2020 Amazon Fire TV 3 & Lite Sticks (1080p), w/New GUI
#1
Pics courtesy of the Verge. Meh, disappointed with these, and not surprised that Amazon is targeting the low end vs. more powerful new 4K options. Changed my mind after buying two for $18 each over Black Friday; for this price, worth it. Quite snappy & good for streaming (including sideloaded apps like NBC's Peacock TV). With ability to expand storage w/o any hacks.

- New UI (which, does look nice; maybe less cluttery) | different user profiles
- New Stick $40
- New Stick Lite $30

More details at AFTVNews.com.
[H]i-[d]eft [M]edia [K]een [V]ideosaurus
My Family Room Theater
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#2
Updated Dec 2020

Amazon FireTV's - Tech Specs (click)
Android TV benchmarks compared to every Fire TV — 2020 Chromecast, Shield TV, Tivo Stream 4K, and Mi Box

Mini review - 2020 Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite:

So why did I buy it ?
- well mainly to sideload the SmartTubeNext App to Nuke increasingly annoying Google YouTube Advertising....
- plus I knew it's limitations.....
- and it was ($17.99) dirt cheap....

The Very Good:
  • Amazon really know how to design a remote, it's responsive, great to hold, and I've had no problems with Bluetooth RF interference
  • HDMI CEC control with my Panasonic OLED is excellent. (TIP: pressing the Home remote Button auto switches back to Stick's HDMI input)
  • Runs Android v9.0 Pie and a v4.4 Linux Kernel under the hood.
  • Auto Frame Rate Matching for smooth video playback in Kodi, Plex, Emby, Prime Video, SmartTubeNext, there are prob others.. (not Netflix)
  • Auto Dynamic Range switching (SDR / HDR) for HDR capable internet streaming Apps. (not Kodi)
  • Surprisingly in Kodi, I get flawless, correct, Full Motion Deinterlacing for 25i (mpeg2, h.264) Broadcast TV viewing from my TvH server.
  • AC MIMO WiFi is excellent & fast too.
  • 1080p Picture Quality looks very similar to my Apple TV 4K - likely because both use an Imagination Tech. PowerVR GPU.
  • I like the clean looking, pretty snappy, new FireTV Graphic User Interface (click)

Limitations:
  • 1080p only, but you do get 1080p HDR from Internet streaming Apps - including HDR YouTube.
  • 1GB of RAM only with 5.5GB of internal (expandable) storage space out of the box.
  • Kodi cannot auto switch to output HDR. However - Prime Video, Netflix, Apple TV, YouTube can.
  • The "Lite" version of the stick cannot natively decode DTS, DD, DD+, DD+/Atmos - that type of audio has to be passed through to a Dolby Audio licenced receiver/TV. The majority of TV's are Dolby Audio Licenced anyway so it's not a problem.
  • What that does mean is audio volume control of those codecs has to be done from the TV or AVR's remote control.
  • Apps like Kodi can decode/transcode all types of audio into 2.0 PCM or 5.1 Dolby Digital for output anyway.
  • The "Lite" version of the Stick's remote has no Volume, Mute or Power OFF/ON buttons. The Fire TV Stick 3 & 4K and the Cube v2 does.
  • (untested) - like all Amazon devices, NTFS formatted, connected - USB storage likely does not work.
  • Like all budget Android devices, there is no VC-1 encoded video playback support.

What will annoy Power users
  • 1GB RAM limitation, auto kills Kodi when you leave the App itself, so it has to relaunch from scratch when selected again.
  • You cannot rent or purchase content from within the Apple TV App itself, only stream pre-purchased ATV+ & iTunes content.
  • Limited Chromecasting and NO Airplay2 support at all.
  • (untested) Kodi HD audio support is likely problematic.

What does work:
  • An OTG Y - cable and my old ASIX chipset equipped, Ugreen USB3 > GigaE Hub adapter.
  • DD+/Atmos audio passthru using Kodi
  • HDR10+ & Atmos from some content on the Amazon Prime App
  • YouTube Casting

Summing Up:
If all you do is mostly home network or internet stream 1080p content - Amazon have here the the best Bang for the Buck, 1080p, 5.1 (Atmos) audio - Kodi media player on the market. It all works nicely indeed. It surprised me.

The new Amazon FireTV sticks are better than the new Chromecast GoogleTV dongle due to better Kodi support.
Unlike the CCGTV dongle, they do actually have support for some auto Frame Rate Matching that is very welcome in 50Hz territories of the world.
Better WiFi connectivity and stability as well.

Yes Amazon Sticks have some limitations but the latest versions will all be surprisingly snappy, polished and well supported performers for the price paid, especially now the new 2020 FireTV GUI has/is being added - AND it has NO unrelated advertising.

