Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Side Load PPTV on Amazon Fire TV

Date:  Oct 29, 2014

This blog entry explains how you can side load APK files onto your Amazon Fire TV.  You can even install Shafa Launcher on it.  This blog will not teach you how to root your Amazon Fire TV.  First I will explain what is an Amazon Fire TV, What kind of English based App you can load on it, and then, I will explain why do you need ViewQwest Broadband and Freedom VPN to do what we want to do here, and then, the instructions on how to side load all these fantastic China Apps onto your Fire TV.  At the end of the day, you have a single tv set top box that can run bothUS content apps (Netflix, Hulu Plus & Amazon Instant Video) and China content apps (PPTV, Youku, Sohu, iQiqYi, Tudou) as well as UK content Apps, (iTV, BBC) etc.

English Menu on Xiaomi Box?

A lot of my friends were asking… “It’s there a way to make Xiaomi TV Set Top Box to have English menu?”  Yes, but you will need to root or jailbreak the Xiaomi Box so that you can change the system menu into English, and then, load some crappy English based launcher.  I won’t recommend that.

Netflix or Hulu on Xiaomi Box?

A lot of my friends also asking… How do I watch Netflix, Hulu, Youtube and Vimeo on Xiaomi Box?  Again, you need to root or jailbreak the Xiaomi Box which is “dangerous” and then, install the google systems files and the playstore and download these Apps.  And since these apps may not support the remote control, so, you may need to put in a wireless mouse to do all the navigation.  Sounds ugly, isn’t it?


Amazon Fire TV

Consider buying an Amazon Fire TV.  With this, you can have Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus.  It also run Youtube and Vimeo too.

The next questions is, how do you install the Chinese Apps such as PPTV on it?


The quality of the streaming shows are excellent!  

It is only US$99.

Plus shipping you might be able to have this under US$140. 


The remote control is very simple, just like Apple TV or Xiaomi Box remote control.  Simple & Sleek!


It looks very slick and thin.  Compare to Apple TV.


It is definitely more powerful than Apple TV.

It is a Quad Core Media Player.

The Voice Search is cool too!


Plus, you can buy a Game Controller and it works with a lot of exciting games.


Netflix, Hulu & Amazon Instant Video

US$9.99 per month for Netflix.  A lot of old shows that you like.  The quality is always in HD if you have very good Internet. 


US$9.99 per month for Hulu Plus.  A lot of newer shows too.  But all shows comes with advertisement.  All these shows are mostly the major TV producers shows.


US$99 per year as a Prime member.  You enjoys many free books and free movies.  All movies are in very high quality HD.


With all these TV and movies streaming service, you basically can cut the Starhub or MIO TV cords.  This is much more powerful than those traditional TV where you pay a lot of money for very few TV channels.  And plus, you have to follow the TV schedule.

ViewQwest Broadband & Freedom VPN

OK.  What we are about to do is to configure a TV set top box, i.e. Amazon Fire TV so that you can watch PPTV and others China TV Apps and Neflix, Hulu and Amazon Fire together.  Yes, both China contents and US contents on one box.

Traditional ISP such as the Traffic Light Color ISP will not give you this capability.  Because they have to protect their own TV contents where they spend so much money for the copyright materials.

Traditional VPN providers will require you to have complicated setup, on router or PC so that you can UNLOCK the geo-lock and watch these contents.

But Traditional VPN providers can only give you ONE COUNTRY at a time.  i.e. US VPN will give you a US IP address so that you can watch Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video.

So, like what I am using at home, Freedom VPN from ViewQwest, although you need to pay more, but it gives you multiple countries anti-geo-block capability.

This mean, on a same box, you can watch Chinese content, US content or UK content without changing your VPN network!

The Freedom VPN is an ADD-ON $10.70/month price to the ISP Broadband price.  So, this is extra you have to pay.  And you can only use it on ViewQwest  Broadband line.


This is the price plan I abstracted from ViewQwest website.  Forget about 500Mbps, forget about 1000Mbps, as most of your IOS and home network might not even support such high speed.  So, 300Mbps is enough!  See the reason below...

