How to increase the performance of your Android TV Stick

So basically all android TV sticks (ATS’s), boxes and any other android device you connect to your TV has been somewhat hacked together to deliver a product the Android OS wasn’t explicitly designed for. (Not that it doesn’t do a great job)

The Android OS was designed for mobile devices but what constitutes a mobile device?

Well one can differentiate a mobile device as a mobile device by two distinguishing characteristics, one it has a built-in display and two it’ll be battery powered.

Android mini computers have neither.

As mentioned above ATS’s use a TV for the display and often ATS’s don’t have the drivers needed to recognised touch screen inputs. No touch screen inputs can have its drawbacks but the focus in this article is on the influence of not having a battery.

Android devices are constantly doing a juggling act between making the device run as fast and be as responsive as possible and not burning through the battery.

This balancing is primarily directed by the CPU governor. The Linux kernel has a number of CPU frequency governors, which can be looked on as rules that set the CPU frequency based on the selected governor and usage patterns. The frequency or clock rate is typically used as an indicator of the processor’s speed, i.e. how quickly it processes tasks. It is measured in the SI unit hertz. The higher the speed the better the performance and the worse the power consumption.

The best thing about the governors is that they have pre-sets, when the “performance” governor is active, the CPU frequency will be set to its maximum value, the “powersave” governor sets the CPU to its lowest frequency, the “ondemand” governor sets the CPU frequency depending on the current usage, etc.

But here’s the important part, because an ATS has no battery and it’s being power by the mains, there’s no need to set the governor to go easy on power consumption. So the governor should be set to performance at all times but by default (the device thinking it’s mobile) it’s probably not.

So how do you change the governor?

Well like everything else with android you use an app of course!

Note: You cannot change your CPU governor unless your phone is rooted and you have a ROM or app that lets you make a change. Also, different kernels (the intermediary software between your phone’s hardware and the operating system) offer different sets of governors.

There are several to choose from:

  • CPU tuner
  • No-frills CPU control
  • SetCPU
  • See here for more

I use CPU tuner as pictured below.

cpuTuner

Simply install CPU Tuner and set profile to “Performance” and Governor to “Full Speed” and you should be getting a little extra juice from your device.

Slán

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