Amazon Fire TV gains automatic Video Frame Rate Matching with latest software update

A new software update, version 6.2.5.3, has started rolling out to the Amazon Fire TV 3 (Pendant) that adds a new feature that home theater enthusiasts have been wanting for years. As you can see from the update note above, and pointed out to me by German tech writer Carsten Knobloch, the Fire TV now has the ability to automatically match the output video frame rate to match that of the video content being played. This results in the best viewing experience by eliminating motion artifacts caused by displaying video at mismatched frame rates.

I first discovered references to this upcoming feature late last year, under the label “Cinema Mode”, in the source code of a Fire TV update. It has now arrived, but is simply listed as a frame rate matching setting in the Fire TV’s Display & Sound settings area.

By default, the Fire TV sets your TV to output video at 60 frames per second (or 50 frames per second, depending on where you live). This is great for scrolling through user interfaces because high frame rates result in smooth animations, but it causes issues when watching video content that is shot at a lower frame rate. Since most movies and TV shows are shot at 23.976 frames per second, you end up with an issue called 3:2 pulldown when you watch them on a TV set to 60 frames per second, since 23.976 does not divide evenly into 60.

Most people likely can’t tell there is an issue with unsynchronized video frame rates, but for some, it’s very important. By enabling the new frame rate matching feature, the Fire TV will adjust your TVs frame rate to match the content being played. This results in perfect 1-to-1 synchronization between the actual video frames and the frames being displayed.

In order for frame rate matching to work, the app being used must support the feature. Videos from Amazon, such as those included with Prime Video, will correctly sync frame rates with this new feature enabled. Third-party apps, such as Netflix, do not yet support this feature and will need to be updated.

Frame rate matching has actually been an undocumented feature of the Fire TV for third-party apps for some time. Apps like MrMC added support for the feature long ago, but that support was broken with the release of Fire OS 6 on newer Fire TV devices. It seems as though Amazon has decided to make the feature official with this latest update by adding the new system option to enable or disable the feature. MrMC once again correctly switches frame rates with this latest Fire TV 3 update.

For now, only the Fire TV 3 seems to be receiving this software update and the new feature. Other Fire OS 6 devices include the Fire TV Cube and the Toshiba Fire TV Edition television, but this new feature does not seem to be rolling out to those devices yet. It’s probably safe to say that the Fire TV Cube will eventually receive the ability to match video frame rates, since it shares most of the same internals as the Fire TV 3, but it’s unknown if or when other devices will receive a similar update. As always, the new software update is rolling out slowly over the coming weeks, so most devices likely do not have the update available yet.

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46 comments
  1. floki says:

    In your expert opinion, what are the odds this is eventually made available for the Fire Tv 2?

    • AFTVnews says:

      I say the odds are pretty good. Undocumented support is already present on Fire OS 5 devices, so, I assume, it just needs to be made official with a system setting. But I don’t think this is the type of thing that’ll roll out on its own to Fire OS 5 devices. I would guess it’ll be a little while before we see Fire OS 5 get it, since there’s a lot of work to do with Fire OS 6 devices, like fixing Fire TV Cube and Toshiba TV bugs.

    • clocks says:

      I thought I read a while back that FTV2 already had frame rate switching?

      • AFTVnews says:

        It does, but it’s unofficial. Meaning, there is no setting for it or documentation from Amazon, but if an app developer builds it in, it will work. Also, Amazon video doesn’t support it on older hardware. This new official feature should mean that big apps, like Netflix, will hopefully now add it to their apps.

  2. clocks says:

    A bit off topic — Since I have been pretty happy with my Shields and FTV3s, I am actually debating selling my FTV2s while they still seem to have a high value. I know they are more powerful than the FTV3, but I am not seeing much/any speed difference in my daily usage. Also, for whatever reason, I seem to get better wifi speeds to my FTV3. Any reason I should hang on to the FTV2s?

    • AFTVnews says:

      Not really. Gaming is the main reason to keep the Fire TV 2, and you’ve already got the Shield for that. The only other advantage to the Fire TV 2 is the built-in micro Sd card reader and USB A port. There’s also support for the headphone jack on the game controller. I say sell your Fire TV 2’s now before they drop further in price.

