STOP PRESS: FIRESTARTER 3.0 RELEASED. SANITY RESTORED.
Before sending your Fire TV/Stick back to Amazon in disgust, beware of its limitations, and try these tips.
Bottom line is it's going to be a solid step up from Fire TV 1. But right now, it has a few issues.
Let's talk about the elephant in the room: the angry reviews. Almost all the complaints are about the glitchy remote (we have a fix), battery cover (sometimes the customer isn't always right), audio issues (Amazon is patching, stay tuned). No question, it's got some bugs out of the gate, but Amazon has responded and hopefully all will be resolved shortly . Enjoy:
Fire TV 2: hardware shortcomings by design that many regard as substandard.
If these are important, you might need to look elsewhere.
1. USB 2.0 not even USB 3.0. USB-C is the new standard appearing on phones and laptops.
2. Ethernet 10/100 not GB.
3. No optical port. Possible solution: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B010JQMHNW/?
4. HDMI 1.4, not HDMI 2.0, limited to 4K at 30fps.
Software bugs and annoyances, most probably due to OS 5, but yet to be confirmed.
Could be fixed either by Amazon or developers.
1. Audio limited to stereo other than for Amazon Prime. Quiet audio.
As promised, Amazon has released a patch (extremely quickly):
“By this coming Monday, October 12th, you will receive an automatic software update that enables Dolby Digital Plus for customers who have a Dolby Digital Plus system (including support for Netflix and Amazon Video). An update for older Dolby Digital systems (not Dolby Digital Plus) will be distributed on November 30th.” -Amazon
Update from AFTVNews:
One of the new device’s largest complaints, a lack of Dolby Digital surround sound support, which has been partially fixed already, stems from changes made to support Netflix. I’m told by my source at Amazon that Netflix gave the Fire TV engineering team a new version of their software at the last minute which required changes to the Fire TV’s software to work correctly. Those changes conflicted with Dolby Digital surround sound support. With not enough time to fix support for both, Amazon was faced with the decision to ship without Netflix or without Dolby Digital surround sound. They chose the latter which, in my opinion, was the right choice.
2. Fire TV 2 WiFi Remote drops out, glitchy, lags, etc.
Do this when setting up if you're connecting via Ethernet: disconnect your LAN cable, connect to WiFi, reconnect your network cable.
And then do this anytime if your remote becomes laggy: disconnect Ethernet cable, reconnect Ethernet cable.
That should fix it. Really, it's usually that simple.
If not, there could be interference, you could try changing channels or frequency on your router or restrict the available protocols (just N or AC, for example). Let us know if you're still having problems.
3. Highly inconvenient to launch Kodi and other sideloaded apps.
Long story, somewhat shortened: The Fire OS only shows icons for apps obtained from Amazon's App Store. That, unfortunately, doesn't include Kodi, everyone's favourite media player, and about 99% of the reason the AFTV has a cult following. There have been two popular ways to get around Amazon's belligerence: by having Kodi launch as proxy of another app (usually Ikono TV) using Llama; or by employing Firestarter to bind it to the Home button.
Both can be loaded via ADFire.
Unfortunately, Llama no longer works (for this purpose) in OS5/AFTV2, so skip that route and install FireStarter:
ADBFire : http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=2786505
I recommend mapping the Home Button single click to Kodi, and the Home button double-click to Amazon Home. Or if you'd prefer to use Firestarter as your home screen, then map it to the double-click. The added bonus to this setup is every time you're in Kodi and hit the Home button inadvertently, instead of losing your **** yet again, it'll just flash in and out of the app and then pause whatever you're watching.
Here's a guide on sideloading to the Fire. Again, I strongly recommend ADBFire:
If you have an Android tablet or phone, there are several apps that can push apps across to the Fire, such as Apps2Fire. That way you can download your apps direct from the official Google Play Store. Don't forget they won't automatically update. You'll need to push those updates across as well.
4. Can't connect via ADB to sideload using ADBFire etc since using FireStarter
First up: make sure you have ADB enabled. Settings>System>Developer Options> Both ADB Debugging and Apps from Unknown Sources need to be On.
FireStarter has two methods of intercepting Home button presses: one using ADB, and one not using ADB. The issue that's arisen since the introduction of Fire OS 5 is that the operating system no longer permits parallel ADB connections, so if FireStarter is using it to intercept Home button presses, you won't be able to connect to the Fire TV using ADB, and thus you won't be able to sideload apps and files using ADBFire.
We now have two options:
Option 1 (Firestarter won't use ADB): Open FireStarter, under Settings, uncheck "Home Detection via ADB."
Advantage: You only need ADB enabled to connect with ADBFire. No need to touch FireStarter.
Disadvantage: Only detects your customized Home button choices within the Fire TV's home screen, and not within apps. Pressing Home within Kodi, for example, will return you to the Home screen. Pressing it again will send you back to Kodi (or whatever action you've chosen. A potential advantage is this now gives you three variants of the Home button: a single and double-click from the Home screen; and the traditional Fire TV Home shortcut from within any app.
Option 2: (FireStarter uses ADB): Open FireStarter, check "Home Detection via ADB"
Advantage: FireStarter will now obey your Home button choices (single and double-click) from anywhere.
Disadvantage: You will either need to kill FireStarter (see below) or temporarily revert to Option 1 in order to do your ADB stuff. Note: there's now a handy shortcut direct to the ADB Debugging toggle within FireStarter.
Tip: If you go with Option 2, you can quickly kill FireStarter's grip on ADB by going: Settings>Manage Applications>FireStarter and Force Stop. And then restarting FireStarter or the Device once you've finished your ADB business.
5. External storage limited to disks formatted in FAT32.
There's no reason why Amazon couldn't enable other formats, but there's little incentive to bother. Even Macs don't support NTFS out of the box. Either format your drives in FAT32 (and split larger files if necessary) or move them to a network share. Not hard to work around. Here's a tip:
6. Difficult to remove battery cover?
No it's not. Slide it back then lift it up. Dead easy:
7. Can't move Kodi to external storage.
Upgrade to Jarvis (still in alpha but perfectly acceptable).
8. LED only glowing when it detects a remote button press
Either a bug or a new way of doing things. Either way, it's not ideal.
9. Can't Chromecast from Android device to Fire TV
Yes, you can cast from Youtube, but nothing else (that I can find). Blame Google for that:
You can, however, Airplay to it. Via Kodi is one method, that usually works, but can be flaky sometimes. There are a bunch of apps you can try. Some work better than others. I picked up this one when it was free, it works:
And for those of you with other Amazon devices, there's always Fling: