How to Watch Live TV on Kodi

VCRs, Tivo, DVD players, and eventually digital and internet broadcasting channels have revolutionized the way we watch television. The first big change was not having to rearrange our schedule to catch our favorite programs. On-demand content came next, allowing us to pick and choose what we watch whenever we’re free. There’s still something unique about watching live TV, though, and the development team behind Kodi knows just how we feel.

There are several methods to watch live TV on Kodi. The software itself comes with a few streaming and recording options, and you’ll find a few live TV add-ons for Kodi that do a great job, too. You can even watch live sports from your smartphone! Below we’ll discuss the best methods for watching live TV on your Kodi-enabled device.

Stay Safe on Kodi with a Good VPN

Kodi itself is fast, free, and completely legal to use. The open-source nature of the software means anyone can create new plug-in content, though, which allows for things like pirated movie streams and videos from questionable sources. You can never be sure where a file is hosted or whether or not it’s legal to watch in your country, making the very act of opening Kodi a red flag in the eyes of governments and ISPs.

The good news is you can protect yourself from these potential invasions of privacy by installing a good VPN. VPNs encrypt all of your online traffic, making it completely unreadable to third parties. Data is routed through the VPN’s non-local server network, too, which removes traces of your identity. With a VPN in place you’ll be able to stream any Kodi content you like without worrying about ISP throttling or data logging.

If you’re looking for the best VPN to use with Kodi, check out our recommendation below.

Top Kodi VPN – IPVanish

When you need both fast speeds and top notch security, IPVanish is the VPN to use. The service runs over 950 servers in 60 different countries, each one offering incredibly fast downloads around the world. Your data stays safe with 256-bit AES encryption, a zero logging policy on all traffic, DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill switch. You also get completely unmonitored traffic with IPVanish, allowing you full, private access to torrents, P2P networks, and Kodi add-ons, all with unlimited bandwidth!

Learn more about the benefits and capabilities of IPVanish by checking out our full IPVanish review.

IPVanish offers a 7-day money back guarantee which means you have a week to test it risk-free. Please note that Addictive Tips readers can save a massive 60% here on the IPVanish annual plan, taking the monthly price down to only $4.87/mo.

PVR, DVR, and Live TV

Live TV didn’t just disappear when the internet became popular. Services like Netflix and Hulu do a great job of replacing TV channels and similar content, but there are plenty of options available for streaming broadcast network channels to your home entertainment center.

Limitations of Live TV

Most live TV options are limited to broadcasts in your immediate area. If you live near a city, you’ll likely have a wealth of free digital broadcasts you can capture and record. If you don’t, or if your town doesn’t have a lot of TV stations nearby, your options will be limited.

Recording Live TV

A personal video recorder (PVR) and digital video recorder (DVR) are two terms that refer to essentially the same thing. The technology allows you to capture and save live broadcasts, including sports, news, and TV shows, from an open stream, store the content on a device, then access it later when you’re ready to watch. It essentially turns live content into on-demand content, making broadcast TV extremely convenient.


Unless you’re accessing pure internet TV channels, you’ll need a separate piece of hardware to stream live TV. These boxes range from digital antennas to cable-like equipment, interfacing directly with your PC via capture card and pulling in content from over the air broadcasts.

The hardware required for live TV streaming isn’t expensive, and it usually doesn’t come with a monthly subscription, either. Once you purchase the equipment you can set things up to stream and record as you see fit.


Internet Protocol television (IPTV) is wholly separate from the live TV streams discussed in this article. With IPTV you can capture, record, and watch content directly from the internet, no separate hardware required. It’s extremely convenient if you don’t own the right devices, but you usually won’t be able to access local programming like you would from an over-the-air digital broadcast.

Use Built-in Features to Watch Live TV on Kodi

A lot of Kodi users are surprised to find out that Kodi offers full live TV streaming features built into the software itself. You’ll need to set a few things up to get it to work, but before you know it you’ll be kicking back for some live broadcasts.

Step 1 – Requirements

Kodi can’t source live TV streams from the internet by default. To keep things legal, the software only interfaces with your streaming hardware, such as a TV tuner, digital antenna, or cable box. You’ll need a compatible device before setting Kodi up to capture and deliver your live streams.

Which hardware you buy is largely up to you. It’s worth noting that antennas seem to have the best results interfacing with Kodi. They’re limited to what digital channels are broadcast in your area, however. Cable streams are often encrypted, especially in the U.S. This means you need a PC TV tuner that supports decrypting, otherwise Kodi won’t be able to read the data.

Step 2 – Install Kodi Backend

Kodi is capable of recognizing and streaming live TV signals, but it needs what’s called a backend before it can turn them into watchable programming. We’ll be using NextPVR, as it’s one of the most popular ways to accomplish this.

Start by visiting the NextPVR website and downloading the program. Run the setup file to install it to your system, then open the Settings window (you may need to right click on the taskbar icon to do this). Look for the Devices section on the left. Find your TV tuner on the list and select it. If it appears multiple times under different types, choose ATSC for antennas or QAM for cable boxes.

Step 3 – Setting Up NextPVR Backend

Under the Devices section, click Device Setup at the bottom of the screen. A new window will open. Click Scan in the lower right and NextPVR will automatically check your device and its capabilities. Don’t be alarmed if this takes a minute or two to complete. When the scan is done click OK to save the list of located channels.

Now we’ll need to go through a few settings pages listed in the left sidebar. First, you’ll see an option named Channels. Click it, then click Update EPG. This will populate the shows guide so you can see which channels are broadcasting at any given moment.

Click the Decoders option. You’ll see a lot of dropdown boxes for renderers and decoders. If you’re using a newer version of Windows, switch as many of them as you can to Microsoft DTV-DVD Audio Decoder. This will give you the best possible playback without stuttering or lag. If you have your own decoders installed you can select them, as well.

Step 4 – Configure Optional Recording Settings

Before you save your settings and exit it’s a good idea to change where digital TV recordings are stored. You don’t have to do this if you don’t plan on recording shows, but it only takes a moment and can save you some hassle in the long run.

Click Recording in the left sidebar. Highlight where it says Default C:, then click Edit on the right. Browse to a different directory, preferably somewhere on a drive with lots of extra storage. Save these changes and exit the configurations menu.

