Fire TV update 5.2.4.1 causing poor 24p video playback in MrMC, Kodi, and SPMC

If your Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick has received the 5.2.4.1 software update, you may be experiencing poor video playback within MrMC, Kodi, and SPMC. The developer of MrMC has emailed me letting me know that the updated version of Fire OS does not handle switching the video output to a 24Hz refresh rate correctly. This is a feature videophiles use to achieve perfect 1-to-1 synchronization between the frames in a video and the rate at which the display updates, but with software version 5.2.4.1, it results in jerky stuttering video.

Amazon only supports playing video at 50p and 60p with their own Amazon Video streams, but they have added the option for 3rd-party developers to manage the device’s video refresh rate. MrMC was the first app to support the option to switch refresh rates on Fire TV devices so they match the frame rate fo the video being played. Kodi and SPMC later adopted the feature from MrMC’s open source code.

One of MrMC’s developers, Scott Davilla, tells me the problem lies within the Fire TV’s kernel. Playing a video while the device is outputting video at 24Hz results in VSYNC errors constantly being reported by the Fire TV’s kernel. He has verified the issue, which was first reported by a user on the MrMC forum, on a 1st-gen Fire TV, but is unsure if it also exists on other Fire TV and/or Fire TV Stick models.

If you don’t want to lose smooth 24p video playback, your only option for now is to block software updates. All devices are performing fine with 50p and 60p playback, which is what most people use. Since only a relatively small percentage of Fire TV owners use 24p playback, this issue may not be a top priority for Amazon, so we may not see it fixed until the next scheduled software update.

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39 comments
  1. Adam says:

    Ah, finally a killer reason to have rooted.

  2. OllieNYY says:

    Am having this issue on regular apps like WatchTCM and MLB.TV since I received 5241 update earlier this month on my Amazon Fire TV 2. It doesn’t seem to effect most apps just a few but those were fine before the update. Have tried clearing the cache, checking settings on my Amp and TV, have even Factory Re-Set but it hasn’t fixed the issue. Posted on the Amazon forum and another said they had the same issue.

    • Jay says:

      yes I agree

    • Tony Ramirez says:

      Same with Netflix. It jitters more on certain programs.

    • KingNothing says:

      Yes… I also own a Fire TV 2 and have unsmooth video playback since updating to 5.2.4.1 software.

      This affects Amazon Video, Netflix and probably some other apps and it occurs on normal 60/50Hz modes set with the menu. It looks like the video just slightly hangs or frames being skipped from time to time. This isn’t just the pulldown effect, because this kind of stutter wasn’t there on 5.2.4.0. They must messed something up here and maybe it’s related with the issue with 24Hz playback too, because it really looks like Vsync problems.

      Btw, I also tried clearing app data and cache and even a factory reset, but didn’t help in my case too.

      Where can we make Amazon aware of this, so there will be a fix soon?

      • FireTVNoob says:

        The best way is to get them to give you a call. That can be done by using the Kindle’s own menu system under settings and asking for help.

        Or you can use their website, the menu along the top:
        Menu
        Then scroll down and click, Need more help?
        Then click Contact Us
        From there you can click, Amazon Devices, then your device.
        Using the drop-downs, select your device again, and Other Fire TV issues.
        Type in a short summary of the problem, then get them to phone you. Have a chance and explain what’s wrong. Either they’ll try to help directly, or redirect it to someone who does. (Sometimes straight away, sometimes you have to wait for an email/call back.)

        • FireTVNoob says:

          The first part should say, HELP.

          • King Nothing says:

            Yes… Thanks for your HELP. =)

            Had found out about this way of contacting them already, but did only choose to send a comment via mail. Described the problem and asked them to forward this to the software team or contact me if they need further information. But haven’t recieved any feedback from them until now.

            I’m afraid there is an issue with 5.2.4.1 update causing problems not only with 24Hz output, but with choppy video playback in general. Maybe it depends on the TV you use and how good it can do motion interpolation (or if you use it at all), but everything was still fine with my TV handling the input of the AFTV on previous software version.

            Here’s a topic with other users reporting this:
            https://www.amazon.com/forum/fire?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2L8EBNTOXFSA7&cdThread=TxINHUQNPAHXGV

    • OllieNYY says:

      I just spoke to customer services and this is a known issue with Fire TV 2. The tech team have escalated it and are working on a solution.

  3. clocks says:

    Maybe this is why the roll out seems so slow. I finally go it on 1/3 devices about 5 days ago, and nothing on the others since.

  4. Loved it for the few months i had it but then it just went black screen.

  5. antione johnson says:

    Fire stick ain’t no good don’t get it I am a prime member I can get them free every day and still don’t want one they raised the price and they got worse when I got mine it was 23.99 they can have it

    • Adam says:

      Can’t agree with you antione, got my Firestick 1 to dip my toe in the water, and it performed so well I jumped on newly released Fire TV 2 that coincided with my discovery.

      This latest revelation got me off my butt to finally root my old stick after it had been sitting with updates blocked at 5.0.5. (thanks Elias, donation submitted)

      After installing rooted 5.2.1.1 (latest rbox version (donation previously submitted) I installed Netflix and SPMC (donation submitted) Both worked without flaw.

  6. Mark says:

    The new update screws around with uploaded video from my phone by not playing the video & temporary freezing of the FTV1. Have not tried on the sticks yet. NOT a happy camper here.

  7. DMC_12 says:

    Hi,
    I am the guy that reported the issue to davilla (mrmc dev).

