How to Fix Playback Error on Firestick: 9 Simple Steps

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Couple stuck with Firestick issue on TV

Are you stuck trying to figure out how to fix Playback Error on your Firestick?

You’re not alone! Every day, a large number of people face the same issue and are left nothing but confused about it.

I know it can be very annoying to have this happen, especially considering that you already paid a hefty amount for the streaming device.

But don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place for answers. Below, you’ll find a list with several easy steps you can try to solve this problem once and for all.

The 9 simple steps that can fix Playback Error on your Firestick are:

  1. Check Your Internet Connection
  2. Relaunch your apps
  3. Restart your Firestick
  4. Check Amazon’s servers
  5. Disable your VPN
  6. Try a different title
  7. Clear your apps’ cache & data
  8. Update your Firestick
  9. Reset your Firestick

#1 Check Your Internet Connection

Although internet service drops have gone down a lot in the last few years, they still happen now and then.

Normally, diagnosing a bad connection is very easy, as you’ll be completely cut off from the internet. But sometimes, you could only have a weak signal. This would allow you to do some light browsing or chatting while also getting Playback Error on your Firestick.

This is due to your favorite platform’s requirements.

You see, most streaming services need at least 5 Mbps to play content in Full HD and up to 25 Mbps for 4K. If your current plan does not meet these speeds, there’s a chance this is the reason why you’re getting a Playback Error.

Solution: Try this useful rule of thumb. Take the number of people that live in your home and multiply them by the speed you need for your streaming services. For example, if you want to watch something in Full HD and live with 4 people, you’ll need a plan that offers at least 20 Mbps.

Assuming that your current plan is already fast enough, try calling your provider and asking if they’re having issues. If they tell you everything’s fine on their end, resetting your modem could do the trick.

If you’ve never done it before, that’s ok! It’s really simple:

  1. Without unplugging the modem, turn it around so that you can see the back of the unit
  1. Locate the reset button (more often than not, it’s not a button, but a small hole with a “Reset” label on it)
  1. Use a paper clip or a thin toothpick to press down on the actual button inside this hole. Hold it down until all the lights at the front of the unit turn on, and then turn off
  1. For a brief moment, all lights on the modem will be off, that’s your cue to stop holding down the reset button
  1. Wait a couple of minutes and try streaming something on your Firestick. If your connection was to blame, you should no longer be getting the Playback Error anymore.

#2 Relaunch Your Apps

Sometimes, the solution might be simpler than you think.

There’s a good chance that all you need to do to get things back to normal is close and relaunch your apps.

You see, when you get the Playback Error on your Firestick, it’s usually because there’s a bad connection, corrupted files, or bugs in your system. By closing and relaunching your favorite streaming services, you’re giving them a chance to start from scratch.

This helps get rid of anything that might be acting up, hopefully correcting this issue, and others, such as Error 1061.

And the best part is that this fix works in other areas too. In fact, most technical difficulties you’ll encounter will benefit from this. Don’t be afraid to try it out.

#3 Restart Your Firestick

Sometimes there are bad files or glitches that can affect how your Firestick works. When closing and relaunching your favorite apps doesn’t work, the next thing you want to try is restarting the device.

You can think of this as the middle ground between point #2 and factory resetting your device. This process should get rid of anything that might be giving you trouble.

Solution: Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Press the “Home” button on your controller
  1. Navigate to the gear icon to open the device’s settings
How to access settings on Amazon Firestick
Look for the gear icon on the right side of your Home Screen
  1. On the set of options that appear, select “My Fire TV”
How to access My Fire Tv on Amazon Firestick
  1. On the new window, select “Restart”
How to restart Amazon Firestick
Be careful not to select “Reset to Factory Defaults” by accident
  1. Once you’re asked to confirm if you want to restart, select “Restart”
Confirm Reset on Amazon Firestick

This might take a little while. Once the process has been completed, try streaming something and see what happens. If this was the source of the issue, you should no longer be getting the Playback Error on your Firestick.

