Play Videos on Android Auto

Andre Rocha
5 min readFeb 9, 2023
Android Auto

Anyone who has small children knows how useful it is to be able to play videos in the car to distract them.

Recently, I was at the dealership to “unlock” videos on my car’s multimedia center, which is based on Android Auto. I was surprised by the very high cost of the service, apart from the highly impractical and hardware hack-based scheme.

So I abandoned that possibility and went looking for a solution that better met my expectations. After a few days of searching, I found a perfect solution!

As a bonus in addition to play videos while driving my car, I got YouTube, MP3 player and a web browser!

Before proceeding, keep in mind that play in-car videos may be restricted by traffic laws.

AFAIK all cars can have Automotive GPS installed on the windshield of the car, or on the front panel (in case the equipment is not factory default). But then, the installation of automotive DVD or any device that generates images for entertainment in cars is prohibited, except if:

  • The device has some kind of automatic mechanism that makes it switch to the GPS function when the vehicle is in motion;
  • The device is installed so that only passengers in the back seat can watch.

Anyone who fails to comply with these rules may be infringing the Traffic Code and may be punished accordingly. So mind the law!

If you respect the laws and are willing to take all precautions, this post is for you.

No more talking. Get to work!

You will need an application called AAAD. The download can be done directly from the project page on github. Download the APK, allow installation from unknown sources on your Android, and install it.

AAAD is like a tiny Android Auto App Store.

AAAD limits you to installing just one Android Auto app per month unless you purchase the Pro version. You don’t need to make the purchase. Just open it, authorize everything that is requested, and from AAAD, install Fermata Auto.

AAAD Available Apps

TIP: There is another app you can use to install Fermata Auto in a way that Android Auto will recognize it: KingInstaller.

Fermata Auto is the app that makes the magic happen. It is important that its installation is done from AAAD, so that all necessary integrations to Android Auto are seted up automatically.

Of course, you can always install manually if you’re the type that prefers things the hard-way. However, in case of problems, this can generate some frustration.

Once installed, copy some video and MP3 files to your Android smartphone, as it is from there that the files will be read. After copying, configure Fermata Auto to find these files.

Add the folders containing media files to to Fermata Auto.

That simple!

Now all you have to do is connect your Android smartphone to the car USB port, open Fermata Auto from the Andoid Auto multimedia center, and enjoy the show.

Fermata Auto

Videos running at full steam:

And YouTube:

YouTube on Android Auto

Update

The latest versions of Android Auto are incompatible with third-party apps. For these to work, you will need to rollback Android Auto to version 6.3 or lower, or uninstall Fermata Auto and reinstall it.

The rollback process is as follows:

  • Go to Android settings
  • Open “App Settings”
  • Find the Android Auto app and uninstall updates (or uninstall it)
  • Manually download version 6.3 (be careful to get the APK of the same version of your smartphone’s CPU. Example: armeabi-v7a ). If you don’t know your smartphone’s CPU, use this app to find out.
  • Install the downloaded APK
  • Go to the Play Store, find Android Auto in the list of your apps, and in the top right menu, select “Turn off automatic updates”.

Fermata Auto Video Lagging

I noticed that android phones with Mediatek SoC have performance issues when playing videos with Fermata Auto.

Smartphones with Snapdragon do not seem to suffer from this problem.

I conducted a series of tests with several media files encoded with different codecs (h264, h265, hevc, dts, etc) and Full HD and HD resolutions, on mobile phones that have the following SoCs:

  • Mediatek Dimensity 8100-Ultra
  • Mediatek Dimensity 8100
  • Snapdragon 888
  • Snapdragon 845

I also tried all media engines available on Fermata Auto (Exoplayer, VLC and Mediaplayer).

In Snapdragon SoCs, all videos play without performance issues, and the multimedia center does not seem to suffer any kind of impact.

However, on Mediatek SoCs, after a few minutes playing videos, they start to lose frames and lag. The performance of the multimedia center is also compromised!

It seems that Mediatek chips are not as well optimized for video decoding as Snapdragon ones.

Have a good time!

That’s it, folks. Hope you liked this tip.

Did you like this post? Take a look at https://linuxelite.com.br to read more interesting content.

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Andre Rocha

I'm just a SysAdmin with some experience in OpenSource, DevOps and Datacenter Services, who likes to share knowledge.