    The issue persists all over the system. Besides if you switch manually CodecInfo of MrMC or Kodi wont tell you that you drop frames. So you have to use your eye.

    You can switch manually to 24hz , like described in an aftvnews article and then head over to Youtube. Play a video at 24 frames and you will see black artifacts from time to time on the lower half of the screen and all kinds of messed up things.

    Too bad I updated. Meanwhile I try to get amazon germany to enable MrMC download for the FireTV1, since it shows its incompatible.
    I needed help from davilla to compile mrmc from source and sideload it over to the firetv.
    Yes. It is ridiculous, because I purchased the app but amazon germany wont let me download it to my firetvs homescreen. Until then.. Same starting procedure as with kodi…

  8. DMC_12 says:

    PS: If anyone is still on the old software it would be kind to post the results of the Antutu Video Tester . You can download the APK with aftvnews’ Downloader app.

  9. Ben says:

    never heard of mrmc or spmc, what are they??

    • Adam says:

      Kodi is an open source project that supports several different platforms, among them Android, which is what the Fire TV/Stick and the NVidia Shield run on.

      The Android maintainer for Kodi, Koying, became dissatisfied with the project and forked the code into SPMC, which is specifically designed for Android, most specifically on the Shield but also on the Fire TV/Stick. Last I heard, the Kodi project itself hasn’t been able to land an Android maintainer after Koying left. Which is weird, because they’ve really been friendly people, and not at all prickly.

      MrMC saw the problem of Kodi being useful to pirates selling pre-configured-for-piracy Firesticks and removed Kodi’s ability to use plugins, which is what facilitated the piracy. This enabled him to get Amazon’s approval for his app to be in the app store, something Kodi and SPMC haven’t been able to do. this means you don’t have to side load it. MrMC was then the first of the three to enable refresh rate switching.

      I use SPMC myself, but each options serves different priorities.

      • AFTVnews says:

        Since your explanation includes a bit of a history lesson, it’s worth noting that MrMC’s two developers are the original pair who ported Kodi to Android in the first place.

      • Eli says:

        With this new update, i am always getting geographical error of amazon.com prime videos in Canada even though I am pointing my DNS IP address to the states. Is there a solution to this ?

  10. Rick says:

    I noticed this issue immediately after the update was installed. Kodi would crash the minute I would launch it. Turns out my custom custom splash image and video intro in my Kodi build had something to do with it.
    I was finally able to get the splash screen to show by changing the Fire TV Screen resolution settings from Auto to 1080p 60hz, but the Intro video is still an issue.

    I knew it was the Fire TV OS with the issue, as I tested my build on Windows, Mac and Linux – which works flawlessly there. Thanks for confirming this for me though!

  11. Mike says:

    What problems does the issue cause? Does it depend on the footage, on the chosen output video mode, or both?

    Will it affect footage recorded in 24p?
    Or will it affect me if I have set video resolution to 24p (I normally set it to 50 or 60 Hz)?

  12. Tony Ramirez says:

    Netflix is unwatchable on the 2nd Gen FTV since this buggy update. It stutters all the time giving me a headache. I now watch NF on the Roku

    Amazon video also stutters a bit now too. Hulu plays perfect though.

    • Ben says:

      My fire stick works same as it ever did, no issues so far since the update

      • MrMC says:

        At 24Hz display ?

        • King Nothing says:

          You noticed Vsync errors in logcat with 24Hz … But are there any on the normal 60/50Hz modes too with 5.2.4.1? Because there is definitely something different/wrong with the output of my 2nd generation AFTV since the update that’s causing my TV to “throw up” from time to time causing stutter. On 5.2.4.0 everything was still fine.

          Another thing I noticed is that sometimes when I switch from 50Hz to 60Hz or other way aground, I immediately get the confirmation dialog without my TV blanking out for a short time because of switching refresh rates and the output just stays on the previous selected mode. I have to switch back again then and repeat the step, to force the AFTV to really change output mode. So there seems to be an issue although when switching manually with the settings menu. And I wonder if this could be related to the choppy playback and the issue with 24Hz.

          Maybe you can investigate further and have some way to tell Amazon developers about it we don’t have. Would be very appreciated.

          • OllieNYY says:

            I just spoke to customer services and this is a known issue with Fire TV 2. The tech team have escalated it and are working on a solution.

        • Ben says:

          yes on 24hz, working same, no changes since update, alexa fire stick

          • DMC_12 says:

            Weird. Amazon specs say that the FireTV Sticks are not capable of 24hz. Only normal FireTV

  13. Ed says:

    FireTV 1 with 5.2.4.1 working normally here. Netflix, Kodi, and others still work normally.

  14. Ben says:

    watching the cw app for the first time this morning since the update, it seems to have the jittery problem, but netflix, hulu, dtvn, and anything else Ive played seems fine

  15. Homer says:

    Now there is prerooted stock image available for FireTV 1, but is it fixed?

    https://forum.xda-developers.com/fire-tv/development/prerooted-stock-images-t2882337

  16. Rick says:

    Also wanted to add that the video output wouldn’t work when I connected the FireTV to my computer monitor (as it previously always did).

    In order to get the display to work on my Monitor, I had to connect the FireTV to my HDTV first, and then change the display settings from “Auto” to “1080p 60hz”

    Once this setting was changed, video display output started working on my computer monitor again.

  17. Jacque says:

    So can we not get kodi on the 5.2.4.1?

  18. andrew hyet says:

    Can anyone help me on how to stop the buffering and get the streaming working better

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