40 responses

  1. onebir
    December 26, 2012

    There’s currently a 6% off voucher for Tinydeal: christmasgifts6off (valid till January 10th, 2013). I think it applies to everything, making this stick $34.36ish.

  2. joker
    December 26, 2012

    at least we have choice ! so cool ! thx for review ! :)

  3. Gabe
    December 26, 2012

    There is a cheap( 46$ ) allwinner a10 box alternative with ethernet port & remote:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/251203791817

  4. Albert
    December 26, 2012
  5. cnxsoft
    December 26, 2012

    @Albert
    That’s impressive. $20 + $8 shipping, it must be the cheapest offer anywhere for a new A10 stick.

  6. Albert
    December 26, 2012
  7. Albert
    December 26, 2012

    @cnxsoft
    But is it worth for a MK802?

  8. cnxsoft
    December 26, 2012

    @Albert
    I’m usually wary when I read “No feedback received for this supplier over the past 6 months”, especially when the price looks too good to be true.

  9. Ian Tester
    December 26, 2012

    Now add Mele a1000/a2000 and Cubieboard to that table. The former has more audio/video output options and the latter has lots of GPIO. Both have Ethernet and SATA. The prices aren’t that much more than an MK802, especially for the Cubieboard.

  10. monopole
    December 27, 2012

    I’d add that the pi is surprisingly better on XBMC and much easier to develop for in Linux especially if you are working in python

  11. s7mx1
    December 27, 2012

    You have just missed THE singe deciding factor as a media player platform: XBMC. None of the player on the android platform can provide the same level of user experience let alone the functionality.

    Raspberry pi was the first arm device officially supported by xbmc team. Xbmc runs well on raspberry pi. Limited codec is really none issue since nowadays new contents are delivered almost exclusively using h264. mpeg2 and vc1 should cover the rest for most users unless you live in certain area of the globe where “real media” is dieing hard.

    Excellent Linux support means peripherals are more likely to be supported, which is the case for any USB mce remote/cec tv remote/wifi dongles etc. You can even attach a tsop ir receiver to free up the USB port for remote support.

    Moreover raspberry pi is more popular and has a large pool of dedicated developers and contributors constant working on it. This means bugs can be fixed more quick and you should see fair amount improvements over time.

    Even thought the CPU is a bit weak on raspberry pi but media playback experience as a whole is far far better than a10 platform can offer.

  12. cnxsoft
    December 27, 2012

    @monopole
    I haven’t tried Python programming. But I doubt there’s much difference between the two platforms.

    @s7mx1
    I agree with both of you that XBMC is better in the Raspberry Pi, as it is hardly usable in AllWinner A10 devices. As for codecs, I still get many Xvid videos, and those won’t play with the Raspberry Pi. XBMC is probably the best media center, but that’s not the only software you can use to playback videos.

    Having said that, I haven’t tried RaspBMC / OpenElec on the Raspberry Pi. Maybe I should try, and it may change my mind.

  13. Dmity
    December 27, 2012

    I don’t want to be a bore, but for me comparison of MK802 & Pi looks as strange as comparison of Android and Debian. It’s hard to use Debian on smartphone, and it’s funny to use Android on servers. While both have Linux kernel, they have very small intersection of application.
    I think same is true for MK802 & Pi.
    MK802 in Linux is mostly limited by software (It’s not a joy to use GUI Linux without GPU acceleration on Allwinner [A10] & Rockchip [RK3066]), while it is possible to expand IO a bit:
    - get analogue video and audio output from HDMI via converter (like this expensive one: http://tinyurl.com/dx3jxgg )
    - get wired Ethernet via usb adapter (less than $5 including shipping).
    - get some GPIO via FTDI bitbang mode. FT232R (FT232RL) based USB-UARD adapters (also sold as Arduino Breakout) cost about $7.5 with shipping. http://hackaday.com/2009/09/22/introduction-to-ftdi-bitbang-mode/
    - get more USB ports via USB hub

    Pi is mostly limited by extremely slow CPU. It’s more than an order of magnitude slower than modern ARM chips due to old architecture (ARM11 vs Cortex-A9, Cortex-A15), low frequence (0.7-1GHz vs 1.7 GHz) and single core (vs 2-4 multicore).

