How To Use ES File Explorer To Install Plugins On the Fire TV

One of the more challenging things for people using a fireTV as their Kodi box is the install of certain plugin files and programs that can only be installed via zip file. If you’re familiar with using Kodi then you’ll know full well what I’m referring to. While most of the more popular addons exist in online repositories there are a lot of others that don’t either because they can’t due to DMCA issues (see the Sportsdevil plugin) or developers just simply choose not to.

The other day on my YouTube channel I was asked about how to install the hockeystreams repository on a FireTV knowing full well that you have to physically download the zip file and install it the old fashioned way (so to speak).

There are a handful of ways to do this but the more I use it the more I’ve realized how much simpler and more efficient it is to just use a program called ES File Explorer for this. Yesterday I provided a guide to install and update Kodi with ES File Explorer and today I’ll take that one step further. You can use ADBFire to push, you can set up your own repository as well, but at the end of the day having either a Google Drive or Dropbox account and ES File Explorer will provide you with your own repository.

Needless to say I set out on providing a tutorial here on how to use ES File Explorer on the FireTV and how to set it up so you can simply download zip files and store them to your cloud storage (or other options) and then install them on your FireTV.


What we need to get started

There are a few things you’ll need to pull this off.

  • A FireTV box or stick(duh!)
  • Kodi installed on said FireTV
  • Chances are if you have the two above already you already have an Amazon account. If not you’ll need one of these.
  • An addon to install. Because it was asked for in this tutorial I’m going to use the Hockeystreams repository. I’ll show two ways how you can use this.
  • A little bit of tech know how.

Not to scare you off but if this is your first time installing a plugin or repository into your Kodi setup this might be a little more complex for you. I will try to explain it as easy as possible.

First and Foremost, Get a Google Drive or Dropbox account

Before we get into the fun stuff we need to add the repository or the plugin we want into our cloud/online storage.In this tutorial I’ve decided to use Google Drive but there are a handful of other options you can use (and you’ll see when you follow the steps in this tutorial). If you’ve got a drive or dropbox account already setup then create a new folder labelled “KODI” and start copying any repositories or zip files you’d like to install. Once done we can simply move onto the next step.

Please note, if you’re wanting to use a local computer instead of a cloud based storage system then all you need to do is to copy the Kodi plugins or zip files into a folder on that computer and setup the proper sharing permissions on it. Also take note of the computers IP address. If you’re using this as a permanent solution your best bet is to setup a static IP for that computer. Now just follow the same steps to install ES File Explorer below.

Installing ES File Explorer on the FireTV

This has become a lot easier thanks in large part to the Amazon app store providing a download for ES File Explorer. This is the easiest part of the process, the only thing you need to do to get this installed is to browse in the app store on your FireTV for “ES File Explorer” by using the search feature. You should be able to manually enter it in or you can use voice search and speak “ES Explorer” and it should show.

You should be looking for something that looks like this:

ES Explorer on Amazon

Once you’ve got it installed we can move ahead to getting our repositories onto or FireTV for install.

Setting up the ES Explorer

Now that we’ve got it installed we can open up ES Explorer and start setting up some shortcuts to our online cloud accounts. The hardest part of this is navigating through the actual app. For whatever reason (maybe it’s just me) but I have a heck of a time trying to get to the menu item I want at times but after using it for awhile you should be able to get the hang of it.

Let’s get started.

  • First we need to add our Google Drive (or Dropbox, or AWS etc.) account. To do this we scroll on the left side down to the “Network” section and open up the sub menu by clicking on it. Look for the cloud option and click on it. If you have never installed or used this software then in the right side pane you should see something that says “Add a server by New->Server”.
  • At the bottom of the screen you should see some menu options, one of those with a “+” sign that says New. You want to scroll down to this and hit enter.
  • A popup should then display showing you a handful of online storage options (box, sugarsync, dropbox, Onedrive to name a few). For this tutorial we are using Google Drive so in the middle of this popup select it and hit the select button on your FireTV remote.
  • You should be greeted with another popup asking you to sign into your Google account. What this is doing is making us authenticate our Google Drive account. Enter in your email followed by your password. Once you’ve properly entered in your account information you should be given one final popup asking you to allow or deny access for somethings on your FireTV. Choose “Allow” at the bottom to finish setting up your Drive account.
  • After success you should see a single file/tile showcasing your account name, open it up and then you should see all the saved/shared folders in your Drive account. If you had followed the recommendation for setting up a separate folder labelled KODI in your drive account you should be able see it now.
  • To save some navigating a little bit I recommend setting this folder up as a favorite in ES Explorer. To do that you need to highlight the Kodi folder and then long press the select (middle button on the FireTV remote) and it should show it selected with a checkmark. From here we navigate to the bottom once more and go all teh way right to the 3 bullet (or dots) menu labelled “More”. Select it and scroll down and choose Add To Favorites.
  • Now that we’ve got our Kodi folder in the favorites menu we can simply open up “Favorites” on the left side of ES Explorer and scroll down to the bottom of that list and you should see it. Click it to open it and the contents will appear on the right.
  • Now we need to long press/select with the FireTV remote on the repository/plugin we want to install. Once again we use the bottom menu and scroll to where it gives us the “COPY” option.
  • Now we simply just need to paste it onto our FireTV storage. On the left hand menu you should see a “LOCAL” option. Click it to open it and scroll down to device. On the right you should see folders, I typically just scroll to the “SD CARD” and then the “DOWNLOAD” folder. Once you’re in there, scroll to the bottom menu one final time and choose “PASTE”.

You’ve now got your repository copied onto your FireTV. The final step is to simply install it through Kodi which should be straight forward if you’ve done it before.

Final Step, Installing the Plugin on your FireTV

The final step in this tedious tutorial is to simply install the zip file we just copied.

  • Open up Kodi and browse to the SYSTEM menu. Hit ENTER.
  • Scroll down to ADDONS and hit enter.
  • Choose INSTALL FROM ZIP FILE and hit enter.
  • On the FireTV select “EXTERNAL STORAGE”.
  • Finally go to the DOWNLOADS folder we copied the files into and you should see the zip (or zips) you copied. All you do from here is click enter on the file you want to install. Presto, your done!

I’ll be the first to admit this isn’t a perfect tutorial. There are a handful of more efficient ways to do this and I’ll touch on those most likely in future posts and videos. If you’re comfortable with computers and only using this to install on local devices then the easier option is to setup a shared network folder.

ES Explorer is a great app for adding plugins without online repositories but you can even use this for cloning Kodi installs across multiple FireTVs. Check back on the website for this in the future.

If you have any suggestions or questions with this please feel free to drop a comment below.

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