      • clocks says:

        Thanks for your input! Yeah, I have the shield and a Rasp Pi for emulation/games. In terms of video, if there is no adv to the FTV2 I will sell them (have 3). In terms of navigating the GUI and various video programs I use I see little to no difference.

        BTW – Today all my aftvnews emails or going to my junk folder. Damn you hotmail!

  3. Adam says:

    Kodi does this, right?

    Has it been working, or has the FireTV heretofore been unable to follow though on the setting?

  4. HeyRadar says:

    Rokus have had this for awhile but it’s annoying.

    The UI AND commercials will be at 60fps, but the show is at 24fps.

    So your TV is constantly switching back and forth. Sometimes I even get HDCP errors with it on.

    I wonder if the Fire TV will have the same characteristics.

    I’d rather for the UI to be at 24 as well.

  5. Wuschel says:

    What I’d be very interested in: Does this feature really support fractional frame rates of 24Hz, 30Hz and 60Hz (resulting in 23.976fps, 29.97fps and 59.94fps)? Switching to framerates is nice, but if 24p really means ONLY 24fps and not 23.976fps for Amazon, then the whole feature might be more annoying than helping – just keep in mind the every-41-second stutter of wrongly played back 23.976fps material at 24fps.

    DO you have any information on this?

    • Paulch3n says:

      23,97fps true for Amazon and mrmc content. Netflix not yet. First gen fire tv with mrmc only 24p with stutter.

      Google for stadt-bremerhaven.de dot de news from yesterday, with my pictures and xray informations

      • AFTVnews says:

        Thank you for providing those pictures. The article is linked in my post. You’re welcome to include links in comments.

        Here is the article for those wanting to see the images: https://stadt-bremerhaven.de/amazon-fire-tv-fire-os-6-2-5-3-sorgt-fuer-korrekte-bildwiederholrate/

      • Wuschel says:

        Thank you… That one I found after posting here as well. Are all other fractional framerates working with 1080p as well?

        • Paulch3n says:

          I tried different content 23,97 and 24 are automatically sync. Can you say what content is 50 or 30 or 60p? Then I will try

          • KingNothing says:

            So we finally have support for 23,976 AND 24 Hz? Because supporting ONLY fractional framerates would be bad too. Because here in Europe (Germany) there is some material that is actually using “real” 24fps. Which played back at 23,976Hz will also cause micro stuttering.

            All ABC shows I watched so far were using 25fps (e.g. Grey’s Anatomy) so Fire TV should switch to 25/50Hz there. But if you own Vimu Player, the app has a diagnostic menu which shows all “switch modes” (= all refresh rates that are available for apps). So checking this could be useful.

          • AFTVnews says:

            Yes, it really does support both whole and fractional frame rates. I tried files in MrMC for all of the following and it switched to the exact frame rate correctly:

            23.976, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, and 60

            It switched to 50Hz for a 25fps file, 59.94Hz for a 29.97fps file, and 60Hz for a 30fps. So for those frame rates, it doubles each frame, which is probably prefered since it preserves UI smoothness and most TVs perform better the closer you get to 60Hz. For 23.976fps, 24fps, 50fps, 59.94fps, and 60fps files, it switched to the exact matching TV frequency. Meaning, a 23.976fps switched the TV to 23.976Hz (not 24Hz) and a 24fps file switched the TV to 24Hz (not 23.976Hz).

      • hdmkv says:

        Just MrMC or Kodi as well? If Kodi, 17.6 or Leia needed? Thanks.

  6. Paulch3n says:

    If kodi, I didn’t know, cause of support lack, I went to spmc and now to mrmc, both should work. Kodi, you have to try. Yes, real 24p and 23.97p. I am from Germany too ;) okay Dann schaue ich mal bei Grey’s anatomy. Vimu habe ich nicht

    • Paulch3n says:

      Grey’s shows 24p

      • King Nothing says:

        That’s strange. I checked again with advanced options in developer menu turned on and the overlay on the right definitely shows that the German dubbed version on Prime is using 25.000fps. And in this case Fire TV should switch to 25Hz or if not supported by the TV to 50Hz (using frame doubling). Outputting 25fps source video at 24Hz is wrong and will probably cause some stuttering problems too. So maybe Amazon has screwed up things here and we will still have to switch manually in those cases.

