Best answer: Yes, you can power an Amazon Fire TV Stick with the built-in USB port on your TV. However, that port may not provide enough power for a smooth experience.
You should probably stick with the included wall plug
It's a logical choice. The Amazon Fire TV Stick requires being plugged into both your HDMI port and a USB port for it to work. TV makers have been including USB ports on the back for years, so it would naturally make sense to avoid having to plug something else into your surge protector. However, there's a catch here.
All of the best Amazon Fire TV Sticks require at least 1A of power to be properly powered. This means that if you hook everything up and fire up the Fire TV Stick, an error code is likely to appear suggesting that you plug the USB cable into the included wall plug.
In our experiences, we've been able to continue using the Fire TV Stick even without switching over to the more reliable wall power. The first problem with the included USB cable is that it's just too short, so if you want to use your TV on a tall dresser, then you'll end up finagling your power strip just to accommodate the Fire TV Stick's inadequate cable. There are third-party solutions available, but these are not licensed by Amazon, so if something goes awry, you may be out of luck and out of a Fire TV Stick.
Be wary of software updates
Although your Fire TV Stick will likely work just fine for the most part, if you use the USB port on your TV there is something else to consider. When software updates become available for Fire TV Stick, there's a chance that the Stick itself will need to power cycle throughout the process. But when your TV stops recognizing the signal from the Fire TV Stick, then the TV itself could end up powering off. After all, modern TVs are designed to conserve power and energy when possible.
The problem with this arises when your Fire TV Stick is in the middle of a software update, as the TV turning off would also cut the power to your Fire TV Stick. This could result in a borked streaming device that could end up not working properly after the update is interrupted. It's for this reason that we would recommend using the included 5A wall plug that Amazon includes in the box.
The best Amazon Fire TV Stick for most people
Amazon's "standard" Fire TV Stick provides almost all of the same benefits of the 4K variant, without the higher prices. This is the best way to experience Amazon's streaming services on any TV that you own.
Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.
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