Fire TV 4k + Plex + 4K TV = Problem/bug

android-tv
fire-tv

#1

I Found a problem/bug, Ok first the setup.

1) If you hold Select & Down Arrow (at the same time) for 5 sec. then release and push the menu button a dev menu pops up.
2) Enable System X-ray (it will show you system stats)
3) If you look on the top left you will see where it shows you what mode the fire tv is currently in

Ok now the problem, from what i read on the forum is that fire tv dont switch to 4k mode unless you have a 4k h.265 movie playing, from what i found out this is false. If you open youtube app, as soon as you open the app you will see that the fire tv switched to 4k mode (but when you open plex it stays in 1080 mode). So saying that the only way to get to 4k mode is to play a 4k h.265 movie is not true. If plex program the plex client to start in 4k mode even if you play a 1080p movie/show/whatever it will be played in 4k mode (test it open youtube and play a 1080 video it stays in 4k mode it dont switch). So people like me who have 4k movies in H.264 format, if fixed, will be able to watch them in true 4k. Would love to hear back from a dev about this or anyone else.

Edit: Reference https://developer.amazon.com/docs/fire-tv/4k-apis-for-hdmi-mode-switch.html


#2

I’ve noticed the same thing with my Plex app for FireTV v2. Trying to stream a H265 4k file from Plex Cloud. It plays fine, no buffering, no skipping, but will only play in 1080p. I can’t for the life of my get the TV to recognise it as a 4K file. YouTube, as you mention, automatically switches to 4K mode.

I’ve used the steps above, and mine is outputting in 1080p 60FPS (HDCP 2.2) with a HEVC 3840x2160 movie file.


#3

@tjparker said:
I’ve noticed the same thing with my Plex app for FireTV v2. Trying to stream a H265 4k file from Plex Cloud. It plays fine, no buffering, no skipping, but will only play in 1080p. I can’t for the life of my get the TV to recognise it as a 4K file. YouTube, as you mention, automatically switches to 4K mode.

I’ve used the steps above, and mine is outputting in 1080p 60FPS (HDCP 2.2) with a HEVC 3840x2160 movie file.

I was running in to the same problem, so did some research and found the dev menu. Im hoping devs fix this problem/bug. seeing as they advertise that plex on fireTV v2 support 4k when in truth it dont. Im going to chuck this up to amazon change the way 4k works in a firmware update, and not plex lying to its customer. Im hoping this gets fixed ASAP seeing how slow plex devs are to fix bugs sometimes <.<


#4

Come on dev’s can i get any kind of feedback so i can report to the wife? I love plex but wife is starting to push that i start to look for something else. and every married person know… wife not happen no one is!


#5

I have this same problem. I can transcode (eww) some h264 content to h265 to get a file that will direct play. However the Fire TV remains in 1080p, the same as you.

I went through the arduous process of capturing logs and submitting them without any results. After whatever symptom @“MovieFan.Plex” expected didn’t appear, I decided not to waste any more time on this problem. To put my money where my mouth is, I also cancelled my monthly Plex Pass.

Areas Plex needs to improve:

  • Document “supported” hardware. There is no guide for getting 4K content to direct play on a Fire TV. Please correct me if I’m wrong–I had to scrape the forum. (FYI use h264 for at most 1080p content. You must use h265 for 4K content.)
  • Cease false advertising. I have yet to get Plex to deliver 4K content to my TV. https://www.plex.tv/apps/streaming-devices/amazon-fire-tv/ makes it a selling point!

4K glory
Enjoy your 4K media in all its beauty with the latest generation of Amazon Fire TV devices. With four times as many pixels as 1080p, Plex looks even more gorgeous.

  • Address this problem. Not only is it difficult to even get 4K content to direct play, once it does play, the Fire TV still pushes a 1080p signal.

To reiterate: I have a Fire TV Generation 2 capable of 4K output. I frequently view 4K content through Amazon, and until recent events, 4K content through the YouTube app. My content does play back through Plex on the Fire TV without any transcodingDirect Play shows on screen within Plex–but the Fire TV still spits out a 1080p signal.

