Amazon’s Fire TV lineup currently includes a trio of streaming options at a few price points – from a basic, 1080p Fire TV Stick to a 4K HDR-capable Fire TV Cube. And while features and specs might differ among the devices, there are a few handy tips new owners might not be aware of. For those folks, we’ve collected five of our favorite Amazon Fire TV features.
Turning Off Targeted Ads
We’ve covered this in earlier tip roundups, but it’s worth repeating here. If you want ads to be less tailored to you and your specific habits, you can disable targeted ads.
Just head to Settings, select Preferences and then Advertising ID. There, you can turn Interest-based Ads off. This won’t turn off all ads completely, but if you find targeted ads a bit off putting, it’s a handy step to take.
Enabling Parental Controls
The Fire TV’s parental controls enable parents to restrict content based on age ratings and turning on the feature is rather straightforward. Just head to Settings and select Preferences. From there, you should see an option called Parental Controls.
Select that option and you’ll see a single Parental Control option. Click that to turn it on and you’ll be asked to enter a PIN code. Since the standard Fire TV remote doesn’t include a keypad or number pad, you’ll need to use the directional arrows and select button to input your desired code (Up for 1, for example). To access digits 5 through 9, press the Menu button and the directional arrows and select button will correspond to those numbers instead.
Once your PIN is entered, you’ll be able to restrict access based on age ratings. To turn the feature off, just head back to Parental Controls under Settings, re-enter your PIN code, and turn the setting off.
Using the App as a Remote
You can replicate the functionality of your Fire TV remote using the Amazon Fire TV app for iOS and Android devices. There’s voice support, a large touchpad area to emulate the up/down/left/right directions, and easy access to installed apps.
Perhaps the app’s biggest advantage over the regular remote is easier text entry using your phone’s keyboard instead of the on-screen option.
That all being said, app ratings on both Google’s Play Store (3.6 stars) and Apple’s App Store (2.7 stars) suggest some users have had difficulty maintaining a consistent connection with their streaming devices, but as a quick backup remote, the smartphone app could come in handy.
Fixing Out-of-Sync Audio
If the sound effects and dialog you’re watching just don’t line up with what’s happening on screen, things can get pretty distracting rather quickly.
To fine-tune this issue, head over to Settings and select Display and Settings. From there, choose Home Theater Settings and then Lip Sync Tuning. Your Fire TV should then walk you through how to adjust audio and video so they’re playing in sync with each other.
Using the Magnifier for Hard-to-See Details
This one could come in handy if you’re having trouble seeing small text on your Fire TV. The Magnifier feature does pretty much what you’d expect it to do: It enlarges portions of the screen to make details a bit easier to see.
To set this feature up, you’ll need to head to Settings and then select Accessibility to access the Magnifier option.
Here’s how you control the feature once it’s enabled:
- To turn it on/off, hold the Back and Fast Forward buttons together.
- To zoom in, press Menu and Fast Forward
- To zoom out, press Menu and Rewind
- To scan around the screen, hold down Menu and the appropriate directional button (Left, Right, Up, or Down)
- To turn the zoom on or off, press Menu and Play/Pause
It’s worth pointing out Amazon says most video content doesn’t support the Magnifier feature, but it could still come in handy while navigating menus, apps, or browsing on the internet via your Fire TV.
Of course, there are loads of other tips and tricks out there for new and experienced Fire TV users alike. If we missed one of your favorites this time around, let us know in the comments below and you might see it included in the next roundup.
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