Amazon Firestick has skyrocketed to popularity in recent years thanks to its practically limitless uses and compact form. It is inexpensive, straightforward to use, and equally easy to hack for expanded functionality. You can hook it up to any TV with an HDMI port and start exploring a wide range of entertainment resources – including music and video games. Because of its wide ranging utility, it’s easy to understand why some people have started to wonder whether it is possible to use Firestick on laptop.
A one-word answer to this question is… “No.” Because of the limitations of HDMI, unfortunately, directly using Firestick on laptop is not possible. However, there are a couple of workarounds this problem. Stay with us as we take you through why using Firestick on laptop isn’t feasible, different ways you can still make it work, and cast a video from your laptop to your Firestick.
The Trouble with Using Firestick on Laptop
The main problem with using Firestick on laptop is that the Firestick uses an HDMI port to connect and stream. Older laptops don’t even have an HDMI to connect to an external monitor. Newer models do have the HDMI port to mirror laptop screens out to another screen, but the problem is that Firestick is also a broadcast device with an HDMI out port. As both are broadcast ports (only designed to send a signal out), they are not configured to receive digital signals.
Moreover, even if your laptop HDMI port somehow starts receiving HDMI signals, you still wouldn’t be able to connect and use Firestick on laptop. The laptop’s HDMI port connects with the computer’s graphics card and not with the built-in monitor. So there’s no hardware path available to carry signals from the HDMI port to the screen.
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Nevertheless, if you still want to use Firestick on laptop, in the next section, we discuss a few options you can look into. Keep in mind that we don’t enthusiastically recommend any of them (unfortunately).
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The Potential Workaround(s)
If you find that the allure of taking your home entertainment system with you just about anywhere by using Firestick on laptop is too hard to resist. Here’s how you can do it:
1. Find a Laptop with HDMI Input
While laptops today don’t come with an HDMI input port, some laptops in the past used to have an extra HDMI port dubbed HDMI In. Sure, such laptops are few and far between, but you can occasionally get them on eBay. Finding a laptop with HDMI input is your best shot at using Firestick on laptop. As per our research and understanding, Alienware models R4, R18, MX17, and M18 support HDMI In port. We will keep updating this list if we come across some other laptops offering the same functionality.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that these laptops came out a long time ago. And while they were pretty advanced gaming laptops at that time, they feel rather outdated in 2020. Nevertheless this is the simplest and most direct way to use Firestick on laptop.
2. Use a Game Capture Card
A different, rather complicated, option for using Firestick on laptop is to use a game capture card along with an HDMI splitter. If this sounds confusing, don’t worry. We’ll explain how you can work out this connection.
Popular gaming capture cards like the Elgato HD60S allows you to take HDMI out from a device and stream it on a laptop via the USB-C port. Handling video streams in such a way requires a beast of computing power. You will need at least a Corei5 with the latest graphics card along with a USB 3.0 port.
If you think that’s all you have to spend to get Firestick on laptop, you’re wrong. This is because the Amazon TV Firestick uses the HDCP encryption protocol to protect the integrity of digital content. Game capture cards are unfortunately not compatible with this encryption protocol. A possible way to remove this encryption is by using an HDMI splitter.
An HDMI splitter breaks down the HDCP and sends just the signal in its original form. So finally, the hardware configuration becomes something like: the Firestick’s outgoing signal is passing through the HDMI splitter, which is then connected to the Elegato device, after which the signal travels through the USB 3.0 port to the laptop. Yeah, that is why we called it a complicated option. Working with so many devices and wires on the go may not be a very good decision.
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After reading so far, you must have noticed using Firestick on laptop is not very convenient. Amazon’s streaming device is first and foremost intended for home entertainment – not necessarily for viewing on the go. That is why we don’t recommend any of the above workarounds for using Firestick on laptop. But hey, if you want to give it a shot, why not?
Now, if you want to do things in reverse, i.e., watch content from your laptop on your TV screen, you can do so easily with Firestick’s help. We know it’s not exactly using Firestick on laptop, rather the exact opposite, but it might help in a pinch. In the following section, we will take you through different methods to do so.
