The Fire TV Stick 4k is an impressive technology to simplify your home theater setup while avoiding the use of large, bulky set-top boxes. But many are annoyed to learn that it still needs to be plugged into the supplied AC adapter, which requires a cord pulled from the TV to the wall. But this AC adapter just powers the USB-micro-USB cable … could you plug it into your TV instead?
You can connect the Fire TV Stick to your TV’s USB ports. But you’ll need a dedicated USB to micro-USB cable to eliminate the low power warnings.
Getting equipment straight
There are several different Fire TV Stick variants (and even several other Fire TV variants). So it’s worth taking a second to make sure we understand exactly what we’re talking about. The Fire TV Stick (on Amazon) and the Fire TV Stick 4k (also on Amazon) are both HDMI streaming sticks that require power.
Both of these options require the same input power: 5V @ 900mA.
What’s interesting about these devices is that during unboxing? You’ll find an AC adapter that needs an outlet and will need to be plugged into your Fire TV Stick. Here we thought HDMI streaming would be simpler, less wiring, etc. But actually, now you have something else to hook up.
This is not an automatic problem, but a spark plug is not available for some. This is your entertainment system. After all, connected real estate is not cheap, and if you have speakers. Other consoles, game consoles, power outlets, you will quickly run out. You can connect it to your TV via USB to try to get power from the micro-USB port. But this sometimes results in a nasty error message: “Insufficient USB power detected.”
How will the Fire TV Stick perform even if it isn’t getting enough power?
This already seems a little strange. If the device gets enough power to turn on and tells you it needs more power … how does it turn on at all? Well, it turns out Amazon engineers saw this situation a mile away and realized that if they just didn’t let the TV Stick turn on with insufficient power. Everyone would think they had just opened the package with a faulty device.
So the Fire TV Stick has the hardware to turn on and checks the power. Even if that power level isn’t high enough to warn you. Wonderful. It doesn’t solve the problem, but at least we know exactly what the problem is. The cable can’t be a bottleneck because the USB cable that came with the Fire TV Stick works with a USB AC adapter. Leaving only one variable: the TV’s power output.
That’s right – we’ve narrowed down the TV’s USB ports, and you can probably see where this goes. These ports are for something like a flash drive, backed by enough power from the TV to access files and more. A Fire TV drive is essentially a small computer, and the TV’s USB ports sometimes just can’t deliver enough power … at least not without a little help.
Are there any ways to solve the low power problem?
There is at least a small chance that you will be lucky to find a reinforced USB port on your TV for powering larger devices. They are not very common. But more and more TVs turn them on all the time due to equipment such as wireless headset base stations and of course, streaming joysticks. So, if you try to unplug the Fire TV Stick from your TV’s USB ports and it works, congratulations.
However, if you get this error, you have several options. First, you can of course use the supplied AC adapter. It’s not a smart solution, and it won’t solve the cabling problem you almost certainly hope to avoid, but technically it’s an option. If the problem is with the number of plugs, another extension cord with more plugs may help.
Another workaround is to look for another powered USB port. You no doubt run out of real estate for outlets because of all this other equipment plugged into your TV. But it might not be that bad in this situation. After all, this hardware – especially if it’s a modern game console – might have its own USB ports. USB ports with more power than TV.
You can look around for another powered USB port. And then use a USB cable to unplug that equipment, and that could get you from A to B. But that can get tricky … like unplugging the Fire TV Stick along with Xbox. But there is another option.
How to easily connect power to your Fire TV Stick when you don’t have a closed power outlet
I know the last thing you want to hear at this stage is that you might have to buy another component for your home theater system, but at least this one is cheap. The Fireproof Cable Plus (on Amazon) solves this problem in a very interesting way. The name suggests that this is special equipment, which is a bit suspicious at first.
After all, it’s just a micro-USB cable, right? What could he do to trick the TV into sending more power through the USB ports? In addition to its bright orange color and braided exterior, fire-Cable Plus claims that it has an “inner core constructed from premium heavy copper for maximum power delivery.” It sounds a little pointless, but there are reviews: many customers report that after replacing the standard cable for this, the power warning disappears.
What’s going on here? A larger, thicker copper core can transfer more power. Or length – from the supplied 5ft cable to a 6in cable, this reduction can allow more power to be drawn from the USB port to the device. In practice, however, this solution has helped many to ditch the Fire TV Stick’s AC outlet, so it’s at least worth a try.
At this price, if this is something to make your setup easier or make your job easier, that’s not a problem. When it comes to home theater, a little elegance and fine tuning go a long way, and this is a great example of this.