Best of luck to @Alacardjr and @“ZeusMedia.TV


#6

So I have been searching as I thought I was going crazy but I have the same issue. Direct Playing a HVEC file and plex shows it’s outputting 4k direct play. but my TV says 1080p and the debug on my gen2 fire tv says 1080p as well. yet if I switch to any other app on firestick that supports 4k content my TV switches to 4k. this is really ruining my 4k plex experience. I have been making sure I encode my blue rays at the correct h.265 level for the firetv and everything only to be stopped because the plex app appears to not be calling the correct API features to request 4k and switch display modes.


#7

@Alacardjr said:
I Found a problem/bug, Ok first the setup.

  1. If you hold Select & Down Arrow (at the same time) for 5 sec. then release and push the menu button a dev menu pops up.
  2. Enable System X-ray (it will show you system stats)
  3. If you look on the top left you will see where it shows you what mode the fire tv is currently in

Ok now the problem, from what i read on the forum is that fire tv dont switch to 4k mode unless you have a 4k h.265 movie playing, from what i found out this is false. If you open youtube app, as soon as you open the app you will see that the fire tv switched to 4k mode (but when you open plex it stays in 1080 mode). So saying that the only way to get to 4k mode is to play a 4k h.265 movie is not true. If plex program the plex client to start in 4k mode even if you play a 1080p movie/show/whatever it will be played in 4k mode (test it open youtube and play a 1080 video it stays in 4k mode it dont switch). So people like me who have 4k movies in H.264 format, if fixed, will be able to watch them in true 4k. Would love to hear back from a dev about this or anyone else.

Edit: Reference https://developer.amazon.com/docs/fire-tv/4k-apis-for-hdmi-mode-switch.html

WRT H264 4K Video:

Your 4K/H264 media may be exceeding the capabilities of the AFTV.

The AFTV Gen 3 & Cube support 4K H264 video up to High@4.1. The AFTV Gen2 supports 4K, but only for HEVC. See Tech Specs.

If your media exceeds the limits of your device, it will be transcoded by Plex. Plex currently transcodes 4K material to H264 1080p.

Note: I’m not aware of any H264 4K material that fits within High@4.0/4.1. If you look at the H264 profiles (Wikipedia), High@5.1 is the minimum for 2160p@30fps.

To verify:

a) Examine your media with MediaInfo or Plex XML. Verify the H264 level & profile.

b) Compare against capabilities of your AFTV (link above).

c) Check with Information Overlay. In Plex client on AFTV, set Display Information = On. During playback, pull up on screen controls (pause, etc) and look in upper left corner. The status will show if Plex is Direct Playing / Direct Streaming / Transcoding the video & audio. If transcoding, it will provide a reason.

Example:

I have a AFTV Gen2 box. It supports H264 1080p up to High@4.0. When I play a H264 4K High@5.1 file, Plex transcodes the video 1080p. Information Overlay reports the video is transcoded because it is not compatible with the device. The On Screen Display for my LG TV also reports 1080p resolution for the video. In my case the transcode to 1080p is expected, as the AFTVg2 does not support 4K H264 video. This is just to show that the Info Overlay can help with troubleshooting.

WRT YouTube / Netflix / Amazon Video:

They are not using H264 for playback. YouTube uses VP9 for 4K playback. Netflix and Amazon use HEVC for 4K playback.

WRT HEVC 4K Video:

I am also having trouble with this.

Plex is playing my 4K HEVC non-HDR videos at 1080p. The AFTV g2 reports Direct Play. However, my LG TV reports 1080p (it reports 2160p when playing 4K Netflix via AFTV app).

I have not yet dug into this further (looking at logs, etc), but on the surface appears to be an issue with either Plex client or ExoPlayer2 (the underlying Android video player used by Plex).


#8

Joining in to say that I’m still seeing the exact same issue Alacardjr reported back in October

  1. try to play 4k HEVC video
  2. fire tv switches to 1080p resolution output
  3. video never even starts.

I have several videos which are all well within the bitrate/profile limits of the fire tv and all display this behavior. I currently have an Intel NUC running plexmediaplayer, two fire tv’s (gen 3 2017), and a 2017 Samsung TV with native Plex client. All SHOULD play HEVC 4K videos, and yet none of them do. Is there a single working plex client for 4K video?!?!?!