Amazon's Fire TV devices are streaming sticks that let you watch digital content directly on your TV. Apart from pre-built support for Amazon Prime, you can install many apps on it such as Netflix, TED, BBC, and more.
However, there are certain limitations to it. To start with, you need to install apps on it to view content from other streaming sites. That takes space on the Fire TV Stick, which has limited storage — 11.6GB. So essentially, you cannot install as many apps you like. Secondly, you need the internet connectivity for such apps to work. Sure, you can download content on Fire TV Stick, but again that will take space. An alternative exists where you mirror your phone or laptop to Fire TV Stick.
Now the question is how does one mirror an Android phone to a Fire TV. It’s easy to do that since Fire TV Stick supports Miracast standard.
Before we begin, let’s understand Miracast and its role in Fire TV.
What is Miracast
Earlier, an HDMI cable was required to mirror a laptop or phone to a TV or a projector. As times have changed, wireless technologies came into play replacing the wires.
Miracast isn’t a dongle, a stick, or a specific product like Chromecast. It’s a technology built inside Miracast supported devices such as dongles, streaming sticks, phones, and laptops. The cool thing about Miracast is that it’s cheap for the dongle or stick can be from a brand like Amazon or a local brand costing just a few bucks. Most Smart TVs now come with built-in support for Miracast, so you don’t even need a Miracast dongle or stick to mirror content.
Miracast devices use Wi-Fi Direct technology to connect. While they work on a Wi-Fi router too, it’s not a necessary part of the connection. You can skip it, and the devices will connect directly using Wi-Fi Direct. In simple words, Wi-Fi Direct creates a direct (hotspot) connection between devices.
Supported Miracast Devices
Miracast technology made a debut in 2012 with Google adding support for it starting Android 4.2 Jellybean. But things changed with Android 6.0 Marshmallow when Google dropped the support for Miracast. Now stock Android devices don’t support Miracast but devices from other manufacturers such as Xiaomi, OnePlus, Huawei, Samsung, etc. still support Miracast through their software tweaks.
On laptops, you can use it with Windows 8 and Windows 10. However, not all laptops support it, and you should check your laptop's specifications as to whether it is Miracast enabled or not.
You must have guessed its fate on iOS devices — they do not support Miracast. Apple devices are locked to work within their ecosystem, and that’s why you can only mirror iOS devices on Apple devices such as Apple TV using its mirroring feature called AirPlay.
Mirror from Android to Fire TV Stick
To mirror content, you need to have compatible Android and Fire TV devices.
Supported Android devices
As Fire TV Stick uses Miracast technology to mirror phone's content to a TV, all devices supporting Miracast (mentioned above) work well with Fire TV Stick. Therefore, except stock Android devices such as Google Pixel, Xiaomi Mi A1, etc. all should be able to mirror to Fire TV Stick.
Fun Fact: While Fire TV Stick doesn’t natively work with iOS devices, third-party apps help to mirror iOS.
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Supported Fire TV
Screen mirroring doesn’t work on Amazon Fire TV (3rd gen) and Fire TV Cube. Even though Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K also doesn’t natively support the screen mirror feature, you can take the help of third-party apps to mirror your screen. Other Fire TV devices work fine.
Method to Connect Phone to Fire TV
When you have compatible Android and Fire TV devices with you, connect them to the same Wi-Fi network to mirror content. Once that’s done, you need to enable mirroring on Fire TV first followed by connecting your phone. Here are the steps for both of them.
Enable Mirroring on Fire TV
Step 1: On your Fire TV, go to Settings followed by Display & Sounds.
Step 2: Select Enable Display Mirroring.
Step 3: Your Fire TV will go into the search mode and will start looking for nearby devices.
Alternatively, press and hold the home button on your Fire TV remote until you see the options. Select the Mirroring option. That lets you quickly enable mirroring on Fire TV.
Connect Your Phone to Fire TV
The Miracast feature on Android devices differs in terms of naming and location. When the Fire TV is in the search mode, you need to enable the feature on your phone to connect them.
On MIUI running devices, you will find the Wireless display feature. To enable it, you need to go to Settings > More > Wireless display. Turn the toggle on for Wireless display. Once you do that, your Fire TV’s name should appear. Tap on it to begin mirroring on your TV.
On some devices such as OnePlus, go to Settings > Bluetooth & device connection > Connection preferences > Cast. Tap on the three-dot icon and turn on Enable wireless display. Your Fire TV will appear. Tap on it to connect.
Similarly, the feature is known as Smart View on Samsung and it is present in the quick settings under the navigation drawer. Huawei prefers the Wireless Projection name making it accessible under Settings > Device connectivity > Wireless Projection.
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Troubleshoot Screen Mirror Not Working on Fire TV
If you have compatible devices and yet you aren’t able to mirror an Android phone to Fire TV Stick, you should change your Wi-Fi frequency band (2.4GHz or 5GHz). The setting will be present on your phone under Settings > Wi-Fi > Advanced > Wi-Fi frequency band. Switch it to 2.4GHz or 5GHz. Newer Android devices seem to have disabled the setting. If that’s the case, you will have to change the band from your router settings.
Thanks to restrictions put by Google, stock Android devices do not let you mirror your phone to TV except with Google’s Chromecast device. However, you can cast your content to Fire TV Stick using third-party apps on such devices.
Difference between Mirror and Cast
When you mirror your phone, you are essentially copying the exact content from the phone to TV. It’s like a big screen for your phone screen. You can view your notifications, check settings, read messages, etc. while mirroring your phone. Whatever you do on your phone will reflect on your TV.
In the case of cast, you only project a video, image, or audio file from your phone to TV. Just your content is mirrored and not your entire screen. Casting gives you the ability to control your media from your phone. Here your phone acts as a remote control for the independent video cast from your phone on the TV.
How to Mirror from Stock Android Devices to Fire TV
As mentioned above, you cannot mirror stock Android, and you will have to cast it to Fire TV, which doesn’t come with native support for media casting.
For that, you will need to install Cast to TV app on your phone. Once installed, open the app, and your Fire TV will automatically appear provided you are connected on the same Wi-Fi network. Tap on it to connect. Then choose the content that you want to cast to your TV. You can cast both local and online content.
I tried it on my Pixel phone that runs stock Android, and it works fine. However, the casting is slow because the process takes time as compared to the cast available in Chromecast or screen mirroring in Fire TV.
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Limitations for Fire TV Mirroring
Certain issues come with mirroring as well. For instance, when you mirror your phone to a TV, the screen needs to be on for the entire duration. And that will drain your phone's battery. Secondly, you cannot do anything else on your phone. If you are mirroring a movie from your phone, leaving the app will close the movie on your TV too.
Further, some streaming apps do not support screen mirroring.
It’s saddening to see Google go the same way as Apple by locking their ecosystem. I get it they want people to buy Chromecast devices, but that shouldn’t mean they disable Miracast. I really wish Google brought back the support for Miracast for not everyone wants a Chromecast in their life.
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