…..okay so the tile of this should probably be XBMC/Kodi on the FireTV, but whatever.
It’s been over 10 years since I’ve cut the cable with ….cable/satellite, and 7 years since I’ve deployed MythTV and ditched Tivo. Disregarding some negligible hardware costs, I’ve been spending about $20 a year on television. Absolutely awesome! About four years ago I started supplementing local broadcasts with streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. This was great from a content and cost perspective, but proved challenging from a Linux/Flash support perspective. At first the best option was to dual-boot to Windows, but this had extremely low WAF, Wife Acceptance Factor (and even worse OSAF, or open source acceptance factor). About a year ago I picked up some cheap Sony blueray players that supported all the the streaming media capabilities we needed. They’re a great buy and I’d highly recommend these units since they offer a lot for ~$50. The problem this left me with is the fact that I have this old, power hungry, x86 computer next to my televisions, and the percentage has shifted to where we stream 70% of what we watch. I thought about deprecating MythTV, but honestly it’s just too good to ditch. Plus I already have the infrastructure (master backend server and tuners) and we still need something for our movies and broadcast shows.
Enter the FireTV
I’ve looking at low-power ARM based solution for a while now. I almost jumped on the Raspberry Pi bandwagon, but decided that the Amazon FireTV is a better option. At the time of this writing they cost $85, which is pretty close to the price of a Raspberry Pi once you add on the sd card, case, power supply, IR receiver, and remote (not to mention the time required to tweak all of this). Actually it’s a better deal when you consider that the processor and hardware is much more powerful and has a *lot* of polish on it. So the next step is getting XBMC/Kodi running in a way that is stable that my wife and children will tolerate. Luckily the hardwork has already been done and there’s a great application called adbFire that will simplify most of the steps to tweak the FireTV for XBMC/Kodi.
Basically we use the Amazon launcher for any streaming content and start XBMC/Kodi for any content on our media server, and so far it’s a pretty awesome solution. It can do everything except play DVD or Blueray discs. The downsides are the stability isn’t quite as good as a stand-alone MythTV frontend, and the deinterlacing isn’t as good on the FireTV. ….but the wife hasn’t complained yet, so maybe we’re OK. Anyway, if anyone is looking for a good MythTV/ARM solution, it’s hard to imagine a better combination. I’ll write a follow-up with some settings I found helpful.