We live in an era of unparalleled innovation, where technology is widely accessible and interconnects all of us. From devices that can seamlessly communicate with one another as part of their own small connected networks, such as an iPhone and a Mac laptop, to the almost by-default acceptance of smartphones in our culture, it’s clear that technology is becoming an ever more important part of our lives, and is evolving to meet our demand for more connection than ever.
As engineers work on other applications meant to make our lives easier, signaling the advent of the fourth technological revolution, some of us might find ourselves struggling with the tech we already have; even something as simple as watching TV. You see, sometimes manufacturers put restrictions on the kind of applications we can use with certain devices, treating their tech like extensions of their corporate agenda instead of malleable tools meant to meet customer needs. Unfortunately, this kind of corporately-produced and limited tech is both common and extraordinarily cheap, trading on brand recognition to sell multiple units of tech that is meant to subtly advertise to the viewer and not much else.
Amazon Firestick and Amazon Fire TV are two such examples of artificially limited, corporately produced technology, with loads of manufacturer restrictions built in that prevents you from accessing third-party applications. While these devices certainly have the capability to host loads of free movie and TV apps, integrating the ability to work with such apps would defeat the company’s purpose in producing these devices: to point customers toward Amazon’s website and encourage them to purchase content through Prime instead.
As such, you may find that while these devices advertise themselves as cheap, viable alternatives to other set-top box systems, they actually don’t have the functionality that other systems have. If you’ve already bought one of these devices, the chances are that you’re feeling cheated out of your money, having written your hundred dollars off as a loss, and thinking about getting another system entirely.
Before you throw out your “useless” set-top box, hold your horses. There is another way.
Jailbreaking: Taking Back Your Device’s Potential
Jailbreaking your device is, in essence, rewiring your device’s programming to remove those unnecessary manufacturer restrictions on the kinds of software your device can work with, allowing the installation and use of third-party software applications with your device. While few outside of the tech world might have heard of this process, it’s actually fairly simple, especially for Amazon’s devices, and has been practiced since the dawn of the first iPhone. Users of the first iPhone were frustrated that Apple wouldn’t let them access Android’s exclusive applications through their application store, and so they jailbroke their devices to get more use out of their egregiously expensive tools.
It isn’t fair that corporations ask us to pay a hefty price for tools that we need in our day-to-day lives and then proceed to restrict what we can use those tools for and what we can use them with. Jailbreaking takes unwanted corporate oversight out of the equation, allowing your device to function as you want when you want. Protected by net neutrality laws and upheld by the courts, jailbreaking can be a simple, safe way for you to take control of your tech back.
A Whole New Interface For Fire Products
If you’re tired of the limitations of your Amazon Fire TV or Firestick, you may want to consider jailbreaking those devices and installing Kodi instead. Kodi is a reliable, third-party, open-source home theater software that basically works like a set-top box interface, offering you access to your streaming apps, games you can play through the system, and an extensive catalog of free content. It essentially replaces Amazon’s restrictive user interface, giving you more options and removing the unnecessary slant in Amazon’s system towards their website.
In short, what you do with your tech should be your choice, especially with the hefty investment that’s often required to purchase said tech. Don’t let corporations decide how you use your tech: look into reliable methods of jailbreaking restricted tech today, and consider replacing unhelpful UI with systems meant to give you the most bang for your buck.