How to Set Up an Amazon Fire TV Cube

Written By: Frank Engelman.  Last Updated: September 30, 2020.

 

Fire TV Cube with TV

 

In my retirement I spend a great deal of time on an unusual "hobby" — coming up with useful technology-based solutions to problems and annoyances that beset my elderly friends and relations.

 

I have found that many of these older adults spend quite a lot of their time within earshot of a TV — which is often turned on in the background. I find my "solutions" often involve finding new ways to leverage the prominence of the TV set in their lives.

 

 

Solutions for My Relatives & the Fire TV Cube

Recently, a product called the Amazon Fire TV Cube has become available and I am finding it often helps me solve the challenges I am working on on behalf my older friends.

However, the Amazon Fire TV Cube is not so simple to set up, and so I have developed this "How to" guide to help other people like me set up a Fire TV Cube for their friends, relatives, or aging parents. I include instructions for how to enable various features I have needed for the solutions I have created for my friends and relatives.

For some specific examples of the problems and solutions I have been working on, see "DIY Technology Solutions to Things Bothering My Aging Relatives". And, for a story about how I helped my 94-yr-old Aunt turn her TV from a not very useful source of background "noise" into a useful tool that helped her accomplish a range of important tasks, see "Making TV Useful for my 94-yr-old Aunt".

 

 

What Is Amazon Fire TV? What Is the Amazon Fire TV Cube?

Amazon Fire TV is the name of a family of products (the Fire TV Stick, the Fire TV Cube). The primary purpose of these products is to be what is called a "media player", which is something that plugs into an ordinary TV and turns it into a "smart" TV — which can then stream content from the Internet.

The Fire TV products look like a small stick or a cube, and plug into the HDMI port on a TV. Once they are connected, you can stream programming from a wide range of channels such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, YouTube and Amazon Prime. These products compete with other media players like the Apple TV, Roku, and Google Chromecast.

A key differentiator of the Fire TV products compared to other media players is the tight integration with Alexa, and with Amazon's services.

The big difference between the Fire TV Cube and other Fire TV products (eg Fire TV Stick) is that the Cube includes a speaker and microphone, so that you can talk with it directly, and incorporates many of the capabilities of the remote control directly into the Cube — accessed via voice commands.

 

 

List of Equipment, Software, and Applications Required

Equipment needed:

  • Amazon Fire TV Cube (view Fire TV Cube on Amazon*)
  • Wi-Fi
  • Mobile Phone for setup using the Alexa app
  • Echo Connect (if you want Caller ID on screen)

If you want to get caller id on the TV when someone calls, then you also need either a landline or a VoIP connection.

 

Software needed:

  • Amazon account
  • Alexa app
  • Notifications for Fire TV app (Android only)

 

 

Setup Instructions for the Fire TV Cube: Step by Step

 

1. Basic Fire TV Cube Setup

  • Plug and follow Amazon's setup procedure (see this page on Amazon's website).
  • Here are some helpful videos if you have issues (see this page on Amazon's website)
  • If you have previously ordered Amazon Echo devices, it may already be partially configured with your Amazon account information and Wi-Fi settings
  • Select which "Amazon offers" you want (if any). And in general, we recommend keeping things simple to start.

 

Avoid Automatic Previews

Now is a good time to clean up a few items that will make it less annoying when you just want to look at what TV shows are available WITHOUT getting an automatic preview.

If you want to do that, scroll down to #11: Disable Autoplay.

 

2. YouTube 360-degree virtual reality videos

Enjoy 360-degree videos that you can pan around.

Here is a YouTube video of it in action:

  • Install YouTube on your Fire TV cube & login
  • There is no real setup, just pick a video with a 360-degree video, as explained in the YouTube video.
  • AirPano has some good ones

 

3. Setting up Alexa Notifications

Here is a YouTube video of it in action: 

 

These are the steps to set up Alexa Notifications on the Fire TV Cube

  • Hold the Home button for 5 seconds
  • Scroll over and tap Settings
  • Scroll across to Preferences and tap it
  • Scroll down to Notification Settings and tap it
  • Be sure "Do Not Interrupt" is off
  • Scroll to App Notifications and tap it
  • Be sure Alexa Notifications is on

 

These are the steps to set up Alexa Notifications on the Fire TV using your phone

  • Open the Alexa app on your phone
  • Tap the three bars in the upper left
  • Tap Notifications
  • Be sure that Announcements and Reminders are enabled
  • Tap the back arrow twice in the upper left to get back the first screen

 

Testing

Optional: If you'd like to check that this is working and how it looks on the screen:

  • Tap Reminders & Alarms;
  • Tap Add Reminder and create one that occurs soon;
  • Add your Fire TV cube as the "Announces from" device.