    Looks like Pi is better for Debian (Raspbian) and MK802 is better for Android.

    BTW: Does anyone have a list with current progress in Linux GPU support for popular SoCs?
    ARM Mali: AllWinner A1x, AmLogic 8726, Rockchip RK30xx, Samsung Exynos 4, 5, ..
    PowerVR: TI OMAP 4
    ULP GeForce: Tegra
    Adreno: Snapdragon
    Vivante: i.MX 6
    ..
    Looks like odroid may get support soon: http://odroid.foros-phpbb.com/t1273-ubuntu-mali-400mp-drivers#10871

  14. cnxsoft
    December 27, 2012

    @Dmity
    Linux on A10 does have X11 GPU accel, but it’s not providing that much of a boost.
    I don’t think Raspbian supports X11 GPU acceleration yet. (I could not find details about that).

    GPU support on Linux seems to be a real pain, even Linaro supported boards always seem to have broken GPU / Video accel support.

  15. Dmity
    December 27, 2012

    cnxsoft :
    @Dmity
    Linux on A10 does have X11 GPU accel, but it’s not providing that much of a boost.

    It’s nice to hear that. I did not think that this link has obsolete information: http://rhombus-tech.net/allwinner_a10/Compile_X11_driver_for_A10/
    “Currently there is no X11 acceleration of mali on A10″

    cnxsoft :
    @Dmity
    I don’t think Raspbian supports X11 GPU acceleration yet. (I could not find details about that).

    http://elinux.org/RPi_Xorg_rpi_Driver
    http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=4649

  16. cnxsoft
    December 27, 2012

    @Dmity
    This page is more up-to-date: http://linux-sunxi.org/Mali400
    Now most of the documentation is written on linux-sunxi.org, I’m not sure Rhombus Tech A10 tech details are updated anymore.
    So the driver is there, but it’s just not very good.

    Thanks for the links for the Raspberry Pi. So if I understand correctly, it looks like X11 accel is not in the downloadable images yet (e.g. Raspbian), but an experimental port is available, and good progress has been done. Maybe a release next month then?

  17. Gili
    December 27, 2012

    Technical support by Raspberry Pi versus Chinese company. Hmm, let’s see.

    I think people will be a substantial royalty in return for better support. Chinese companies offer terrible (nonexistent) support!

  18. Ari
    December 28, 2012

    I chose a MK802ii for my needs, and am really pleased. The MK802iii has now been released with a dual core setup, which should be very nice.

    I was pleasantly surprised at how decent Android turned out to be on my TV, and after adding a better file explorer from the Google Play store so that I could go to my NAS drive then I can play videos without problems. All in all a good buy.

    I WILL buy a MK802iii AND a Raspberry Pi, but then again I just like this class of hardware and want to do a few different things. I want a nice and simple “just works” computer for my TV, and a tinkering computer for some extra monitors I have lying around.

    One important comment about the MK802iii is that it does NOT work with many computer monitors. It only supports an output of 720 or 1080 (or a few TV resolutions, basically), so monitors with other aspect ratios will not work even if a HDMI to DVI adapter is used. Audio is also only through the HDMI connector.
    I have two older Samsung LCD monitors, and the MK802ii did not work with those (and I tried everything I could think of). The Raspberry Pi is thus a better and safer buy if you want to use it with a computer monitor, but the HDMI out on the MK802ii makes it perfect for a TV, and it is nice and crisp at 1080 (even though I think it uses some sort of trickery in the output. there is still a clear difference between the 720 and 1080 settings).

