Silk Browser for Fire TV updated with support for 4K YouTube

Amazon has updated the Silk Browser for Fire TV devices to support 4K video playback on YouTube. The new update, carrying version number, is starting to roll, but the new version appears to only be rolling out to select devices, as it’s not yet available to all Fire TV models. Read more ›

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Amazon reduces 4K movie prices to compete with Apple’s new pricing structure

One of the most interesting things to come from Apple’s announcement of their new Apple TV 4K streaming media player is that they’ll now be selling 4K movies in their iTunes Store at the same price as the HD versions, which is $19.99 or less. That’s usually much less than Amazon’s 4K movie prices, which can sometimes even exceed the movie’s 4K Blu-ray price. Pocket Lint notes that Amazon’s 4K movie prices have now decreased, which is likely a response to Apple’s announcement. I haven’t had the chance to verify the new prices myself, but hopefully, this means that 4K content as a whole, across all digital stores, will no longer demand a premium over their pixel-impaired counterparts.

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Apple announces new Apple TV 4K with HDR

Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage today at a special event to announce new Apple products. Among them was the announcement of a new Apple TV capable of 4K video playback at 60 frames per second, as well as HDR video. The new Apple TV supports both of the two most popular HDR standards, HDR10 and Dolby Vision. The new hardware looks exactly like the existing Apple TV and uses the same Siri remote. Read more ›

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NVIDIA Shield TV can now stream 4K content from Google Play

It took a while, but the NVIDIA Shield TV is now able to stream 4K movies and TV shows from Google Play. Google added 4K content to their marketplace when the Chromecast Ultra debuted last year, but strangley, the new Shield TV didn’t launch with access to that library. That misstep has now been corrected, which adds another 4K source to NVIDIA’s lineup. You can also now cast 4K content to the Shield TV.

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SPMC 16.5.0 update adds 4K and refresh rate sync support for the Amazon Fire TV


The most popular Kodi fork, SPMC, has just been updated to version 16.5.0 with a couple great new Fire TV features. First, Fire TV 2 owners will be happy to learn the app now supports native 4K video playback on their device. The update also adds refresh rate sync, which changes the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick video settings to match the frame rate of the file being played. Both of these features were first introduced on the Fire TV by MrMC, another popular Kodi fork. MrMC being open source was likely a big contributing factor to SPMC adding these features.

To install and try SPMC for yourself, you can follow my sideloading guide, or just use my Downloader app and enter in the text field.

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Google will reportedly reveal a 4K capable Chromecast on October 4


Google will be holding a hardware focused event on October 4th where, among other devices, they will reportedly reveal a 4K capable Chromecast, according to Android Police. Sources say the device will either be called the Chromecast Plus or Chromecast Ultra, but not much else is known. Given the simple and minimalistic nature of the Chromecast, I’d expect it to function identically to the existing Chromecast, but have the horsepower to decode 2160p streaming video.

Google will reportedly also “fully detail” the Google Home speaker, which is their competitor to the Amazon Echo. Additionally, they will reveal two new flagship phones, called the Pixel and Pixel XL, instead of Nexus branded phones like they usually do, and Google’s VR headset, called the Daydream View.

Based on this news of a 4K Chromecast, the likelihood that Amazon will be announcing a 4K Fire TV Stick soon has just shot up from unlikely to pretty likely in my book.

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SPMC begins testing support for 4K and Refresh Rate Switching on the Amazon Fire TV


SPMC, one of the most popular Kodi forks, has added support for 4K playback and refresh rate switching on the Amazon Fire TV to a new test version. MrMC was the first to bring these much sought after features to the Fire TV, and now SPMC is following suit. There are still some bugs to workout, but if you’d like to try it out on your own device, you can find the latest test version here. You can install this test version alongside the stable SPMC version, without overriding or effecting an existing SPMC installation, because the two versions have different package names, and will therefore be treated as two different apps by the Fire TV.

