Pixellation on Fire TV Stick 4K



I've recently overhauled my TV system in favour of Android boxes. Unfortunately on my Fire TV Stick 4K I'm noticing a problem with pixellation that seems to occur after 13 minutes (almost exactly). It's almost as if a buffer fills up and then pixellation kicks in until I either restart the channel or change to another one (then I'm good for another 13 minutes).

My nVidia Shield is ok with the Channels app.

I sent a diagnostics report about 90 minutes ago. I'm using a HDHR3-US tuner and my fire stick is connected by Ethernet through a USB adapter. Switching to WiFi didn't help.

Of particular interest is that if I use the HDHomerun app, I have no issues whatsoever.

The problem occurs on all channels.

The only reason that I purchased Channels is because it lets me select which HDHomerun tuner to use for which channel. I use two HDHomeruns because of a multipath problem I have with our local channel (CKCO, channel 13). I have to use bunny ears connected to that tuner to try to control the multipath problem. On that tuner, the channel has about 90% signal strength (I'm using a 10db attenuator) and is pretty much pinned at 100% signal quality and symbol quality. The diagnostics log is for that channel. Please note that I tried changing to Hardware Decoding from software decoding, but that didn't help.

I've spoken with SD support and they're convinced that it's the app and not the tuner since their app works fine.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.


Looks like you've found a bug. I see it in the diagnostics, happening every 839s in your case when the buffer rolls over.

This seems to be a difference in Android OS vs FireOS so I will need to investigate further to understand what's going wrong.


Thanks for the quick reply! I'll look forward to hearing what the problem is (and hopefully a fix).


Just a brief update. Last night I purchased a HDHomerun Connect Duo (HDHR5-2US) just to see if it helps with my multipath problem that I have on the channel used in the diagnostic log you reviewed. With the new tuner I found that the whole problem went away! I was able to watch the channel for over an hour without any issues.

This looks to be a problem related to HDHR3-US perhaps not playing nicely with the Channels software.


These may be germane: OTA station has pixelation with 100% signal and Strongest Channel is dropping out on Tuner (Not Streaming).

SD is working on the problem.


My impression from talking to them is that they aren't really updating the HDHR3 units anymore. They didn't say that explicitly though.


Oops! My bad. Disregard. I did not realize you had been using one of the old tuners. I read the problem, saw you solved it with a CONNECT Dual, and assumed you'd been using a Quatro.


No worries, thanks for chiming in all the same, appreciate the help.


I was just wondering if this is a bug that you plan to fix (or at least look into fixing)? I know that HDHR3 units are not officially supported, but the reason I ask is that I did a fair bit of testing today and found that for more marginal stations that the HDHR3 outperforms the HDHR5. It's the difference between some pixellation but watchable vs more frequent (and severe) pixellation and not watchable. I'd like to return my HDHR5 but knowing that the software has an issue with the HDHR3 complicates the decision.


What version of the app are you using? I looked and I thought I fixed a similar issue a few months ago.


I'm using v 2.1.1 on an nVidia Shield


Oh so it's happening on the Shield too?

When it pixelates does it recover automatically or is it unwatchable til you change channels?

If it dies recover, does it glitch in the same way at the same time when you rewind back to replay?


On the Shield it recovers after a brief pause, sometimes even skips an expected glitch interval. On the fire stick it continues to pixellate until the channel is restarted.

I'll have to get back to you on the rewind question.


I've just submitted a log for the Shield. I didn't see a glitch at the 14 minute mark but did at the 28 minute mark. I backed up a couple of times and confirmed that the pixelation is repeated at the same point during playback.


Thanks for the logs. On your SHIELD you have much more free space, so the buffer is set to 5GB which would mean it only rolls over every 40 minutes. It didn't roll over all at while you were watching, so I don't think this is the buffer overflow issue I guessed from the FireTV logs.

One thing to keep in mind is that the older HDHR units use UDP for streaming, which is inherently less reliable and can easily drop packets. I do see the pixelation in the logs that you rewound and replayed a few times, which was caused by corrupted video data. That could either be at the source (antenna), or over the network. The newer HDHRs use TCP instead which is built for reliability and will retransmit any missed packets to ensure the data arrives correctly on the other side.


Thanks for the detail, it sounds like I should keep the HDHR5 as it's going to be more reliable, even if it may mean that I can't watch fringe stations quite as reliably. I'll keep my eyes open for the 40 minute mark and let you know. Do you have enough info to look into the fire stick?


So far so good after 40 minutes, so it looks like the problem is more with the fire stick 4K. Please let me know if you need any more information or if you feel the issue isn't worth pursuing.


Okay so the problem only happens on the Fire Stick and only when streaming from the old DUAL? Does it happen on all channels (i.e. ones that come in strongly on both the Dual and Duo)?


It doesn't happen with the HDHR5, just the old Dual (HDHR3).

I'm just retesting the fire stick on different strong stations now.


I sent 2 more logs, one from channel 10 (a solid station about 40 miles away) and one from channel 6 (a strong station about 20 miles away). It didn't look like channel 6 was going to act up, but it finally did at around the 18 minute mark and got progressively worse. Both logs are for the fire stick.