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When you are looking to stream content to your TV from sources like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, or Amazon Prime, there are several devices that can help you out. One of these devices is the Amazon Fire TV Stick (click to view on Amazon).
When you buy a Fire Stick from Amazon you receive a small box that includes the Fire Stick, the Fire TV remote control, some batteries, and a couple of other items that you will need to get it set up. The setup process is fairly quick and will require you to do things like plug an HDMI cable into the Fire Stick and connect it to the HDMI port on your TV, connect the device to your Wi-Fi network, enter usernames and passwords for apps that you want to use, and check for available updates.
The Internet connection that the Fire Stick gets through this Wi-Fi connection is essential for the device to stream content like TV shows and movies from compatible streaming providers. And while the Amazon Fire TV Stick does come with a few apps pre-installed, you are also going to need an Internet connection to download new apps and update your existing ones.
If you don’t have access to the Internet (and it needs to be wireless access, too, as the Fire Stick does not have an ethernet port) then you won’t be able to set up the Fire Stick or stream any content. In fact, the device’s Home screen won’t even load without an Internet connection.
If I Don’t Have Internet, Can I Use the Fire Stick?
Streaming services like Hulu and Netflix require Internet access. While you do have options for downloading content to your devices from those services so that you can watch that content when you don’t have Internet, you are going to need Internet access to perform the initial download.
If the issue is not a total lack of Internet, but rather that your home’s router signal strength isn’t good enough to reach the Fire Stick location, then you may wish to consider a Wi-Fi extender instead (click to view on Amazon). This type of device can boost your Wi-Fi signal so that your Fire Stick can access it if it would otherwise be out of range.
Almost any streaming device or media player that you purchase and use in your home will require an Internet connection at some point. Whether it’s the Fire Stick (click to view on Amazon), an Apple TV (click to view on Amazon), a Roku (click to view on Amazon), or a Google Chromecast (click to view on Amazon), the device setup process and content streaming require an Internet connection.
Do I Have Any Options If I Don’t Have an Internet Connection?
If you don’t have Internet access in your home, but you have an iPhone or an Android device, then you do have the option of using your phone as a hotspot and connecting the Fire Stick to the Internet that way.
There’s an Alexa app on the Fire Stick that includes a feature which will connect to your phone’s hotspot. Simply enable the hotspot on your phone, launch Alexa, choose Amazon Tap, then find your phone’s hotspot and connect to it.
It should be noted, however, that this hotspot method can use a lot of your phone’s data if you are going to stream video. Depending on the quality of the stream and the length of time that you watch, you could easily go through multiple GBs of data in just a single day. Additionally, depending on the strength of your phone’s Internet connection, you may not have an enjoyable streaming experience either if the connection isn’t strong enough.
Some third-party apps (such as Kodi) can be installed on the Fire Stick and give you access to devices on your local network, where you may have media files stored. However, this option still requires you to have at least a Wi-Fi router in your home. Older versions of the Fire Stick had a USB port that allowed for the side-loading of apps, but the USB port on newer models is for power only. However, even the older models required to you to have already downloaded these apps and had them accessible from a computer.
Some apps, like certain Android games and third-party apps, can be accessed by going to Settings > Applications. However, the application will already need to be on your device, and it can’t require any kind of Internet access. These apps are few and far between. Most apps that you launch this way are going to give you an error screen to let you know that they won’t work.
Amazon designed the Fire TV device line as a way to stream videos, live TV, and other streaming media in an inexpensive and simple way, but the device was designed to function with a strong Internet connection.
You can check out the Fire TV Stick 4K here (click to view on Amazon) and read more about it, including reviews from current owners. There is a lot of information on that page, and you may find something relevant to your query which could give you a definitive answer on your intended use-case.
While the Fire Stick does have a minimal amount of utility without that Internet access, it is severely hindered and is probably not a great purchase unless you have a very specific need for the device that can be fulfilled despite the lack of an Internet connection.
Matt Jacobs has been working as an IT consultant for small businesses since receiving his Master’s degree in 2003. While he still does some consulting work, his primary focus now is on creating technology support content for SupportYourTech.com.
His work can be found on many websites and focuses on topics such as Microsoft Office, Apple devices, Android devices, Photoshop, and more.