Home > AMLogic AML8726, Hardware, Linux, Testing, Video > Jynxbox M1V2 Pure Linux XBMC Media Player Review

Jynxbox M1V2 Pure Linux XBMC Media Player Review

Theaterinabox.tv has sent me Jynxbox M1V2 TV box running XBMC Linux Gotham 13.0, and powered by Amlogic AML8726-M3 processor @ 1 GHz with 2GB Flash and 1 GB RAM. This is an upgrade of the first version featuring AML872-M1 and 512 MB RAM. I’ll go through the specs first, then show some unboxing pictures and video, and complete this post by reviewing the device by playing videos from the network and a USB flash drive, as well as going through the available add-ons in a video review.

Jynxbox M1V2/M1+ Specifications

Here are the specifications listed for Jynxbox M1V2 Pure Linux, aka Jynxbox M1+:

  • SoC – Amlogic AML8726-M3 @ 1GHz with Mali-400 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB RAM
  • Storage – 2GB NAND flash + micro SD card reader (up to 32GB)
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI up to 1080p (default: 720p)
  • Video Codecs & Containers- MPEG 1/2/4, H.264, X264, VC-1, WMV, M2TS, TS, RMVB, AVI, MKV, MOV, TS, MPEG, FLV, DivX, Xvid
  • Audio Codecs – MP2/ 3, OGG Vorbis, WMA, WAV, WMA PRO, PCM LPCM, MS-ADPCM, LC-AAC, HE-AAC, COOK, RA   Lossless,etc…
  • Connectivity - WiFi 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g/n, 10/100 Mbps Ethernet
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 ports
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 108 x 105.5 x 19.5 mm

Jynbox M1V2 Unboxing

I’ve actually received two boxes by Fedex: one for review, one for giveaway. But since I’ll have to drive to the post office anyway, I’ll probably give away both next week or the week after.

Jynxbox_M1V2_Package

In the box, we’ve got the device, an HDMI cable, a remote with 2 AAA battery (included), a 5V/2A power supply, a warranty card and a Quick Start Guide.

Jynxbox M1+ and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

Jynxbox M1+ and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

Let’s have a closer look at this XBMC Linux box.

Jynxbox M1V2 (Click to Enlarge)

Jynxbox M1V2 (Click to Enlarge)

We’ve got network and status LEDs as wel as the IR receiver at the front, on one side two USB host ports and a micro SD slot, and at the back an Ethernet port, another USB port, an HDMI output, the DC jack and a power button.

You can watch the unboxing video below.

Jynxbox M1V2 XBMC Pure Linux Review

With this type of device, there’s mainly only one thing to test: multimedia playback, and especially video playback. Despite hte low end hardware, the user interface still feel smooth (~30fps), as long as no video is playing in the background. Once a video is playing, you can feel the limitation of the hardware. For example pressing the back key, to display the menu while playing video usually takes 2 to 3 seconds. It may be a “feature”, and I don’t really feel much delays, if at all, while browsing files with a video playing in the background. Another annoyance is that I got the message “Add-on is incompatible due to unmet dependencies. Would you like to disable it on your system? ” several times as lots of add-ons are pre-installed in the device (YouTube, Vevo, Navi-X, SportsDevils, and more).

I’ve played the usual videos from SAMBA shares using Ethernet, as well as a USB flash drive.  Later, I’ve also used Wi-Fi, configured with the Network Manager in Programs menu, to test video playback and estimate Wi-Fi performance.

I started with the videos from samplemedia.linaro.org:

  • H.264 codec / MP4 container (Big Buck Bunny), 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • MPEG2 codec / MPG container, 480p/720p/1080p – It can play, but there’s some sort of barely noticeable visual effects every few seconds, that makes like the pixels are jumping / colors are slightly changing. You may not notice it at first, but once you do, it’s obvious.
  • MPEG4 codec, AVI container 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • VC1 codec (WMV), 480p – Video stopped with audio cuts sometimes. ;720p/1080p – OK
  • Real Media (RMVB) – Can play @ 2 to 3 fps.
  • WebM / VP8 – 480p is sluggish, but sort of watchable,. it’s getting worse for 720p with audio cuts as well,. and 1080p is unwatchable. It looks like software decoding is on for this codec.

