It is becoming increasingly common for people to make the switch from regular TV services to Internet-based entertainment, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, but making the switch is not as easy as you might think. Television in its traditional form has been with us for over seventy years, so naturally, there is apprehension about switching to something like an Amazon Fire Stick.
But can you watch normal TV on Amazon Fire Stick and similar devices?
In short, yes. You can absolutely access regular TV through an Amazon Fire Stick. You can do so through multiple free apps depending on what you want to watch. Many regular TV channel providers will either have an app of their own or be available through other apps, and these apps often offer the ability to live stream the current broadcast of that channel.
You don’t require a TV aerial, so as long as you have WIFI & a streaming stick like FireTV you can watch some live TV channels. Let’s take a more detailed look at this subject. Check out some of the Best Fire Stick Bundles on Amazon now!
How The Amazon Fire Stick Works
It can help to think of the Amazon Fire Stick as a very small, very dedicated computer. Or, more accurately, a mobile phone, since it runs a variant of the operating system found on Android phones.
This tiny device plugs directly into one of your television’s input connections, draws power from a USB (either directly from the TV or from a separate power outlet) and connects to the Internet via WiFi. Once set up, all you have to do is navigate the menus using the simple remote control, find what you want to watch, and hit play!
The setup process for an Amazon Fire Stick can take as little as a few minutes for even less tech-savvy people, and also supports voice commands through the remote control.
By default, you will have access to Amazon’s video-on-demand service when you first start up your Fire Stick. But from there, you can install a wide range of apps to get other content, such as Netflix, HBO (the US Only), Disney+, Apple TV+, and many channel-based apps, such as BBC iPlayer.
This last example, by the way, is one way in which you can watch normal television on the Amazon Fire Stick. Many video-on-demand apps put out by regular TV channels include an option to watch “live”, which essentially streams the channel’s live broadcast to your Fire Stick.
There is no recurring cost to use an Amazon Fire Stick—you buy the device, and it is yours to use as much as you like. However, while there are many ways to get free content on the Fire Stick, there are also many services that require a subscription to use. For example, you can freely install the Netflix app, but you will need an active Netflix subscription to watch any of the content there.
How To Watch Regular TV Channels With An Amazon Fire Stick
There are a few ways in which you can watch regular TV channels on your Amazon Fire Stick—the first of which we have already touched on. Many regular TV channel providers will either have an app of their own or be available through other apps, and these apps often offer the ability to live stream the current broadcast of that channel. Whether or not this option is free will likely depend on the channel in question. If you have to pay to get the regular channel, you will most likely have to pay to stream it.
This option works; however, it can be a little messy. You can easily find yourself with a dozen different apps on your Fire Stick, and as hard as Amazon work to make their interface intuitive, switching between them is not as smooth an experience as flicking through the channels on a regular TV.
Another option is to combine your Amazon Fire Stick with regular TV service. Your TV should have the ability to switch between different inputs, so you can have the Amazon Fire Stick on one input, while your regular TV will come in through another input. This way, you can easily switch between the video-on-demand goodness of the Fire Stick and the normal TV that you are used to. Still, we asked “can you watch normal TV on Amazon Fire Stick”, so let’s move on to our final option.
Installing an app like TVPlayer [https://tvplayer.com/uk/apps] will provide many of the channels you would receive through your regular TV service, all in one place. Installing the app is as simple as installing any app—merely find it in the app store and hit “install”. You can then use it to stream live TV channels, use catch-up and on-demand services, and enjoy all the convenience of having your channels together in one place. TVPlayer is just one example of this kind of app, however. Be sure to check the app you are considering to make sure it serves the channels from your region.
What Channels Come Free With A Fire Stick in 2021?
This is a subject that would make for a long list if we were to cover everything. Firstly, the Fire Stick does not “come with” free channels, as such. You can install whatever apps you like, and many free channels are available through those apps. As mentioned above, many services will require a subscription to that service. You can freely install the DirecTV Now/AT&T Now app, but you will need to be a customer of theirs to make use of it.
Most regular free channels are available for free through their own or third-party apps. Notable examples of this include the BBC iPlayer, which includes all of the BBC channel lineups. You can also get PBS, as well as a range of news channels like Fox News.