Casting Video From your Laptop to Your Firestick
Amazon’s Firestick is a great way to turn your TV into a home entertainment system capable of casting, mirroring, streaming, and even gaming. Even if you can’t get Firestick on laptop, there are still ways you can get the two devices to work together. However, there are a few basic software and hardware requirements before you can get started. We will discuss these below:
1. Reliable Internet Connection
First, you will need a stable and dependable internet connection. Also, it’s best if both your laptop and Firestick are connected to the same network. Some streaming solutions offer an exception to this rule, but in general, we recommend using apps and devices over the same internet connection for a more reliable and quality stream. Otherwise, you should expect hiccups.
2. Fast Firestick
While older Firestick models are quite capable of streaming content, many users experience difficulties with HD and 4K streams. Therefore if you are using a previous model of the device, consider upgrading to a newer model to be able to enjoy videos in all their glory. More modern models work great with mainstream casting solutions, and they’re comparatively economical as well.
3. The Operating System
Using Windows, Mac OS, or Linux operating system can make a difference as it comes down to the apps you are using for streaming. This is because, while mirroring is easy, streaming full HD videos from a laptop to the TV screen via Firestick requires a more robust solution. These apps can be free or available on a monthly subscription, depending on the features. Therefore make sure your OS is compatible with the apps needed to run Firestick on laptop.
4. A Reliable VPN
Ideally this is something you should already be doing for all of your internet capable devices. A VPN is an increasingly important security step as more and more companies and government agencies have revealed that they are actively monitoring your browsing behavior and harvesting your data. If you haven’t done this yet, don’t worry. We have a guide that will help you install a VPN on a laptop, a Firestick, or literally any other device. Since there are a lot of VPNs out there that make promises they can’t deliver on, we’ve done some vetting and found a safe, fast, reliable VPN and even managed to secure a steep discount for our readers (70% off with our link!).
Stream From a Windows Laptop to Firestick
To stream from a windows laptop to your Firestick device, follow these steps:
Step 1: Press and hold the home button on your Firestick remote. Then, click the mirroring option located in the center. Firestick will start searching for a device to connect.
Step 2: On your windows (8 or 10) laptop, check the lower right corner of the screen for the notifications icon. Click on it to open the windows action center and press the connect option.
Step 3: Firestick should be listed in the devices. Click on it, and Windows will start the casting process.
Stream From a Mac OS Laptop to Firestick
Just like with Chromecast, you can take advantage of Apple’s AirPlay feature. If you don’t know how, then don’t worry, follow these steps to make your stream work on a Mac Laptop.
First, download and install a compatible app on your laptop. Both AirBeamTV and AirPlayMirror Receiver work like a charm. You can select either one of them.
Install the FirsStick version on your device .
Once the app has been properly installed on both ends, simply switch them on and connect over the same Wifi network. Enjoy non stop streaming on your Mac!
These solutions should work for most Windows and iOS users. Nevertheless, if they don’t, feel free to check out these alternatives below.
Using Plex media server is one of the most convenient ways to stream from your computer to TV screen. It works with almost any device, from Roku to Android TV, Smart TVs and Firestick, etc. Using Plex is very straightforward. Simply install the app, connect to your home server, add your media to the custom library, and start streaming to or from any device (including Firestick).
The Miracast technology is often pre-built into modern hardware like Roku, Fire TV, Firestick, and Windows 10 operated laptops and tablets. If your laptop has it, then you don’t need to look into third-party solutions. But in case your laptop doesn’t support Miracast technology, then you will need a transmitter. ScreenBeam is a good transmitter to look into. All you have to do is, plug this tiny device into the USB slot enable Miracast transmissions with just a few clicks. Easy peasy!
Amazon’s Firestick is truly an amazing device. You get instant access to a range of entertainment resources like movies, TV shows, video games, documentaries and what not. But it’s a shame you have to go through so much trouble to use Firestick on laptop. So much so that we don’t even recommend using these solutions. You can, however, use Firestick to stream content from your laptop on a TV screen, turning your living room into a home entertainment hub. That’s about it for this article. Did we miss anything? Share your thoughts in the comments below.