When all the bugs are worked out, the final version with 4K and refresh rate switching support on the Fire TV will be version 16.5.0, so keep an eye out for that if you would rather wait for the stable public version. If you have the means, please consider donating to koying, the sole developer of SPMC, to thank him for his continued support of Fire TV devices.

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MrMC update adds 4K support, Refresh Rate Switching, 24p/25p/30p support, Plex Client, and more


MrMC, the only forked version of Kodi in the official Fire TV appstore, has just been updated to version 2.4 with a bunch of great new features. For starters, MrMC can now run at a resolution of 2160p, making it the first Fire TV app capable of playing local 4K content at full resolution. The update also brings true support for refresh rate switching to the Fire TV for the first time. This is a feature that home theater enthusiasts have been begging for ever since the Fire TV first launched, and even Amazon’s own video player doesn’t support it. With refresh rate switching enabled, MrMC will automatically change the Fire TV’s refresh rate to match the frame rate of the video being played. This greatly reduces or entirely eliminates visual artifacts caused by 3:2 pulldown and screen tearing. As if 4K support and refresh rate switching weren’t enough, the new update also adds a built in Plex client, as well as a LightEffects client to support Ambilight-style LED lighting. Read more ›

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Apps on Fire TV 2 can now output 4K Ultra HD all the time — YouTube first to do so


Ever since the Fire TV 2 first launched, its 4K capabilities have been limited to video playback. Apps like Netflix display their interface at 1080p to take advantage of the 60fps framerate, which results in a smoother navigation experience, while switching to 4K only when a video is played. This is because 4K output on the Fire TV 2 is limited to 30fps, which could result in a stuttery feeling interface if it were used all the time for an app with many moving elements. It appears that, with the new software update, developers can now choose to display their apps in 4K all the time if they wish. The newly updated YouTube app, which now supports 4K content, is the first Fire TV app to opt for an always-4K approach. Read more ›

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UltraFlix brings their large library of 4K Ultra HD content to the Amazon Fire TV


UltraFlix has just released their new app for the Amazon Fire TV. The service claims to have the worlds largest library of streaming 4K Ultra HD content. Their content library consists of native digital 4K titles, which they label as “Platinum” titles, film scanned in 4K, which are labeled “Gold”, and 1080p movies upconverted to 4K, which are given a “Silver” designation. Currently, the service only offers rentals, but plans to offer purchases and is considering a Netflix-style subscription model. Rental prices range from $1.99 to $9.99. Purchased content will range from $9.99 to $24.99. The app is only available on the new 4K capable 2nd-generation Fire TV.


It appears UltraFlix does not correctly switch into 2160p resolution when playing 4K content. This means, until the app gets fixed, it only outputs in 1080p. Thanks Vulcan195 for the heads up!

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YouTube app for the Fire TV to gain 4K Ultra HD support


Slipped in among the announcement for the new Alexa features coming to the Fire TV, Amazon has revealed that the YouTube app for the Fire TV will finally gain support for 4K UHD video playback. Owners of the Fire TV 2 with a 4K capable television will be able to stream YouTube’s full 4K library in all of its glory. With YouTube being among the largest providers of streaming 4K content, not being able to take advantage of that content has been a sore spot for Fire TV 2 owners ever since the device launched, but not for much longer.

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Plex adds support for 4K playback on the 2nd-gen Amazon Fire TV


A few weeks ago, Plex added official support for 4K video files on the 2nd generation Amazon Fire TV with their v4.21.0.528 update. This means 4K videos can be directly played on the Fire TV without your Plex server needing to transcode the files. This includes support for H265 HEVC encoded files, however many users are finding their 4K files don’t meet the required specifications for direct playback by Plex. For starters, files must be encoded with a maximum bit depth of 8-bits per sample and contain metadata identifying them as having a Main profile level. Missing surround sound support is also an issue, so files should have an AC3 or AAC audio track present. Even if the file fits all the criteria, it still may not play directly due to a bug identified last week. Plex is working to improve 4K playback on the Fire TV, so look for better support with future updates. While the newly added 4K support is not perfect, it’s a good first step towards local 4K content playback for the Fire TV 2.

