[APP] AFTV Launcher Helper (No root required)

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superkoal

Senior Member
Sep 24, 2011
1,026
717
Vienna
Hi Guys!

I've written a little helper app that allows you to basically use any app you want as a launcher on your FireTV (and probably also Stick, but I don't own one to test).

The app does not require root as it doesn't really set your app as system launcher, it just provides various workarounds!

Scenario
You want SPMC to be your launcher? No problem! With this little helper app the aftv boots straights into spmc. Also you can select the option to start spmc everytime the "screen on" event occurs (after firetv exits sleep mode). If you are in a different app (e.g. netflix) and press the home button on the remote the system takes you to the amazon launcher. This is detected by the apps watchdog and it takes you right back to SPMC. If you still want to use Amazon prime video or music than the option to allow jumpbacks is for you. It will allow you to stay in Amazon launcher if the last task was your selected launcher app.

The same procedure works for all other apps/launchers you want to use!

Feature list
  • Use any app as "launcher" (e.g. SPMC, XBMC/Kodi, FiredTV, TV Launcher, ...)
  • Start on boot
  • Start on "Screen on" event
  • Run a background watchdog to check for the current top activity
  • Allow jumpbacks to amazon launcher only from your selected "launcher" app
  • Easily going back from amazon launcher to your selected app by pressing the home button (works for all menu positions but search & start page, so scroll down to videos, press home, voila!)
  • customize watchdog interval

About the watchdog
It will help you to prevent the home or back button to go to the amazon launcher
How does it work? It regularly checks the current top activity, if it is the amazon launcher it starts your selected app
be careful as too low intervals can affect your device performance!
Also make sure to disable home button detection if you use FiredTV launcher to prevent interference!

Troubleshooting
If you somehow manage to lock yourself out just do this via adb:
Code:
adb shell am start -n jb.com.aftvlauncherhelper/jb.com.aftvlauncherhelper.MainActivity
and disable the watchdog (or select the right app ;) ).

If you like the app please consider buying me a drink (button is in my signature).
Have fun!

Screenshot:

Fc9OB0z.png


Changelog:

Version 1.1:
Fix delayed starting action

Version 1.0:
Initial release
 

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Last edited:

aHcVolle

Senior Member
Nov 3, 2010
426
247
Stuttgart
It works really good but sometimes doesn't get back to firedtv on the first try for me.

I selected firedtv as Launcher and enabled all options (watchdog to 1s)
When I run firetv home and press the home button I sometimes have to scroll around in the menus and press home again to get back to firedtv.

But it's better than anything I tried before! Great work!
 
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superkoal

Senior Member
Sep 24, 2011
1,026
717
Vienna
It works really good but sometimes doesn't get back to firedtv on the first try for me.

I selected firedtv as Launcher and enabled all options (watchdog to 1s)
When I run firetv home and press the home button I sometimes have to scroll around in the menus and press home again to get back to firedtv.

But it's better than anything I tried before! Great work!

Thanks! I was able to reproduce this. Probably some timing issue when there are a lot of things going on in the message queue. I will try to fix this with the next release.
 
  • Like
Reactions: aHcVolle

superkoal

Senior Member
Sep 24, 2011
1,026
717
Vienna
It works really good but sometimes doesn't get back to firedtv on the first try for me.

I selected firedtv as Launcher and enabled all options (watchdog to 1s)
When I run firetv home and press the home button I sometimes have to scroll around in the menus and press home again to get back to firedtv.

But it's better than anything I tried before! Great work!

I have just built a small update to v1.1 to try and address you issue.
Please let me know if it works better now :)
 

duquesa

Senior Member
Nov 22, 2011
131
25
Malaga
I have just built a small update to v1.1 to try and address you issue.
Please let me know if it works better now :)


Great work here, much appreciated

I've installed V1.1 but its hit and miss if it returns back to Kodi, great step in the right direction though and lot easier for many people over rooting.

Many thanks again :good:
 
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nickyb003

Member
Jan 5, 2015
33
2
works good w/ one of the launchers I have.....during testing when I press home it automatically goes back to the custom launcher and if I press home again it goes back to the amazon launcher and if I continue pressing home it stays on the amazon launcher until I actually do something like press up or down which I think is good...I have the watchdog interval to 1500ms is that good or bad?
 