        • Paulch3n says:

          Okay, yes the overlay on the right shows 25fps,on top Shows 24p. With mrmc and the sample videos: 23.97p yes, 24p yes, 25 as 50 yes, 29,97 as 59,94 yes, 50 yes and 60 yes. So everything possible but Amazon prime video shows just 23.97 and 24 so far I see

          • King Nothing says:

            So it seems the display modes are supported and MrMc does switching right. But the Prime video app doesn’t. It seems that it can only switch to 23,976 or 24 Hz. So it uses 24 Hz for 25fps video. Maybe the devs didn’t think about the people living in Europe, where 25fps/50Hz is the broadcasting standard. But this should be fixable with an update to the Prime Video App. Does Grey’s Anatomy look smooth to you at 24Hz? Does the right overlay show dropped frames? Because in theory there should be a dropped frame every second because of the mismatch between refresh rate and framerate of the video.

          • AFTVnews says:

            When I play The Grand Tour Season 1 Episode 1 through Prime Video, it switches to 23.976HZ but when I play Season 2 Episode 1, it switches to 25Hz, so it seems like it’s doing things correctly based on each particular file.

          • King Nothing says:

            That’s interesting. I don’t know how the framerate of the video is recognized by the Fire TV. Maybe some files are “flagged” wrong and contain wrong information about their framerate. Like maybe Grey’s Anatomy here on Prime Germany which is definitely using 25fps. But good to know that 25Hz is also supported by Prime Video app.

  7. Mark B says:

    Glad to see this. This along with many other features comes at part of the core OS that Amazon has access to.

    Now they just need to fix the broken Audio. They specifically block out things like TrueHD etc. All of the important Audio codecs are 100% blocked via their Firmware engineers they specifically keep us from using Audio codecs that come built into the device from the Factory.

    If they stopped blocking all of the Audio codecs we’d have a great HTPC streamer. You can’t count on 4K but for 1080p it would be able to do everything you could imagine for over $100 cheaper than a Shield.

    • clocks says:

      In addition, something with the FTV3 is wonky in regards to sound bars. I have to turn the volume up to about 2X the normal volume when using the FTV3.

  8. Richard Shepherd says:

    My TV’s (LG OLED) native framerate is 60Hz. Some TVs can display at 120Hz to reduce motion blur. A TV that can display 120Hz can produce judder free images from a 24p source by displaying each source frame for exactly 5 panel refreshes. If your display can only do 60fps then you will not get any benefit with this feature – the TV will still have to do the pulldown from 24fps to 60fps rather than the FTV which currently has to do it if it is set to output at 60Hz. I don’t know of any mainstream TV that will actually switch the panel refresh rate to 24fps. If you press the “info” button on your TV it will show the source format (24Hz, 50Hz, 60Hz etc) not the panel refresh rate which will remain fixed at 60 or 120.

    So in effect for 60Hz set owners this is about as useful as 4K upscaling DVD players with SD source material – the TV has to upscale it anyway so why bother spending extra on the player?

    120Hz panel owners will see a benefit it 24p material.

    Check your TV specs before getting excited.

  9. Richard Shepherd says:

    “By enabling the new frame rate matching feature, the Fire TV will adjust your TVs frame rate to match the content being played. This results in perfect 1-to-1 synchronization between the actual video frames and the frames being displayed.”

    Just to clarify the above comment is erroneous and a common source of misunderstanding. The TV panel refresh rate does NOT change to match the source. It will remain fixed at 60 or 120 depending on the particular TV. 120Hz panels will be judder free for 24p and 60p source material but will need to interpolate 50p. 60Hz panels will be judder free for 60p material and will have to interpolate both 50p and 24p.

    IF you have a 60Hz TV AND its interpolation is better than the FTVs then you might notice an improvement for 24p and 50p with this feature. If the FTVs interpolation is better than your TVs it will look worse. Most I suspect will see no difference.

    • luka says:

      wrong, wrong and very wrong

      • luka says:

        Tv panel does indeed change its refresh rate to match video source fps(hrz) in 1:1 ratio making these “120hz marketing gimmick” super ultra mega cool motion processing – unnecessary.