  19. Frank
    December 28, 2012

    As the article author states: “If you just look at the hardware specs, there’s no comparison,” but misses the fact that it’s all about that 10/100 ethernet adapter on the Raspberry to those of us looking at the Raspberry for an embedded standalone solution to something. Yes, there’s no comparison, and while I’d love to be able to use the MK802, it’s not even a contender.

  20. AlpheraZ
    December 28, 2012

    Personale home controllo computer……

  21. Nigel Powell
    December 28, 2012

    We did a video hands on review and price comparison back in September and came out less than impressed with the Pi. http://www.redferret.net/?p=33474. The community is awesome though!

    We also found 6 pretty interesting alternatives to the Pi, apart from the Android TV box – http://www.redferret.net/?p=33596

  22. Felix
    December 28, 2012

    I want full scale Linux environment, not a crippled “Linux” like Android which is missing a lot of important stuff. So Raspberry is the winner.

  23. Pat Gunn
    December 28, 2012

    @s7mx1

    Not everyone’s interested in using either as a home-media-player platform. If that’s a compelling use-case for you, great. I know plenty of people with small-android and Raspberry Pi devices and none of them are using them for that.

  24. Nick Palmer
    December 28, 2012

    XBMC is on Android is coming, but already largely works: http://xbmc.org/theuni/2012/07/13/xbmc-for-android/

  25. cnxsoft
    December 28, 2012

    @Felix
    MK802 II does not only run Android, it also runs Linux. Otherwise the comparison would be like comparing apples and oranges.

    @Nick Palmer
    Yes, you’re right to say XBMC on Android is coming, but support differs on different hardware platform, as hardware video decoding is not currently supported on all targets.

  26. Chris
    December 28, 2012

    for those of you who want something comparable to the mk802 ii or iii but want onboard Ethernet . Do a google search for the minix neo x5. Its based on the same specs as the mk802 iii but is in a set-top box format and has built in Ethernet and wireless. No Bluetooth though. About $100

  27. cnxsoft
    December 28, 2012

    @Chris
    minix neo x5 is based on Rockcip RK3066, so it’s mainly for Android, although there’s a Ubuntu Alpha port.
    For those who want an AllWinner A10 platform with Ethernet, there are the Mele A1000 or A2000 STBs (Around $90), and Cubieboard development board ($49 to $59)

  28. zuber5
    December 29, 2012

    What a silly comparison. Most people who want a media player buy one, not a board designed for hackers. The lack of io pins on these media players makes them pretty useless for serious hardware interfacing.

  29. Tobias Topyla
    December 30, 2012

    Cheap Android Dongles seems to be also a very good base for self-made home NAS. I’m just wondering if the coupled USB storage interface is quick enough to act as streaming device for example for FLAC files.

  30. cnxsoft
    December 30, 2012

    @Tobias Topyla
    You should be able to play back videos from a USB storage interface, so FLAC files should be no problem, although it obviously depends on the number of clients connected to your device.

  31. mimic
    January 10, 2013

    Great review!
    I used some of your data and added it to my own review.
    Hope you enjoy!
    Raspberry Pi vs. Netduino vs. MK802ii
    http://blog.brothersmorrison.com/?p=323

  32. David
    February 20, 2013

    We should look at this, little device, pcduino!

    pcDuino is a high performance, cost effective mini PC platform that runs PC like OS such as Ubuntu and Android ICS. It outputs its screen to HDMI enabled TV or monitor via the built in HDMI interface. It is specially targeted for the fast growing demands from the open source community, that is, a platform could runs full blown PC like OS with easy to use tool chain and compatible with the popular Arduino ecosystem such as Arduino Shields with a bridge shield and open source projects etc.

    http://www.pcduino.com

  33. Kilgore
    December 25, 2013

    interesting article. I already have a Raspberry Pi that I’ve been toying around with. I’ll have to keep an eye on the Android Mini-PCs in the future

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