The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a $39, pocket-sized device that you can plug into the HDMI port of your TV to stream music, movies, TV shows, and other media from the internet. It supports a handful of popular media streaming services including Netflix, YouTube, and of course Amazon Instant Video and Amazon Music, and you can also use it to play games.

But there’s something else you can do with the Fire TV Stick: sideload Android apps that don’t come from the Amazon Appstore.

And that includes popular media center app XBMC (which has been renamed as Kodi since this article was published).

ftv xbmc_01

Update: If you want a super-easy way to install a Kodi-like app, just give MrMC a try. It’s available from the Amazon Appstore for $2.99 and it’s a fork of Kodi which features the same user interface and media player capabilities for streaming content from shared network drives, among other things. You also don’t have to jump through hoops to get the app to show up on your home screen. But MrMC lacks support for add-ons that let you stream music and videos from online sources.

Want those other features? Then follow the steps below to install the full version of Kodi.

I’ve used Kodi to stream media from the Internet Archive, NPR, Geek & Sundry, and YouTube (in case you don’t like the official YouTube app for the Fire TV). This makes it easy to stream music or videos from a number of services that might not otherwise be available for the Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Kodi launches quickly and runs smoothly on the Fire TV Stick and it works well with the Fire TV Stick remote control,  although you have to jump through a few hoops to install the app… and then jump through a few more hoops to actually run it.

Keep reading for step-by-step instructions.

How to sideload apps on the Fire TV Stick (or Fire TV)

Just like the original, $99 Amazon Fire TV, the $39 Fire TV Stick runs an operating system based on Google Android. It doesn’t look much like Android, but if an app can run on Android, it can probably run on a Fire TV (or Fire tablet).

Note that you won’t be able to install the Google Play Store or other apps that rely on the Google Services Framework unless you root your device, and even then there’s no guarantee everything will work perfectly.

Fortunately XBMC isn’t one of those apps, so let’s talk about how you would load an app like XBMC/Kodi.

1. Navigate to the Settings screen.

2. Scroll over to the System option and then scroll down until you see “Developer Options” and hit the select button.

ftv dev options_02

3. Now flip the toggles to turn on ADB debugging and Apps from Unkown Sources.

ftv dev options

4. Hit the back arrow on your remote to return to the System settings.

Update: The next few steps tell you how to connect a Fire TV Stick to a PC so you can transfer and install Kodi wirelessly using Android’s adb developer tools. If you don’t want to go through the trouble, there’s another option: find eSaba’s free Downloader app in the Amazon Appstore and then install it on the Fire TV Stick. Open the app, and enter the URL for the latest version of Kodi for ARM processors, which you can find at this link. From there you can install the app and skip ahead to the next section. 

5. Scroll up until you find “About,” hit select, and then scroll down to “Network” and make note of the IP address. You cannot connect a Fire TV Stick to a PC with a USB cable, so we’ll have to connect over WiFi, and that’s where that IP address come in handy.

6. Now we need to connect the Fire TV to a computer — there are two ways to do this.

6a. If you already have the Android SDK on your computer, just open a command prompt, navigate to the folder where adb is located, and type the following:

adb kill-server

adb start-server

adb connect [ipaddress]

Note that where it says [ipaddress] you’d type the actual ip address.

ftv adb connect

You can check to see if your Fire TV stick is connected by typing “adb devices” without the quotes. Note that if you’re using a Mac or Linux computer you may have to put a ./ in front of the adb command.

6b. Don’t have the Android SDK and/or adb installed and don’t want to have to learn to use it or type anything into a command prompt? There’s an app for that.

Actually there are several, but we’re going to take a look at adbFire, a cross-platform tool for Windows, OS X, and Linux.

ftv adbfire

To use adbFire, just download and unzip the package, start the adbFire executable, type your IP address in the window where it says Device address, and click “Connect.”

7. Alright, now it’s time to install your app. Download the latest version of XBMC or Kodi from the Kodi website (or locate any other Android APK you want to try installing).

8a. If you’re using adbFire, choose the “Install APK” option, select your APK file, and click “yes” on the following screen. A progress bar at the bottom of the screen will let you know that the file is being sent.

ftv adb install

8b. If you’re using a command prompt, just type “adb install name.of.your.APK” without the quotes and wait until you see the word “Success.”




