Cut the Cable - Resources and Links


There is no key to getting Flirc to work, it does what it says on the package. You assign remote commands to keyboard presses. The mapping for keys is here:

I found Kodi Helix to perform better on the FireTV than XBMC Gotham. I had problems with seeking in videos in Gotham that were fixed in Helix.


I’m a little confused, stusser. I thought flirc was software that you can use to program an IR remote to do those keyboard presses, so to use it with Fire TV you’d need some kind of IR-to-USB thingie since Fire TV doesn’t do IR natively. Are you talking about something else?


The FLIRC IS that thing. :)


Yeah, the Flirc is hardware, a little USB dongle that converts IR input from any remote control into user-definable keyboard presses. I use one with a FireTV myself (and a harmony 650 remote) in my bedroom. It works great with both FireTV apps (netflix, youtube, etc, everything works fine) and Kodi.

Of course you don’t [I]need[/I] to use a Flirc at all, the bluetooth remote that comes with the FireTV/FireTV stick works great too, including inside Kodi. It just can’t turn on your TV or change volume, which I find annoying, so I use a universal remote.


So here is how i have fire tv setup with my flirc.

I’m using the harmony smart control for everything:

It supports fire tv out of the box (the hub does RF/IR/BT) and you pair it with the fire tv as a bluetooth controller (not a remote).
That gets me all the functionality of the basic little fire tv remote. It’s enough to get by with kodi but I wanted more functions so in comes the flirc.

First, you take the flirc, install the pc software, plug it in, update the firmware.

At this point you can map any IR command to a keyboard shortcut. But since I’m using a harmony I can skip that step b/c on the harmony you can add the flirc as a device:

manufacturer: flirc
device: xbmc

So now I go customize the buttons on my “watch fire tv” activity on the harmony, map a bunch of flirc/xbmc device functions to all the buttons that the default fire tv remote doesn’t use (or long presses, etc) and I have a really nice integration of native fire tv remote commands over the hub -> BT fire tv and auxiliary xbmc commands through hub -> IR flirc -> fire tv.

Lets take another scenario where you just want to use some random IR remote for fire tv / kodi.
In that case you would need to have the flirc LEARN each button press and map those to keyboard shortcuts using the flirc pc software. Then you should be able to use that IR remote for controlling everything on the fire tv.

Fire TV is now enduring WAF trials and stability testing but so far so good.


I just got Kodi 14.1 installed and configured, and you’re absolutely right…the rewind and fast forward works a ton better than it did in the older version. I still see some weird artifacts in the video image when I start or stop, which doesn’t happen on my Windows Kodi install. But other than that, it works fine on the Fire TV.

Ah, OK, I got confused over hardware vs software.

Hey, I saw one of those at Best Buy. And I have some gift cards just sitting around…maybe I’ll try to duplicate your setup. I like the idea of having both a remote and the option of using the Android app when I want a keyboard.


You don’t need a harmony hub for that.


It’s also out for iOS which I recently tested and seems to work well:


True enough. I’ve used that app for keyboard interaction on the Fire TV, and it works well. Harmony would buy me some more buttons and interaction with the sound system and TV from the same app.


I have a fire TV that i use with local content from a server with Plex on it, hulu and netflix. I like it quite a bit and have only had one occasion where i had any slowdowns with netflix.

I’m not a huge fan of the OS (way too much junk that i never use), but it seems to use the extra power it has over other similar devices well enough.

My main tv is within cable distance of my router and my server, so my media device being able to be wired to the network is a must. I also think streaming a high resolution movie from my phone to my tv is dumb. Something like the chromecast seems like a step back to the past for people who want some degree of quality in their tv entertainment.

I might have to try Kodi. I did try XBMC a while back and remember not liking it. I do like the plex application quite a bit, especially since i have a plex server, but it isn’t perfect either.


I honestly don’t see the fireTV OS much at all. I just run Kodi on it. I vastly prefer Kodi to Plex for everything except mobile and remote streaming, which Kodi doesn’t do.


