Well, apparently I lied! My last words on my most recent post were something to the effect of not purchasing another TV. Well, guess what I did? Yep, I purchased an Amazon Fire TV.
Here’s the Scoop
If you read my last post, you’d know that my hubby purchased a large screen TV. With that purchase, the smaller TV went into my home office. It’s so weird. I’ve lived for years without a TV in my office and now that I have one, I realized it was too small. Blame my aging eyes or the room’s decorative imbalance, but the TV looked out of place in my office. In other words, a larger TV is just what this grandma needed.
After being so vocal about my Fire TV vs Roku TV opinion, my TV choice was easy. I drove over to Best Buy and purchased an Amazon Fire TV made by Toshiba.
The Hulu Fire TV Hiccup
Thrilled to have all of the Fire Stick features in one TV, I began loading my favorite apps. The first one I downloaded was IPVanish. Next, I downloaded and installed Hulu. After all, since Hulu is my cord-cutting live TV replacement, I had to make sure it worked properly.
After downloading and installing the Hulu app, I went through the necessary activation procedure. With the app activated, I tested it to see how it would perform. I clicked on the Hulu icon and waited. I waited and waited. All Hulu gave me was a black screen.
Thinking the app needed time to get warm and fuzzy with the new TV, I walked away and made a cup of tea. When I came back the screen was still black. That was unacceptable so I uninstalled the Hulu app and reinstalled it. After going through the activation process a second time, the app appeared to work properly. I was able to view a live program. Cool beans! Well, it was cool until I tried to change the channel. My attempt to switch to another program was met with a black screen.
Ugh! Back to the drawing board.
Fixing the Hulu Black Screen Once and For All
This time, before uninstalling the app, I went to Settings – Applications – Manage Installed Applications – Hulu and deleted the cache and the data.
I then rebooted the TV (aka restart).
Once the TV was back on I reinstalled the app, activated it and opened it. This time everything worked as it should.
Honestly, I didn’t know what caused the problem, but after snooping around the internet, I found I wasn’t the only person that had the Hulu black screen problem. Apparently, it’s a thing.
According to the urban dictionary, ‘it’s a thing’ is a phrase used to describe a phenomenon, often of some modern cultural significance (Don’t you just love the English language?).
Here are links to a couple of pages with frustrated Hulu customers:
Fire TV: Smooth Configurations
After getting Hulu to work properly, I finished installing the rest of my favorite apps. I then connected the Bluetooth speaker. The beauty of having a Fire TV is the ease of pairing Bluetooth devices (unlike with the Roku TV). And, finally, I made sure to modify the privacy settings [Settings-Preferences-Privacy Settings]. Modifying the privacy settings is my feeble attempt to keep my private information as private as I can.
Auto Shut Off: Trying to Understand
While the TV setup was easy except for the Hulu hiccup, there’s one feature that I”m not very warm and fuzzy with; it’s the auto shut off when a show is paused for too long. I’m still trying to pin down the particulars to the problem so I can’t really write in detail about it. What I do know is if I pause a movie and stay away too long (not quite sure how long is too long), the TV will go into screen saver mode and then eventually shut off.
I guess the feature is a good thing, but I find it annoying at times (most of the time).
Fire TV: Delete Alexa Voice Recordings
Although I don’t regularly use Alexa, nor do I have an Echo, but I do periodically delete voice recordings that are permanently saved to Amazon’s servers. There are several ways to delete Alexa voice recordings depending on the device you use. I find it easiest to log into the Amazon account – Your Account – Your Devices and Content then click on “Manage Devices.”
If you haven’t visited your Amazon device page before, you might be in for a shock as I was. I had information dating back to my first cell phone. There were registered devices such as mp3 players and old android cell phones that I had long since gotten rid of. Needless to say, I had to do some true house cleaning before I even attempted to delete voice recordings.
Not to mention that all of the devices were named Felicia’s, followed by the order of registration and the platform. Here’s a snippet of what I was faced with:
After scratching my head for a bit, I started deleting devices. I figured that the worst that would happen is I’d delete a current device and have to re-register it. As a result of the long list of Felicia’s devices, I now make it a habit to give descriptive names for each registered device.
To delete the voice recording for a device, go over to the “Actions” column and click on the button for the desired device. It will bring up a small window in which one of the options is to “delete voice recordings.” Amazon will display the following window:
Click Delete to complete the process. Afterward, you’ll get a message saying that your request was received. I’m not so sure how long it takes for them to delete the recordings after receiving the request, or whether or not they’ll confirm the deletion.
Rabbit Hole #1: Deleting More Voice Recordings
After going through the above exercise with my Fire Stick/TV, I wondered how to delete other voice recordings such as on an iPhone or Android. That thought directed me down another tech rabbit hole that led me to sites for doing just that:
- For iPhone: How to delete the Siri recordings Apple has saved of you
- For Android/Google: Google is listening: Here’s how to delete your voice recordings
Rabbit Hole # 2 Google Devices
I took the exit ramp from the voice recordings rabbit hole and was deposited on a service road to yet another rabbit hole. The next rabbit hole I ended up in was the Google My Devices hole. I wandered over to Google, to check the security on my devices and to my surprise found seven devices currently using my account information (meaning my email address and password). That would be fine, but I’ve only got 4 devices (iPhone, Amazon HD Tablet, Chromebook and Windows desktop). I don’t know where the other three devices came from or how they obtained my sign-in info, but I had to put an end to it. So I changed my password.
After changing my password, I opted to use Google’s 2-step verification. By using the 2-step verification, every time someone signs into my Google account, I’ll receive a text with a 6-digit code. I must insert that code into the required field to access the account.
I find this additional step to be a pain in the rear, but if three unknown devices were using my Google account, I’d rather go through the inconvenience to prevent it from happening again.
Oh the Tech Trail
It’s amazing just how many rabbit holes I can go down when I start a project. It’s sort of like cleaning the house. You start in one room, put something back that belongs in another room and before you know it, you’re cleaning the second room before finishing with the first.
BTW, there is yet a third (and more enjoyable) rabbit hole that I went down, but this post is too long and bordering on rambling. I’ll save that third rabbit hole story for another day.