Step 5 – Configuring Kodi

Now that your streaming hardware and backend are set up, it’s time to teach Kodi how to interact with everything.

Run Kodi and go to the System Settings menu by clicking the gear icon on the left. Choose the PVR & Live TV icon. Make sure the text at the bottom says “Standard”. If it doesn’t, click it until it does, then go to the General tab. Enable PVR sources by toggling the slider to the right. Kodi will prompt you to install the NextPVR add-on.

Once the NextPVR add-on is installed, you’re ready to go. Set any configuration options you like through the Kodi menu, then head back to the main menu. Choose the TV section, pick a channel, and start streaming.

DON’T FORGET: Use a VPN when streaming through Kodi. IPVanish gives our readers an exclusive discount of 60% and you’ll only pay $4.87 a month to keep your browsing safe and private.

Official Kodi Add-ons to Watch Live TV

If you don’t want to fuss with Kodi’s built-in live TV features, you can always check out a few add-ons. Below are a few official and legal programs you can install on Kodi that interface with live TV streams from your hardware. For more suggestions, including unofficial add-ons, check out our guide for the best Kodi add-ons for live TV.

Zattoo Box

Zattoo Box is one of the best official add-ons for live TV streams. With it you can access your Zattoo library on any Kodi device, allowing you to stream content with very little effort, all in glorious HD quality. Zattoo itself is a live TV service that offers a handful of free channels along with premium paid content. You can watch over 200 channels without a subscription, and you can gain over 100 more by signing up.

To use the Zattoo Box add-on with Kodi, start by creating an account at the Zattoo website.  Once you have login credentials, follow the steps below to install the add-on to your system.

  1. Open Kodi on your device and select Add-ons.
  2. Click the open box icon at the top of the menu bar.
  3. Choose Install from Repository.
  4. Select Kodi Add-on repository, the official repo that comes with the software.
  5. Scroll down to Video add-ons.
  6. Select Zattoo Box from the bottom of the list and install it.
  7. Set your username and password in the Zattoo add-ons configuration screen.
  8. Launch the add-on and start streaming live TV.


Tablo is a DVR device built for cordcutters. The hardware lets you stream and record over the air TV to a wide variety of devices, including Kodi. All you need is the Tablo box, access to the internet, and an inexpensive Tablo subscription, that’s it. The device does all the work for you, functioning as a perfect replacement for expensive cable TV.

Tablo’s Kodi add-on neatly interfaces with the box to deliver all your live and recorded content directly to the media center. Once you have the hardware and an active Tablo account, simply follow the steps below to install the add-on.

  1. Open Kodi and select Add-ons from the left menu.
  2. Click the open box icon at the top of the menu bar.
  3. Choose Install from Repository.
  4. Select Kodi Add-on repository, the official repo that comes with the software.
  5. Scroll down to Video add-ons.
  6. Select Tablo from the list and install it.
  7. Launch the add-on from the add-ons menu. You will be guided through a brief setup before being able to stream your Tablo library.


Nothing beats sitting down in front of your favorite device and watching some live TV. You never know what will come on next. Sometimes your favorite shows, sometimes your local sports team. No matter where you live or what device you own, Kodi can help you get live TV content.

One of the best ways to stream Kodi to your TV is to install it on an Amazon Fire TV Stick. You’ll have access to everything Kodi has to offer, including add-ons, live sports streams, TV shows, and movies. If Fire TV isn’t your thing, you can also install Kodi on an Apple TV to get things up and running.

Read How to Watch Live TV on Kodi by John Bardinelli on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Kodi Alternatives: What Other Options You Have for Streaming Media

Kodi is one of the most popular pieces of software for users to organise, display, and view their media files. With support for many platforms and a flexible open source approach, Kodi has made a name for itself as the media centre of choice for many years. However, with many recent shutdowns of Kodi add-on repositories and increasing legal issues about the use of add-ons to stream copyrighted content, some users are now looking for an alternative to Kodi. In this article we’ll talk about why you might want to move away from using Kodi and then recommend our top Kodi alternatives so you can organise and stream your media from the device of your choice.

Why Use An Alternative To Kodi?

Kodi is a terrific piece of software, and it’s one that we love here at Addictive Tips. Originally designed as media centre software for organising and displaying your audio and video files, the real strength of Kodi is in its flexibility. You can customise the software in all sorts of ways like installing skins to change the look of the media centre, or installing add-ons to give you new functions like streaming video. The software is free and is available for a big range of platforms, including low spec devices like Amazon Fire TV sticks.

However, there are some issues with Kodi. The biggest problem is that the software has gained a reputation for being linked to piracy. Although the software itself is fully legal to use and does not contain any pirated material, some of the add-ons available for Kodi allow users to stream movies, TV shows, or music for free. Because of this, Kodi has become the target of many anti-piracy measures. This means that often Kodi add-ons will stop working at some point, and the repositories where you download the add-ons are frequently forced to close.

All of this means that it can be a pain for Kodi users to find the add-ons that they want and to use the software consistently. Of course, if you just want to use the basic Kodi software with no add-ons then it still works great as a media organisation system. But if you’re looking for a way to stream content as well as to organise what’s on your hard drive, then you might consider using a Kodi alternative instead.

Key Features You Want In A Media Centre

If you’re a Kodi user, then you’ll already know some of the features that you want in your media centre software. But if you’re new to media centres and you’ve just been keeping your files organised in folders on your hard drive or using a streaming service like Netflix, then you might not know what features you need. Here are a few suggestions for features to look for when you’re choosing a media centre:

  • Support for a wide variety of file types. You want to be able to play back all of your video and audio files, so you want software that supports all of the formats that you use – which could include .avi, .mpeg, .mp3, .wav, .mp4, .mkv, and more.
  • Support for streaming. Most people these days are using streaming services to watch video and listen to music, like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and so on. Some media centres let you integrate streaming from these sources.
  • New streaming sources. Another option is to use grey-legal streaming sources like you’ll find in many Kodi add-ons. These let you watch movies and TV shows for free, but using them may carry some legal risks. It’s up to you to decide if that’s something you’re interested in.
  • Ability to add new functions. One of the great things about Kodi is that you can customise the software by adding the new features that you want. Most media centres, however, are not so flexible and don’t let you add new functions.
  • Available for different platforms. You might install media centre software on your PC, games console, phone, or smart TV. You’ll need to find software which supports your platform of choice.

