A Fire TV Stick is a great way to watch your video streaming services on your TV, but you can also download many other apps from Amazon’s Fire TV store, including music streaming services, web browsers, games, and utilities. One app you won’t find in the store is the popular media streaming app, Kodi. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get Kodi on your Fire TV Stick. Our guide covers the installation process for Kodi, as well as some alternatives, such as Plex.
What Is Kodi?
Kodi is open-source media management software based on the XBMC project. It’s ideal for people with large collections of local media files and supports many library sources, such as network-attached storage (NAS) devices and personal servers. These capabilities are particularly useful, since the Fire Stick only comes with about 4.5 GB of usable local storage. Kodi is also similar to VLC Player, in that it supports the playback of tons of different file types. Note that Kodi does not provide any content; it is up to you to add your own. Read our complete Kodi explainer for more information.
Is Kodi Legal?
If you use Kodi to manage your local and legally acquired media collection, it is completely legal. However, Kodi does not discriminate between legal and illegally obtained content. Naturally, given its agnostic and hands-off approach, content pirates might use Kodi to manage their ill-gotten media library. We do not condone any illegal behaviors, and there may be penalties for such uses for those who are caught.
Another point of legality stems from the add-ons you can use with Kodi. The add-ons in Kodi’s official catalog are all approved by Kodi and safe to use. However, Kodi allows you to install third-party add-ons, too. Some of these add-ons are legitimate, while others can be used to illegally access content to which you do not have rights.
You may have also heard of a Kodi Box. A Kodi Box is an HTPC that typically comes preloaded with Kodi as well as some add-ons. While this hardware can be perfectly legitimate for consumers who don’t want to set up Kodi themselves, Kodi Boxes cross a point of legality if their preconfigured add-ons offer illegal or unlicensed access to content. Know that there’s no such thing as an official Kodi Box, since Kodi does not license its name for such purposes. You do not need to buy a Kodi Box in order to use Kodi with your Fire TV Stick.
How Do I Install Kodi on a Fire TV Stick?
Installing Kodi on your Fire TV Stick requires you to download Kodi’s APK from its site. Follow the step-by-step guide below to sideload it on your device.
- On your Fire TV Stick, navigate to Settings > Device > Developer Options and enable the Allow Apps from Unknown Sources option.
- Install Downloader from the Fire TV app store.
- Launch Downloader.
- On Downloader’s main page, select the URL bar and type in https://kodi.tv/download.
- Select Android > ARMV7A (32Bit).
- Follow all of the subsequent download and installation prompts.
- Navigate to Settings > Device > Developer Options and disable the Allow Apps from Unknown Sources option.
Do I Need to Use a VPN with Kodi on the Fire TV Stick?
If you only use Kodi to stream content you own, you don’t need a virtual private network, or VPN. However, if you install any add-ons that require an internet connection, especially if those add-ons toe the legal line, then you should use a VPN as a precaution. Note that although a VPN can prevent your ISP from spying on your network traffic, it does not make you invulnerable to all privacy and security threats. For instance, a VPN can’t protect you from a legitimate-looking phishing site or from downloading malware. You should browse the web just as cautiously with a VPN, as you do without one.
You can download several mainstream VPNs on your Fire TV Stick directly from the Fire TV app store, including CyberGhost VPN, ExpressVPN, IPVanish, Ivacy, NordVPN, PureVPN, SurfShark, and TorGuard VPN. Alternatively, you can sideload any other VPNs that offer a downloadable APK. Check out our guide on how to install a VPN on your Fire TV Stick for the full details.
Alternatives to Kodi on Fire TV Stick
If you don’t want to install Kodi on your Fire TV Stick, there are other options for streaming your local media files. One of those options is Plex, which is a two-part solution: media server software (Plex Media Server) and a cross-platform app for streaming hosted server content (Plex). To install Plex, just search for and download it directly from the Apps section on your Fire TV interface. Alternatively, you can install the Plex add-on for Kodi, if you prefer to deal primarily with the latter’s interface. Emby and MrMC are similar options and also available to download directly.