Mecool KM9 (AndroidTV 9) with Kodi and Netflix

The Mecool KM9 Pro Deluxe (made by VideoStrong) is an inexpensive Android TV Box. It's hardware is more powerful than the Xiaomi Mi Box S 4K with a similar price tag, but is not Netflix certified, which means you cannot use the Netflix app made for Android TV. This Box is excellent, runs fast and stable, and features a Blutooth voice enabled Remote. The Box can also be controlled with an IR Remote and features an Ethernet port. Read Xiaomi Mi Box S 4K (AndroidTV 9) with Kodi and Netflix for installation and setup instructions of the Xiaomi Box.

Hardware

Setup

  • Set When to start (30 minutes: time until screensaver gets activated), Screen saver (Backdrop), and Put device to sleep (never) in Settings → Device Preferences → Screen saver
  • Set Language to English (United States) or German (Switzerland) in Settings → Device Preferences → Language
  • Sign in to your Google account in Settings → Accounts & Sign In
  • Do not update to Android 10+ if you can avoid it.
  • Set date and time in Settings → Device Preferences → Date & time
  • Enable Developer Mode by hitting 8 times on Settings → Device Preferences → About → Build
  • Map keys as explained in Button Mapper Setup

Pre-installed Apps

  • Android TV Remote Service
  • Facebook Watchunused
  • FX File Explorer
  • Galleryunused
  • Google Play Store
  • Google Play Games
  • Google Play Movies & TV
  • Google Play Music
  • Live Channelsunused
  • Movie Playerunused
  • Netflix v4.12.2
  • OTA Updateunused
  • Sideload Launcherunused
  • Spotifyunused
  • YouTube for TV

Disable unused Apps

  • Above apps belong to the Mecool KM9 Pro Android build and cannot be uninstalled.
  • Go to the home screen and disable the respective channels.
  • Go to settings → Apps, then Force stop, Clear data, and Disable them.
  • If your setup should contains any other apps not in the list below, uninstall those.

Netflix

  • The Mecool KM9 Pro Deluxe is not a Netflix approved device, and any app installed through Play Store, Aptoid TV, or from an apk file will not allow to stream Netflix on your device…
  • …except when following my guide for Netflix on a Device not certified

Sideloaded Apps

  • Go to Android TV App Launcher Builder and create an APK file for the Android TV Launcher and Home Screen. Should the url not be available anymore visit my guide on how to create an Android App with Android Studio. This allows to pin a small Android TV app to the Home Screen, which when started will start the app made for phone/tablet and exit.

Install from Google Play Store

Swiss Play Store

  • Zattoo TV, must be installed from Swiss app store over VPN (geoblocked) or when located in Switzerland
  • Download the latest version of the apk file from APKMirror to avoid changing twice the app store
  • Run the Zattoo app over VPN (geoblocked) or when located in Switzerland

Install from apk file

Optional install from apk file

These apps are listed for reference and not needed for a regular TV Box install.

ATV Launcher Pro Setup

  1. Align apps on the first level home screen. Kodi, YouTube, LINE TV, Haystack News, Firefox TV, TV Memory Cleaner, VLC, OpenVPN, Zattoo, ATV Launcher.
  2. Align apps on the second level home screen.
  3. Change to 7 rows to align size of banners.
  4. Create folder System and move all apps which should only be used by the system admin into it. Color: 25, 255, 255, 255.
  5. Create folder TV and move all TV apps into it. Color: 0, 0, 100, 255.
  6. Create folder Media and move all media apps and Kodi into it. Color: 210, 160, 140, 255.
  7. Create folder Games and move all game apps into it. Color: 40, 255, 255, 255.
  8. Create folder Unused and move unused apps into it. Color: 0, 215, 200, 255.

Button Mapper Setup

To improve usability and user experience of the system remap some of the keys of the Logitech Harmony Remote and the Logitech Keyboard. Note that the Mi Box S bluetooth remote is compatible with the NVIDIA Shield remote, which we will use when setting up the Harmony Remote.