Here is the list of the most popular channels that come free with a Fire Stick(require app installation):
- BBC iPlayer (Has loads of great stuff to explore)
- PBS/PBS KIDS (Requires FB to log in, has a lot of great stuff for kids)
- Fox News (Pretty self-explanatory)
- FilmRise (Has a lot of movies and TV shows)
- Popcornflix (Like Netflix, but with ads)
- Tubi (Great movies with quick commercials)
- YouTube (Pretty self-explanatory)
- IMDb TV (Good movies and tv shows)
- Crackle (Like Netflix, but with ads)
- XUMO TV (Has over 190 channels to choose from)
- NASA (If you are into space stuff)
- CW Seed (A lot of great content, short commercials)
- Kanopy (Public library app, a lot of free content)
- Hoopla (Public library app, a lot of free content)
- Pluto TV (Similar to Crackle)
- Rakuten VIKI (Asian TV with subtitles)
- Ted (If you are a fan of TedTalks)
A list of free Fire Stick apps that require a subscription:
- Prime Video
- Apple TV
ProTip: Use a VPN while streaming on Netflix in order to get access to the movies and TV shows specific to a certain geographic location.
How To Switch Between Fire Stick And Regular TV/How To Go Back To Watching Regular TV If The Stick Is Contacted To TV
If you are using Fire Stick in conjunction with your regular TV service, you can switch between the two by changing the input on your TV. The exact process will differ from TV to TV but usually involves pressing a button marked “Input”, and cycling through the available options until you find the one you want. If your TV lets you label inputs, it might be worth labeling the input your Fire Stick is on. Especially if your TV has a lot of inputs.
The exact method depends on your TV, but here’s a general guideline:
- Click an “input” button on your remote
- Open the list of all available HDMI/cable/TV options
- Switch from HDMI1 to HDM3/DTV/TV depending on your TV
Amazon Fire Stick vs Satellite TV
Ordinarily, we would say a choice like this comes down to personal preference. However, given the range of functionality and choice available through an Amazon Fire Stick, it is hard to say that satellite TV would be a better option.
Though it may not be packaged as neatly as satellite TV, you can still access all the same content you would expect to get from that service through a Fire Stick, as well as much more. And, while it may feel more expensive to have multiple subscriptions to services like Netflix and Amazon Prime vs one satellite TV contract, the numbers don’t bear that out. Indeed, you could subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and have access to all your regular TV channels as mentioned above, and the total cost would still be on par with the most basic satellite TV package.
Frequently Asked Questions
For your convenience, we’ve collected some of the more common questions about this topic together. And answered them, of course.
How can I watch Live TV on my Fire Stick for free?
Find a live TV app that serves your region and install it. It’s really that simple. Once that’s done, you can open the app and browse the live TV channels available to you.
Do you have to download the content?
Technically when you watch programs on a Fire TV Stick it’s streamed to you. So, you do not have to download the entire program. Essentially, the program downloads as you’re watching. The Fire TV Stick will automatically detect your internet speed and stream the best quality your internet is capable of streaming.
Is a Fire Stick worth it?
In our opinion, yes. The Fire Stick is a relatively cheap device (certainly less expensive than a typical set-top box and terrestrial or satellite monthly fees) and can provide you with more content than a cable or satellite TV package and when you watch content provided by Netflix or Amazon Prime Video there are no adverts! Also, depending on your internet speed the video quality tends to be much higher too! There is a learning curve moving directly from traditional TV to a device like the Fire Stick, but once you’re used to using it, it’s just as easy as standard TV, if not easier.Check out some of the Best Fire Stick Bundles on Amazon now!
When you factor in all the pieces, it is hard to see the benefits of sticking with regular TV providers over a device like the Amazon Fire Stick. Freely available TV channels offer a very limited selection compared to what you can get through the Fire Stick, and cable and satellite TV providers are more expensive and offer less choice in the content you receive for your money.
With an Amazon Fire Stick, you can mix and match your available content to suit your tastes? If you just want free TV channels, you don’t need to pay for anything. If you almost exclusively watch Disney films on repeat, just pay for Disney+ and nothing else. Everything that you can find on regular TV channels is available somewhere on the Fire Stick.
Furthermore, the setup of a Fire Stick is ludicrously easy compared to something like a cable box. There is no need to have engineers come around to your home, no running of cables or installing satellite dishes. Simply plug the Fire Stick into the back of your TV, and you’re good to go.