#4 Check Amazon’s Servers

Next, I want us to check on the platform’s servers.

As you may know, these are responsible for storing important information and giving millions of Firestick users a high-quality service.

The company has put a lot of effort into making them as resistant as possible. And while I’m not saying they’ll break just for looking at them, I’d be lying if I told you they’re failproof.

Things that seem unimportant, such as a coding bug, a bad hard drive, or even minor hacking can affect how your Firestick works.

The best way to spot these events is by looking out for slow loading times, random flickering on your favorite platforms, out-of-sync-subtitles, and of course the dreaded Playback Error.

Solution: To confirm our suspicions, we must check the real-time status of the platform’s servers. Luckily, doing so is very easy and quick:

  1. Open Google, and type “Is Amazon down?”, then hit Enter to search your query
  1. Locate “Downdetector” on the search results, and click on it (or click on this link:
How to check if Amazon is down
Make sure you’re entering the official Downdetector webpage
  1. Once you’ve entered the webpage, you’ll see a bunch of data, and a large graph
Downdetector report graph
The taller the spikes, the more likely you are to be having trouble

Sadly, if Amazon is, in fact, having problems, your hands are tied.

But I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. The company has a very efficient IT department, so I’d be surprised if this issue lasts long.

#5 Disable Your VPN

VPNs are amazing.

Not only do they provide us with secure browsing, but also open up a world of possibilities.

What’s there not to love?

… what a shame that streaming companies hate them.

Disney Plus, HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu, and many more, have been very clear about their dislike for these. Some have even gotten to the point of blocking subscribers who use them.

And once you learn the reason, you might sympathize.

You see, a lot of the content available on these platforms is only licensed to play in some countries. VPNs allow people from outside these areas to access said content, forcing streaming companies to take action.

It’s either that or be sued for millions of dollars.

If you can’t live without using a VPN with your Firestick, I’d recommend getting a premium subscription. These normally include obfuscated servers

Making your VPN traffic harder to detect is one of the best ways to prevent being blocked by your favorite platforms.

Solution: Try disabling your current VPN and streaming without it for a couple of days. If you no longer get the annoying Playback Error on your Firestick, there’s your answer. Time to start looking for alternatives.

#6 Try a Different Title

You may not know this, but every piece of content within your favorite apps has its own ID and space on the streaming company they belong to. This is why sometimes certain titles won’t play, but others will work without any problems.

This allows streaming companies to prevent a single issue from becoming a general failure.

Most of the time, this safety measure works great. But in some cases, it could also trick you into thinking that the issue is much bigger than it actually is.

Solution: Try watching other shows and movies on different streaming platforms.

If the problem seems to be isolated to one title, chances are there’s something wrong with it. But don’t worry, these things normally work themselves out in a couple of hours.

#7 Clear Your Apps’ Cache & Data

Moving on, let’s make sure your apps’ cache & data are not acting up.

If you’ve no idea what these are, that’s ok! Most people are in the same boat. But now that you’re here, I’d love to shed some light on the concepts.

These are where your favorite apps store important information. In them, you’re likely to find audio, video, user preferences, and login credentials. By keeping this data handy, your apps can load much quicker when launched and make your experience better.

Most of the time, leaving them both alone does more harm than good. But in some cases, this could also be the reason why you’re getting a Playback Error on your Firestick.

In that scenario, your best bet will be to clear them.

