Fire TV Hardware vs Software Video Decoder

I've been importing my Plex TV/Movies collection gradually into Channels. About a third of them play with no video, but do have sound, the other third play with the wrong aspect ratio (16:9 when it should be 4:3), and the other third play fine. Switching from Hardware to Software Video decoder corrects this problem for these, but does not work worth a crap with the content that works with Hardware as the video decoder. Switching to watch one or the other is annoying at best; other than transcoding everything to a format that works with Hardware decoding (which I have to experiment with a bunch of settings to find the right ones), is there a way to set software decoding for a specific series or movie so that the client automatically changes on the fly when play is engaged? OR even better, have the Channels client figure what's best and switch on its own.

I am curious what Plex (believe me, I'm not praising Plex in any way here, I don't even have it installed anymore) is doing differently that these file all play as they're supposed to without messing about with the settings?

Plex/Emby use EXOPLAYER have you tried Hybrid instead of Software on your FireTV see if that helps.

I'm not trying to start an apple vs firetv fight here but... This is one of the reasons that my 3 firesticks got thrown in the trash and replaced with 3 appletvs. Appletv plays everything I throw at it and doesn't miss a beat. No messing with decoders and no ads :slightly_smiling_face:

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Well you just did as usual the post is about FireTV and how to make it play all files ... :rofl:

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Just been in the exact same scenario and sharing how to properly fix the issue :grin:


I'm not buying 10 Apple TVs....and obviously its not a hardware issue, as other FireTV Video Clients work as expected.


Hybrid causes more problem than is fixes. So Channels isnt using the native FireTV video player. That does explain a lot, and also makes me think it may never get resolved or fixed. I thought since it was using the native PiP that it was also using the native player.

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You can start by submitting diagnostics after playing something with no video shown

The same issue exist on Nvidia Shield.

On my imported content.
Some content works on hardware, some on software, hybrid still only works with done content.

The best I can assume is it's the video player CDVR uses. Because all content plays on VLC and PLEX.

I tend to leave mine on software. It seems to have most compatibility for me.

I was told just submitting diagnostics doesn't help, and I'm always just in front of the TV in the Living Room when this happens, and not in front of my computer to follow up with an email and the diag number and description of the problem.

I'll see if I can set time aside to look at it and submit the diags properly.

You don’t have a smart phone? With it, you dont need to get off the couch and no need to set time aside from your tv viewing in order troubleshoot your tv viewing and sitting. They’re cheap, sometimes they are given away for free.

Diagnostics must be submitted from the client for client issues, by clicking Settings > Support > Submit Diagnostics on your FireTV inside the Channels app

I used to do that all the time, after every crash of the client, but I think it was Eric that told me in another thread that without a followup email explaing what the submission was for with details that it never gets looked at.

Smart phones are great for young people with good eyes and skinny fingers. I'm neither of those.