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Smithsonian Earth app on the Fire TV now streams in 4K UHD


When Amazon announced their add-on subscription option for Prime Video and brought Smithsonian Earth content to the Fire TV for the first time, it was a bit disapointing that the videos weren’t available in 4K UHD resolution. A week later, when a standalone Smithsonian Earth app was released, it too lacked 4K video. Thankfully, that fault has now been addressed. The Smithsonian Earth app now streams in 4K UHD on the 2nd-gen Fire TV. Big thanks to vulcan_on_earth on reddit (aka Vulcan195 in the comments here) for pointing this out. The Smithsonian Earth app requires the same $3.99 per month subscription as the add-on option for the same content, so if you have the newer Fire TV and a 4K television, it makes more sense to subscribe directly through the app, since the Prime Video add-on option still only streams in 1080p.

Smithsonian Earth is now the 3rd source of 4K content on the Fire TV, with Amazon Video and Netflix being the other two. Since the release of the 4K capable Fire TV, there certainly hasn’t been an influx of 4K apps like we would have hoped. This may be partially due to the hurdles of developing a 4K capable app, but at least the number of 4K apps has finally increased.

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UHD Alliance reveals its logo and specs for ‘premium’ 4K devices


The UHD Alliance (UHDA), a consortium comprising of several big entertainment brands, has revealed their consumer facing logo (seen above) which will be used to “identify devices, content and services capable of delivering a premium experience.” The UHDA was put together at CES last year in an effort to create a standard for UHD/4K content and devices, in order to avoid format wars like the Blu-ray vs HD DVD debacle. Amazon and Netflix, plus many other big names in media are members of this alliance. Members have agreed on performance metrics for resolution, high dynamic range (HDR), peak luminance, black levels, and wide color gamut among others. Devices which match or exceed these metrics will display the “Ultra HD Premium” logo on their packaging.

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The new 4K Fire TV only supports 4K video, not a 4K interface or 4K apps, and thats a good thing

One of the best features of the new Amazon Fire TV is that it supports 4K video playback. However the interface, apps, and games will not be displayed in 4K. Here’s why that’s a good thing, as well as everything else you need to know about the 4K aspect of the new Fire TV. Read more ›

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Amazon announces new Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa voice control

Amazon has announced the next-generation Fire TV. It is now available for pre-order in the US, the UK, and Germany. It will retail for $99.99 and will begin arriving on customer’s doorsteps on October 5th.

While the new Fire TV looks the same on the outside, it’s entirely different on the inside. As expected, the new device is capable of 4K UHD video and comes with Alexa voice assistant built-in. It features a quad-core 2.0 Ghz MediaTek 8173C CPU, a dedicated PowerVR GX6250 GPU, and 2GB of RAM under the hood. It connects to the internet through either an ethernet port or 802.11ac wireless. The new Fire TV has 8GB of internal storage which can be expanded via the new microSD card slot or via a USB drive connected to its USB port. It has an HDMI port and still includes an optical audio port.

The new Fire TV comes with a new revised voice remote that no longer uses bluetooth, but instead connects via wifi direct which reduces latency and greatly improves battery life. There is also a new much improved Fire TV Game Controller available separately for $49.99 which also uses wifi direct for improved latency and battery life. The new game controller now features a microphone for voice commands and a headphone jack for private listening. If you’re planning to buy the game controller, you’re much better off buying the new Fire TV Gaming Bundle for $139.99. Not only do you save $10 compared to buying the new Fire TV and new Fire TV Game Controller separately, but you also get a 32GB MicroSD card and two free games. Do realize though that the gaming bundle does not come with the standard voice remote.

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Amazon Prime Instant Video now streaming in 4K Ultra HD


Amazon today announced that they will begin offering select streaming video content in 4K Ultra HD resolution at no additional charge. This includes content available for free to Prime members. The selection of 4K content is a bit limited at the moment, including only a small selection of TV shows and Movies from Amazon Studios, BBC, and Sony Pictures. In order to view the new 4K content, you must use one of 33 compatible 4K TVs with Amazon Instant Video built in. Read more ›

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