Why Use A VPN With Media Centre Software

Before we get into details of the Kodi alternatives, we should discuss the importance of using a VPN for your media centre. Many Kodi alternatives, like Kodi itself, have options available which you can install to stream media like TV shows and movies for free. This can get you into legal trouble if your ISP finds out that you are streaming content using illegal services.

For this reason, we recommend that media centre users install a VPN. This will encrypt all of the traffic coming from your media centre so that your ISP and law enforcement cannot see what sites you are visiting or whether you are streaming or downloading content. This helps to keep you safe when you use your media centre and to avoid and legal issues.


IPVanish is a strong choice for users who are looking for more advanced options in their VPN. As well as fast connections and good security, the IPVanish software shows you a detailed look at all of the data flowing in and out of your device through its graphical user interface. There are options within the advanced section of the software for advanced functions like a kill switch, DNS leak protection, periodic IP address change to keep your IP address as hidden as possible, and DNS configuration so that you can set up your own DNS servers if you want.

The connections from IPVanish are really speedy and are perfect for media centre users thanks to their speeds. There is also excellent security including the use of 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy. The server network is large and covers more than 1000 servers available in 60 different countries, making it easy to get around region locks. The software is available for devices running Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Android.

If you are a regular reader of AddictiveTips, you’ll know that we recommend IPVanish as the top VPN provider for Kodi. Our recommendation similarly stands for each of the following Kodi alternatives listed below. Read our full IPVanish review here.

IPVanish offers a 7-day money back guarantee which means you have a week to test it risk-free. Please note that Addictive Tips readers can save a massive 60% here on the IPVanish annual plan, taking the monthly price down to only $4.87/mo.

Top Alternatives To Kodi

Streaming services offer much, but often fail to deliver. When the UX leaves something to be desired or the quality of the streams themselves, it can be frustrating to wade outside of the familiar waters of monolithic platforms like Kodi. Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you, and have rounded up the best alternatives available.

Terrarium TV

Terrarium TV is a newer software that’s available for Android and is similar to Kodi in many ways, but somewhat simplified. Instead of having to install add-ons, it comes ready to use with the ability to watch a whole lot of TV shows and some movies too. When you open up the app, you immediately see thumbnails for all the most popular current shows, and you just have to click to start watching.

Like other grey-legal streaming services, Terrarium TV does not actually host any of the videos that it shows. It just links to other sites on which episodes of the show are hosted, and organises these links into an easy to use format. This means that the episodes do not always stream fully reliably and can have buffering issues because the hosting site is too slow. However, there are advantages of this method like the common availability of high definition videos, even up to 1080p.

There isn’t a lot of flexibility in Terrarium TV as you can’t modify the software or add new features. However, if you’re on Android and you want a free, easy to use TV streaming service which doesn’t require any technical knowledge or set up, then Terrarium TV is a great choice.

Find it at


Plex is a big name in media player software, and it’s popular for a good reason. It has both a free and a paid version so you can choose the level of investment that you want to make based on your particular needs. The software is available for a range of platforms including Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android, as well as some support for Linux, Windows phone, Roku, Android TV, Xbox, and PlayStation.

Like Kodi, Plex is terrific for playing the media that you already have stored on your hard drive and it operates through an attractive and well designed user interface. You can add “channels”, which is Plex’s name for add-ons, that give you new functionalities like streaming video and audio content from various sources.

The real unique selling point of Plex is its server function. You can set up Plex as a media server, for example on your desktop at home. Then, when you’re out and about you can use Plex on your phone and connect to your Plex server at home. This means that you can watch any of the videos from your desktop on your phone, even if you’re elsewhere in the country or in the world. This requires a bit of technical knowledge to set up but is a great function for users who have large media libraries that they want to be able to access from anywhere.

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A newer but also popular all in one media centre is Streamio. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and can be used to both play videos from your hard drive and to stream live TV services. There are official add-ons available to watch services like YouTube and WatchHub, and unofficial add-ons which are developed by the community to access services like Netflix and Twitch. The add-ons have great potential to add new functions to the software, however, currently there are not many of these add-ons available.

One nice feature of Streamio is that it makes it easy to discover new shows or movies to watch, as the content can be organised by category, genre, rating, and so on. There are also neat features like notifications when a new episode of a show you’re watching comes out, tracking of your progress watching a show or film, and recommendations for new things to watch based on your viewing habits.

Streamio has the potential to be a great replacement for Kodi, however, currently it is still in its early stages and can only play content from a much more limited range of services than is possible through Kodi add-ons.

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Popcorn Time

If you love the speed and wide range of content that is available through torrents but want the convenience of a user interface that lets you stream movies and TV shows, then you can try out Popcorn Time. This is a cross between a BitTorrent client and a media centre streaming service, as it uses torrents to stream the content that you want. The experience is very slick and tends to operate really well, especially for watching popular new shows and movies. There are many Popcorn Time users out there so you’ll usually have no problem connecting to seeders for whatever you want to watch.

The disadvantage of using Popcorn Time is that using torrents to view copyrighted content like movies and TV shows is extremely risky. Most ISPs keep a careful eye out for people using torrents on their networks and will quickly detect if you are using torrents to access copyrighted content. You could then be hit with a fine or be kicked off your ISP’s network. If you’re going to use torrents through Popcorn Time, it’s absolutely essential that you use a VPN to protect yourself.

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Emby is an open source project which acts as a media server and media player. The media server software is available for Windows and Linux and the player software can be accessed using either a web interface or through a plethora of devices like Android, iOS, sRoku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, some smart TVs and some video game consoles. Like Plex, this is a great solution if you have lots of media files on your desktop machine at home that you want to be able to access from your mobile device while you are travelling.

There is a free version of Emby, but you’ll need to pay a subscription fee for access to the more advanced features. The advanced features you can access include the use of live TV, a variety of parental controls, cloud sync to keep your media backed up, and mobile sync to allow you offline access to your files. There isn’t an option to install new add-ons, but if you just want a way to serve and access your existing media files then Emby is worth a try.