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Reactions: superkoal

superkoal

Senior Member
Sep 24, 2011
1,026
717
Vienna
works good w/ one of the launchers I have.....during testing when I press home it automatically goes back to the custom launcher and if I press home again it goes back to the amazon launcher and if I continue pressing home it stays on the amazon launcher until I actually do something like press up or down which I think is good...I have the watchdog interval to 1500ms is that good or bad?

I think it's a good interval. Thanks for the feedback!

Sent from my GT-I9195 using XDA Free mobile app
 

patt2k

Senior Member
Mar 22, 2009
3,390
546
nice I will try it on fire tv stick which is not rooted of course maybe tomorrow and see how it works so I can get rid of llama :) thank you
 

wonneil

Senior Member
Nov 30, 2009
137
19
Kent
Nice one, this is just what I was looking for, will try it out when I get home from work :)

What does coming from sleep class as, is that a Screen on event?

And if I want my home button to take me back to Amazon Home do I just need to enable jumpback or does it do that anyway?

Thanks :good:
 
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patt2k

Senior Member
Mar 22, 2009
3,390
546
did little testing on un-rooted Fire TV stick. What I found out was you need to HOLD the home button instead of pressing it to use custom launcher app.

Will do more testing to learn the app more.
 

RLM703

Member
Nov 16, 2009
30
15
I can confirm this works for FireTV Stick. I do not have a FireTV. AFTVLH is this app AFTV Launcher Helper in the following. Here is my experience:
1. Settings Defined in AFTVLH:
- Selected App: Kodi
- Start on boot?: Enabled
- Detect screen on events?: Enabled
- Enable top activity watchdog?: Enabled
- Allow jumpback to amazon launcher?: Enabled
- Watchdog interval: 1500 ms

- AFTVLH Version: 1.1
- FireTV Stick: Stock, not rooted.

2. Cold Reboot
- AFTVLH starts on boot with slight delay. From "adb reboot" the device took 28-40 seconds (28 to first display of launcher to 40 fully loaded launcher) to load default Amazon Home Screen and a total of 54-60 (54 to see Kodi Launch to 60 for fully loaded) seconds to load Kodi. Note the same applies to the remote control shortcut to restart (PLAY + SELECT for 10 Seconds)

3. Pressing HOME while in Amazon Launcher
- AFTVLH loads Kodi within 1-2 seconds, no long click/hold needed. After jumpback to Amazon Launcher there is a need to navigate up/down before hitting home will launch Kodi again.

4. Pressing HOME while in a separate application -- AllCast & Crossy Road (from Amazon App Store) and Llama (sideloaded)
- AFTVLH loads selected app in ~2 seconds after first returning to Amazon Launcher then loading selected app. Crossy Road has a prompt to exit the app when home is pressed (Return to Game | Home). I was curious for a moment if it would still launch the app after selecting to return home from another app. About 2 seconds after selecting, Kodi was opened by the AFTVLH.

5. Home Menu in Amazon Launcher
- I noticed by moving up to Search or Down to Prime Video and back to Home, Kodi was opened (by AFTVLH) without pressing Home on the remote again. This doesn't work all the time, I haven't figured out what steps I took consistently for this to not work.

6. Waking from sleep/screen saver
- After the FireTV Stick is put to sleep (from Settings -> System -> Sleep), AFTVLH no longer opens Kodi when pressing Home and requires the AFTVLH to be launched again for continued use. Waking from screen saver does not appear to have this issue and still works as intended when pressing Home. Not sure if the FireTV Stick goes to sleep at some point after screen saver, I didnt have the patience to test any further tonight, maybe another day if anyone is interested.
 
Last edited:

wellersl

Senior Member
Feb 15, 2011
373
45
Tucson, AZ
Tried this as an alternative to MacroDroid with FiredTV.

I have a similar experience as an earlier poster. I can't get it to launch the stock launcher reliably. And when it does, it gets stuck and I can only get out with a screen toggle.