PS: and yes, the SmartTubeNext App did Nuke Google YouTube Advertising, with bonus auto Frame Rate Matching !

W. Smile


Amazon’s new 2020 FireTV GUI:
Image

Google TV’s (Android TV) new GUI
Image

Amazon old 2016 Fire TV GUI:
Image

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#3
Hope that 'Top Picks' row in the new Android TV UI can be disabled. And hope they retain the customizable channels rows, especially for Kodi. Love this to be able to use Kodi playlists to populate on ATV home screen.
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#4
Talk about 2 pieces of hardware no one was asking for
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#5
Hope they don't screw up the ability to disable sleep as described here:

http://www.aftvnews.com/how-to-set-custo...hout-root/

This is what lets me turn my Fire Stick 4K into a dedicated Kodi device, so that when I switch to it, bam, there's Kodi. I never see the Amazon UI. Is there any way to disable updates?
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#6
I hope the new FireTV UI has been optimized way more than the old UI.
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#7
(2020-09-25, 07:54)crawfish Wrote: Hope they don't screw up the ability to disable sleep as described here:

http://www.aftvnews.com/how-to-set-custo...hout-root/

This is what lets me turn my Fire Stick 4K into a dedicated Kodi device, so that when I switch to it, bam, there's Kodi. I never see the Amazon UI. Is there any way to disable updates?

I can't see, looking at that link, any info on how to get the stick to boot directly into kodi , as your describing ?
Or, are you simply saying that the device never sleeps and you leave it permanently switched on with kodi running ?
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#8
(2020-09-25, 12:41)ontap Wrote: I can't see, looking at that link, any info on how to get the stick to boot directly into kodi , as your describing ?
Or, are you simply saying that the device never sleeps and you leave it permanently switched on with kodi running ?

The latter. It stays in Kodi all the time, exactly where I leave it. I use an Apple TV for my streaming services, so with this superpower, the Fire Stick 4K is perfect for my local content.
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#9
(2020-09-25, 17:14)crawfish Wrote:
(2020-09-25, 12:41)ontap Wrote: I can't see, looking at that link, any info on how to get the stick to boot directly into kodi , as your describing ?
Or, are you simply saying that the device never sleeps and you leave it permanently switched on with kodi running ?

The latter. It stays in Kodi all the time, exactly where I leave it. I use an Apple TV for my streaming services, so with this superpower, the Fire Stick 4K is perfect for my local content.
Yes , we have apple tv 4k in lounge , have to use plex on it for my local content , works fine , kodi on firestick in my room , by live streaming is on a zgemma h9 , which has the best ui imo. Shame I can't get kodi on the zgemma , i hate having toi use 3 x remotes ( tv, zgemma, firestick).
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#10
Full leak of Google's Sabrina here, which actually looks more interesting. Not that anything is replacing my two 2019 nVidia Shield TV's.
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#11
(2020-09-25, 17:58)ontap Wrote: Yes , we have apple tv 4k in lounge , have to use plex on it for my local content , works fine , kodi on firestick in my room , by live streaming is on a zgemma h9 , which has the best ui imo. Shame I can't get kodi on the zgemma , i hate having toi use 3 x remotes ( tv, zgemma, firestick).

I use my Sony RM-VL610 IR remote for both Apple TV and Fire Stick. The Apple TV does IR natively, and for Kodi on the stick, I use JSON with the help of Autohotkey. It's nice to have my PC with its MCE receiver still in there for this sort of thing. I posted the AHK code here:

https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=349151
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#12
Thanks for reply, had a look at your autohotkey set up , am sure it will benefit people, way over my head.
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#13
If someone of you has a new device, please ping me with a Debug Log. Preferably v19 kodi or fritschfiretv build. I am curious if they implemented something in there that might support DTS-HD / TrueHD, etc. (while the rest of the specs sucks :-( - no 4K ...)
First decide what functions / features you expect from a system. Then decide for the hardware. Don't waste your money on crap.
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#14
(2020-09-26, 11:39)fritsch Wrote: If someone of you has a new device, please ping me with a Debug Log. Preferably v19 kodi or fritschfiretv build. I am curious if they implemented something in there that might support DTS-HD / TrueHD, etc. (while the rest of the specs sucks :-( - no 4K ...)

I can hope they do, but if so my guess is the improvements will be from lower level Android.

In any case I fail to see the point of these devices. The hardware is slower than the current FireStick4K. And the Lite one no longer has voice remote unlike current FireStick but slightly faster cpu.

My hope is Sabrina will be better value.
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#15
There is no direct point. I think the 4K is too good, so no one bought their cube :-). That's why the created a "software made" step between the new sticks and the cube. For me it really looks like Marketing, especially as the chipset / GPU they use could do 4K.
First decide what functions / features you expect from a system. Then decide for the hardware. Don't waste your money on crap.
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