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Finally, one similar program to Kodi that you might want to use is MediaPortal. This software for Windows is designed to turn your PC into a fully HTPC experience. It is particularly good for users who want live TV options and who want to be able to record shows like a TiVo. If you use a TV tuner and you want to find media centre software that is compatible, then MediaPortal is your best choice.

Although the software itself is only available for Windows, there are remote control apps available for iOS and Android, so you can use your phone as a remote for your PC. This is perfect if you have a setup with your PC plugged into a TV screen and you want to be able to watch from your sofa. There are also a small number of plugins available for the software that let you do things like watch YouTube videos or listen to the radio, and there are a selection of skins so that you can change the way that the interface looks to your taste.

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The Kodi media centre software is terrific, being both functional and flexible with the option to install add-ons. These add-ons turn the Kodi software from something that simply plays local media into a fully fledged all in one system that can play from streaming services and let you watch new movies and TV shows. However, the popularity of these add-ons has also lead to many anti-piracy lawsuits and legal threats against add-on developers and the repositories that host them. This means that it is less convenient to use Kodi than it used to be, as add-ons and repositories often stop working.

For this reason, many people are looking for an alternative to Kodi. Depending on your particular needs, you might try out any of the alternatives that we’ve suggested above. Some are compatible with a wide range of operating systems, while others only work on a specific platform like Android or Windows. Like Kodi, many of these alternatives can also be customised by installing add-ons, however, the selection of add-ons available is smaller than in Kodi. Others have unique features of their own like media server options so you can access your media files even when you’re travelling.

Have you tried out any of these media centres? How was your experience with them? Do you think you’ll switch over from Kodi to one of these programs instead? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Read Kodi Alternatives: What Other Options You Have for Streaming Media by Georgina Jones on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Best Third Party Controllers for Fire TV Gaming

Fire TV is more than just a movie streaming device. With it you can access a surprising number of games, everything from casual puzzle titles to full-on 3D experiences. Downloading games is easy, but have you ever tried playing one with that tiny little remote? It’s not so much fun, which is why third party controllers are where it’s at.

Best Third Party Game Controllers Fire TV 1

Secure Gaming on Fire TV with a VPN

Locking down your information and keeping it safe is getting harder as the years go by. New laws are constantly being passed that chip away at online freedoms, allowing companies to spy on our activity, record our information, even sell it to the highest bidder.

You can keep yourself safe from these invasions of privacy by installing a reliable VPN. Virtual private networks encrypt your data before it leaves your home network, making it impossible for anyone to see who you, what you’re downloading, or what videos you’re streaming. It’s the perfect way to stay safe on any device, and they work like a charm on Fire TV, as well.

1. ExpressVPN – Fastest VPN

Best Third Party Game Controllers Fire TV 2 -ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN has some of the fastest server speeds in the industry. Each time you connect you’ll be able to stream HD and 4K content without any issue, no matter which server you log into. On top of that, ExpressVPN keeps your data secure with 256-bit AES encryption, a zero-logging policy on traffic, DNS requests, and IP addresses, and both an automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection. Best of all, you can install ExpressVPN directly from the Amazon appstore, no sideloading required. All plans are backed by a 30-day money back guarantee.

2. IPVanish – Perfect for Fire TV

Best Third Party Game Controllers Fire TV 3 -IPVanish

IPVanish has all the right elements to make it a spectacular VPN for Fire TV. Your data is kept safe with DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch, along with a zero traffic logging policy and 256-bit AES encryption on all data. IPVanish also offers a stunning 950 servers in 60 countries for fast access around the world, and you can install it directly from the appstore. All plans are backed by a 7-day money back guarantee.

How to Choose the Best Third Party Controller

Fire TV only lets you pair up to seven devices at once. This includes any remotes and remote apps you’ve used in the past. While most users never reach the limit, if you intend on trying out a lot of gamepads, you might run into problems. That’s why it’s best to choose the best device before taking the plunge.

Pairing Game Controllers

Before you can use your game controller you’ll need to pair it with your Fire TV. Amazon has made this a painless process, all you really have to do is make sure the controller is turned on, then get the Fire TV to search for open connections. Follow the instructions below to pair your gamepad in just a few seconds.

Best Third Party Game Controllers Fire TV 4 -Pair gamepad

To pair your game controller, turn it on and have it ready while your Fire TV boots up. Go to Settings from the main menu, then select Controllers & Bluetooth Devices. Pick the Game Controllers option (shown above). Now choose Add New Game Controller. Hold the home button on the gamepad for about ten seconds, then the pairing will automatically complete.

Some gamepads may have alternate pairing methods you’ll need to follow. For example, you might have to hold a different combination of buttons while the Fire TV detects the bluetooth signal. You’ll follow the same instructions above as far as the Fire device is concerned. When it comes time to get your gamepad to broadcast, follow the manufacturer’s pairing instructions.

Wireless vs Wired

The vast majority of controllers you’ll see that offer Fire TV compatibility will be wireless. This is because only the standalone Fire TV device offers a USB port. The Fire Stick doesn’t have that option, which means if that’s what you own, you have to use bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections, there’s no other option.

If you have a set top Fire TV box you can often get better compatibility with USB plug-in gamepads. They’re a little easier to pair, and you’re not likely to run into any connectivity issues since they’re bound by a physical cable. As long as you don’t mind dealing with a wire stretching across your living room, you’re set, though bluetooth gamepads are not a bad option by any means.

App-Based Controllers

It’s possible to download bluetooth apps to separate Android devices and use them as a controller for your Fire TV. These gamepads have a terrible reputation for being unreliable, however. Connections fail, pairings are fraught with issues, and buttons sometimes fail to work. It may be tempting to try out a third party app controller, but at the end of the day you’ll be much happier sticking with a real gamepad.

Amazon’s Fire TV Gamepad

Amazon makes a perfectly serviceable gamepad that’s 100% compatible with its Fire TV devices. Why would you go with a third party solution? Two reasons: extra features and improved comfort. Amazon’s controller isn’t the best when it comes to smart design. You’ll find lots of Fire-centric media buttons to utilize, but at the end of the day you can get better gamepads by going third party. They’re also often cheaper than Amazon’s official hardware and can work with tons of other devices, which is always a bonus.

