Bug report: 4K iPlayer on the Amazon Fire Stick

by @edent | # # # # # | 2 comments | Read ~115 times.

Technology never works right. And video technology never works right even harder.

The Amazon 4K Fire Stick is a pretty cool bit of kit. It's an Android device which can push 4K HDR video with surround sound to your TV. But, like any technology, it's buggy. Here's the bug report I've tried to send to Amazon and the BBC. They haven't answered - so I'm publishing it here as well.

BBC iPlayer supplies 4K video - but the app doesn't switch to 4K mode, it stays at 1080p.

Amazon debug

To turn on the Fire stick's debug mode - and get access to X-Ray - follow these instructions.

This lets you see the bandwidth being used, HDCP information, and audio/video information. Here's a 4K presentation via Amazon's own video player.
Amazon video with debug information
In the top left is the HDMI output information and bandwidth stats. On the right is the video codec data.

iPlayer

Within iPlayer you can opt-in to the beta programme, this gives you access to 4K content. But let's take a look at the debug information.
BBC video with debug information on it.
4K video is being streamed at 25fps. But if we look in the top left corner, the app hasn't switched out of 1080p @ 60fps.
iPlayer output at 1080p.

iPlayer detail showing 4K.
The end result is a juddering rescaled mess.

So, if you or a friend works for either Amazon or the BBC, please ask them to take a look, eh?

2 thoughts on “Bug report: 4K iPlayer on the Amazon Fire Stick

  1. "if ... a friend works for ... the BBC, please ask them to take a look, eh?"

    Done; see reply at [1] linking to [2].

    [1] https://twitter.com/nevali/status/1222551413508792320

    [2] https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/help/questions/features/uhd-amazon-fire

  2. Robert Stonehouse says:

    Even though I have a Fire TV stick 4K, have plenty of bandwidth, and have joined the iplayer beta for me it will not go past avc/1080p (I waited a few mins to see if it would adaptively jump up in quality)

    The iplayer app on my Philips TV does show Dracula and" Seven Worlds" with a UHD badge

    For me, with Fire TV stick display settings set at automatic, the stick upscales everything and always outputs over HDMI@2160p

    I will try and report this to Amazon.

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