The purpose of this posting is to perhaps save you from wasting as much time as I have on technical issues related to my computer. My never-ending struggle to stay abreast of developing technology is the single largest source of stress in my retired old lady life. In previous blogs I’ve documented my difficulties with software help lines , Netflix, Chromecast, Toshiba and others . What should be a simple improvement always turn into a nightmare as I struggle to install and operate the latest gadget.
This time it was Amazon’s Prime. About a year ago I tried Netflix and ended up cancelling it because I wasn’t really watching any of their movies or TV show reruns. For about the same price, however, Amazon Prime offered me free two-day delivery on items ordered on Amazon (which I use at least once a month for books and other things) and free borrowing of books for my Kindle, on top of the usual assortment of movies and TV shows. Sounded like a deal—until I tried to stream an Amazon Prime movie from my laptop to my television.
After spending several incredibly frustrating hours of trying various solutions myself and finally calling Amazon’s call centre, here’s what I learned.
- Amazon Prime cannot be streamed wirelessly to my TV using my Google Chromecast device because Google and Amazon are sort of competitors.
- Without a Smart TV (purchased within the last year or two) I needed to use a hard-wired HDMI cable.
- This HDMI cable had to be run directly from either my laptop or iPad.
- The HDMI cable connections were not compatible with my iPad.
- I could run the HDMI cable directly from my laptop to the TV but that’s messy and inconvenient and I really wanted wireless.
- I could purchase an adaptor for my HDMI cable to connect to my iPad cable for around $55.00 and I would still not be wireless.
- I could buy Amazon’s Fire TV box for wireless connection.
So, I chose to lay out $85.00 for Amazon Fire TV which is the gizmo that allows me to wirelessly stream movies and television programs from my Amazon Prime service. (Although I must say, Amazon’s choice of scary Gary Busey as spokesperson was perhaps not their finest moment.) Once I double-checked the installation of the batteries in the remote (duh! – which way the + and – signs point is important!!) we were on our way. Using the new remote that came with the Prime Fire TV kit, I set it up to recognize my secure WiFi and watched the little animated man describe the benefits of the service.
The greatest surprise to me was that the remote device is voice-activated just like the GPS system in my car. I simply speak the name of what I want to watch into the remote, it confirms my directions on the screen and we’re good to go. Then I was able to watch an episode of a British TV series that I’d been trying to access for weeks. The downside is I now own another remote device and we all know how annoying that is. And I can only get Fire TV to work from my iPad not my laptop so the struggle continues.
So, I’m still left with two challenges:
- My Amazon Fire TV will not work from my laptop. The app does not seem to be accessible.
- I still haven’t figured out to use the “Borrow Books from Kindle” feature.
And if anyone knows the series of key strokes required to download books from my public library to my Kobo, I’d be thrilled. I’ve tried everything under the sun and have managed it a few times but waste hours trying. The You-Tube demonstrations don’t work on my computer the way the nice man on the how-to video shows us. Searching all the help pages has not helped. It should be simple – or maybe it’s just that I am.