Solution: I’ll use Prime Video as an example. Please look at the steps below carefully:

  1. Press the “Home” button on your Fire Stick controller
  1. Navigate to the gear icon to open the device’s settings
How to access settings on Amazon Firestick
  1. From the new menu, select “Applications”
Open Applications Menu on Amazon Firestick
You can manage all your apps’ settings there
  1. On the new menu, select “Manage Installed Applications”
How to manage installed applications on Amazon Firestick
  1. Once you see a list with all your installed apps, scroll down until you reach “Prime Video” and select it 
Locate Prime Video on Amazon Firestick
You may have to scroll down for a while if you have many apps installed
  1. Select “Clear data”
Clear data of Amazon Prime on Amazon Firestick
  1. Select “Clear data” again
  1. Go to the previous menu by using the return button on your controller (the little curved arrow)
  1. Now, hover above “Clear cache”
Clear cache of Amazon Prime on Amazon Firestick
Clearing your cache frequently can save you a lot of headaches
  1. Press the “Rewind” button on your controller (the two arrows pointing left), and then select “Confirm”
Rewind button on Amazon Firestick controller
Clear Amazon Prime cache on Amazon Firestick
Depending on your model, the “Rewind” button may look different

#8 Update Your Firestick

Keeping their apps fully updated is not on most people’s list of priorities, but it should be.

Newer versions of your favorite apps are designed with newer software versions of streaming devices in mind. Using the latest version of the former with an outdated streaming system could explain why you’re getting a Playback Error on your Firestick.

In most cases, this shouldn’t be your concern, as there’s automatic updating. But sometimes, a weak network or a system glitch can get in the way.

When this happens, you’ll have to manually download and install the latest software version of your Firestick.

Solution: Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Press the “Home” button on your controller
  1. Navigate to the gear icon to open the device’s settings
How to access settings on Amazon Firestick
  1. On the set of options that appear, select “My Fire TV”
How to access My Fire Tv on Amazon Firestick
  1. On the new menu, select “About”
Select About on My Fire TV settings on Amazon Firestick
  1. Select “Check for Updates”. You’ll get a message that says “Checking Now…
Check for updates on Amazon Firestick
Try doing this every couple of weeks to make sure your device is always up to date
  1. After your Fire Stick is done checking for updates, you’ll either get an option to install a newer version or get a message that says “Your Fire TV is up to date.”
Amazon Firestick check software version
If you get a message asking for confirmation to update, simply agree and wait

#9 Reset Your Firestick

Let’s try the ultimate solution.

When all else has failed, we need to start being a little more aggressive. Sometimes, corrupted files or bugs can be too stubborn to go away with a simple restart.

By resetting your Firestick back to its Factory Defaults, we’ll be reverting the device to its brand-new settings. This means that we’ll be getting rid of all your downloaded apps and user preferences.

To make this less inconvenient, I always recommend keeping a list of your apps and their respective login credentials written down somewhere. This takes away the need of having to remember what you had installed after you’ve reset your devices.

Solution: If you’re 100% sure that there’s nothing else you can try, here’s how you can go about this:

  1. Press the “Home” button on your controller
  1. Navigate to the gear icon to open the device’s settings
How to access settings on Amazon Firestick
  1. On the set of options that appear, select “My Fire TV”
How to access My Fire Tv on Amazon Firestick
  1. Scroll down in the new menu and select “Reset to Factory Defaults”
Reset Amazon Firestick to factory defaults
Remember, only do this as a last resort
  1. When asked to confirm, select “Reset” and wait for the process to be completed
Confirm reset to factory defaults on Amazon Firestick
Make sure to click on “Reset” to confirm that you want to go back to Factory Defaults

Once that’s done, you can start re-downloading your apps and entering your preferred settings. 


Getting the annoying Playback Error appearing on your Firestick’s screen can be very frustrating. Especially if you just got home from work and want to relax while enjoying a home-cooked meal.

What a disaster!

Luckily, as I hope you’ve learned in this piece, addressing most of the causes behind this issue is really easy. In most cases, simple actions, like using the right VPN, and keeping your Firestick fully updated, will do the trick.

Thank you so much for sticking with me all the way to the end. If you found this article helpful, you’ll be happy to know that we upload new content weekly. Check out our other incredible resources below to become a Tech Detective yourself!

I wish you nothing but the best.