How to run XBMC (or other sideloaded apps) on the Fire TV Stick

Now you app should be loaded on your Fire TV Stick… but you won’t see it on the home screen. Here’s how you can find and launch it.

Update: If you have a Fire TV device running Fire OS 5.0.4 or later, there’s an easier way to launch sideloaded apps: just scroll down to the apps menu and find them. If your device is running an older version of Fire OS, you can try installing a third-party app launcher

Otherwise, you can always try the steps below:

1. Scroll down to the Settings menu.

ftv settings

2. Navigate to the Applications option and hit the select button.

3. Scroll down and select the entry that says “Manage All Installed Applications.”

4. Scroll down until you find the app you want to launch. Select it, and choose the option for “Launch application.”

ftv xbmc app

That’s it… it’s a bit of a hassle, but it’s the simplest way to launch sideloaded apps without rooting your device or trying to replace the official Amazon app launcher.

The Manage All apps menu is also where you’d find the option to uninstall apps — so if you try sideloading an Android app or two only to find it doesn’t run well on the Fire TV Stick, you can just uninstall the app from here.

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49 replies on “How to install XBMC/Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV Stick”

  1. so when i click install apk. i go to the Kodi folder but what folder within Kodi do I choose? ugh! im so lost

  2. Installed Kodi with afbfire on my windows machine. I have my nas connected to this machine. (Network drives on this nas). On firestick did as directed and kodi came up. Once kodi loads I went to videos, files, add videos, browse, windows network SMB.Then my network group. Then my nas and added all the folders that I wanted.Worked like a charm. My firestick is connected to my Sony receiver.

  3. I have a HDMI port on my computer can I just plug into it and do all of the downloads on my computer

  4. Am having problems. Transferring. Kodi to. The fire stick. I got the adb
    fire installed. And the Kodi. But when I us the adbfire app. I can’t fine Kodi in my download. File so can and one help me please.

  5. I downloaded the Android Development Kit and all the stuff that downloaded (I should have read further and saved a lot of time by just downloading adbFire), and opened DOS prompt (sorry, cmd prompt). I am copying the Kodi apk now, but how long is it supposed to take? EDIT: it finished while I was writing this. MAYBE 5 minutes total, maybe shorter.

  6. All that work and Kodi doesn’t even resume where you left off in video. what a waste of time

  7. Need help! Followed steps above but when I open adbfire, in the bottom right hand it states adb not running and I m unable to connect my fire stick over wifi.

    1. Me too! I’m having the exact same problem and no idea. I am a bit of a newbie I’ll admit but all of these instructions just assume that this bit is already working 🙁

  8. Thank you sooo much!! You instructions were perfect. Never thought it could be so easy! I went from not liking the Fire Stick so much to loving it! Awesome. Thank you again!

  9. “Theoretically you could use Kodi to stream local videos from a shared network drive, but I haven’t had much luck getting the system to recognize shared drives.”

    Thanks to your excellent tutorial, I fiddled around all afternoon and managed to get my Fire Stick to play video from the USB hard drive attached to my AirPort Extreme. If anyone’s interested, here’s what I did:

    Sideload XBMC as described above, and launch XBMC.

    From the XBMC menu bar, select “Videos”, then “Files”.

    Select “Add videos…”, then in the pop up window, select “Browse”.

    At the bottom of this menu, select “Add network location…”
    * For protocol, select “Windows network (SMB)”
    * For server name, enter the LAN IP address. This will likely be 10.0.1.1, or something similar.
    * Leave the “shared folder” field blank
    * Specify the username and password, as previously defined for your shared drive.
    Click OK

    Your new location will now appear in the menu. Highlight it (but don’t select it), then click OK.

    Enter a nickname, if you want, then click OK.

    Then there’s the “set content” window where you can choose a media scrape, but I don’t really need this, so I just clicked OK without selecting anything. My external drive was then available in the “Videos – Files” listing, and I was able to browse through at will.