Controller Styles

In our selections below you’ll note two listed styles for Fire TV gamepads: PlayStation and Xbox 360. This indicates the overall layout and design of the third party accessory. PlayStation-like gamepads put the analog sticks in the center and keep a flat dogbone kind of style. Xbox gamepads opt for the winged palm design and shift the left analog stick up to be easier to reach. Which style you prefer is entirely up to you.

Best Third-Party Controllers for Fire TV

Download your favorite Fire TV apps and clear your afternoon, it’s time to get some serious game playing done!

Mad Catz C.T.R.L.R

Best Third Party Game Controllers Fire TV 5 -Madcatz

If you can get over the painful amount of effort required to look at this controller’s name, you’ll find a surprisingly solid third-party gamepad that offers just about all the features you could want. Mad Catz is an experienced accessories developer with hundreds of products for dozens of devices. The company’s Fire TV offerings combine all the features you want in a controller, making it possible to ditch your remote entirely in favor of this bad boy.

The Mad Catz C.T.R.L.R is laid out like an Xbox 360 controller. You’ve got two analog sticks, a decent d-pad, four face buttons, and two sets of trigger buttons on the top. The most interesting feature are the media buttons Mad Catz included at the top of the device. You can use these to play, pause, mute, fast forward, or rewind videos on your Fire TV, no need to pick up the remote.

Logitech Gamepad F710

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Logitech’s gamepads are well-known in the accessories community. The F710 works with a huge number of devices, everything from gaming consoles to PCs, laptops, tablets, and other Android-powered hardware. While it wasn’t specifically made to run on Fire TV, you can get a surprising amount of use out of the accessory, especially if you own multiple compatible devices.

The Logitech Gamepad F710 sports a PlayStation controller-like layout with a d-pad and face buttons mirrored on the sides, two analog sticks in the center, and trigger buttons on the top and back. There are no Fire TV-specific options or even a home button to use, but the controller pairs easily with Fire TV and is great for quick, simple gaming sessions.

Note: Because the Logitech Gamepad F710 connects to Fire TV using a USB dongle, you can only use it with an actual Fire TV, not Fire Stick. This is simply because the Fire Stick doesn’t offer a USB plug.

Nyko PlayPad Pro

Best Third Party Game Controllers Fire TV 7 -Nyko

Peripherals maker Nyko was quick to roll out its Fire TV compatible controller once Fire TV gaming picked up some steam. The PlayPad Pro copies the layout and style of Amazon’s official gamepad, opting for simplicity over crazy or complicated features. You get a straightforward layout with two analog sticks, four face buttons, and two sets of trigger buttons on top. A home button lets you get back to the Fire TV’s main screen at any time, and you can do basic navigation using the d-pad or analog sticks.

Apart from its relatively low price and simplicity, the Nyko PlayPad Pro doesn’t offer a lot of tempting features. It’s great if you need a budget controller for simple games, however, just as long as you don’t mind keeping your voice remote nearby for movie streaming.

Baile Wireless Game Controller

Best Third Party Game Controllers Fire TV 8 -Baile wireless

When you’re in the market for a fast and cheap gamepad and don’t want to fuss with any crazy features, Baile’s dogbone-style controller is the way to go. The no-frills device offers a good set of features for gaming on multiple devices, including Android TV and Fire TV. A d-pad rocker, four face buttons, two analog sticks, and two sets of trigger buttons give you everything you need to control your games. It’s perfectly designed for fast-paced action and fighting games, too, all thanks to the analog and rocker layouts. If staying within a budget is top priority, you can’t go wrong with Baile’s gamepad.

Evolved Dimensions Motion Gamepad

Best Third Party Game Controllers Fire TV 9 -Evolved gamepad

Evolved Dimensions has a unique take on the Fire TV controller. The device has 10 buttons, two analog sticks, and a rocker d-pad, all built in a PlayStation-like layout that’s perfect for action, fighting, and 3D games. The selling feature is how easily your Android or Fire TV device can recognize and pair with the controller. Most users claim the device simply syncs right up, no need to mess with configurations or anything like that. Fire TV users will need to add it as a bluetooth device, not a dedicated gamepad, then you’re ready to play.

Rii i8+ Mini

Best Third Party Game Controllers Fire TV 10 -Rii i8 mini

Sometimes a couple of analog sticks and a d-pad just isn’t enough. If you need a PC-like interface for your Fire TV, Rii has an intriguing solution with the i8+. This full-featured device has a couple dozen buttons splayed out on the face, everything from a full finger keyboard to media buttons, a d-pad, and a touch pad. You can pair it with your Fire TV and use it with a variety of games, including some that need touch screen inputs.

Using the Rii i8+ can be a bit cumbersome at first. It’s not an ideal fit for heavy action-based games, but it’s got just the right amount of features for slower, more control-intensive experiences like RPGs and some casual titles. Better still, you can use the keyboard to actually type things into your Fire TV, which we all know can be frustrating with that little pack-in remote.

  • Price: $19.75
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Style: Mouse and keyboard
  • Extras: Works with a variety of devices, includes full finger keyboard for typing.
  • Get It:

SaharaMicro Wireless Game Controller

Best Third Party Game Controllers Fire TV 11 -SaharaMicro gamepad

SaharaMicro’s wireless gamepad keeps it simple. It features all the basic buttons you need, including two analog sticks and two sets of trigger buttons, and it has a large home button top center for exiting applications with ease. Pairing is nice and straightforward, and the range is a little wider than some devices, extending out to almost 30 feet. When you combine this high usability with a budget-friendly price, it’s hard to say no to SaharaMicro’s simple Fire TV gamepad offering.


Getting the most out of your Fire TV and Fire Stick devices meaning using them for more than just movie streams. With the right third party controller you can play some incredible games on the system, including some of the top casual and indie releases of recent years! Best of all, gamepads are inexpensive and easy to use, making them a must-have accessory for anyone who wants to play Fire TV games.

Read Best Third Party Controllers for Fire TV Gaming by John Bardinelli on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Best Plex Channels for 2018: Movies, TV Shows, Sports and Music

Plex has made huge strides in the video streaming market space. It sits alongside Kodi as one of the best ways to get content from your home PC to your TV or other internet connected device. Plex can be installed on a wide variety of hardware, too, making it an elegant solution for many of your movie streaming woes.

