FTVLaunchX: custom launcher, no root (replacement for LauncherHijack)

TheRealQubix

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Oct 3, 2019
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Welcome to FTVLaunchX – a simple helper application to allow custom launchers on Amazon Fire TV devices – no root required!

It is inspired by the famous LauncherHijack of @BaronKiko and tries to overcome several issues relating to it:

- Reliably intercepts any & all presses of the home button
- Starts the selected launcher on boot
- Starts the selected launcher when waking up from sleep
- Fixes the ominous missing-cursor bug in Silk
- etc.

Please find a thorough description, installation instructions as well as the source code over here:
https://github.com/codefaktor/FTVLaunchX

Get the APK: FTVLaunchX-1.0.1

EDIT: uploaded new release 1.0.1!

If you want to say Thank You or fund further development, then feel free to drop me buck or two, see https://github.com/codefaktor/FTVLaunchX#Donations

Please report back if you did test on your devices (so far tested on Fire TV Stick 2nd Gen & Fire TV Stick 4K) – I will watch this thread for any issues and/or feature requests.
 
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Flakie

Senior Member
Mar 26, 2012
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Swindon
flakie.co.uk
Thanks for this. Works with no issues and really well on my Fires TV Stick 4K.
When I press home it opens my launcher quickly (TV Launcher 3).
When I wake the device from sleep I do see the amazon launcher for a split second (literally a quick flash).
When I reboot it takes 20-30 seconds to automatically start my launcher.
This could be because it is giving way to IP Vanish which is set to launch on startup.
As soon as IP Vanish launches, I press the back key or the home key and my launcher immediately loads.
Love your work.

Also there is another way of returning to the default Amazon Launcher. Maybe you already know it :)
Use the Alexa Remote (Voice) and say "Home" or "Settings".

Thanks again.
 
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TheRealQubix

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Oct 3, 2019
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When I press home it opens my launcher quickly (TV Launcher 3).
Yes, it should be a tiny bit quicker and what's more important: way more reliable! Except for the split-second when coming out of sleep I never see the Amazon launcher anymore (I also use TVLauncher 3).

When I wake the device from sleep I do see the amazon launcher for a split second (literally a quick flash).
Aye, this is to be expected but should really just be a fraction of a second.

When I reboot it takes 20-30 seconds to automatically start my launcher.
Aye, I know - it's because I let the system decide on when to launch it. As you said, there may be other things also being launched and so it has not the top priority. Maybe I'll experiment with raising the priority of FTVLaunchX but I wanted to stay on the safe side for the 1.0 release.

As soon as IP Vanish launches, I press the back key or the home key and my launcher immediately loads.
Yes, you can also press the home key as soon as the Amazon launcher comes up and it should work - it's just the auto-start method which takes its time...

Also there is another way of returning to the default Amazon Launcher. Maybe you already know it :) Use the Alexa Remote (Voice) and say "Home" or "Settings".
Ha, I totally forgot about that one – I'll add this to the docs, thank you!

Oh, and just to clarify: do you think that we should also try to catch that and start the custom launcher when hearing "Home"? This may not be possible and IMHO it's way better to leave that as a valid exit method to get back to the original Amazon launcher...

Oh, and a big thank you for testing and replying!
 

JUSTINMARMER

Senior Member
Feb 22, 2015
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Glad that it works for you and you like it :) The main reason why I was creating it was this pesty cursor bug...

Oh, on what kind of device are you using it? Am looking for someone to test it on a Fire TV Cube with Fire OS 7 / Android 9...

Wish I could help. I'm running several Fire Sticks. All v2 and 4k. No cubes.
 

Flakie

Senior Member
Mar 26, 2012
74
11
38
Swindon
flakie.co.uk
Oh, and just to clarify: do you think that we should also try to catch that and start the custom launcher when hearing "Home"? This may not be possible and IMHO it's way better to leave that as a valid exit method to get back to the original Amazon launcher...
Personally, I prefer it going back to the Amazon Launcher.
I have done a few installs of these and for the users it is the easiest way they can get there. The less complexity for them, the better ;)
 

brick00444

Senior Member
Nov 24, 2018
203
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Glad that it works for you and you like it :) The main reason why I was creating it was this pesty cursor bug...

Oh, on what kind of device are you using it? Am looking for someone to test it on a Fire TV Cube with Fire OS 7 / Android 9...
I just tried it on my Nvidia Shield 2017 model and it works great. The only thing I see wrong if you want to call it wrong is, When booting it boots to the android tv screen for about 5-10 seconds but then goes to my Halauncher. Home button works great everytime. If you don't mind I will post it on the Shield tv section or you can. It would be easier for some people that don't understand adb. Great job!!!!
 

TheRealQubix

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Oct 3, 2019
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I just tried it on my Nvidia Shield 2017 model and it works great. The only thing I see wrong if you want to call it wrong is, When booting it boots to the android tv screen for about 5-10 seconds but then goes to my Halauncher. Home button works great everytime. If you don't mind I will post it on the Shield tv section or you can. It would be easier for some people that don't understand adb. Great job!!!!
Good to know that it works on that device too – feel free to post it over there! (Since I don't have any experience with the Shields it's probably better since you can include some relevant instructions...)

Oh, and regarding the "bug": this is more or less by design but as I said in another reply above: I might try to experiment to make this a bit faster by raising the boot priority; something for the next release :)
 
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brick00444

Senior Member
Nov 24, 2018
203
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Good to know that it works on that device too – feel free to post it over there! (Since I don't have any experience with the Shields it's probably better since you can include some relevant instructions...)

Oh, and regarding the "bug": this is more or less by design but as I said in another reply above: I might try to experiment to make this a bit faster by raising the boot priority; something for the next release :)
Thanks again, great job.
 

TheRealQubix

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Oct 3, 2019
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The only thing I see wrong if you want to call it wrong is, When booting it boots to the android tv screen for about 5-10 seconds but then goes to my Halauncher.
Ok, I've raised the boot priority to the maximum... find the 1.0.1-dev APK as an attachment.

Let me know if that reacts any faster for you on boots (though a couple seconds will probably be normal, I guess; it all depends on what other things are installed etc.).

Ping to @Flakie too.
 

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TheRealQubix

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Oct 3, 2019
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I'm getting voiceover on official Hulu app on my v2 stick.
Yes, that's because Hulu (and some other apps) added some weird code in one of their releases, please try the following:

Settings > Accessibility and make sure that VoiceView AND Screen Magnifier are turned off, the latter one being really important!

You can also hold Back+Menu (toggles voice view) and Back+FastForward (toggles screen magnifier) for two seconds.

If that doesn't work then head into Hulu and turn off app sounds under your profile settings.

If it is still on then go to your apps list in Settings, find the Hulu app, clear its cache AND data, force stop it and then relaunch the app. You will have to sign in again but that should really do the trick.

Please report back!
 

TheRealQubix

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Oct 3, 2019
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What launcher are available for TV stick? Any Android TV launcher?
You can find some links on the GitHub page of FTVLaunchX but there are quite a few others like AppStarter, HALauncher, ATV Launcher Pro or even Kodi itself...

My favourite is TVLauncher 3 but everybody will have a different taste... you can find some of them on Aptoide, but most need to be downloaded somewhere else.
 
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TShadow

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Aug 6, 2007
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From the description looks good. Immediately uninstalled Hijack and installed FTVLauncherX. First tried adb install -g, but adb said -g is an unknown option, so installed it directly from a dir on the stick, granted the permission via adb. Now when my Firestick 2nd starts it does start with the native Amazon Home Launcher and stays there. It switches to my launcher only when pushing the home button. I use ATV Launcher Pro.