This $20 accessory for the Amazon Fire TV has saved my life during quarantine
I don't know about you, but I've found that I've been binge-watching shows and movies on my Fire TV even more than I did before all of this self-isolation stuff began. But in these times when family and housemates are likely sharing communal spaces to work from home or do online studies, blaring the TV is not the best thing you can do for the household dynamic. Good news, though — I've discovered a handy little accessory for my Fire TV Alexa Voice Remote that is every bit as valuable to my family and me as noise-canceling headphones may be to others, and it costs a fraction of the price!
A valuable add-on
Before you say it, let me preempt you right now. Yes, I know that Roku has had this feature on its remotes for years. I've owned Roku sets and remotes with a headphone jack, and quite honestly, that was one of the things I missed the most when I moved to a full-time Fire TV household.
While I have a few Nest and Google Home devices, and I even have several Siri-enabled products in use, we are hands-down an Amazon Alexa household. Even before starting at Android Central, I had at least seven Echo speakers and three Fire TV devices, and that number has only grown as I've acquired more products to review. I use Amazon Music and regularly stream, rent, and purchase from Amazon Prime Video, so it makes perfect sense that I'd be a prime candidate for this Remote Plus accessory.
I'll admit that I took a chance on this purchase. It was only $20 (which pre-pandemic didn't seem like such a big deal), and I figured that with Amazon's generous return policy, I could always send it back if it sucked. Well, it doesn't suck. In fact, it might just be a lifesaver for my fellow couch mates (wife and kids).
I'm attached to this attachment
Once I combined the Remote Plus attachment with my Alexa Voice Remote, I was able to immediately enjoy rewatching my favorite sitcom (Scrubs) without annoying my wife for the 10,000th time (at least, not about this). Thankfully, anyone can get set up in minutes.
Here's how easy the setup process is:
- Remove the rear plate on your existing Alexa Voice Remote.
- Replace that rear plate with the Remote Plus Attachment.
- Use your Alexa Voice Remote to navigate to your Fire TV Settings.
- Click on Controllers.
- Click on Other Bluetooth Devices.
- Press the volume and flashlight buttons on the Remote Plus simultaneously until they blink, and your Fire TV will discover the new attachment.
Easy, right? But the headphone jack isn't the only nice feature that the Remote Plus packs. There is also a small blue LED light button that you can press to illuminate the remote keys in low light situations, which is particularly useful since the Alexa Voice Remote doesn't have any backlighting.
Additionally (and maybe coolest of all), is the Remote Finder feature. Again, I know that Roku devices have had something similar, but this is the first implementation that I'm aware of on a Fire TV device. All you have to do is download the Remote Plus app (opens in new tab) from the Google Play Store and pair it to your Remote Plus accessory.
Here's how to do it:
- Download and install the Remote Plus app from the Google Play Store.
- Open the app.
- Tap Add New Remote.
- Press the volume and flashlight buttons on the Remote Plus simultaneously until they blink, and the app will discover the new attachment.
Now, if you lose your remote (or if it falls in-between the couch cushions like mine always does), you can just tap the Remote icon in the app to play a sound, letting you know where your remote is.
About the only thing you'll need to keep in mind is that the Remote Plus attachment has a built-in battery that you'll need to charge on occasion. It's rated for 30 hours of private listening, or six months of standby mode with the Remote Finder. I haven't had mine long enough to judge how long it will last on moderate use, but I'm not too worried. It comes with a USB cable for recharging, and the built-in LED light will flash when the juice is getting low.
If you have an Amazon Fire TV device with Alexa Voice Remote, do yourself a favor and pick up one of these Remote Plus attachments — your family will thank you!
Control your remote
Personal audio and helpful hints
This remote attachment allows you to listen to what's on your Fire TV privately and also has handy features like a mini-LED light and the ability to trigger a "find my remote" feature from your phone.
Of course, if you don't yet own a Fire TV device, or if you're looking to pick up a spare, I can't recommend the Fire TV Stick 4K highly enough. Plus, it comes with an Alexa Voice Remote in the box.
Best all-around Fire TV experience
Stick with this one
If you're looking for an affordable streaming media player, there's arguably no better one than the Fire TV Stick 4K. For under $50, you get 4K, UHD, HDR, and Alexa access, all from the remote in your hand.
One other cool thing I learned recently was that you can even use a VPN with the Fire TV Sticks. Here are all the best VPNs for Fire TV Sticks which help keep the connections secure and allow you to access region-restricted content easily.
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Jeramy is the Editor-in-Chief of Android Central. He is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.