Best Plex Channels 1

One of Plex’s underrated features is its selection of channels. You can add free and paid streaming services to your Plex Media Server and watch a ton of content from any Plex-compatible device. All you have to do is add the best channels, then click and play. It really is that easy!

Secure Your Streams with a VPN

Whenever you connect to the internet you’re putting your identity at risk. Unencrypted data gets sent out all the time, making it easy for anyone to spy on your activity or find out who you are. This is true whether you’re checking your e-mail, shopping, or just streaming a movie via Plex.

The good news is you can head off most of these invasions of privacy by installing a VPN. These useful tools encrypt data before it leaves your home network, making it impossible for anyone to spy on your activities, monitor your downloads, or discover your identity. With a VPN you can stay safe and secure at all times.

Below we’ve selected a few of the top VPNs to use with Plex and any other media streaming service. They’re fast, easy to use, and incredibly reliable.

1. ExpressVPN – Best for Speed

Best Plex Channels 2 -ExpressVPN

Need a fast VPN? ExpressVPN is the service for you. This friendly and secure VPN delivers all the right features to keep you safe while surfing, streaming, and more. With ExpressVPN your data is locked down with 256-bit AES encryption to keep it hidden from prying eyes. A thorough zero-logging policy hides your traffic, DNS requests, and IP addresses, while DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch ensure your identity remains a secret.

All plans backed by a 30-day money back guarantee.

2. IPVanish – Incredible Security

Best Plex Channels 3 -IPVanish

IPVanish blends incredible speeds with strong privacy to make it one of the best VPNs for video streams. The service has a massive network of servers, over 950 in 60 different countries, allowing lag-free connections around the world. Data is secured with DNS leak protection, an automatic kill switch, and 256-bit AES encryption on every packet, and you also get a zero-logging policy on all traffic to keep your activity top secret.

All plans are backed by a 7-day money back guarantee.

How to Use Plex Channels

Plex is known as a personal media streaming service, not a channel-based piece of software. It still offers a surprising amount of variety when it comes to streaming from the internet, however. Below is a quick overview of how Plex Channels work, how you can install them, and how you can make the most of this untapped service.

What are Plex Channels?

Plex’s main function is delivering content you own from one device to another as seamlessly as possible. A natural extension of this are Plex Channels that stream content you have permission to watch from the internet to any device on your home network. They’re basically simple extensions to your Media Server that let you access a wider variety of content than just the files you’re storing.

Depending on the channel in question, you may be limited to which devices can stream the content. There are also geographical restrictions frequently put into place, and some require an active subscription before you can see content. There are also unofficial Plex Channels that are free, open, and offer a good variety of third party content for all your Plex-connected hardware.

Installing Plex Channels

Channels are part of the Media Server app in the Plex ecosystem. This means that wherever you host and install your movie content, that’s where plug-ins go. You can then stream Plex Channel videos to any connected device, everything from smartphones to TV set boxes or even Fire TV.

To install plug-ins you’ll need to access the Plex web app. Do this by going to, signing into your account, and clicking the yellow launch button in the top corner of the screen. Once inside you’ll see a section marked Plugins. Click here, then choose the yellow Install Plugins option on the right.

Plex offers a sturdy variety of official channels you can install right away. Browse the list or search for one you have in mind, then click the icon to bring up the install dialog. Click the yellow button to begin the process, then wait a few moments for it to complete.

Once a plug-in has been added, you can access it at any time from your Media Server or Media Player. Most content will play on any device, though there are some channels that restrict where you can stream content.

Using Unofficial Plug-Ins

Unofficial Plex plug-ins are a bit trickier to use. Instead of installing them from the web app, you’ll need to fetch external channel files, extract the contents, then manually copy the content over to your Plex plug-ins folder. It’s a time-consuming process with a number of confusing steps, so for this article we’ll stick to official content.

Best Plex Channels

Fire up your Plex Media Server, it’s time to score some free video streams!

Best Plex Channels for Movies and TV Shows

Best Plex Channels 4 -TV movie channels

Plex offers nearly 50 official channels that deliver movies and TV shows, entire series, show clips, and one-off TV specials. To install any of these channels, simply follow the instructions above to visit the plug-in management screen on the Plex web app. Choose the Categories section, then select TV and hunt for the channel you want to use.

South Park

You know South Park, right? The long-running animated comedy that pushes the boundaries of what’s appropriate, what’s acceptable, and sometimes, what’s funny? The show’s owner Comedy Central has a selection of episodes available for free on their website. The South Park Plex Channel accesses those so you can stream them on any device, instantly. The only catch is that you have to be in the U.S. to take advantage of the stream. VPNs often let you get around that restriction, but it’s never a guarantee.

BBC iPlayer

Get instant access to streaming content from BBC with the company’s official Plex Channel. Shows are available from all BBC TV channels and radio stations, including a full week’s worth of new episodes and a handful of complete series on the channel’s Catch-Up section. Browse by channel, show, or popularity, then sit back and start streaming. Note that BBC iPlayer is only available to residents of the UK. A VPN can sometimes help you bypass the restriction.

PBS and PBS Kids

The Public Broadcasting Service channel accesses free content from over 350 member TV stations throughout the U.S., all contributing programming to the American non-profit service. The Plex Channel gives you quick access to some of the station’s most popular programs, including Nature, Nova, Washington Week, Call the Midwife, and Ken Burns documentaries.

Along with the main PBS channel is PBS Kids, a child-centric station that airs family-friendly content designed to teach and enrich young people’s lived. You’ll find everything from Arthur to Clifford, Bob the Builder, Curious George, Nature Cat, Sesame Street, even classic and new episodes of The Electric Company.


Three of the major broadcasting channels in the U.S. have a strong presence on Plex. By downloading their channel apps you can stream new shows, check out previews, and watch archived on-demand content for a variety of popular series.

Best Plex Sports Channels

Best Plex Channels 5 -Sports plugins

Getting access to sports can help entertain even the pickiest of streamers. Plex delivers with a few select sports channels you can download for free. To install these channels, follow the instructions above to visit the plug-in management screen, then choose the Categories section, select Sports, and look for the channel you want to install.


CBC/Radio-Canada is a content company that hosts a wide variety of programs, most notably news and sports. This handy Plex add-on brings in full-length episodes of sports programming and current events, along with a wide selection of on-demand videos and highlights.