        • Richard Shepherd says:

          Nope. I suspect you are unhappy with my assertion because you want 1:1 sync to be true. If you can provide a reference tha TVs cange their panel refresh ratethen I’m happy to be disproven however everything I’ve read suggests a fixed refresh rate. One reference (of many) is

          https://www.lifewire.com/video-frame-vs-screen-refresh-rate-1847855

          Even cinema “refresh rate” is not 24fps. The film is 24fps but if you just show it at 24fps it looks odd with significant motiion blur. Cinemas project at 72fps flickering each frame twice with a black frame between.

          https://gizmodo.com/why-frame-rate-matters-1675153198

          • luka says:

            You are wrong.I understand your point but you have to understand that lifewire article mentions alot of times that this is true about 1080p@60p ONLY TVs or 50p ONLY TVs. If you bought a new lcd in the last 5y Im 1000% sure your TV is not 1080@60p ONLY Tv but can actualy produce 24,30,50 and 60HZ picture without any problem, and most of them can even produce fractonal “true cinema” 23.9HZ and 29.9HZ. My Sony can, It is 120hz but I dont care about it.I keep my super mega ultra motion processing off because I enjoy true 23.9Hz Cinema viewing without extra processing (cpu created frames). Some of us really have a thing for that 23.9Hz, some people dont notice it. Some of us like motiob processing (you). Enjoy. I dont have any links, google if you dont believe. Thats the reason why this update came, because of us 23.9HZ perverts :)

  10. luka says:

    Maybe this link will help you understand my point https://www.rtings.com/tv/tests/motion/24p
    I quote “(Judder) It is a result of a mismatch between the refresh rate of a TV panel and the frequency of 24 hz video, and can occur both over a 24p signal and when a 24p video is sent via a 60p or 60i signal.

    Luckily, some TVs are able to adjust themselves and play 24p movies judder-free. A few can also remove judder from 24p video sent via 60p and 60i signals. As part of our testing process, we check whether every TV can do judder-free 24p, and also judder-free 24p via 60p/60i.”
    Peace

  11. Richard Shepherd says:

    Okay try this page

    https://www.rtings.com/tv/tests/motion/variable-refresh-rate

    Variable refresh rate was introduced in HDMI 2.1 for gaming. Apparently only 6 TVs – all Samsungs – support it. The rest are fixed frequency.

    • luka says:

      omg you are a little bit confused hahahha… variable means changed on-tge-fly… 24p and 23.9p and 60p is fixed. reading is good. read

      • Wuschel says:

        Variable refresh rate is something like AMD’s “FreeSync”, NVIDIA’s “GSync” or the newly introduced HDMI 2.1 feature “VRR mode” (variable refresh rate mode :P). This has nothing to do with the basic capabilities of any screen reproducing different framerates properly.
        Variable means that there doesn’t have to be a re-sync and a new HDMI handshake between the source device and the screen to change to a different refresh rate mode (as luka says: on-the-fly). This means there won’t be a black screen for a second or so anymore, but the refresh rates can vary between certain values all the time and the panel adjusts itself accordingly – on-the-fly.

        In the early days of panels, it was indeed very rare for a screen to actually show proper 23.976/24 frames per second, but that time is long gone. The same applies for fractional framerates as well as 50 frames and 60 frames per second. Most screens can at at least show 50p/60p (computer screens) and all TVs can process and show real and proper 24 frames per second including the fractional mode 23.976fps (which are both listed under 24p mostly).

  12. Richard Shepherd says:

    Yes I appreciate that this refers to refresh matching of a variable frequency signal. However you will notice from the chart I referenced that the TVs that support this feature (presumably the most technically advanced on the market) cannot display refresh rates < 48Hz at 4K resolutions. Now either they can display 24p (yes, yes I know it 23.97) in their static mode or they are using 48Hz with 2:2 pulldown, 96Hz with 3:3 pulldown or 5:5 pulldown at 120Hz.

    I very much doubt any TV panel will change to 24Hz because this is well within the flicker perception of humans (48Hz probably is too so 96Hz would be the next judder free mode but that is beyond a 60Hz panel's capability)

    Whilst you state, seemingly as a fact, other TVs can just adjust their frame rate you provide no factual evidence of this. The page you did link to even says the following…

    THE CAUSE OF JUDDER ON 24P VIDEO
    TVs commonly have one of two refresh rates: 60 hz and 120 hz. 30 hz and 60 hz videos divide into those refresh rates evenly, which makes it easy for the TV panel to get the video to meet the panel refresh rate. For example, a 30 hz TV show would have each frame displayed four times on a 120 hz panel.