Turning on the timer allows the HOME button to work reliably, but it then won't stay in the the stock launcher, just jumping back to FiredTV.
 

E--Man

Senior Member
May 1, 2012
520
73
I tried to use this app instead of using Llama, and it did absolutely nothing. I used it with everything checked and the interval set to 1500ms. Is there something I'm missing here. I can't stand the Amazon FireTV launcher!


My Setup:
* Fire TV (not stick, though I also have a stick which I will be trying this out on tonight)
* Rooted w/ unlocked Bootloader, CWM, etc.
* NO Xposed (I don't want to install Xposed for the time being security-wise)
* Pre-rooted Stock ROM 51.1.4.1 (can't wait for non-Amz ROM!)
 

patt2k

Senior Member
Mar 22, 2009
3,390
546
I tried to use this app instead of using Llama, and it did absolutely nothing. I used it with everything checked and the interval set to 1500ms. Is there something I'm missing here. I can't stand the Amazon FireTV launcher!


My Setup:
* Fire TV (not stick, though I also have a stick which I will be trying this out on tonight)
* Rooted w/ unlocked Bootloader, CWM, etc.
* NO Xposed (I don't want to install Xposed for the time being security-wise)
* Pre-rooted Stock ROM 51.1.4.1 (can't wait for non-Amz ROM!)

So you have root and you scared of xposed? this isn't perfect solution it's intended for people without root...
 

Medleyman30

New member
May 8, 2014
4
0
This app is great, thanks! Sometimes it doesn't launch the app immediately after hitting the home button, but it usually does after a few button presses. Thanks for the work on this!
 

superkoal

Senior Member
Sep 24, 2011
1,026
717
Vienna
I tried to use this app instead of using Llama, and it did absolutely nothing. I used it with everything checked and the interval set to 1500ms. Is there something I'm missing here. I can't stand the Amazon FireTV launcher!


My Setup:
* Fire TV (not stick, though I also have a stick which I will be trying this out on tonight)
* Rooted w/ unlocked Bootloader, CWM, etc.
* NO Xposed (I don't want to install Xposed for the time being security-wise)
* Pre-rooted Stock ROM 51.1.4.1 (can't wait for non-Amz ROM!)

I don't know why it is not working for you. Can you post the output of
Code:
adb shell top -m 8 -n 1
?
 
Last edited:

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  • 13
    Hi Guys!

    I've written a little helper app that allows you to basically use any app you want as a launcher on your FireTV (and probably also Stick, but I don't own one to test).

    The app does not require root as it doesn't really set your app as system launcher, it just provides various workarounds!

    Scenario
    You want SPMC to be your launcher? No problem! With this little helper app the aftv boots straights into spmc. Also you can select the option to start spmc everytime the "screen on" event occurs (after firetv exits sleep mode). If you are in a different app (e.g. netflix) and press the home button on the remote the system takes you to the amazon launcher. This is detected by the apps watchdog and it takes you right back to SPMC. If you still want to use Amazon prime video or music than the option to allow jumpbacks is for you. It will allow you to stay in Amazon launcher if the last task was your selected launcher app.

    The same procedure works for all other apps/launchers you want to use!

    Feature list
    • Use any app as "launcher" (e.g. SPMC, XBMC/Kodi, FiredTV, TV Launcher, ...)
    • Start on boot
    • Start on "Screen on" event
    • Run a background watchdog to check for the current top activity
    • Allow jumpbacks to amazon launcher only from your selected "launcher" app
    • Easily going back from amazon launcher to your selected app by pressing the home button (works for all menu positions but search & start page, so scroll down to videos, press home, voila!)
    • customize watchdog interval

    About the watchdog
    It will help you to prevent the home or back button to go to the amazon launcher
    How does it work? It regularly checks the current top activity, if it is the amazon launcher it starts your selected app
    be careful as too low intervals can affect your device performance!
    Also make sure to disable home button detection if you use FiredTV launcher to prevent interference!

    Troubleshooting
    If you somehow manage to lock yourself out just do this via adb:
    Code:
    adb shell am start -n jb.com.aftvlauncherhelper/jb.com.aftvlauncherhelper.MainActivity
    and disable the watchdog (or select the right app ;) ).