Netflix was acting up again for me last night on the Fire TV, and it frustrated me enough that I decided to completely uninstall Netflix and remove all its data, reboot the Fire TV, and re-install. Lo and behold, it worked great after that. Maybe it was just a bad installation of the Netflix app? We’ll see how long it continues to work OK. Anyway, if anyone else is having troubles with excessive buffering, try the remove-and-reinstall method of troubleshooting.

Edit: Barfed on me again tonight. Tried clearing the Netflix app cache, clearing all data, force stop and restart…no luck on any of it. Then rebooted the Fire TV, and when it came back up, all was fine. So apparently the actual uninstall wasn’t necessary, but the Fire TV reboot was. Next time it happens, I’m gonna try a restart without any of the cache/data clearing to see what happens.


Probably corrupted data in the cache or something.


Update time! I’m most of the way through my two week Sling trial. Results have been mixed. When the app is functioning, it works pretty well. It’s only one device at a time, but that’s no problem for me. But…there are technical issues a-plenty. On my Windows PC, the app locks up regularly, and sometimes the stream will stop even if the app keeps running. On my Fire TV, the app hasn’t crashed on me, but the streams do stop occasionally, usually right as a new show starts on the hour or half-hour. When that happens, I have the reboot the whole Fire TV to get it working again. I’m going to let my free trial expire, then subscribe in April when baseball starts…hoping some of these issues will be gone by then.


Newbie question on the advantages of Plex/XBMC. Much chatter about rooting it. I cancelled cable a few months ago.

I have an Amazon Fire and a Roku. I have a Netflix, Amazon prime, and Hulu.

As far as I can tell, if I do not have an existing library of videos (and no intention to build one), XBMC will be work for little benefit.

It misses a few shows (Archer, the Americans), but I just paid $30 for a season. It’s much, much cheaper than cable.


As far as I can tell, if I do not have an existing library of videos (and no intention to build one), XBMC will be work for little benefit.

Speaking for Plex here, this isn’t true. Certainly the biggest strength of Plex is its ability to organise and play existing libraries (read giant folder of torrents). But it also has a bunch of channels for new content. It’s a great way to access Comedy Central shows, for instance, and there’s a Giant Bomb channel for their video content. You can get NFL highlights. And on the iffier end of the moral and legal scale, SS Plex lets you watch basically anything.
Also, it’s really not any work. Whereas XBMC is a bit more work but also more flexible, especially for “live” content.


Can you configure any of those special Plex channels to use another server on your network to route all downloading activity to? I’d like to set up split tunneling via a VPN for specific ports on my network and I think that would be hard enough to configure on my file server let alone an Amazon Fire. So the idea would be a channel which communicates to my file server and gives it commands for retrieving content but the file server uses secure routes to go grab it.

Anyone have any ideas for me (and whether or not my thinking is stupid in some way I’m not thinking about)?


No, but you could create custom routes on your router, or setup NAT on whatever computer is running your VPN and use that as your gateway. I do the latter myself with a linux box to push connections to my work over a VPN.


Well, HBO finally put a date on the no-cable HBO GO.

HBO’s long-awaited standalone subscription service is coming next month, and Apple TV has been announced as the company’s “exclusive” launch device. Viewers will be able to watch HBO Now from web browsers, but Apple TV is the only streaming box getting it to start. An app for iPhone and iPad will be released, as well. “All you need to get HBO Now is a broadband connection and an Apple device,” said HBO CEO Richard Plepler. Priced at $14.99 per month, HBO Now will offer access to HBO’s entirely library of original shows and also its large catalog of feature films.

Unfortunately it’s only a small step forward for those of us that use non-Apple devices as primary viewing platforms. I’ll probably subscribe to support the no-cable model, but at the same time I may have to keep using “alternative means” to get copies of Game of Thrones that I can watch on my Fire TV. The exclusive period is only supposed to last 3 months, we’ll see what happens after that.


Got an email from Roku today. Showtime will be available for $11 per month. 1 month free trial for new subscribers.