High bitrate videos could play, except Elephant dream which is always a challenge:

  • ED_HD.avi (1080p MPEG-4 – 10Mbps) – Black screen audio only.
  • big_buck_bunny_1080p_surround.avi (1080p H.264 – 12 Mbps) – OK
  • h264_1080p_hp_4.1_40mbps_birds.mkv (40 Mbps) – OK
  • hddvd_demo_17.5Mbps_1080p_VC1.mkv (17.5Mbps) – OK

Another good news is that the box can decode all high-ends audio codec, but unfortunately, the box does not quite have the grunt to decode these video smoothly either from USB or Ethernet:

  • AC3 – Audio OK, but sluggish video
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 / Dolby Digital 7.1 – Audio cuts during playback
  • TrueHD 5.1 & 7.1 – Audio cuts during playback
  • DTS-MA and DTS-HR – Buffering and audio cuts during playback

I’ve also played several videos with AVI, MKV, MP4, FLV… container formats. Most of the time they could play, but sometimes while browsing the video, the menu would crash, and XBMC restart automatically, and within 5 seconds I would get back the home screen. It happened for at least two videos. You don’t need to click OK, you move the highlights on these videos.

A nice surprise was that I was able to Sintel Blu-ray ISO smoothly, including ISO navigation, and I could switch between chapters using Pg+ / Pg- keys on the remote.

Overall video playback is quite of a mixed bag, and the low-end hardware does show in higher bitrate videos.

I haven’t checked use a file manager to test Wi-Fi performance (is there one in XBMC?), but just played some of the high bitrate videos that worked with Ethernet:

  • big_buck_bunny_1080p_surround.avi (1080p H.264 – 12 Mbps) – OK
  • h264_1080p_hp_4.1_40mbps_birds.mkv (40 Mbps) – OK
  • hddvd_demo_17.5Mbps_1080p_VC1.mkv (17.5Mbps) – OK
  • Sintel-Bluray.iso (~14.5 Mbps) – Buffering only one or twice during the 10 minutes I watched the movie.

The 40 Mbps “Bird” video could only play because Jynbox M1V2 must have a large buffer, at least bigger than the movie size (104 MB), as I’ve never been able to reach over over 25 Mbps over Wi-Fi from my office with any type of hardware. Nevertheless, the other video clearly show Wi-Fi is above average, as must ARM based devices I’ve tried won’t manage these videos over Wi-Fi very well.

The remote control is actually quite nice with XBMC, but it would still have been nice to have Play/Pause and Stop buttons. I was also unable to change audio tracks on video with multiple audio tracks, same thing with subtitles in Sintel Bluray ISO.

Among the adds-ons, I’ve tried YouTube which you work OK, as well as SportsDevil, VEVO, and TED, which for some reasons could not find any streams, but my network is not always reliable.

If you want to get a better feel about the device performance, the high bitrate video issues, and see which add-ons are pre-installed, you can watch the video review below.

Inside Jynxbox M1V2

I’ve also opened the device to have a look inside.

Jynxbox M1+ Board (Click to Enlarge)

Jynxbox M1+ Board (Click to Enlarge)

One interesting bit is the internal Wi-Fi antenna which may explain the excellent wireless performance of the device. U-boot and system images are dated 20130912, but XBMC 13 Gotham and the Linux kernel have been compiled in May 2014, so I’m not sure what “system” means here. I was unable to completed removed the board from the casing as it felt “glued”.

Conclusion

Despite a single core processor, the Jynxbox M1V2 is perfectly usable, but this may not be the device for you if you are playing high bitrate videos with DTS / Dolby 5.1 /7.1 audio codec, as it won’t handle these in a smooth way. Codecs support is also one the weak side. Let’s go through the PROS and CONS:

PROS

  • Relatively smooth user interface (considering the hardware) and stable firmware
  • Excellent Wi-Fi performance, and decent Ethernet performance
  • Blu-ray ISO support
  • Many add-ons are pre-installed

CONS

  • Some video codecs are poorly supported: visual effects in some MPEG2 files, performance issues with some VC1 files, and all Real Media and VP8 videos.
  • XBMC may restart while browsing videos
  • Some apparently sluggishness in some parts of the menu while playing videos
  • Lack of play/pause and stop buttons on the remote control.

Jynxbox M1V2 Pure Linux is available from Theaterinabox.tv for $80, their Amazon store for $89.99, and I’ve also found it for $99.99 including shipping by Hong Kong Post on Aliexpress. Considering the performance you get out of this XBMC media player, the price is a bit on the high side, and you could get quad core player for this price with better performance and video support, except maybe when it comes to Wi-Fi where this box appears to shine, at least in my environment.

