Pixelization on ESPN


Recently upgraded to a LG B2 OLED TV and was experiencing Guide issues on my Apple TV 4K. My other TV’s are running Channels on Fire sticks so I bought a Fire Stick 4K Max for my new LG. I also bought an Ethernet adapter and I’m getting network speeds of 300Mbps.

My Guide issues seem to be resolved but now I’m seeing pixelization on ESPN and EPSN2, which I don’t remember seeing on my other (non-OLED) TV’s or on my Apple TV. The pixelization is especially noticeable on the “talking heads” shows, where people appear in split screen boxes.

My cable card strength is 100%. For the time being I can switch to the ESPN app but wondering what might be causing this? Is it the ESPN broadcast signal? It’s not the entire broadcast. Individual commentators and sports look great all in high res.


Does it happen in the official HDHomeRun app?

Thanks for the reply.

I installed the HD HomeRun app tonight (I can’t stand it) but couldn’t reproduce the pixelization issue this evening. The show that’s on ESPN2 right now doesn’t seem to have the problem. I’ll try again tomorrow.

Finally got a chance to try this again. Pixelization on the Channels app on ESPN on the Fire TV Max 4K stick. Switched to the HD HomeRun app and there is NO pixelization.

You can try changing Settings > Playback > Advanced > Video Decoder to Software

That appears to have helped. Thank you. I think I tried hybrid last week, but not software. Can you explain what the setting does? Is the Fire stick hardware not powerful enough to do decoding?

The hardware decoder chip on the Max doesn't work well.

You can find lots of people complaining about it on the internet.

For example: What the heck is going on with FireTV devices - goofnroxx - Page 3 - Silicondust

Thanks for the link.

Changing to Software, as you suggested, did help with Pixelization, but now I’ve got the audio dropping periodically. I guess I’ll probably go back to my Apple TV 4K (good thing I didn’t sell it!), but now I’m stuck with a bunch of Fire TV sticks.

Anyway, it’s just frustrating because I’ve purchase your software for this platform and it doesn’t work reliably. I also bought three Fire sticks under the assumption that I could use them to play Channels. Lo and behold there are problems.

Yea I can understand the frustration. Unfortunately the software is only as good as the hardware it runs on. Amazon sells these devices with buggy firmwares, at a loss, because they know they can shove ads in your face and make money off your viewing habits.

They've also started forcing apps to remove features:

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I don't have an oled tv but when I first tried appletv I was not a fan. Turns out that I had everything setup wrong. I was running the appletv in HDR as the default and had every post processing feature turned on for my TV. I swear it was like having a brand new TV when I disabled all of that crap.

This is what I had good luck with:
4K Sdr
59.97 fps
Match content and range turned on

Channels -
Default video driver
Deafult Deinterlacer
(both of these used to be experimental and are now defualt)

TV -
disable all post processing. If it enhances then you don't want it. Motion flow, soap opera effect, clarity, etc.

Do all of that and you may find you have an even better tv.

Firesticks suck no matter what (I bought 4 and threw them in the trash when I waited too long to return them). I threw them away becuase I didn't want to give them to a friend of family member and make them suffer like I had to.

Thanks. I had no problems with the picture or sound quality on the Apple TV 4K. I stopped using it because I had a couple of issues with the guide updating in a two week period so I thought I’d replace it with a Fire stick and either sell the Apple TV or give it to my son (I still have it). Unfortunately, I incorrectly assumed that the Fire Stick would support the Channels app just a well as the Apple TV, since it was promoted on the website and sold (not cheap for an app) on the Amazon App Store.

Aman, I’ve used your app on the Apple TV platform for many years, and no one has promoted the Channels/HDHomeRun combination more than me. I think it’s been fantastic. However, if Fire sticks “suck” and have “buggy firmware” why don’t you pull the app from the Amazon App Store and stop promoting it as a supported platform for your software? Had I known that it had these issues then I wouldn’t have made the investments in multiple Fire sticks and your app on the Amazon platform.

It's highly variable. The MAX worked fine when it came out, then a firmware update broke it. Other sticks were buggy forever then magically got fixed.

The issue you're experiencing also only affects interlaced MPEG2, and your cable channels happen to be using that format. Many other cable companies have switched to H264.

I agree we need better docs on our website about the shortcomings of these devices.

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