App Store this, Google Play that… can’t we give Amazon some love? For a company known for selling e-readers, e-books and tablets, it’s done a pretty solid job at effortlessly slapping a smorgasbord of entertainment options and apps right on your television.
Apps in particular are really what expand the capabilities of your Fire TV, especially if you’re not an Amazon Prime member. Many of them are free and few of the paid apps are more than $5, most of which are games.
So you just bought your Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick, you hooked it up and you’re ready to explore everything it can do. Which apps pack the most punch for your brand new entertainment device? Here’s five to get you started and they’re all free!
This one goes without saying, but if you have a Netflix subscription, download the Netflix app immediately. If you don’t have a Netflix subscription, consider getting one. It will make your life far easier using Fire TV especially without an Amazon Prime account because you won’t have to constantly purchase movies and TV shows on demand to watch.
For eight bucks per month, just stream whatever your heart desires on Netflix and don’t worry about how much you’re spending because you already know the answer – no more, no less. Plus the viewing experience is so much better on a television than it is on your laptop or tablet. Navigation on Fire TV is far better than on an Apple TV, too.
It’s so much easier to browse and search through music in the palm of your hand than on a large, distant screen. However, it’s way more immersive listening to that music through the larger screen with typically better speakers. Spotify has a Fire TV app called Spotify Connect that understands and addresses both.
As long as you have an iPhone, iPad, or Android device, you can download the Spotify Connect app to your Fire TV. Just follow the on-screen instructions to link the Fire TV app with your Spotify account. Then what you play on your phone will automatically play on your television, with a nice interface I might add. Even try singing along – or not, depending on what’s in the best interest of the people around you.
Note: To use Spotify Connect you need a Spotify Premium subscription. This is $10 per month or $5 per month for students. Premium is also required for playing music from Spotify on any mobile device on demand.
Flappy Birds Family
Remember the game Flappy Bird that ruined the lives of an entire generation just by being so simple to control, yet so unfathomably addictive? The developer even acknowledged its addictiveness and removed it from existence… but not entirely. Flappy Bird is still very much alive on Amazon Fire TV with Flappy Birds Family.
It’s a special edition of the game for up to two players and three different birds to choose from as characters. Rather than tap on your device screen to make the bird fly through obstacles, you instead click the middle button on your remote.
The game is pretty responsive, yet still as hard and as addictive as ever. Plus with multiplayer mode, competing live with friends or family adds a new dimension. Multiple players does require multiple remotes though.
Like Flappy Bird, Crossy Road takes on a retro theme with addictive, yet intuitive gameplay. Originally available for iOS and Android, this game has found a new home on the Amazon Fire TV. The object is to move the player through multiple strips of traffic and land without getting hit by cars or falling behind. You make one move at a time forward, left or right (using the remote) to keep ahead. Each move counts as a point.
The game also adds up virtual coins as you score to unlock virtual items and new characters. It’s single player, so it’s not something the whole family can sit down to enjoy, but it still manages to be one of the better free games Fire TV has to offer.
This may come from out of left field, but it’s totally worth it at the low, low price of nothing. Everyone has seen at one point or another rich people in movies who, instead of having a real fireplace, display a virtual fireplace on a giant flatscreen television.
Welcome to that extravagant lifestyle, as Toasty Fireplace allows just that. Sit back and allow the visually realistic fire to relax you, complete with optional sound effects or calming music to set the mood. It also acts as a fantastic graphical background piece when you might have guests over in your living room. Yes, it might seem odd and dare I say pompous, but in practice it’s actually quite pleasant to keep running for effect.