It is not cheap compare to other ISP.  But the value you will get is different experience.  My home only have 200Mbps plan, and my network cabinet can only get 100Mbps because of the bandwidth loss thru the Homeplug power line.  With 100Mbps actual speed within my home, I can enjoyed so much better than those who claimed deliver 1Gbps at $49.  I really don’t believe in those “cheap” products.  I can download a US TV shows within 1 min.  That means no throttle on the ISP side.

Screen Shot 2014 10 29 at 7 41 35 am

If you wish, you can do No contract plans to try.

Screen Shot 2014 10 29 at 7 44 10 am

So, in order to install both US content (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video) and Chinese content (PPTV, Youku, LeTV, Tudou, iQiYi and Sohu) on Amazon Fire TV box, you must have ViewQwest Broadband + Freedom VPN.  

If you do not have this, you can still read the following blog entry, but it will not work swiftly on your traffic light or purple ISP link.

So, you have been warned, and please do not ask me how to do if you do not have VQ broadband.  I have already fed up with Green and Red ISP for so many years before I found the best ISP for my needs.

Screen Shot 2014 10 29 at 7 28 43 am


Side Load APK Files On Amazon Fire TV

Now, let’s come back to the main topic.

Please follow the guide from the following links.  (I will post some screen shots here).

Or you can watch the video here.


Step 1.  Enable ADB Debugging.

Screen Shot 2014 10 29 at 7 54 03 am

Step 2.  Obtain Fire TV IP Address.

Screen Shot 2014 10 29 at 7 58 15 am


Step 3.  Download the “Platform-tools”.

Download Files here:  platform-tools here

unzip the file, and then, run Terminal and type in the command.  (the Users, YourUserName is based on your machine)

Screen Shot 2014 10 29 at 7 58 53 am

Step 4.  Side load the APK.  type in the command.

Screen Shot 2014 10 29 at 8 01 06 am

China Apps

You can obtain all the hacked China APKs here.

or here

IMG 2649

or the most important app to install is 沙发管家 (Sofa App Store).

IMG 2644

Because Amazon Fire TV systems file is in English, so Sofa App Store is also in English.

You can install many Apps here.  But those popular one you will need to have a hacked version and it cannot be found on Sofa App Store.

IMG 2645

If you really really don’t know for what reason you want to root or jailbreak your Amazon Fire TV, bad news.  There is no root method available for these Fire TV running the latest version of firmware.

IMG 2669

You just have to wait until they come up with a root method for these newer firmware.

Amazon seems doing a great job closing all these loopholes.

One reason for rooting your Fire TV is to have the ability to change the HOME button so that it can select multiple launcher.  At the moment, when you press on the HOME button on the remote, it will go to the Amazon stock launcher.  Which does not list the apps you just download from your Mac using the ADB method.  

Screen Shot 2014 10 28 at 8 26 24 pm

So, to access your apps that you downloaded, the stupid way is to go into Settings

IMG 2673

Manage All Installed Appliacations

IMG 2674

Find the App you want

IMG 2675

And select Launch Application.

IMG 2676

This is a new launcher I downloaded earlier.  It is called “firedTV” launcher.  For this App, if you press the home button, it will keep launching this app.  So it does not really go back to the stock Amazon launcher.  But I don’t like it as it is too simple.

IMG 2677

Of course, I will use back my favourite launcher, which is Shafa Launcher.

IMG 2683

You can change the theme to IOS theme too.  Which is more simplistic.

IMG 2713

EPL app 光芒体育 cannot run due to encoding problem.

LiveTV app also cannot run.  

But most of the App is OK.

This is PPTV on Fire TV.

IMG 2685

Vimeo on Fire TV.

IMG 2688

Youtube on Fire TV.

IMG 2689

Tudou on Fire TV.

IMG 2691

BestTV on Fire TV.

IMG 2693

Budin on Fire TV.

IMG 2696

Youku on Fire TV.

IMG 2692

Hulu Plus on Fire TV.

IMG 2700

Netflix on Fire TV.

IMG 2705

Sohu on Fire TV.

IMG 2715

The Amazon stock launcher with Amazon Instant Video / Prime Video.

IMG 2670


1.  This is the ultimate goal.  To run both English content and China content on the same box.

2.  You can't do this on Xiaomi Box because the China Developers did not write the English App to work with the remote control of Xiaomi Box.

