The Amazon Fire TV is a $99 media streaming box that lets you watch content from Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and many other sources… and it can also let you play games, surf the web, and do much more.
But if all that’s still not enough for you… now you can root the Fire TV to access files and settings that would otherwise be unavailable. This could be the first step toward running apps or custom ROMs that change the behavior of Amazon’s TV box.
As of June 16th, 2014 it’s pretty easy to root the Fire TV. All you need is Geohot’s Towelroot app and a SuperSU app. Just download the two apps, sideload them onto your FireTV, and then run them, one after the other — you can find step-by-step instructions at Fire TV News.
Towelroot can also be used to root a number of other Android devices including the Samsung Galaxy S5 for AT&T and Verizon.
After your device is rooted, you may want to take a few extra steps to install BusyBox and block over-the-air updates, so Amazon can’t remove your root access (the company tends to remove root for its Kindle Fire tablets just about every time it rolls out a software update).
Note that once you’ve blocked updates though, you won’t receive any security updates, bug fixes, or new features from Amazon… so hopefully hackers will start offering their own updates which let you keep your Fire TV up to date while continuing to keep root access so that you can run apps that require root permissions.
The Fire TV features a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, and HDMI. It runs Fire OS, a custom version of Google Android. But it ships with Amazon’s Appstore instead of the Google Play Store — although I wouldn’t be surprised if root access opens the door to installing Google’s digital content store on Amazon’s media box.