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  1. Paul taraneh
    June 3rd, 2014 at 21:52 | #1

    for half the price we all know of Android boxes that play better than your results show. what’s the purpose of xmbc only box anyway? Xbmc13.0 runs perfectly on my current setup. great comprehensive review though as always

  2. Dan
    June 3rd, 2014 at 22:45 | #2

    @Paul taraneh
    It’s a hangover from when Pivos developed the first Amlogic branch of XBMC but found Android too slow on the 8726-M1 platform so they made a linux version to extract as much performance as possible.

    They don’t work on it any more and the gap with Android was closed but there are people still trying to extend the linux branch out there for some reason.

    The M1/M3/MX video core was never particularly adapt at playing Blu-ray’s, while some will work others wont. Full BD support is allegedly only present on the Amlogic S8 series.

  3. adem
    June 4th, 2014 at 07:29 | #3

    you maybe able to install pivos android or pivos xbmc linux because i remember pivos has both images bor m1 and m3 boxes but then you really need to make sure wifi chip is the same. also i think there is a mx linux on xda developers who has pure xbmc running on 8726-mx boxes i actually installed it on my droid stick and g-box mx2. it ran better on the stick then what it did on the box the box was too buggy i think its abit too early to use for now.

  4. adem
    June 4th, 2014 at 07:32 | #4

    hey cnx do you give away your boxes to your readers. why don’t you make compositions and give away to your readers i am sure some would even pay for the postage i know i would. just a thought.

  5. June 4th, 2014 at 09:39 | #5

    @adem
    I thought about doing that like Liliputing does. But normally I get relatively new hardware which i like to keep for a while, in case something new comes up to try on it (e.g. Linux, Android version). So I can give away devices, but for HDMI sticks shipping would between $10 to $15, and boxes $15 to $25, for small packet airmail with tracking, so I’m not sure people would be that much interested in older, second hand hardware that the could buy maybe for $30 to $50 new.

    If people are interested, then I could organize some giveaway, every 2 days, and ship everything, once I got the winners. People would comment, and after 2 days, I’d draw the winner with random.org.
    Some other items I can give away which still have some values are Gbox Midnight MX2, Tronsmart Prometheus, Beelink A9 (same as Tronsmart A928), Mele X1000, and maybe MK908, and T428. Maybe some others, I can’t think of. If you can think of other items that I reviewed, just let me know.

  6. adem
    June 4th, 2014 at 12:22 | #6

    @cnxsoft

    i would be interested in the beelink A9 i could never get close to buying one because people in other forums at the time were saying the firmware was a bit buggy. if you remember i asked you before about it i am a bit couscous after being burnt with cs868. i think A9 would be a great alternative to minix x7.

    also i would not say that your devices are old you have soo many you properly don have time to use one for so long.

  7. dhead
    June 4th, 2014 at 13:32 | #7

    @cnxsoft
    Sign me on for the Amlogic MX / Meson6 (dual core) DVB-T2 box, I would love to tinker with Linux and the DVB drivers.

    If you got an outdated Amlogic device with the old M1 / Meson1 chip (which are hard to find today) then I would also like to get my hands on it as I’m playing with the Linux kernel and need a M1 test device (got too many M3).

  8. June 4th, 2014 at 14:35 | #8

    @dhead
    Sorry the DVBT-T2 won’t be part of the giveaway this time. I have yet to do the review. I tried to use an indoor VHF/UHF antenna, but could not catch any channel. I’ll try to make a DIY “diamond” antenna soon to complete testing.

  9. adem
    June 4th, 2014 at 17:32 | #9

    @dhead
    dhead i have am1 tv box if you have any software to test i will help you test it this is a video i made long ago

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hxg_quXNjVk

    also incase you use google hangouts we can chat about it

  10. June 5th, 2014 at 02:56 | #10

    adem :
    @dhead
    dhead i have am1 tv box if you have any software to test i will help you test it this is a video i made long ago
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hxg_quXNjVk
    also incase you use google hangouts we can chat about it

    Thats geniatech m1 hardware.

    When comes to giveaways, I’m interested in Visson ATV-108 (m1) and ATV-102 (m3 with 512 mb RAM), these I’m lacking to make updated android firmwares. Visson doesn’t have any of it under the desk :D

  11. adem
    June 5th, 2014 at 09:44 | #11

    @Stane1983

    yes but i can install pivos m1 android and xbmc linix on it

  12. June 5th, 2014 at 20:49 | #12

    adem :
    @Stane1983
    yes but i can install pivos m1 android and xbmc linix on it

    You can or can’t? Pivos M1 and M3 are Geniatech hardware.

