Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K will support hardware 1080i deinterlacing for OTA tuners

A feature that is too often neglected by streaming media players is the ability to deinterlace 1080i video on the hardware level. This is an important capability for people with over-the-air tuners, like an HDHomeRun, that watch broadcast channels on their streaming media players. If you’re one of those people and are interested in the new Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, rest assured because the new device does support hardware accelerated MPEG-2 video for smooth 1080i viewing at up to 60 fps.

Amazon has told me that they’ve specifically tested the new Fire TV Stick 4K with HDHomeRun network tuners and have found no abnormalities playing 1080i content. Owners of 1st and 2nd generation Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks will know this was not the case with those older models which resulted in occasional black lines appearing on the screen for 1080i video. Fire TV apps, like MrMC and Channels, were thankfully able to correct these anomalies by implementing their own software-based deinterlacing solutions.

Proper hardware support for deinterlacing 1080i channels was first introduced with the Amazon Fire TV 3 (pendant) and then later with the Fire TV Cube. Amazon is thankfully continuing that trend with the new Fire TV Stick 4K. This should mean that 1st-party apps from HDHomeRun and Tablo shouldn’t have any issues playing all OTA channels on the new Fire TV Stick 4K.

The Fire TV Recast is unaffected by support for 1080i deinterlacing on the hardware level because Amazon’s DVR transcodes all content to 720p to ensure smooth playback regardless of which device is being used to view its content. If Amazon ever decides to allow 1080i streaming from the Fire TV Recast to compatible devices, the Fire TV Stick 4K should be on the list.

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11 comments
  1. Mark B says:

    Nice. I was kind of expecting this but it’s super important. If this doesn’t seem important to you, you probably haven’t cut the cord and started using an antenna. Sports is simply a no go without Deinterlacing.

    Hope I can demo a recast somewhere.

    Now if only Amazon would stop intentionally crippling their devices firmware by blocking the Built-In Lossless audio features from working. Grrr It would be the literal end of needing my Shield for anything.

  2. Sebastian says:

    Nice to see they will have it even though their Recast doesn’t need it. Just another proof that Firestick is the best streamer out there.

  3. Vlaves says:

    Will they support 1080i h264 deinterlacing hardware accelerated? Way mor important here in Europe! They really don’t care at all about the european market….

  4. Ben says:

    Is there/What is the benefit of the Recast supporting transfer of native 1080i to a Fire TV 3/Cube/4k for playback compared to the Recast transcoding to 720p prior to transferring to a Fire TV 3/Cube/4k for playback?

    Is the native 1080i a better picture in some way relative to transcoded 720p? Or do I retain more functionality with a native 1080i (on the Fire TV’s or other devices)?

    • Sebastian says:

      I don’t believe they plan to change the way Recast sends the feed based on the receiving device. We will have to wait and see the quality of that 720p transcode coming out of Recast but I hope quality will be as close to original as possible.

  5. vlaves says:

    @AFTVNews: Do you have or can get any information about h264 1080i deinterlacing on the stick?

  6. tom42 says:

    “Owners of 1st and 2nd generation …. occasional black lines appearing on the screen for 1080i video”

    Yeah it occasional happens every 5 seconds

  7. thefrog says:

    Is it known yet which version of FireOS these devices run, or the chipset. I was disappointed when my cube did not perform as well as my AFTV2 — particularly with VC-1 videos.

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