Will Firestick Work on Any TV? (Is it Compatible?)

David Hughes
By David Hughes 9 Min Read

Guess what?

Amazon has hit a huge milestone! They’ve sold more than 150 million of their Fire TV gadgets all over the world. And guess which one is the superstar among these? Yep, it’s the Firestick!

Why is the Firestick so cool?

Well, it’s like a magic wand for your TV. It can turn just about any television into a smart TV, filled with all your favorite shows and apps. Pretty awesome, right?

If you’ve got an older TV at home and you’re thinking about joining the Firestick club, you might be wondering: “Will this nifty device even work with my TV?” Don’t worry, we’re going to talk all about that!

Does Firestick work on any TV?

The first thing to check is if your TV has a special slot called an HDMI port. Think of it like a puzzle piece – the Firestick needs to fit into this slot to work.

If your TV is a bit older and not super high-tech, don’t worry. The Firestick is smart enough to adjust to whatever your TV can handle. But, here’s a heads-up: very old TVs with 720p resolution might sometimes get confused and show an “invalid format” error. This means they might not play nice with the Firestick.

Most TVs you find these days have at least one HDMI port, so chances are, you’re all set.

It’s pretty rare to see TVs these days that only have 720p resolution. So, that’s less of a worry!

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Three Simple Steps to Firestick Fun

  1. HDMI Port is a Must: Your TV should have that special HDMI slot we talked about.
  2. Wi-Fi Connection: You need Wi-Fi at home to connect your Firestick. And guess what? You don’t need a fancy smart TV for this. The Firestick will make any TV smart! But if you already have a smart TV, the Firestick will still be a great addition.
  3. Amazon Account Ready: Lastly, you’ll need an Amazon account to get your Firestick up and running. You don’t have to be an Amazon Prime member, though. And a cool tip – if you buy your Firestick from Amazon, it’ll come already linked to your account!

Reasons your Firestick is not working with your TV

If your TV and Firestick check all the basic boxes, they should work together without a hitch. But, as with everything tech, there are exceptions…

Remember When 720p Was a Big Deal?

Not too long ago, having a High Definition (HD) 720p TV was the coolest thing. But technology moves fast! Nowadays, 2K and 4K TVs are the norm. The Firestick, which came out in 2014, was designed for these newer resolutions, so it might get a bit confused with older 720p TVs.

Your 720p TV Might Still Be Okay

Don’t worry if you have a 720p TV. Most of the time, the Firestick will smartly adjust to the best resolution your TV can handle. However, if it’s set to a specific resolution and not on ‘Auto’, you might need to tweak some settings.

Setting the Right Resolution on Your Firestick

Try This Quick Fix

If your Firestick isn’t showing things right on your older TV, there’s a simple trick you can try. On your Firestick remote, press and hold these buttons for 10 seconds: BACK, REVERSE, RIGHT, and SELECT. Your TV will start checking different resolutions. If something looks good, press SELECT to save it.

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(For the latest Fire OS 5, the button combo is REVERSE and UP for 10 seconds.)

Patience Is Key

If nothing happens immediately, just wait a bit. It’s likely working on finding the right setting. Once it hits the right one, your TV should light up.

What If That Doesn’t Work?

Sometimes, you might still get an “invalid format” error. In that case, there’s another workaround.

Using a Newer TV to Set Your Firestick

Switch TVs for a Bit

If your Firestick’s settings are stuck on a resolution your old TV can’t handle, try connecting it to a newer TV. There, set the Firestick to a resolution (like 720p) that your old TV can handle.

Here’s how: press and hold HOME on your remote, then go to SETTINGS > DISPLAY AND SOUND > DISPLAY > VIDEO RESOLUTION. Choose the right resolution, then switch the Firestick back to your older TV. It should work now!

When You Only Have One TV

If you’ve only got the older TV, this fix is tricky. You can’t change the settings without seeing the menu.

VGA Adapter? Maybe Not

Some might suggest using a VGA adapter if your TV doesn’t have HDMI. From what I’ve seen, this rarely works well, especially at 720p. You might face cropping issues or the dreaded “invalid format” error.

Trying to use a VGA adapter often leads to frustration. It’s simpler to either get a TV with an HDMI port or skip using the Firestick.

Will a 4K Firestick work on a non-4K TV?

You might be eyeing those fancy 4K Firesticks, designed for ultra-crisp, high-resolution viewing. But what if your TV isn’t 4K? Can they still be friends?

Absolutely! A 4K Firestick will work just fine on a non-4K TV. And guess what? You also don’t need a 4K Firestick for your 4K TV. In both cases, you won’t get the 4K resolution, but everything else will run smoothly.

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Here’s my honest advice: if your TV isn’t 4K, you might want to skip buying the more expensive 4K Firestick. Why? Because you’d be paying extra for a high-resolution feature you can’t use. It’s like buying a sports car when you’ll only be driving in a busy city – cool, but not really necessary.

Wrapping It Up: Making Your Firestick and TV Get Along

Here’s the deal: if your TV has an HDMI port and you’ve got Wi-Fi at home, you’re pretty much set to use a Firestick. It’s that simple!

But Wait, What About Older TVs? Okay, let’s talk about those older 720p TVs. Sometimes, they get a bit fussy with resolution settings. Your Firestick tries its best to adjust to what your TV can handle, but it’s not always perfect.

Don’t Worry, There’s a Plan B (and C)

If you hit a snag, remember these tricks:

  1. Remote Rescue: Use your Firestick remote to manually cycle through different resolutions. This often does the trick.
  2. TV Swap Technique: Connect your Firestick to a newer TV first, set the resolution there, and then switch it back to your older TV.

Contemplating an HDMI to VGA converter because your TV lacks an HDMI port? I’d say pause on that idea. Most times, this workaround leads to more headaches than solutions. Formatting issues are common, and success stories are rare.

In some cases, especially with very old 720p TVs, you might hit the “invalid format” error wall. If none of the tricks work, it might be time to accept that the Firestick and your old TV just aren’t meant to be.

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