The NFL Network plug-in for Plex streams live content broadcast by, a U.S.-based football website. You can catch live games throughout the day, or sign up for the NFL Gamepass to get archived games along with extended live coverage.

Best Music Channels on Plex

Best Plex Channels 6 -Music channels

Plex isn’t just for videos, it can stream high quality audio and live radio just as easily! These channels will give you something to dance about. To install any of the following plug-ins, use the instructions above to visit the management screen, then choose Categories, select Music, and look for the channel you want to install.

Pitchfork TV

The indie music service Pitchfork has an active presence on Plex. Installing this channel gives you instant access to all the independent artists you can handle. It’s not just audio, either, you’ll watch music videos, live concerts, and much more, all streamed as it happens, and all for free.


The personalized internet radio service is available on a wide variety of devices, including Plex and Plex-based hardware! This channel lets you stream your customized channel for an infinite supply of music, from mainstream artists to popular hits from the past. The downside is you’ll need an active Pandora One subscription to use this channel, and you have to be located inside the U.S. to access the music.


One of the more interesting Plex Channel music plug-ins is FuzionRadio, an app that broadcasts live DJ events. Catch your favorite spinners or discover someone new, all while filling your living room with the best beats around.

More Great Plex Channels

The Plex fun doesn’t stop there! Other categories of channels include technology, religion, politics, humor, gaming, even comics and fashion! Browse the plug-ins listing from the Plex web app and see what surprises you can uncover.


Need some help choosing a new laptop? How about more detailed information on the latest GPU from Nvidia? CNET’s got you covered. The Plex Channel plug-in has tons of tutorials and videos you can check out for new and popular tech products, everything from computers to smartphones and related accessories. Get the most out of your tech with CNET and Plex!

You can find the CNET channel by visiting the “Technology” category in the Plex plug-ins section of the web app.

New York Times

The print and web news magazine maintains a strong presence on the visual web, including this fantastic Plex channel plug-in. Get access to news and opinion videos from a leader in investigative reporting and international coverage. You’ll find the NYT plug-in under the “News” section of the Plex channel categories.

History Channel

What’s better than being entertained? Learning while you’re having fun, that’s what! The Plex Channels offer a variety of content in the “Educational” section of its directory, including the fantastic History Channel plug-in. This international service offers learning-based programs with a healthy dose of entertainment, covering everything from historical events to the paranormal.


If TV shows, movies, and educational programs aren’t enough for you, Vimeo has got you covered. Many see the service as a higher quality alternative to YouTube, ditching the childish performers in favor of thoughtfully produced content from independent creators around the world. There’s always something interesting to find on Vimeo, so grab the Plex Channel and see what turns up.


Plex is a great way to stream your own movies and videos to any device in your home. Throw in these channels and you’ve got an even more powerful entertainment center at your disposal. Use as many of the free services as you like, there’s no limit to how much you can stream!

Read Best Plex Channels for 2018: Movies, TV Shows, Sports and Music by John Bardinelli on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Watch Amazon Prime From Anywhere: Unblock Prime in 2018

A massive 90 million people in the US are members of Amazon’s Prime service, which gives them access to Amazon benefits and discounts. One handy feature of a Prime subscription is that it also gives users the chance to access Amazon’s Instant Video Service which lets you stream movies or episodes of TV shows for free. Like Netflix and Hulu, Amazon Instant Video lets you stream content on demand, and also includes original programming like The Man in the High Castle, The Grand Tour, and Ripper Street. The Amazon Instant Video service actually has an even larger catalogue of content available than its competitors, and the fact that Prime members get free access makes it even more appealing.

However, there is one drawback to Amazon Prime: it only works in the US. If you are a Prime subscriber and you are travelling abroad, then you won’t be able to use the service to watch your shows or movies. But there is a way to get around this. Today we’ll show you how to watch Amazon Prime anywhere in the world.

Differences Between Amazon Prime And Amazon Instant Video

You might also have heard of Amazon Instant Video when talking about Amazon’s video streaming service. Confusing as it is, Amazon Prime and Amazon Instant Video are not actually the same product, although both are services which offer video streaming of movies and TV shows from Amazon. Amazon Prime is a service that you get access to when you purchase an Amazon Prime subscription, which also includes free two-day shipping in the US and other benefits. The idea is that Amazon Prime is a service for people who use Amazon a lot and want to get the most out of the site.

Amazon Instant Video, on the other hand, is a something that comes as part of a Prime membership, but can also be purchased separately. So if you’re not interested in discounts on shipping but you do want to use the video streaming platform, you can get yourself an Amazon Instant Video subscription without having to have an Amazon Prime subscription. With Instant Video, instead of a subscription you pay a fee to watch the particular episodes or movies that you are interested on. Both services can be used on a variety of devices like watching through a browser on your computer, watching through the app for iOS or Kindle devices, watching on a Blu-ray player or set-top box like a Roku or Fire Stick, some Smart TVs, and games consoles like the PlayStation and Xbox. A key difference, however, is in the library of titles available to watch for free: Amazon Instant Video gives you access to thousands of movies and TV shows, but Prime members only get access to a limited subset of these videos. Prime members have to pay extra to watch content that isn’t included in their membership fee.

Another difference between the two services is how you access the content. When you watch a video with Prime, you can only stream the video, not download it. With Instant Video, you can download a video for later watching if you’re going to be passing through an area with no internet – so it’s great for long train or subways journeys where your phone’s internet access won’t work. With Instant Video, you have the option to rent a movie which means that you can watch the movie at any time you want within the next 30 days – but you have to finish watching the video within 24 hours of when you start it.

Watching Amazon Prime Abroad

One important difference between the Prime and Instant Video services is regional availability. Amazon Prime is only available to US residents, and isn’t available in Alaska, Hawaii, or the rest of the world. Instant Video, on the other hand, is available from anywhere in the world although the catalogue of content may vary depending on your location.

This means that if you are an Amazon Prime user, you can only use the service from within the US. If you travel abroad and try to access the Amazon Prime service, the site will not let you play videos due to regional restrictions. This is because of licensing issues: Amazon has the right to stream a particular movie in the US because they have purchased the rights to that film for that country, however, they do not have the right to stream that movie in another country. Even if you live in the US and have paid for a Prime subscription within the US, when you are travelling outside of the country then you won’t be able to watch any of your Prime content.