  10. Over an hour now and still not installed. I’m getting the following message in the command window. The computer and fire tv stick is on the same network, and yes the IP address I entered is correct.

    error: device not found
    – waiting for device –

    Anyone out there know what I’m doing wrong?

    I have even tried to install another apk that is only 4 MB, and even with that one I couldn’t get it to install. got the same message

    1. I had the same problem when using console so I caved in and used adbFire. No issues with that app.

    2. I have the same problem too. I used adbfire GUI app and it sat there for hours and hours and I tried over night even. No luck at all. Using the command line, it will give me protocol error – waiting for device under 1 minutes. If anyone knows what I missed, please help. Thanks.

  11. Won’t connect with my ip address, tried several times. What am I doing wrong?
    Update: Got it to work. But, the install is taking forever, been an hour now.

        1. Something must be wrong. I’ve got two fire tv’s and the side load zipped right over. This stick is just hanging. Can’t get xbmc to load. :/

          1. Got it to work. Instead of using the utility, Open the utility but go into the folder, hold shift and right click to open cmd line. Just write the commands and it will work.

            C:UsersDonDesktopAmazon Fire TV Tooladbfw114>adb connect 192.168.1.149
            * daemon not running. starting it now on port 5037 *
            * daemon started successfully *
            connected to 192.168.1.149:5555

            C:UsersDonDesktopAmazon Fire TV Tooladbfw114>adb install “C:UsersDonDesk
            topFire TV Appsxbmc-13.2-Gotham-armeabi-v7a.apk”
            1162 KB/s (58919272 bytes in 49.512s)
            pkg: /data/local/tmp/xbmc-13.2-Gotham-armeabi-v7a.apk
            Success

            C:UsersDonDesktopAmazon Fire TV Tooladbfw114>

          2. Thanks, I’ll give it a go tmw. Gave up. I’m thinking my issue is it seems my ips seem to all be different for some reason. My sis got it installed on the amazon box we have no problem. I’ll try tmw night, Glad you for it working!

    1. Have you got multiple Routers?…Were you able to connect to the device? Try running the command adb devices, it should show you the connected devices

  12. Just installed SPMC, installed Fusion. Everything seems to work just fine. Loving it!

  13. I tried this. It was easy enough to install XBMC. However, the only video add-on that I’ve gotten to download and install so far it TWIT, the one you demonstrated. The others show download at “0” or perhaps higher, but then give up before being enabled. The same XBMC on my Nexus 4 running over the same wifi doesn’t have this problem.

    1. I’ve managed to install a few including pbs, NPR, collegehumor, archive.org and they’ve worked. There are a number of others that may not though.

      1. I had been using laptop usb power and just switched to the supplied plug in power. That seems to have helped. I now got a few more add-ons to load including the ones you mentioned. It still takes a few tries sometimes.

  14. To be clear, the version of XBMC running on the Fire TV stick is the same as every other, so if you can access local file shares on one version of XBMC, you should be able to access them on this one too.

  15. This works great, but I’m having trouble using features like “favorites”. Is there any way to add shows/movies to favorites so I don’t have the keep searching for them? It seems impossible to do on the stick version.

  16. Has anyone been able to get xbmc addons installed? mine keep getting stuck at 99%.

  17. I was wondering if you applied the initial set up updates and if it’s recommended to do so?

  18. Can you use XMBC to play DLNA/miracst vids from another computer or phone? I can do this with XMBC on my miracast DLNA enabled android phone.

    1. if it can be side loaded and doesnt require root access then nearly any app can be installed. how well it functions with the phone app or fire tv remote is another question. without usb to add mice or an unlocked bluetooth system is where i see its limitations. the gmail app may require you to sideload google framework or the google account manager.

      1. it has micro usb, with usb power otg y cable it can be both powered and usb peripherals can be connected. even a hub can be connected. having said that i couldn’t get the usb mouse work idk if the otg api is present. but i am sure once this device is rooted possibilities are going to be endless. on another note xbmc kodi is very responsive but i couldn’t install navix or mashup yet. (it fails at 99%)

        1. Mashup I believe is no longer working. Has anyone tried the Amazon branded kindle Bluetooth keyboard?

          1. and for the keyboard i just use the fire tv app on my phone and use the keyboard to input and scroll

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