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4K Ultra HD Specifications

Only some Amazon Fire TV devices support playback of 4K UHD media. All media specifications are provided in the Fire TV device specifications section. To support 4K playback, you must adhere to the supported output resolutions, DRM systems, and codecs for 4K UHD content.

Certification and Performance Testing

Apps that support Ultra HD video will be certified by Amazon to ensure they meet the required customer experience. Typically, certification takes a couple of weeks.

When you submit your app, add a note that it is 4K-enabled. Most likely in your app's description, you would already highlight to users that your app offers 4K Ultra HD media playback. But adding a manual note will also let Amazon know to apply 4K performance testing on the app during the certification process.

4K Specifications

For resolution rates, DRM support (Widevine and PlayReady), audio codecs, and video codecs, see the Fire TV device specifications page and select the device you want information about. The following Fire TV devices support 4K resolutions:

Special Notes for Fire TV (Gen 2)

Fire TV (Gen 2) is expected to stay mostly in Full HD (1080p) mode at 60 FPS, even on TVs that support 4K UHD format. Fire TV (Gen 2) switches to 4K UHD mode only for 4K UHD content playback.

The following frame rates are recommended when playing content:

  • For Full HD (1080p) and HD (720p) content, leave the device in Full HD (1080p) 60 FPS mode and use frame rate conversion from the content’s native frame rate (as in Fire TV - Gen 1).
  • For 4K UHD content, switch to the nearest 4K UHD mode before starting playback. For example, switch to 4K UHD at 24 FPS to play 4k UHD content of 24 FPS or 23.97 FPS, switch to 4K UHD at 25 FPS to play content of 25 FPS, and switch to 4K UHD at 30 FPS to play content of 30 FPS or 29.97 FPS.
  • Initiate a mode switch only if the user enters the playback window or if the next title in the queue requires a different playback resolution / frame rate.

HDMI Mode switch

By default, Fire TV (Gen 2) operates at 1080p at 60 FPS mode even when connected to a 4K UHD TV. Hence, in order to play 4K UHD content, you must switch the TV to 4K UHD display mode. This switching between HDMI display modes is referred to as an HDMI Mode switch. The HDMI Mode switch is triggered by the application when it needs to play 4K UHD content. For more details about HDMI Mode switch, see APIs for HDMI Mode Switch (Fire TV (Gen 2) only).

Amazon Extension Library for 4K

Amazon developed an Amazon Extension Library for 4K that provides high level APIs to trigger this HDMI Mode switch and show a user-friendly overlay message before the TV starts switching the display mode. This overlay message improves the overall customer experience.

Special Notes for Fire TV Edition Smart TV 4K Models

For Fire TV Edition smart TVs with 4K support, the hardware decoder supports playback of 4K @ 60 FPS. To play 4K @ 60 FPS, the timing requirement of media pipeline is aggressive and the app may not be able to render 4K frames at 16 msec interval due to thread and process scheduling limitations of the kernel. This may result into frame drops and a sub-par movie experience. To get the best out of the hardware, use Tunnel Mode playback. For details, see Tunnel Mode Playback.

Special Notes for Fire TV Edition 4K Models

The hardware decoder for 4K Fire TV Edition smart TVs supports playback of 4K @ 60 FPS. To play 4K @ 60 FPS, the timing requirement of media pipeline is aggressive and the app may not be able to render 4K frames at 16 msec interval due to thread and process scheduling limitations of the kernel. This may result into frame drops and a sub-par movie experience. To get the best out of the hardware, use Tunnel Mode playback. For details, see Tunnel Mode Playback.

Power Consumption

Power consumption varies by app and device. For example, Fire TV Edition draws most of its power through the screen, and the max power consumption depends on the screen size and brightness. You can calculate out the max power according to size using the formula "Power < 0.12 x Amps + 25 Watts". In general, you can get a good idea of power consumption by looking at the CPU and GPU utilization from System X-Ray in the Developer Tools.

If the power consumption from your app exceeds the limits for the Fire TV device, Fire TV will throttle the performance of your app. If throttling is not enough to reduce the power consumption, Fire TV resets the system.

To measure power consumption on Fire TV Stick, run your app about 10 minutes before taking a measurement. For Fire TV, run the app for at least 30 minutes before taking the power measurement. Your power measurement can continue for 5 minutes.

See Identifying Amazon Fire TV Devices for more details.