How Regional Restrictions Work

If you go the the Amazon Prime Video page, at, what you will see will depend on where you are accessing the site from. If you are travelling to Germany, for example, and you access this site, you’ll see that the text is in German. In the blue box you’ll see a link to the local version of Amazon – in this case, that’s – and if you click it then you’ll find that you can’t use your Prime membership to watch content for free on this site. The problem is that the site checks which region you are in and serves you a different version of the site accordingly – and that means you’ll get a site you can’t use to watch with your Prime membership when you’re outside of the US.

This works by the site looking at your IP address. Whenever your device connects to the internet, whether it’s through a wired or wifi connection, and whether it’s your home connection or a public connection, your device is assigned an IP address. This is a string of numbers which is unique to your device and represents that device on the network. So, for example, when you type into your browser, the network knows that it has to get the data from the Amazon site, and then serve that data to your device and not any other device. Each IP address is like a postal address that points to your particular device.

The problem with region locking comes up because IP addresses contain information about the country they are from. Particular ranges of IP address are assigned to particular countries – so, for example, it is public knowledge that an IP address that is in the range of – is from the US. When you are travelling abroad and you connect to a network in another country, you’ll be assigned an IP address from that country. Then, when you visit the Prime website, the site sees that your IP address is from another country and so it serves you the local version of the site – which means that you can’t use your Prime subscription to watch videos.

Use A VPN To Watch Amazon Prime From Anywhere

The good news is that there is a way to get around these regional restrictions. You can use a VPN to get around these restrictions by getting a new IP address. A VPN works by installing a piece of software onto your device which encrypts all of the data that you send over the internet. This encryption means that the data is bundled up and protected so that other people can’t see what the data is or track it. This encrypted data is sent to a server which is run by your VPN provider and which is located elsewhere in the world, then once the data arrives at the server it is decrypted. The decrypted data is then sent on to its original destination, just like any other internet traffic.

The advantage of this is that because the data rejoins the other internet traffic at the server location, instead of the location where you actually are, it is assigned an IP address from the country of the server, not the country you are in. If you’re in Germany and you use your VPN to connect to a server in the US, it will appear to any websites as if your traffic is coming from the US. This means that sites like Amazon Prime will work as if you were in the US, even when you are actually located abroad. Wherever you are located, you simply open up your VPN software and connect to a server in the US, then you’ll be able to use Amazon Prime or any other region locked service as if you were at home.

As an additional advantage, encrypting your data preserves your privacy by not revealing your IP address, so your internet activities cannot be tracked to you. The encryption also means that outsiders cannot hack or trace your internet activity, so no one else can see what sites you visit, intercept your communications, or eavesdrop on your conversations.

Our Recommended VPNs For Amazon Prime

If you’re wanting a VPN to watch Amazon Prime from abroad but you aren’t sure which VPN will meet your needs, we have recommendations for you. We base these recommendations on key factors such as their security, the number of servers they offer and whether that includes servers in the US, the speed of their connections, and the ease of use and number of platforms supported by their software.

Here are our top recommendations for a VPN for Amazon Prime users:

1. ExpressVPN

For a VPN that has it all, including top notch security, super fast connections, and easy to use software, we recommend that you try ExpressVPN. It offers excellent security in the form of strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy, and it has an absolutely massive server network. Covering more than 1000 servers in 145 different locations in 94 countries, including many in the US, you’ll have no problem finding a server to let you watch Amazon Prime.

The software is one of the easiest to use we’ve ever seen, so it’s perfect for new users but also offers features for advanced users like a speed test to help you find the fastest server and DNS leak protection for maximum security. The software is available for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, and there is a guide to using to it watch Amazon Prime on the company’s website.

2. NordVPN

Users who are looking for an outstanding level of security as well as a way to watch Amazon Prime abroad will appreciate NordVPN. This service offers the essential security features like 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy, but that’s not all. In addition, there are extra security features like dedicated servers for anti DDoS, dedicated IP, onion over VPN, or double VPN. Double VPN works by encrypting your data not once but twice, at two different servers, and these two layers of encryption mean that it is practically impossible for anyone to crack, even with the latest software. This means it’s a great choice for the security conscious. The software can be installed on devices running iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS, or Linux.

The network of servers available is massive, with more than 3000 servers in 60 different countries open for your use, including many servers in the US so you can watch your shows from abroad. In fact, if you need more guidance then there’s a specific page on the NordVPN website about using the service with Amazon Prime. You can also find information on which specific servers to use in order to watch Amazon Prime video seamlessly.

EXCLUSIVE: Get a huge 77% discount on the three year special of NordVPN, for a total cost of just $2.75 per month, with a 30 day money-back guarantee.

3. CyberGhost

When you want a VPN that is super easy to use and requires no technical expertise at all, but still has all the essential security and useability features you need, then we recommend CyberGhost. The service offers good security with 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy, plus extra security features like an automatically enabled kill switch. The software is incredibly easy to ise, with a graphical interface which lets you choose from options like browsing anonymously, torrenting anonymously, or unblocking websites. To use Amazon Prime, you just need to click on Unblock Websites and you’ll be able to select a server in the US from their big range of more than 1300 servers in 59 countries including the US.

To find out more about accessing region blocked sites like Amazon Prime, check out their help page. One more thing you should know: the software is available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac OS.


Amazon Prime is a very useful service which gives you access to lots of Amazon Instant Video content as well as other benefits like free shipping from Amazon. Many people in the US have Amazon Prime and use it for watching videos, however, if you are a Prime user who is travelling outside of the US then you’ll find that your Prime subscription doesn’t work in other countries.

We’ve shown you how to get around these regional restrictions using a VPN so that you can watch Amazon Prime from anywhere in the world, and we’ve recommended VPNs that we’ve tested and found to work with Prime. Try these out next time you’re travelling so that you can have full access to your Prime video catalogue.

Have you had issues using Amazon Prime abroad? Which VPN have you found to be best for accessing this content from anywhere? Let us know in the comments below.

Read How To Watch Amazon Prime From Anywhere: Unblock Prime in 2018 by Georgina Jones on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter