Explanation of the System X-Ray bar on the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick

system-x-ray-status-bar-header

The System X-Ray bar on the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick is a handy overlay with display, CPU, memory, and network information. It can be turned on and off using the hidden Developer Tools Menu on Fire OS 5 devices. It is meant to be used by developers to better understand what their apps are doing, but it can also be useful for common users to diagnose problems and locate misbehaving apps. Here is an overview of what each piece of information in the bar means.

Display

system-status-display

The “HDMI Mode” lists the current resolution and refresh rate of the Fire TV. Above, “1080p” is the resolution and “60” is the refresh rate. The resolution is usually 480p, 720p, 1080p, or 2160p, while the refresh rate can be 24, 25, 30, 50, or 60. The “HDCP 1.0” indicates the version of HDCP content protection encryption used by the Fire TV on the HDMI connection.

CPU

system-status-cpu

This shows how much of the processing power of the device is being used. The Fire TV 1 and 2 have four CPU cores, which is why there are four columns. The Fire TV Stick has two CPU cores, so only the first two columns will show activity on the Fire TV Stick. The level indicator on each column will change color to indicate how much processing power is currently being used by each core. Light green is the lowest color, then dark green, then yellow, then orange, and then red.

If your device is feeling sluggish or not responsive, checking to see if something is using a lot of processing power should be one of the first things you do. If you do have high CPU usage, you can start force quitting apps one by one to see which one causes the CPU usage to drop.

Memory (RAM)

system-status-memory

The memory section refers to how much RAM is being used. This should not be confused with how much internal storage is being used. The Fire TV 1 and 2 have 2 GB of RAM, while the Fire TV Stick has 1 GB of RAM. The blue portion of the graph, and corresponding value below, indicates how much memory the active foreground app is using. The package name of the active foreground app is also displayed below the memory graph. Above, “com.amazon.tv.launcher” is the foreground app’s package name, which is the Fire TV home screen app. The gray bar, and corresponding value below, indicates how much memory is being used by the entire system as a whole. The white bar, and corresponding value below, indicates how much free memory is available. In the image above, 121.2 MB of memory is being used by the home screen launcher app, 1.1 GB of memory is being used by the system as a whole, leaving 978.5 MB of memory free.

If there is no free memory, it is usually an indication of an app with a memory leak. Again, you can force quit apps one at a time to see which one is the culprit.

Network

system-status-network

The “RSSI” bar, short for Received Signal Strength Indication, indicates the WiFi signal strength of the device. The higher the bar is, the better the device’s WiFi signal is. Below the bar is the numerical value of the WiFi signal strength, measured in dBm. Note that this value is always negative. The closer the value is to zero, the better the signal strength is. For example, a value of -5 dBm is a better signal strength than a value of -34 dBm. If the Fire TV is connected via a wired ethernet cable, the RSSI bar will not be displayed.

The “Total Download Speed” value, which is 18.2 Mbps above, is the rate at which the Fire TV is currently downloading data. This is not a maximum speed indicator. It is just what the device is doing at that given moment.

The “FG App” value, which is 0 bps above, tells you the network speed at which the foreground app is downloading. In the case of the image above, the foreground app is the Fire TV home screen launcher, so it is not downloading anything and another app is doing the downloading in the background.

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7 comments
  1. AFTVUser says:

    To coin a phrase from my much younger days, that’s pretty bitchin’.

  2. Tham says:

    I have a firestickbut there is no x-ray bar. Why or how do I get one?

  3. Tham says:

    Nevermind I got it. Thanks.

  4. Tham says:

    Ok so I have it up but I have 3 questions/issuss. And this is all on the Home Screen like the above. First, my RSSI bar is at -49 dBm. I know that’s not as fast as -34 dBm as the above, but is that REALLY slow, or normal? Should I upgrade or call my provider? Second my Total Download Speed keeps changing and it is never at anything Mbps. It’s changing from (exact numbers while I look) 10.5 kbps, 680 bps, 4 bps, 152 bps, 80 bps, 0 bps, and I just keep noticing them continue to change without me doing anything (like it was just 17.5 kbps, 376 bps, 48 bps, etc). The only consistent number is it always comes to 0 bps at some point (and I’m not talking about FG App, I’m talking about the numbers above that – the FG App hasn’t changed from 0 bps). So why is this happening and does it mean anything or is it something to be concerned with? Again it’s NEVER at Mbps, it’s only been up to kbps and all the numbers keep changing with most being at bps. Just in case it matters I am using a fire stick. I know the above was with a Fire TV. So I don’t know if that matters and I’m not a computer guy at all but I do want the best I can get. And you didn’t say anything about the numbers changing, and yours was at Mbps while mine is mostly just bps and sometimes kbps (and honestly I don’t know what any of that stands for but I just assume Mbps is better then kbps is better then bps).

    So my 3 issues/questions are is my RSSI speed REALLY slow or normal or what? Why do I not have Mbps for total download speed? And why does that TDS number keep randomly changing on its own? Should I be worried about any of this or change or fix it, and how to change or fix it?

    Sorry for the long post for just 3 issues/questions. Just wanted to make it clear. Can anyone help?

    • xnamkcor says:

      “my RSSI bar is at -49 dBm.”
      Sounds ok. Use ethernet if you have connection issues.

      “I know that’s not as fast as -34 dBm”.
      decibels is a signal strength, not a speed.

      “is that REALLY slow”
      Don’t know. Is it? Are you having speed issues?

      “Should I upgrade”
      All models have Dual Band N. Only Gen 2 Fire TV(box) has AC. So, if you don’t have the Gen 2 and you have a good Wireless N router or AP, you should be fine. If you do have the Gen 2 and you don’t have a Wireless AC capable router or AP, you may want to consider the upgrade.

      “call my provider?”
      Do you have a service contract with someone to handle you local network? Your Internet provider has no hand in how your network in your house performs.

      “Second my Total Download Speed keeps changing and it is never at anything Mbps”
      How many other devices are typically using the wifi while this is happening? Do you have the same issues with your wired devices?

      “It’s changing from (exact numbers while I look) 10.5 kbps, 680 bps, 4 bps, 152 bps, 80 bps, 0 bps, and I just keep noticing them continue to change without me doing anything (like it was just 17.5 kbps, 376 bps, 48 bps, etc). The only consistent number is it always comes to 0 bps at some point (and I’m not talking about FG App, I’m talking about the numbers above that – the FG App hasn’t changed from 0 bps). So why is this happening and does it mean anything or is it something to be concerned with?”
      It’s trying to decide on how fast it can go and not lose too much data due to the signal loss.

      “Just in case it matters I am using a fire stick.”
      Which one?

      I know the above was with a Fire TV. So I don’t know if that matters and I’m not a computer guy at all but I do want the best I can get. And you didn’t say anything about the numbers changing, and yours was at Mbps while mine is mostly just bps and sometimes kbps (and honestly I don’t know what any of that stands for but I just assume Mbps is better then kbps is better then bps).

      “Why do I not have Mbps for total download speed?”
      Your wifi is not confident that it would sustain a higher speed connection without too much of the data getting lost anyway.

      “And why does that TDS number keep randomly changing on its own?”
      The physical medium is fluctuating.

      “Should I be worried about any of this or change or fix it, and how to change or fix it?”
      Do you have 30-80 USD to spend on a new router?

      “Just to update, when I play a show on Netflix, the CPU keeps changing and goes from light green to red (both boxes do this and not at the same time always)”
      Unless it’s stuck in Red for a long time, nothing is wrong.

      “my Ram changes (which might be normal)”
      The “R” in RAM is for “Random”. Fluctuations are normal.

      “my RSSI speed stays at -49 dBm, and my Total Download Speed still keeps changing but it is Mbps now (usually lower then 10 but has gotten up to 14.6 Mbps)”
      I’d ask you to check if all links in your network are operating at 100/1000 speeds, but that would be so convoluted since most devices don’t give an easy way to check.

      “FG App”
      What’s FG?

      “is usually between 8 Mbps and 10 Mbps, but has gotten as low as 3.7 Mbps and as high as 15.4 Mbps. Is this all normal?”
      Twitch tends to be about 2-4Mb/s. Bluray is about 20-40Mb/s. Sounds about right for a streaming movie.

  5. Tham says:

    Just to update, when I play a show on Netflix, the CPU keeps changing and goes from light green to red (both boxes do this and not at the same time always), my Ram changes (which might be normal), my RSSI speed stays at -49 dBm, and my Total Download Speed still keeps changing but it is Mbps now (usually lower then 10 but has gotten up to 14.6 Mbps). Lastly, the FG App also changes (which might be normal as well since the TDS changes and it was on 0 at the home screen, but I don’t know, like I said, not a computer guy) but the FG App speed is always close to the TDS speed (ex: TDS is at 8.3 Mbps and FG ap is at 8.0 Mbps). FG App is always .1 – .4 Mbps less. And the show, while it keeps changing, is usually between 8 Mbps and 10 Mbps, but has gotten as low as 3.7 Mbps and as high as 15.4 Mbps. Is this all normal?

    If someone could answer all the questions in the last 2 posts that would be amazing.

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