  1. After installing the app enable USB debugging in Settings –> Device Preferences –> Developer options and select Revoke USB debugging authorizations
  2. Open Button Mapper App on your device and select + Add Buttons. Press any button, for example the keyboard “F10” key we will remap later, and select the added key with the remote. Now select Customize and try to assign an Action or an Advanced command. Button Mapper will now take you through downloading a setup program for Windows or Mac. This setup program also includes adb.exe, which can be used to enable the necessary permissions on the device.
  3. You can enable the permissions with a USB connection:
    1. connect the Box with a USB-A to USB-A cable to your computer
    2. confirm the connection to the computer on the device
    3. run “ButtonMapperSetup.exe” on your computer and check the textbox to make sure the device is connected
    4. click “Grant WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS permission” and Exit
  4. If the USB connection does not work, or if the box is not near your computer, run the commands manually:
    1. make sure the Box is connected to the same network as your computer
    2. open a shell (Command Prompt) on your computer and change to the “tools” folder inside “ButtonMapperSetup” install folder
    3. enter the following commands within the shell
      tools\adb connect <IP address>
      adb shell pm grant flar2.homebutton android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS
      adb disconnect
      exit
    4. you might need to confirm the connection to the computer on the device after the adb connect command
    5. you might get an error message “error: more than one device/emulator” if an Android emulator such as BlueStacks is installed on your computer
    6. either terminate the emulator (or other device), or issue the following commands to list the devices connected and find and specify the model number in the shell command
      adb connect <IP address>
      adb devices -l
      adb -s model:MIBOX4 shell pm grant flar2.homebutton android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS
      adb disconnect
      exit
  5. The Box does not need to be rooted, but you will need the Pro version of the app which costs $2 in the app store.
  6. Firefox TV is supported on Fire TV only, but runs without problems on Android TV 9. It requires a “menu” key to pin websites (bookmarks), which is not available on the external keyboard. Map the “menu” key (keycode: 82) to the “Logitech K400+ F10” key. This allows to invoke “menu” through the K400+ “F10” key.
  7. The “menu” key is now also available in other apps such as Kodi and is equivalent to a long press of the OK button on the original Box Remote and the Harmony Remote (long press of the OK button is not recognized in the Firefox TV app).
  8. Map the “screenshot” function to the double pressed “Logitech K400+ F10” key. This allows to take a screenshot when pressing F10 twice on the keyboard. Helpful for creating a user manual for your family members.

Firefox for TV Setup

Firefox for TV is available in the US app store for Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV stick. Since the Fire TV OS is based on Android the app will run on any Android platform, but needs a few keyboard tweaks for proper operation, which are explained in the previous section Button Mapper Setup. In addition I recommend to change the Android TV tile icon and the pinned web sites to your liking.

  1. Install APK Editor Studio or Android Studio. APK Editor Studio is easier to use but more limited than Android Studio, it's sufficient to implement the suggested changes for Firefox TV.
  2. With APK Editor Studio, open the Firefox TV apk.
  3. Click “Application Icon” and replace the built-in icon with a nicer one for Android TV (Firefox TV).
  4. Click “Open Contents”, then find folder “assets\bundled\”. File “bundled_tiles.json” contains the url definitions, which you can freely modify. Besides my favorite urls I use a “bookmark” url which I can later modify without changing the json file, for example:
    [
        {
            "id": "bookmarks",
            "url": "https://www.condrau.com/bookmarks.html",
            "title": "Bookmarks",
            "img": "tile_bookmarks.png"
        },
        {
            "id": "bco",
            "url": "https://www.condrau.com/",
            "title": "Bernard Condrau",
            "img": "tile_bco.png"
        }
    ]
  5. Place matching png files with resolution 388x216px in the same folder as the json file, which Firefox TV will pick up to display the tiles.
  6. Click “Save APK” in APK Editor Studio to create your apk with customized pinned tiles.
  7. If you have Firefox TV already installed, uninstall it. APK Editor Studio creates a file with a different signature, which cannot be installed as long as an app with the same name is already installed. Put the new apk on a USB stick and install it with “FX File Explorer”.

Games

Harmony Remote

  1. For Harmony Remote programming, use MECOOL as mfg, and BB2 Pro as device
  2. The stock remote has a numeric key pad, which we can use to get Playback and Navigation functionality properly set up, as we do not need numeric keys in Kodi.
  3. Open MyHarmony on your PC, then edit the button assignments for the Kodi activity. Assign numeric keys to the Harmony remote keys which correspond to Kodi functions according to below's table.
  4. In Kodi, use Keymap Editor to map the keys to Kodi functions. Run Keymap Editor in Program Addons, then go to Edit → Global and chose the Action Category. Assign all keys, then Save them.
  5. A GamePad has a “Home” button, the equivalent for OK is the “A” button, the equivalent for Return is the “B” button. Other buttons would need to be mapped, but it is actually better to then use the remote for navigation.

Mecool BT Remote

Mecool BB2 Pro Remote

Harmony Remote

Kodi Function
Keymap Editor
Action Category
Home Home Exit - -
OK OK OK Select -
OK (long press) Menu Menu
Info
Menu -
Return Return Return Return -
1 key Play Play Playback
2 key Pause Pause Playback
3 key Stop Stop Playback
SkipBack Skip Backward Previous Playback
5 key Fast Backward Rewind Playback
SkipForward Skip Forward Next Playback
7 key Fast Forward Fast Forward Playback
8 key Ch Page Up Navigation
9 key Pg Page Down Navigation
LG 3D TV Remote Harmony Remote
3D Red
DirectionLeft Green
DirectionRight Yellow
OK Blue

Links