    If you like the app please consider buying me a drink (button is in my signature).
    Have fun!

    Screenshot:

    Fc9OB0z.png


    Changelog:

    Version 1.1:
    Fix delayed starting action

    Version 1.0:
    Initial release
    2
    It works really good but sometimes doesn't get back to firedtv on the first try for me.

    I selected firedtv as Launcher and enabled all options (watchdog to 1s)
    When I run firetv home and press the home button I sometimes have to scroll around in the menus and press home again to get back to firedtv.

    But it's better than anything I tried before! Great work!

    I have just built a small update to v1.1 to try and address you issue.
    Please let me know if it works better now :)
    2
    I can confirm this works for FireTV Stick. I do not have a FireTV. AFTVLH is this app AFTV Launcher Helper in the following. Here is my experience:
    1. Settings Defined in AFTVLH:
    - Selected App: Kodi
    - Start on boot?: Enabled
    - Detect screen on events?: Enabled
    - Enable top activity watchdog?: Enabled
    - Allow jumpback to amazon launcher?: Enabled
    - Watchdog interval: 1500 ms

    - AFTVLH Version: 1.1
    - FireTV Stick: Stock, not rooted.

    2. Cold Reboot
    - AFTVLH starts on boot with slight delay. From "adb reboot" the device took 28-40 seconds (28 to first display of launcher to 40 fully loaded launcher) to load default Amazon Home Screen and a total of 54-60 (54 to see Kodi Launch to 60 for fully loaded) seconds to load Kodi. Note the same applies to the remote control shortcut to restart (PLAY + SELECT for 10 Seconds)

    3. Pressing HOME while in Amazon Launcher
    - AFTVLH loads Kodi within 1-2 seconds, no long click/hold needed. After jumpback to Amazon Launcher there is a need to navigate up/down before hitting home will launch Kodi again.

    4. Pressing HOME while in a separate application -- AllCast & Crossy Road (from Amazon App Store) and Llama (sideloaded)
    - AFTVLH loads selected app in ~2 seconds after first returning to Amazon Launcher then loading selected app. Crossy Road has a prompt to exit the app when home is pressed (Return to Game | Home). I was curious for a moment if it would still launch the app after selecting to return home from another app. About 2 seconds after selecting, Kodi was opened by the AFTVLH.

    5. Home Menu in Amazon Launcher
    - I noticed by moving up to Search or Down to Prime Video and back to Home, Kodi was opened (by AFTVLH) without pressing Home on the remote again. This doesn't work all the time, I haven't figured out what steps I took consistently for this to not work.

    6. Waking from sleep/screen saver
    - After the FireTV Stick is put to sleep (from Settings -> System -> Sleep), AFTVLH no longer opens Kodi when pressing Home and requires the AFTVLH to be launched again for continued use. Waking from screen saver does not appear to have this issue and still works as intended when pressing Home. Not sure if the FireTV Stick goes to sleep at some point after screen saver, I didnt have the patience to test any further tonight, maybe another day if anyone is interested.
    1
    It works really good but sometimes doesn't get back to firedtv on the first try for me.

    I selected firedtv as Launcher and enabled all options (watchdog to 1s)
    When I run firetv home and press the home button I sometimes have to scroll around in the menus and press home again to get back to firedtv.

    But it's better than anything I tried before! Great work!
    1
    First, thank you so much for this handy little application - it makes the FireTV so much more useable.

    Second - there maybe is a way this app could be tweaked to reduce the amount of false actions on the current Fire TV firmwares.

    The problem being, that if you have "allow jump backs from the app (launcher) you have set to the main amazon menu" enabled - you sometimes will see this behavior:

    You are hitting home, the fire helper watchdog is triggering and launching the app of your choice, then the Amazon launcher is loading additional layers (I believe) and this is detected as a jumpback (which is then performed) from the app of your choice, although you havent actively triggered it.

    Could you set a condition, that jumpbacks are only allowed after you have stayed at least x seconds (3, 5, user adjustable?) in the app of your choice? It might prevent the unwanted jumpbacks, but still would allow you to perform a manual one to get to the amazon launcher.

    Much appreciated.

    h.
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