You should see the reminder popup at the time you set it for.

 

4. Descriptive Audio Settings

This provides professional narration of what is going on in a scene when the actors are not speaking.

This is very useful if a person's vision is failing. That person often has a hard time understanding what is happening in a TV show when the actors are not speaking, In some shows there are long dramatic pauses or just action noises.

 

 

5. Setting up Android Phone Notifications

Here is a YouTube video of it in action: 

 

Please note that you must install the app BOTH on your mobile phone AND the Fire TV Cube

 

These are the steps to set up "Notifications for Fire TV" on the Fire TV Cube

  • Push the Home button on the remote
  • Scroll left and the Search icon (magnifying glass)
  • Type in "Notifications for Fire TV" app and select it
  • Click the Select button
  • Download the app
  • Click to open it
  • Click to close the on-screen message
  • Accept the terms
  • Scroll down to Info and tap it
  • Scroll across to Open Settings and make my selections, here are some suggestions (add figure)
    • Turn screen on when getting a notification- Checked
    • Notification sound- Aquila
    • Notification Volume- 50%
    • Notification sound duration- Notification duration
    • Saved Messages- unchecked
    • Click OK
    • Click the Home button

 

These are the steps to set up "Notifications for Fire TV" on your mobile phone

Notifications

 

  • Install the Notifications for the Fire TV app from the Play Store
  • Follow the setup steps for the app
  • Accept the policy
  • On the "Setup Fire TV" screen (show figure)
  • Be sure your Fire TV Cube is checkedIf you are unsure, this is the correct Fire TV Cube…
  • On the Fire TV Cube
  • Hold the home for 5 seconds
  • Scroll over and select click Settings
  • Scroll down and over to My Fire TV and click it
  • Click About
  • Scroll down and select Network
  • Note that the IP address should match what you saw above

Fire Cube IP address

^^^ For example ^^^^

 

  • Grant Permission
  • Allow Contacts
  • Allow Phone Calls
  • Setup Notification Access

Notification access

 

  • Allow Notification Access
  • You can send a test message now to see that everything is working

Test message

 

  • Push the mobile phone home button

You can test your other notifications such as your Android Phone notifications such as calendar event. If this doesn't work, try rebooting your phone and the Fire Tv Cube

 

 

6. Alexa incoming call pauses the Fire TV Show (Prime Video, YouTube… Netflix is audio mute only)

In my Dad’s nursing home everybody has their TV blasting, including My Dad. Sometimes he can’t even hear me calling on a video chat request on his Alexa Show.

My solution is to set up Alexa Calling so it pauses the TV show, when a call comes in.

See my detailed "How To" at: Alexa Calling Pauses TV When Call Comes In.

 

 

7. Linking your Echo Show to your Fire TV Cube

This can allow you to speak to the Fire TV Cube that is located too far away without having to raise your voice.

In your Alexa app:

  • Tap the top left 3 bars
  • Tap Settings
  • Scroll to TV & Video and tap it
  • Tap Fire TV
  • Tap "manage devices"
  • Tap your Fire TV and continue
  • Tap the device you want to link to your Fire TV
  • Tap Link Devices
  • Tap Return to Fire TV
  • Tap the "Blue Circle" to exit

Now you can say the command as normal, and IF the TV is on, the command will be sent to it instead of the Echo Show

Here is a list of the commands you can say (see available commands on this Amazon page):

For example…

  • "Alexa, Watch the Mentalist"
    • Plays on Fire TV Cube… if TV is on
    • Else… plays on Echo Show
       
  • "Alexa, Watch Blue Planet on Netflix"
    • Plays on Fire TV Cube… if TV is on
    • Else… plays on Echo Show

 

 

8. Home Theatre Speakers

Here is a way to get speakers right next to your seat when watching TV.

