Wednesday, September 09, 2015

How-to: Use Popcorn Time a on Fire TV Stick

Whether it is legal or not in your country and for what uses I will not get into, this is just about how to use it on the Fire TV Stick. Popcorn time is often called the "free netflix like program" that uses bittorrent technology. It does indeed work on the Fire TV Stick if you use VLC as an external player. 

1. Download Popcorn time for Android and sideload it

On your computer, head on over to popcorntime.io/ and download the Android apk and go ahead and flash it to your Fire TV



It will open up and seem to be running great, even the UI interation with the standard Fire TV remote but unfortunately the video will stutter and be unwatchable even on 720p (the lowest video quality setting). The resources it takes to run the torrent client makes popcorn time's internal player too inefficient for the Fire TV Stick. VLC requires less resources to run smoothly.

2. Download and sideload VLC

Download VLC for Android TV and then go ahead and sideload it onto your Fire TV.

Tip: VLC will automatically be launched by Popcorn time. If you don't need it to play anything else, you can hide it in Firestarter so it won't clutter up your homescreen but will still function.

3. Change the Popcorn Time settings to use VLC

Open Popcorn Time and open the menu at the top left of the screen and open preferences. (It may seem like you need a remote mouse but if you wait for the main movie grid to populate with images then open the menu and hold down on the fire TV remote it will work.)
Make sure you choose the following settings:

  • Change the default player to VLC
  • Image quality to 720p (1080p stuttered on my Stick while the torrent client was on too)
  • Remove cache on player close.
  • Adjust upload speed limit and lower the amount of connections and nodes if it lags or allow the movie to download to 100% before playing.


TIP: If you have the time, after VLC launches backup and allow the video to download to 100%. It will play much better without anything being downloaded into the cache. 

4. Conclusion

I find streaming from a single source using addons in Kodi or from another computer on my home network to be a better experience because it the extra resources it takes from the Fire TV limits the quality of playback. 720p was only acceptable on my Fire TV Stick and it takes over 2 minutes to get a sizable enough buffer to start playback. However, it did look pretty good and there are use case scenarios where this is a good option.

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