    Likewise, most 120 hz panels can display 24 hz video without issue, because 24 goes into 120 five times. But some 60 hz TVs have difficulty. Because 24 does not divide into 60 evenly, doubling the frame rate still leaves 12 frames missing from meeting the TV’s refresh rate. To get to 60 fps, 60 hz TVs use a feature called ‘telecine,’ or 3:2 pulldown. This makes the video’s frames alternate displaying two and three times – hence 3:2 – which makes up the missing frames.

    Indeed the same page lists many TVs from as recent as 2017 that cannot provide judder free 24P signals.

    My point is not to get into some tit-for-tat internet troll battle but to point out that some people may not get the 24P nirvana that they think they might with the new mode support on the FTV.

    Also, an interesting point, is that the FTV2 4K switches to 24P 4K already (and always has) because it cannot support 60P 4K.

    • luka says:

      [COMMENT DELETED BY AFTVNEWS]

    • Wuschel says:

      Well, well… Now I got your point to some degree. You’re right that being able to switch to a certain framerate does not mean that it switches to a certain framerate precisely, but it might be a multiple of it. Which will lead to the very same effect. Showing a 24p image 4 times to get 96 frames still makes the ultimate output relative to time: 24 different images per second. So, that is 24p.

      I know that there’s often talk about there about judder free (doesn’t mean: no 24p “stutter”, but “wrong” 24p playback) 24p reproduction of TV screens. It may be that screens are over- or underclocked to achieve this as most (newer) TVs do not in fact utilize a 2:3 pulldown by default. That would not be some vague judder or stutter in some elements of the picture – which is mostly discusses in reviews -, but a constant stutter in panning motion e.g. which does not occur every so-and-so second, but regularly in an alternating fashion (every second image provided by the source is displayed one time too much, not every image).
      What I’m sure about, e.g. that my Plasma TV can reproduce 24p very neatly. And yes, it’s using a 4:4 pulldown, showing 24p with 96fps. That’s, by definition, still 24p. In fact, the Plasma has an internal display rate of up to 2000Hz. That does not mean that it can refresh the incoming signal 2000 times per second, but a picture is only shown for up to 1/2000th of a second. This is to prevent Plasma flicker. A lot to confuse here.
      But what I’m pointing at here: the TV can switch between a refresh rate of 60Hz, 96Hz, 100Hz and 120Hz… 60p is shown at a rate of 1:1 with 60Hz, 96Hz is used for the 4:4 pulldown of 24p, 100Hz is used for a 2:2 pulldown of 50p content or 50p 3D and 120Hz has to be used for 3D at 60fps. All content is shown without noticable stutter which would be produced by a 3:2 pulldown or even worse: squeezing 50 frames into a 120Hz refresh rate.
      Just from a logic standpoint: Displays have to be able to support at least three internal refresh rates to accomodate different source frame rates natively. What might be true is some wonky way of achieving this internally – I’m not talking about 3:2 e.g. Those methods would be regular and clearly visible. But the issues most screens do have e.g. with 24p are very strange and not regular in a sense of: I can get used to that. It’s just irregular stutter, flicker or in-picture stutter. Which would lead me to the conclusion that the way of achieving different internal refresh rates might be something like over- or underclocking a panel which can work just fine, if the panel was made for that. Or it might fails quite badly…

      But stating that TVs normaly ONLY have ONE internal refresh rate is simply ignoring the fact that many TVs out there can reproduce 3 multiples of all the framerates out there pretty well. And that can’t be achieved by a simple 3:2 pull-down. Which I, sure as hell, would notice. I’m always astonished when friends of mine don’t see it on their own TV (when they have not disabled those smoothening settings, which mostly are just some 3:2 pulldown). But with my TV it’s not there at least.

  13. Jan Fiedler says:

    After switching now my audio is a little bit off sync…anyone else having this problem?

  14. Django says:

    This update killed voice search for me within a few apps on my FTV3s

  15. Marc says:

    Do you think it’s likely other apps (eg Netflix) will release an update to take advantage of this? Surely its a fairly simple change.

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