I have been testing and investigating an issue with some Netflix content badly juddering. It is particularly noticeable on the opening credits of Star Trek Voyager, but appears to be present on all content which is being streamed at 24Hz (24 frames per second), which is most content on Netflix. It is only noticeable with long panning shots or movement horizontally or vertically across the screen. It also affects UK programming streamed at 25Hz (though not as badly). I haven't noticed the problem on 30Hz content. For all content the problem seems to get worse if I select a 720p 50Hz instead of 720p 60Hz.
What initially surprised me was that the problem doesn't happen on the first generation fire stick, but does happen on the 2nd generation fire stick and 2nd generation fire tv.
When I connected a refurbished 2nd generation fire TV though, the problem was gone. That is, until the fire TV updated to the latest software, then the problem was back again. So, the latest software update has caused this problem, but only on build 587444320.
There is some slight stuttering on all versions, which is probably normal for 24p content, but this is juddering where the content play smoothly for nearly a second, before the picture visibly jumps across the screen (as if frames have been dropped).
So here is what I have tested, all with the latest software version, and the results:
Fire Stick 1st Generation Fire OS 126.96.36.199 (587444820) - WORKS FINE, NO JUDDERING
Fire Stick 1st Generation with voice remote Fire OS 188.8.131.52 (587444820) - WORKS FINE, NO JUDDERING
Fire Stick 2nd Generation with Alexa voice remote Fire OS 184.108.40.206 (587444320) - UPDATE HAS CAUSED JUDDERING
Fire TV generation 2 (I have two of these) Fire OS 220.127.116.11 (587444320) - UPDATE HAS CAUSED JUDDERING
I have also found, though, that this problem will only affect some TVs. My plasma TV (which only accepts 50Hz and 60Hz signals) has the problem. My LCD TV (which accepts 24Hz as well) does not judder, perhaps it is masking the problem with additional processing, or perhaps it is because I'm using 1080p on this TV.
BBC iplayer also judders badly when playing Strictly Come Dancing, but I have not found any version that doesn't have that problem, except for my refurbished Fire TV, before it updated to build 587444320. I don't know what build it had before, but this raises the possibility that a software problem is causing this too.
So, if you notice juddering, this could be a reason why.
I'm not sure what to do, wait for a fix (that might never happen), or jump ship to a Roku stick (which plays very smoothly). I do prefer the Fire TV interface and the fact you can play content directly from search results which doesn't seem to work on Roku except with Netflix.
Note - I've noticed some occasional stuttering on the 1st gen fire stick too, especially after restarting the stick, until it has settled down. After no more than 2 or 3 minutes or if paused for a few seconds it stops happening. The issue I'm talking about is different, it's much more significant and noticeable - and no amount of waiting, pausing, playing for several minutes gets rid of it, it is constantly there.
Obviously you need to select the product and services that meet your needs most exactly. I have never found plasma displays to be suitable for anything other than cheap pub football displays.
As you say, with your network, router, display and service provider (Netflix) the Roku option sounds good for you. Go for it :) If the Amazon element of that service (just one out of 5 variables) does not meet your requirements it seems pointless to keep on buying different versions. Stick with what you know that works :)
Thanks, but (please don't take this the wrong way), it cannot be a network issue. If it is a network problem, why was it working correctly yesterday on Fire TV box, and then 2 hours later after the box updated itself to the latest build it immediately stopped working? If it is a network problem, why does the problem not happen with the same network and TV on an older Fire TV stick? Why the fact that the common denominator is that every device I have tested that has build 587444820 works fine, and every device with build 587444320 fails in exactly the same way? Or the fact the problem doesn't happen on a Roku stick? In fact, just to be on the safe side, I had already done the router testing you suggested AND used an ethernet connection instead of wifi, and the problem still occurs. I have previously used a wifi scanner and set the most appropriate channel (there is in fact very little interference in my home).
I won't argue about 24Hz vs 24fps - that would be a red herring. The fact is that this happens on content that has is being streamed from Netflix with a frame rate of 24fps. I'm only guessing that this might be the reason for incompatibility between the latest Fire TV build and my plasma TV. My LCD TV accepts a 1080p/24 signal (and various others), but my Plasma TV only accepts either 720p/50 or 720p/60.
The problem cannot be an individual faulty Fire TV device, given that I have tested three 1st generation sticks, two 2nd generation sticks and two 2nd generation Fire TV boxes, all with identical results.
I am an IT professional with years of testing experience - I know how to test things and have spent 12 hours testing this. My testing strongly indicates there is most likely a problem with the latest build. For whatever reason, the latest build has broken something that previously worked. The fact it still works on the generation 1 stick indicates it can be fixed.
1) In case someone can suggest a fix (thanks BlueOfTheNight for your suggestions there).
2) In case it helps someone else who has encountered the same fault
3) So hopefully Amazon might take note and fix it. I have already been in touch with them and will do so again, to explain about this testing in case it helps their dev team.
I prefer Fire TV to other devices, so whilst I have considered Roku (reluctantly) I think I'll stick with FIre TV for now. I'm heavily invested in Amazon products, so need them to work as well as possible.
Until your network can be definitely discounted then maybe it’s plain coincidence. Until you eliminate that you can’t say it is not a network problem. Do a wifi scan. Another router(s) may have auto-changed their channel to conflict with yours. Change your router channel. Is your 5ghz signal called the same as your 2.4ghz signal. Chnge it if it is.
are all settings to your liking on both device and TV. Does anything change when you change those. Do you have wifi extenders. Do they affect anything.
of course, it could just be the update but until you can eliminate everything else that’s just a guess.
I have ruled out network problems. I have tried a both 5Ghz, 2.4Ghz and a non-wifi ethernet connection. The problem doesn't happen on the old fire-tv stick with build 587444820, and it didn't happen on the fire TV box until it updated to build 587444320. The only common denominator (other than the fact my TV doesn't mask the problem) is the build number. If it was the network, then it would happen on my other TV too, but the problem is that the fire-tv stick doesn't seem to cope well with older TVs like this one. Actually I have now upgrade to a Samsung 2016 model TV, the problem no longer happens on there (if auto motion plus is turned off). Though the playback is still far from smooth (it is much smoother via the App on the Samsung TV (and the Roku app). However, I prefer the interface (and Dolby Digital Plus) on Fire TV, so I hope this can be fixed.