We’ve all been there before. You go to Best Buy or visit your favorite online retailer, looking for a specific piece of technology that will meet your needs. You’re fed a load of malarkey from the salesperson or the website itself, telling you about all the things this particular piece of tech can do for you, and you purchase it, confident that you’re making a good investment. Then, when you take it home, you open up the package and go through a complicated installation process only to realize (sometimes immediately, sometimes weeks or months later) that the product you’ve bought isn’t delivering on its value proposition, hampered by unnecessary restrictions.
This is a common phenomenon today, especially with the abundance of corporately manufactured products on the market today. Name-brand pieces of equipment that are tied to major corporations, such as the Amazon Firestick or Amazon Fire TV, trade on the good name of their parent brand to convince consumers to take them home, expecting that (much like Amazon’s Prime service) because of the brand name associated with the device, it will meet their needs and offer them unparalleled convenience. However, the unfortunate reality is that these devices were not made with customer convenience in mind; they were made to sell more Amazon products, slanting the viewers’ experience to convince them to purchase from Amazon more often like garden supplies or pantries.
Outside of its unique connection to Amazon’s services, as the Firestick has the ability to voice-search the site (making it even easier for you to buy from its parent company, what do you know?), Amazon Fire TV offers nothing to keep it competitive with other set-top boxes. If anything, you’ll get less utility out of those devices than set-top boxes sold by other brands. But before you throw your Firestick or Fire TV set in the trash, writing off the money you’ve spent on it as a loss, consider this: there’s an easy, safe way to get more out of the tech you have, allowing it to work just as well as anything else you could go and buy. And it’s completely free.
Introducing the concept of jailbreaking.
Jailbreaking is, in a nutshell, rewriting your device’s programming to cut out unnecessary manufacturer restrictions, specifically those that prevent your device from using third-party software. You might not have heard of it, but jailbreaking is actually a widely practiced mode of getting more from existing tech, predating the existence of the first iPhone but being popularized by iPhone users. Jailbreaking was used when the first iPhone came out to allow iPhone users to download and use Android apps, these users not being satisfied with what was available on the apple store, and it has also been used to break restrictions on more antiquated devices.
For our purposes, your Amazon Firestick or Amazon Fire TV can be jailbroken simply by changing a couple of security settings, being one of the easiest devices on the market to jailbreak. From that point, you can install a brand new UI called Kodi, which will give you access to hundreds of free TV and movie apps that Amazon (to limit their competition) cut out of their app store. Kodi is a third-party, open-source home theater application that allows you to access all of your streaming sites from one hub, lets you play games through the system, and also adds its own free TV and movie library containing hours of content, as well as letting you access other free streaming apps.
If choosing your TV unit is comparable to “bigger is better,” then jailbreaking your Firestick and turning it into a universal remote that can access whole new worlds of content… well, that just might make your dinky little Firestick one of the best set-top systems around.
Jailbreaking your system successfully normally takes a bit of technical know-how: not so with the Firestick and Amazon Fire TV. With just the flick of a couple switches, you can have unparalleled access to hundreds of hours of free content. Take the leap today, and make the most out of the tech you have.