3.  You can do this on Fire TV because it is basically an android box and most of the US App works with the remote of Fire TV and most of the China Apps magically works with the remote control of Fire TV.

4.  Amazon Fire TV is Quad Core Android box.  So, its performance beats Apple TV and level with Xiaomi Box.

5.  In order to do this, you cannot use Traffic Light or Purple color ISP.  Because all these player has incomplete solutions or they have to protect their TV content copyright fees.

6.  In order to do this, you have to use service such as Freedom VPN that allows you to unlock geo-lock from US, China and UK and other countries at the same time.  If you use other VPN services, good luck in configuring and it can only VPN to one country at a time.  

7.  In addition the gaming experience on Fire TV is super!

OK.  Have fun with your Fire TV.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Learning Chinese

Date:  Oct 26, 2014

I think there are something wrong somewhere.  I don’t know where.

Yesterday, I pick up Jay’s Chinese text book and test a few words to see if he knew the Chinese characters or not...

To my surprise…. Jay is having problems recognise the words or the Chinese characters.  

Or dear, the SA2 exam is on Monday, and there are some many words (the circled words) he don’t know how to read or don’t know what they mean!

IMG 2609

Then, I quickly take a good look at the text book.

IMG 2616

Oh dear, the text book has lots of Han Yu Pin Yin on it.

No wonder, when you ask him read the paragraph, he is able to read it without problem.  

He is actually reading the Han Yu Pin Yin, instead of memorise and understand the words.

IMG 2617

The text book only have a few lines that does not have the Pin Yin on it.  But usually those lines are very easy lines with easy words.  If there are some words they not suppose to learn at their level, they will put the Pin Yin on top of the word.

IMG 2618

So, during the class, the teachers read out aloud to them.  They usually read it from their text book too.

The teacher did not emphasise or write down the words for them to recognize.

Jay has no problem on the Chinese Characters that he got test on writing (Ting Xie).  But those characters that he suppose to know how to read, there are plenty of them that Jay don’t know what it means.  As there are no Han Yu Pin Yin on top of it.

IMG 2608

So, quickly, I write down every single words that he suppose to be tested on onto the flash cards.

IMG 2606

I think the flash card is the only way that I can think of helping him to memorise.

IMG 2610

Jay also found it very fun to use the flash card to learn all the words.

So, those he knows put on the right pile.  Those he does not know or need long time to figure out what word is that, then, we place it on the left.  So that he can see the words all the time.

Like this we practise it for 1-2 days.  He finally got all the 100 words memorised by hard.

Hope he will do well tomorrow.

IMG 2612

After he learned all the words and I ensure that he really knows what it mean and what word is that, then, I let him play the football games I bought for them.  So that they can play and be happy all time and then sleep early.  

IMG 2624

My Comments:

1.  Don’t be fool by your kids.  When they pick up the story book and start reading out aloud, don’t always think that they know.  If the book comes with Han Yu Pin Yin on top every words, the kid likely only know how to read them, but does not recognise them if you remove the Han Yu Pin Yin.  So, they might not know what it mean, and how to pronounce the words.

2.  Both my kids have the same habit.  They memorise the sentence.  Note that I said they memorise “the sentence”.  They do not necessary understand what the individual words mean?  Like my Kay Kay, he will only remember the photo or pictures and then, from there, he remember the sentence.  So, later, if you point to him and ask him to recognise the word on a separate blank paper without the pictures, the kid will usually have problem recognise the word.

3.  Every story book comes with the vocab list.  So, make sure you test your kid on the vocab list without the Han Yu Pin Yin.  Make sure they recognise the word.  If they don’t then, help them.  Break the word and try to make up a “story” so that they can remember the word. j 

IMG 2620

4.  I like this book.  Because it does not have the Han Yu Pin Yin. That will ensure the kid will learn by hard to memorise each Chinese Characters.

IMG 2621

5.  If you run out of time, you may want to use the Flash card method.  Write all the words he suppose to learn on the flash card and then one by one test him.  I wrote down 100 words.  And after running thru it, left with 11 he does not know.  So, we keep making drills for him to see those 11 cards and eventually he remembers it all.

IMG 2607