FireTV Maintenance and Kodi Performance
Many people think that the Fire TV and stick require little or no maintenance, until they try to install and use Kodi (which will tax the processor and available memory, regardless of which version they are using, particularly when streaming movies and videos). They then wonder why Kodi doesn't perform very well, gets memory issues or even crashes. Sometimes this can be alleviated by performing maintenance, which should be done at regular intervals.
1 An Important Note
Buffering and stuttering are both part of the video and IPTV world on the net, and sometimes the causes don't lie with your hardware or software. Using links with poor quality videos can cause issues. In addition, servers might be running into bandwidth limits (this is very true of the free video services). Some ISPs are known to throttle the speed of your connection back during certain times.
2 What About Issues in Kodi Itself?
It seems that no matter which answer you discover on the Net for storage messages, 3 areas in Kodi are mentioned time and again that need to be cleaned regularly. These are
2.1 Settings in Kodi
- To conserve on disk space (especially with the sticks) you can turn off generating thumbnails. Go to Settings -> Video -> File and deselect Generate Thumbnails.
- Hardware acceleration of videos can be problematic, so it's best to disable it. Go to Settings -> Player -> Videos and turn off both Hardware Acceleration options (both surface and the one with no listing).
3 FireTV Hardware Issues
3.1 The TV is Interfering with the Fire TV Connection
If you are using the stick, try using the little extension cable first. Putting more distance between the box or stick and the TV is possible with a high quality HDMI cable.
3.2 Your Unit Is Overheating
Many sticks have failed due to overheating. If the unit gets too hot, it can, and sometimes does, cause streaming to become erratic or even fail completely. The fix here is easy; make sure there's lots of free space between the Fire TV unit and the TV. Many have added a small office fan to circulate air around the unit.
3.3 Your Network
It goes without saying that the faster the data stream, the better your quality of streaming.
You can start by running a speed test. While speedtest.net is one popular choice, many ISPs have their own testing tool . Most websites recommend a minimum of 5 Mbps (megabit per second) speed, but practically any Hi Definition streaming will require at least twice to three times that, depending on the quality of your signal.
Many websites recommend installing an Android wifi analyzer, but this is not really necessary. As of version 5 of the FireTV OS, there is a hidden tool called System X Ray that can help with some diagnostics. See the Little Known Fire TV Options and Links article for the link that describes it and how to get it, along with a link to a free FireTV app that can provide additional information.
3.4 Your Power Supply
This is particularly important with the Sticks. If you are using a second hand supply (not the original OEM) that doesn't supply sufficient voltage and current, you are bound to run into trouble. Amazon has a page of these devices here.
3.5 Your Next Steps
If you've done all of this, and still have issues, it's time to dive into doing some maintenance on the FireTV device itself.
4 A General List of FireTV Issues
- You've got lots of applications that you no longer use. These eat up memory space and should be deleted. They can be reloaded if you find you need them later.
- When you exit an application, it's actually not shut down; instead it's kept in a queued state, maintained in a cache, so that it launches faster the next time you use it. The problem is that if you have a lot of applications, after a while, you will seriously degrade the amount of free memory.
- Another issue lies in something we've likely all done; you didn't like an application, so you uninstalled it. The problem is that this can leave junk files behind; and that eats at your available free space. Even downloads and installs using a sideload can leave junk behind.
5 FireTV Maintenance
5.1 How do I Delete an Application From My FireTV / Stick?
Go to Settings, then Applications then Manage Installed Applications. Then select the application you want to remove. First use Force Stop, then Clear Data (which removes user data and any settings), then Uninstall. After you completed removing your apps, you will want to use Clean Master to wipe junk files and reclaim the space you just cleared.
5.2 Where Can I Clear My Cache in the Kodi App on Fire TV?
Go to Settings, then Applications then Manage Installed Applications. Go down to Kodi on this panel and use Force Stop and Clear Cache. In fact you should perform these steps on any software that you have installed or use often. Never use the Clear Data option unless you wish to delete all of your settings and data from that application. If you do this in Kodi, it's similar to doing a fresh install.
5.3 Should I Clean Out the APKs After An Installation?
Yes; this is particularly true if you are using a Stick. Sometimes the application will offer to delete it after the installation is complete; if not, you can use an utility like Kodi's file manager to drop the apk. They are usually found in the Downloads folder.
5.4 Adjust Your Video Resolution
- If you have the latest 188.8.131.52 firmware, you will find that playing a 1080p video at 24Hz resolution doesn't work well. There is a bug in the update, and it's discussed here
- Sometimes buffering and stuttering can be caused by a mismatch between the resolution the server sends the video (say at 1080p), while your FireTV is set at something lower. Normally the FireTV will adjust to this, but if you find it isn't working well, there's a little known trick for setting it manually here
- You should also check your user's manual to see whether the resolution and refresh rate you want to use are supported on your TV or monitor. It's usually very easy to reset it if you need to change it.
5.5 Are There Tools To Make This Process Easier?
There is a great deal of information available that shows you how to optimize your FireTV / Stick. Most involve going into the Manage Installed Applications (as described above) and turning various settings off, such as the Whispersync (assuming you aren't using it), and collecting data. Things like this add additional load to the CPU that, particularly in the case of the Sticks, really can't handle the load without bogging down.
6 Related Links
- Android/ATV2 Maintenance Tool from Kodi TV Forum
- Android Performance Tips
- Caches explained
- Fire Stick Extremely Slow
- You will find many websites mention modifying the advancedsettings.xml file as a buffering solution. This page describes this file in detail