Live TV buffer questions

I only have about an 8 minute live TV buffer on my 4K Fire TV stick. I have a lot of apps installed so I have about 600 MB of free space.

How does the live TV buffer work? I'd like to have a larger live TV buffer.

If I get a Fire TV Cube which has twice the internal storage of the 4K Fire TV stick will my live TV buffer increase? The Fire TV Cube also allows external storage out of the box; would that feature help as well.

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The live buffer is made up of free space on the client device. If you have very little free space (such as because you have lots of apps installed), then you will have a very small live buffer.

You can increase your buffer by changing your streaming options to serve a lower quality to your client. While this will give you a longer buffer, it will also reduce the quality of your live stream.


I use a firecube for its larger storage and get about a 2 hr buffer. The atv4k 64 gig gets about 10hr buffer.

If the user selects the show as a recording prior to watching it, does it increase the buffer or at least send the entire recording file to the server so there are no client limitations?

No, if playing back a recording the client only buffers a little bit I believe.

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The recording happens on the DVR server. Live TV is buffered on the client.

They are two separate things.

I was thinking that we might give the OP here some additional options, where they could force the server to record the show (instead of being limited by the client), so that they might not have to change their client device. Do you think if we tell the show to record just a few seconds prior to watching it that it might achieve this?

In that case, yes, the full program would be available. However, the user would need to select "Watch Recorded" when selecting the program from the guide, rather than "Watch Live". Also, that would only work if the program was selected to watch on the client after it had started recording on the DVR. Otherwise, the client would start a live stream with its limited buffer, which would be kept separate from the recording, and defeat the purpose of selecting it to record.


I guess I was just hoping that we, as a community, could give the OP an option where they didn't have to purchase more hardware to watch TV.

Until the developers move the live buffer off the clients and onto the DVR server (which is what most other DVR software packages do), this will continue to be a problem.

Lower cost hardware comes with limitations; a small live TV buffer is the result of that. Higher priced devices have more storage, and that means a greater buffer. It'd be great to have high end features on a low end device; unfortunately the market doesn't seem to work that way.

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Thank you for the help and the replies.

There is a x96 mini on Amazon for about $24. It has 16 gig of storage and instructions to upgrade it to androidtv 9 are available on YouTube. It doesn't have bluetooth but works great with a wireless air mouse or flirc remotes. Just a suggestion for an inexpensive client that will provide about a 3hr buffer for live tv.

Seems to me you could...

  1. Start watching the show live from the Guide
  2. Press the down button on your remote and hit the Record button that comes up
  3. Exit the show
  4. Re-select the show from the Guide and select to view recording rather than live. Now you have unlimited buffering., yes?

Seems to me it would be great if, when you do step 2, the software effectively does steps 3 and 4 for you.

Yes, that is a viable workaround.

I've somewhat successfully used a fast flash drive plugged into an OTG cable that has a USB power input. If you move the Channels DVR app to the flash drive (search google for how to move apps to a flash drive), it will use the free space on the flash drive for the buffer. Every once in a while I get a stutter in playback, but I'm willing to trade that for a huge buffer in this TV's case.

I tried this with a Fire TV Stick 4K (original, not the new one), but it the performance was horrible; perhaps it was the flash drive. I may try with a TiVo Stream 4K, and see if that works better.

In any case, this definitely is an option for some users, too.

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That's a good suggestion thanks.

I decided to give it a try on my TS4K, so I could judge the difference between the OTG and USB Host ports.

When using a USB flash drive over the OTG port, performance was poor, and caused Channels to crash frequently.

When plugged into the USB Host port (via a USB-C adapter, performance wasn't an issue.

So my takeaway is that moving the Channels app to adopted USB storage works, but performance and stability are an issue if you're using via an OTG port rather than a proper host port.

(I'm going to give it a try with the new Chromecast with Google TV, but I'm waiting for a USB-C hub supporting PD to try that out.)

I added 64GB to my Google TV ....