It's great for the hard of hearing and you can use any PAIR of the same type of speakers ranging for Echo Dots to Echo Studio… but they must be the same model

  • Add or choose two Echo speakers of the same type
  • Place them near your seat. They will be stereo, so place one on each side of your seat. Left & Right setup will be handled in the app

See also: TV Too Loud Due to Hearing Loss

 

Setup on your mobile phone

  • In the Alexa app, tap Devices in the lower right corner
  • Tap the "+" in the upper right corner
  • Tap the "Set Up Audio System"
  • Tap "Home Theatre"
  • Select the two speakers and tap Next
  • Choose which is left and right and use the swap button if necessary
  • Tap Next
  • Chose a name, suggestion- Home Theatre
  • Tap Next
  • Select a room (group)
  • Tap Save

 

Setup on your Fire TV Cube

  • You should see this popup

Home theatre page

  • You can watch the Play Preview or skip
  • You will see a message about your Fire TV remote now controlling audio volume (add figure)
  • If you get a loud clicking sound
    • Turn down your TV volume
  • If you experience a Lip Sync problem
    • Hold the Home button for 5 seconds
    • Scroll over and tap Settings
    • Scroll over and tap Display & Sounds
    • Tap on Home Theatre System
    • Scroll down to Lip Sync Tuning
      • It takes a bit of practice, but get the ball to drop on the line in sync with the beep
      • Tap Home

 

 

9. Workaround: Ring doorbell press shows live video on Fire TV

In this setup we are using two devices, a Fire TV Cube to show the doorbell camera, an Echo Dot to relay the Alexa spoken command to the Fire TV. This is required because, as of this writing, there is no way for the Fire TV Cube to automatically show the Ring Doorbell camera. This assumes you already have setup the Ring Doorbell.

No setup is necessary on the Fire TV Cube, other than to place an Echo Dot near it so that it can hear the command. You may later want to change the wake word on the Fire TV Cube and Echo Dot to something other than "Alexa" if you have multiple other devices

 

 

10. Caller ID on Fire TV

Here is a way for your Fire TV to display Caller ID on the TV screen using an Echo Connect. It requires either a landline or a VoIP connection from your Internet provider

Setup on the Echo Connect

  • Follow the Amazon instructions (see this Amazon webpage)
    • Note that most US users won't need the "1" prefix for local calls

Echo Connect screen

  • If you are using a Land Line or VoIP connection, just plug the phone cable into the Echo Connect

You can now test Echo Connect by calling the Land Line or VoIP number from another phone

 

 

11. Disable Autoplay

Disable Autoplay on Netflix

If you plan on using Netflix, this Netflix website page will show you how to stop Netflix Auto-Playing previews

 

Disable Autoplay on Amazon Prime

These are the steps to stop the Amazon Prime Auto Play feature.

  • Hold the Home button for 5 seconds
  • Scroll over and tap Settings
  • Scroll across to Preferences and tap it
  • Scroll down to featured Content and tap it
  • Turn off
  • Allow Video Auto Play
  • Allow Audio Display

If you decide to use a screensaver, we suggest you turn off Alexa Hints

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

*Disclosure: If you use the links above when you buy products we write about, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate or other affiliate program participant. This does not affect the price you pay.

Beyond this, we have no financial interest in the products discussed here, and this article is not sponsored or supported in any way by any product vendor. See How we Fund our Work.

 

 

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We are currently raising contributions from those who find our work valuable to complete some new research initiatives, all targeted at helping older adults live better for longer. And we are always looking for contributions of ideas about what to work on, or help executing some of our projects.

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Reader Comments: "How to Set Up an Amazon Fire TV Cube"

 

from faengelm (member) at November 07, 2020

Hello Nate,

I am using a Google Voice number with an Obihai OBi200 and here is how mine works:

On an incoming call, I get a display on my Echo Show that shows and says

Incoming call.... from xxx-xxx-xxxx (phone number)

Decline  Accept

If I touch the Accept or say "Alexa, answer the call"

I get a new display

End     Dialpad

Then a "non-Alexa" voice speaks (I believe the Google voice) and says "Press 1 to accept, to send a voicemail, press 2"

The phone call is then active

BTW, I was just able to remove the need for "Press 1" by turning off  "Screen calls" in the voice.google.com under "Incoming calls"

This shows that it is possible to make this work

=========

Now regarding your experience, what does show in "Try, Alexa...." in the top line?

Frank

 

from Nate (unverified) at November 02, 2020

We have an Echo Connect set up with assistance from Amazon Support Chat using Google Voice, an ObiHai and a wireless phone. It seems to work for outgoing calls. Incoming calls are announced but when we tell Alexa to answer the call she never does no matter what words we use. Instead she just keep announcing the incoming call until the caller gives up and hangs up. Amazon Support is baffled. Do you have any suggestions?

Discuss, Comment, Ask Questions


 

 

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Last Updated: September 30, 2020.