You may not need to root your FireTV in order to further unlock it’s potential.

Amazon FireTV Sideloading Apps and GamesMany users are finding the sideloading capabilities of their FireTV units more than enough for expanding it’s usage scope. You won’t void your warranty, as the sideloading capability is readily built-in!

¿ What does Sideloading means ?

If you do not understand what “sideloading” means in FireTV context, I am obliged to explain: As of this writing, your FireTV has no Google play or Amazon store installed; so you cannot add apps and games “the easy way” as you would normally do with your Android phone or tablet.

Luckily enough, there is an alternative way to install apps and games on your FireTV (and almost any Android device). You can push new apps into your FireTV through USB, using your computer. This is referred as to “sideloading” apps into your FireTV.

¿ How can I do some sideloading of my own ?

First you need an app or game on your computer, that is, the file, ending in “.apk”.  This might prove not so easy to get, as almost all apps are part of Google Play Store or similar app markets, available for downloading and installation only through the own App market interface.

Then you’ll need a computer with Android SDK installed (you will need a working ADB console running on your computer, which is part of the SDK). This is run through command line (on windows, it shall be a CMD prompt window, on MAC and Linux, you will need to open a Shell prompt).

You’ll also need your fireTV connected into your local network and get hold of the IP address that your FireTV is using (Navigate into Go to System -> About -> Network and take note of the IP).

From your computer, in the shell or CMD box, you shall type:

>adb kill-server

>adb start-server

>adb connect <ip-address-of-fire-tv>

If both your computer and FireTV are on the same subnet, visible to each other, then adb will connect your computer into your FireTV OS. Now you may push the apk file from your computer into your FireTV:

>adb install <apk-file-name>

If everything goes OK, your adb will return a “success” message. At this time, there are some “known to work” apps that you may install on your FireTV:

  • K9Mail
  • Es File Explorer
  • Jackpal Android Terminal
  • Google Chrome (ver. 34.0)
  • FireFox beta (ver 29.0)
  •  Twit pro
  • VLC for Android
  • SOPcast
  • Teamviewer QuickSupport

You may peek into the following thread on XDA Developers forum, where they are actively adding apps and games into this growing list.

Finally, curb your enthusiasm: This seemingly miraculous capability of sideloading apps and games into your FireTV does not guarantee that the app or game itself will actually run OK (or at all) !! There might be impediments on the current Android version (remember, it has been purposedly fine-tuned by Amazon into a “closed” media player OS) that will make some apps or games incompatible with your FireTV.