  13. adem
    June 5th, 2014 at 21:35 | #13

    i can install on it works perfect just last week i updated to hydra gotham release

  14. dhead
    June 6th, 2014 at 11:19 | #14

    adem :
    @dhead
    dhead i have am1 tv box if you have any software to test i will help you test it this is a video i made long ago
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hxg_quXNjVk
    also incase you use google hangouts we can chat about it

    I need a device for kernel development, this isn’t something that can be tested by users,

  15. m][sko
    June 6th, 2014 at 16:55 | #15

    dhead :

    adem :
    @dhead
    dhead i have am1 tv box if you have any software to test i will help you test it this is a video i made long ago
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hxg_quXNjVk
    also incase you use google hangouts we can chat about it

    I need a device for kernel development, this isn’t something that can be tested by users,

    Don’t waste your time with old devices :)
    old kernel(2.6), zero support,….
    But If you really really want one I can spare one

  16. adem
    June 6th, 2014 at 22:48 | #16

    hey people i really stuffed up and i dont know what to do. ??? my i opened up my prometheus and had a look at the pcb then i put it all back together but when i boot up the date and time is wrong it shows 10:00 and year 1970 but i still have wifi but play store wont work so i deceded to flash F/w i did the sdcard method like i did b4 but there is nothing i only have the red and blue light and the blue light is not blinking at all. my
    question does any one know how to short the nand pins or that method or is there way to connect it to pc with serial to usb. plzzz help me guys

  17. June 7th, 2014 at 00:56 | #17

    @adem
    You need to prepare recovery sdcard (see stane1983.com if don’t know how), and you need to short pins on SPI, not nand. See http://i60.tinypic.com/el4rps.png

  18. dhead
    June 7th, 2014 at 03:31 | #18

    m][sko :
    Don’t waste your time with old devices
    old kernel(2.6), zero support,….
    But If you really really want one I can spare one

    If I’m learning something in the process it isn’t a waste of time for me, and when I say “kernel development” I mean that I don’t plan to stay with 2.6.x (hint ;) ).
    I already got more than few M3 devices, few MX/M6 and can get M8/S802 for free so I just need M1 to complete my Meson collection, if you can spare M1 device you’re welcome to contact me at myfoolishgames-at-gmail.com

  19. adem
    June 7th, 2014 at 17:49 | #19

    @Stane1983
    ona nother pic they were shoing different pin will give this a go but now i have no led lights nothing is working

  20. adem
    June 7th, 2014 at 18:04 | #20

    i tried that and did not work i also tried pressing reset and short pinss and plug it in at the same time and it did nothing. i have ttl to usb (d-sun ttl to usb) can you guys point out to me how i can putty into it and manually resete the device whcich pin goes where. thanks…

  21. June 8th, 2014 at 19:34 | #21

    @adem

    I don’t have any Prometheus pcb, only regular visson design so UART pins are on different place. I believe on Prometheus uart is on J21 pinout. Square pin is GND for sure, rest of it should be RX, TX and V3.3.

    But if you dont have any light when you plug in the power I believe your board is fried or your adaptor is fried.

  22. adem
    June 8th, 2014 at 20:10 | #22

    @Stane1983
    i dont know which hole is tx rx and so on how can i find out.

    also when i try to connect using ttl to usb the led ligst come on but when i power on the device there is no led lights

  23. June 9th, 2014 at 21:25 | #23

    @adem
    Hi,

    sorry for late reply. If you have Voltmeter, you can measure 3.3V pin easily to be sure. But according to PCB here http://www.cnx-software.com/2013/02/09/tronsmart-prometheus-review/ I would say that square pin is GND, and top pin is 3.3V. 3.3V you dont connect, and middle pins are rx/tx. With these ones you can try…. if doesn’t work, replace wires.

    But as I told before, I think you fried your box. Light should be on no matter what happened to bootloader etc when you power the box on.

  24. adem
    June 10th, 2014 at 12:59 | #24

    i will have a nother crack at it

  25. Steve
    June 10th, 2014 at 16:31 | #25

    For people questioning why bother with Linux instead of Android – there is one major failing in almost all Android XBMC set-ups – frame-rate switching. Android doesn’t allow apps to change the video refresh rate, so for those of us who watch a mix of 50Hz, 24Hz and 60Hz content, and want to watch them without judder, Linux builds (which DO support frame-rate / refresh-rate switching) are the way to go. AC3/DTS bit streaming is usually a lot less painful under Linux as well.

  1. June 16th, 2014 at 10:10 | #1