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CS918S Android STB Features AllWinner A31s Processor, a Retractable Webcam, Built-in 3G

November 13th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

K-R42-1, now better known as CS918, has been a fairly popular Android set-top box based on RK3188 due to its low price. There’s no a new model called CS918S with a similar casing, but replacing Rockchip RK3188, by AllWinner A31s, adding more flash (16GB), a retractable webcam, and an internal bay with an optional 3G/4G module.

CS918S - Top Left with Camera "closed", Bottom Right with Camera "opened"

CS918S – Top Left with Camera “closed”, Bottom Right with Camera “opened”

Here are the specs of this device:

  • SoC – AllWinner A31s quad cortex cortex A7 processor @ 1.2 GHz + PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB NAND flash + microSD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI and CVBS (AV)
  • Audio Output – HDMI, optical SPDIF, and AV
  • Video Playback / Encoding
    • 2160p (UHD) H.264 decoding
    • 1080p video decoding for Mpeg1/2, Mpeg4 SP/ASP GMC, H.263, H.264, etc.
    • 1080p@30fps or 720p@60fps encoding
    • 3840×1080@30fps 3D decoding, BD/SBS/TAB/FP supported
    • 3840×1080@30fps 3D encoding
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 (Realtek 8723), 10/100M Ethernet, and built-in 3G (CDMA/WCDMA)
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports (3x external + 1x internal for 3G module or flash drive), and 1x microUSB OTG port
  • Camera – 5MP retractable camera with microphone
  • Misc – IR sensor, recovery/firmware upgrade button
  • Dimensions – 142x95x21 mm

The device comes at least with an IR remote control, and most probably with a power adapter, but it’s difficult to know for sure, as none of the sellers deemed necessary to list the package content. The retractable camera is mainly interesting for those worried about privacy, in case some hackers, or the NSA, remotely takes control of the camera to see what’s going on in your living room or bedroom. On the other end, if you’re a bit lazy, it may be an annoyance, as you’d have to get up from the sofa to open or close the camera. The other selling point of this CS918S is “built-in 3G” which is actually a USB module connected inside the device as shown in the picture below.

CS918S_3G_ModuleDue to a lack of details, it’s difficult to know if the 3G module is included in the device, or if it is just an option that can be bought separately, or is only present in some models. Of course, writing “Built-in 3G” and not selling the device with the 3G module would be false advertisement, but if 3G is important for you, better wait for some trusted reviews first, just to make sure.

On the software side, CS918S runs Android 4.2.2, and if we are to believe the video below supports applications such as Netflix, XBMC with internal player, Miracast and Fireair (for Airplay). The demo also shows the use of 4K player, but the video sample used is not a 4K video. Nevertheless the device should be capable of decoding 4K2K (2160p) videos since it’s powered by AllWinner A31s.

A possible worry is the stability of the firmware. I have only one AllWinner A31 device, CS868 mini PC, the company behind the device has now given up on providing firmware update, and the latest firmware can’t even play YouTube videos. Some months ago, people also complained about Mele Android STB based on A31, but many bugs may have been fixed now, as the company regularly provides firmware updates.

CS918S can now be purchased from several sellers on Aliexpress starting at $110 including shipping, as well as on DealSprime for $99.99 with free shipping to most countries.

Via Google+ mini PCs community.

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  1. November 14th, 2013 at 11:59 | #1

    It’s Huawei EC156 as a 3G module there )

  2. Jacob
    December 29th, 2013 at 00:16 | #2

    Does device can be rooted ???????

  3. adem
    December 29th, 2013 at 07:27 | #3

    i will never trust a31 or a31s devices

  4. December 29th, 2013 at 09:23 | #4

    @Jacob
    There are method showing how to root AllWinner A31(s) devices: http://theunlockr.com/2013/08/31/how-to-install-custom-recovery-and-root-the-onda-allwinner-v971v972/

    It could work for CS918s too.

  5. onebir
    January 5th, 2014 at 20:55 | #5
  6. japusa
    January 24th, 2014 at 10:29 | #6

    @cnxsoft
    Yes, the method for root work. Thanks from Spain.

  7. Jon Smirl
    January 29th, 2014 at 02:22 | #7

    I ordered one. Came with 1GB RAM and 8GB flash, 2MP under same part number – CS918S. Did not have the internal USB pocket but there was room for it. Not worth the $85 I paid. Don’t get tricked by the part number like I did.

    Not a good deal for $85…
    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/CS918S-Android-4-2-2-Set-Top-Box-smart-TV-BOX-camera-Quad-Core-A31-1GB/1529995174.html

    What I meant to order for $99
    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-Shipping-New-CS918S-Quad-Core-Android-TV-Box-2GB-DDR3-16GB-Built-in-5MP-Camera/1479373538.html

  8. Marius
    February 6th, 2014 at 20:50 | #8

    Just received the 2GB version which I bought for $95 on Aliexpress. Looks nice and works pretty well I guess but I still need to test it more.
    Came with Android 4.2.2 but Skype couldn’t use the HW encoding which I assume the A31s does have.

  9. Keith
    April 5th, 2014 at 06:07 | #9

    I just upgraded to the April 1st firmware release, its like an entirely new device!!!

  10. studiousnr
    April 12th, 2014 at 23:29 | #10

    @Keith
    Hi keith i just got this device cs918s 5mp one, as u said you updated the firmware, i read that bluetooth and google mouse would stop working after that, please would you let me now how has your experience been cuz my device is doing some problem in on and off and icefilm is too laggy thanks

  11. Milind Patwardhan
    May 3rd, 2014 at 18:55 | #11

    Hi, I have purchased the CS918S.. WiFi hotspot, HDMI output to TV works fine but any of the 3 USB ports on the device cant detect pen drive OR 1TB HDD… is there a solution?

  12. May 3rd, 2014 at 21:11 | #12

    @Milind Patwardhan
    It could be because the kernel does not support USB mass storage.
    If you firmware is older than April 1, 2014. You could try a newer firmware. http://www.armtvtech.com/armtvtechforum/viewtopic.php?f=97&t=74045

  13. Keith
    May 15th, 2014 at 00:33 | #13

    Full development community has been kicked off ever at the following forum: http://dragondevs.com/index.php/forum/604-ott-cs918s-android-tv-box-allwinner/

    From the looks of it, multiple drivers have been added to one of the new roms. Also, it looks like they have the source code.

  14. Marius
    May 15th, 2014 at 01:41 | #14

    @Keith
    Thanks a lot. Given that it’s an Allwinner SOC the FEX system means that the kernel source code is indeed available.

  15. July 26th, 2014 at 07:39 | #15

    @studiousnr
    I apologize to everyone, its been busy for me. But I come bringing gifts.
    Here is the link to the source code of the 4.4 Kitkat rom for this device. HOWEVER!!!!!
    CSQ who made the device claims that several of the devices we have maybe fakes which is why
    BT, Wifi, the Camera dont work. However, the 4.4 version still uses kernel 3.3.0. Someone with the right know how could replace the the new drivers with the old and make it a better rom. Now I did do a custom over at dragondevs.com, and could use a little more assistance. However a lot of us will still be working on 4.2.2 but also 4.4.2. Enjoy: https://mega.co.nz/#!GhA2zCpR!GAjLVxCdqvKV3vmJAF0r8xbkGHCboU-7G8cQfQ6Ts0o

  16. adem
    July 26th, 2014 at 08:58 | #16

    i think this firmware works with the cs868 but BT WIFI and ETHERNET does not work is there any one that could help me out with that

  17. adem
    July 27th, 2014 at 07:16 | #17

    any one

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