The Fire TV Stick 4k is an impressive piece of technology, allowing you to simplify your home theater setup by avoiding large, bulky set-top boxes. But many are annoyed to find out that it still needs to be plugged into the included AC adapter, requiring a cord draped from the TV to the wall. But this AC adapter is just powering a USB to micro-USB cable…couldn’t you plug that into the TV instead?
Yes, the Fire TV Stick can be powered by a TV’s USB port, but “insufficient power” warnings may occur. Solve it with a special USB to micro-USB cable or opt for Fire-Cable Plus, enhancing power transmission and eliminating warnings.
This article discusses using your TV’s USB port to power your Fire TV Stick, making your setup easier. We’ll cover challenges, and alternative methods, and introduce a special USB cable solution for a smoother experience.
Getting the Hardware Straight
There are a few different variants of the Fire TV Stick (and even a few other Fire TV options) that can be used with both smart and non-smart TVs, so it’s worth taking a second to make sure we’re clear on exactly what we’re talking about. The Fire TV Stick (on Amazon) and the Fire TV Stick 4k (also on Amazon) are both HDMI streaming sticks that require power.
Just because the 4k one pushes 4k content does not mean it needs more power. Both of these variants have the same power requirements and usage: 5v at 900mA. This means that you can also use your phone charger to power an Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Does Amazon Fire TV Stick Need A Power Adapter?
The story takes an interesting turn during the unboxing when you discover that the HDMI streaming stick, the Fire TV Stick, requires an AC adapter with a wall plug, adding an unexpected element of complexity with an additional plug.
This isn’t automatically a problem, but for some, there’s not a spare plug reachable. You can attach it to your TV over USB to try to get power over the micro-USB port, but that sometimes results in an error message: “Insufficient USB power detected.”
If you’ve already seen our article on connecting a Fire TV Stick to a projector, you should know that the discussion around USB ports in this article applies to projectors as well. You can connect your Fire TV Stick to a soundbar as well (our guide) and you may be able to manage the power through that device’s USB port too.
How Will the Fire TV Stick Work Even If It Isn’t Getting Enough Power?
It’s puzzling at first – if the device warns about low power, how is it powered on? The Amazon engineers anticipated this and designed the Firestick not to power on with insufficient power to avoid confusion about faulty units.
The Firestick powers on and checks power even when it’s insufficient, providing clarity on the issue. The cable can’t be the bottleneck, because the USB cable that comes with the Firestick works with the USB AC adapter, leaving only one variable: the power output from the TV.
The problem lies with the TV’s USB ports, designed for low-power devices like flash drives. The Fire TV Stick, being a small computer, may need more power, requiring external assistance.
Are There Any Ways Around the Low Power Issue?
There’s a chance you might find an upgraded USB port on your TV designed for larger devices like streaming sticks. While not very common, more TVs are including them. If your Fire TV Stick powers up using the TV’s USB ports, congratulations!
If you encounter the error, you have options. One of the options is to use the provided AC adapter, although it may not be the most elegant or cable-friendly solution. Another option is to use a power strip with more plugs if the number of plugs is an issue for you.
Additionally, you can search for another powered USB port. While your TV’s plugs may be occupied by other equipment, such as a modern video game console, these devices often have USB ports with higher power output than the TV, which you can use as a power source.
You can search for a nearby powered USB port, and use the USB cable from that equipment for powering a Firestick. However, this may not be the best way and there are potential complications, such as the Fire TV Stick powering off along with the Xbox. Alternatively, there is another option to consider.
How to Easily Get Power to a Fire TV Stick If You Don’t Have a Close Outlet
Understandably, you might not want to add more components to your home theater, but the Fire-Cable Plus (on Amazon) offers an affordable solution to this issue. Given how long Firesticks last, it’s a good investment.
This might seem like just a regular micro-USB cable, but the Fire-Cable Plus, beyond its vibrant appearance, boasts a core made of premium heavy copper, which benefits an enhanced power supply. While this may sound speculative, numerous reviews confirm that replacing the stock cable with it eliminates power warnings.
The Fire-Cable Plus with its larger copper core and shorter length (6in compared to the supplied 5ft cable) may enhance power transmission. While the practical details might be debatable, many users have successfully eliminated the need for the Fire TV Stick’s AC outlet using this solution, making it worth a try.
At this price point, if this is something that would simplify your setup or make things easier, it’s a no-brainer. When it comes to home theaters, a little bit of elegance and tweaking goes a long way, and this is a great example of that.