewing channels as her?

  • John Pickering says:

    Hello. John, my tv has only one hdmi port ones cart and one co ax port. Can I use to fire stick on hdmi and TiVo box on start?

  • Steve Walker says:

    Hi John, I have one major concern about the fire stick, I am deaf and rely on closed captioning. Does fire stick support CC?

  • Robert Parsley says:

    I hear there is a new Fire Stick coming out this month. True?
    So…you buy the stick, are there channels free or do you subscribe to each one separately?
    Thanks

    • John Schmoll says:

      You would be correct Robert. Amazon appears to have a new Fire TV Stick and Fire TV coming out. It depends on the channel/app. Some are free and some require cable or Internet logins.

  • sara says:

    no PBS, Smithsonian, Nat Geo etc?

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