Home > AMLogic, Android, Hardware, Testing > Mecool KIII Pro Hybrid Android STB Review – Part 1: Specs, Unboxing and Teardown

Mecool KIII Pro Hybrid Android STB Review – Part 1: Specs, Unboxing and Teardown

K1 Plus T2 S2 review has been a popular post on CNX Software, as many people tried to improve their experience with the device. VideoStrong has just send an updated version of their DVB-T2 + DVB-S2 TV box with Mecool KIII Pro octa-core Hybrid STB powered by an Amlogic S912 processor combined with 3 GB RAM and 16GB storage, and the same dual tuner configuration. I’ve started the review by posting some pictures of the hardware, inside out, before reporting my experience with Android, especially the DTV part, in a few weeks.

KIII Pro Specifications

  • SoC –  Amlogic S912 octa core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5 GHz with  Mali-T820MP3 GPU
  • System Memory – 3 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot up to 32GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60Hz with support for HDR10 and HLG, and 3.5mm AV (composite video) jack
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV (stereo audio), optical S/PDIF
  • Video Codecs – 10-bit H.265, and VP9 up to 4K60, H.264 up to 4K30, AVS+ up to 1080p60
  • Tuner – Combo DVB-T/T2 and DVB-S/S2 with two connectors
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – Power button and LED, IR receiver
  • Power Supply –  DC 12V/12A
  • Dimensions – 130 x 120 x 32 mm
  • Weight – ~190 grams

The box runs Android 6.0 with Kodi 17 pre-installed.

KIII Pro Unboxing

I received the device in a white retail package marked “KIII Pro Octa-core Hybrid STB” and “OTT TV BOX”.

The bottom of the package has some of the specs.The set-top box ships with a 12V/1A power supply, a largish IR remote control taking two AA batteries, an HDMI cable, and a user’s manual in English.

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The enclosure is very similar to K1 Plus with the edges “smoothed” out.

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The power bottom can conveniently be found on the top cover, one side has four USB 2.0 host ports, a micro SD, and the rear panel features a DVB-T2 coaxial connector, a DVB-S2 F connector, CVBS/LR composite + stereo audio 3.5mm jack, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a HDMI 2.0a port, optical S/PDIF, and the power jack.

KIII Pro Teardown

Let’s open the thing. We’ll have to start with the bottom cover. First we’ll notice a D0:76:58 MAC address which is not registered with IEEE, but the company previously explained that it was for “localized network, and it is the only ID for empowering applications to activate, specially IPTV applications”. Then, the box can be wall-mounted via two “hooks”, which can be convenient in some use cases. Finally, there’s a recovery pinhole on the right of the sticker in order to reinstall firmware if your box does not boot anymore.

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We don’t need to remove all rubber pads, as there are two just screws holding the case together. One under the bottom left rubber pad, and one under the QC sticker, which you need to pierce through. Once we’ve removed those two screws, the box comes apart easily.


We have two boards: main board with heatsink on the CPU, and a yellow board with the tuner circuitry.

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We’ll find two SpecTek DDR3 SDRAM chips: PE029-125 (512 MB) and another chip market “512X16DDR3” (1 GB) for a total of 1.5 GB RAM on this side of the board. The flash is covered by a sticker, which I have not removed, so we’ll see how storage performs in benchmarks. Gigabit Ethernet is done using Realtek RTL8211F transceiver, and Pulse H5900L transformer, while AC WiFi  and Bluetooth LE is implemented via a module marked “KM63351412” which could be equivalent to AP6335 module found in some other devices. Other chips include GL852G USB hub, and DIO2133 audio driver. If you want to hack the board, the serial console should be available via an unpopulated 4-pin header on the bottom left of the photo above.

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The other side of the CPU board comes with a micro SD card slot, and 1.5 GB extra RAM to bring the total to 3GB. We can also see extra cooling with a thick metal plate, covered by a black sheet, itself covered by a thin plastic transparent sheet on the bottom of the enclosure.

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S2&T2_R848_REV1.2 tuner board looks very similar to KI Plus tuner board, but just upgraded from Revision 1.0 to Revision 1.2, and featuring the same Availink AVL6862TA DVB-C/T/T2 + DVB-S/S2 demodulator, but they changed Rafael Micro R848 tuner chip to R912 model, which is not documentation on Rafael Micro website yet.

If you are interested in purchasing KIII Pro in quantities, you may inquire Videostrong via their Alibaba page. Mecool KIII Pro can also be purchased online on sites such as GearBest ($117.99), which by the way currently has promotions for their 3rd anniversary, as well as several shops on Aliexpress ($141 and up) and Banggood ($133.99).

[Update: Part 2 of the review is up @ Mecool KIII Pro Hybrid STB Review – Part 2: Android Firmware, TV Center, and DVB-T2 & DVB-S2 App]

  1. March 13th, 2017 at 21:21 | #1

    If you have a chance to show more details about the turner. It has dvb-s/s2 and dvb-t/t2 ( but is this one also a dvb-c?) as you said that the chip does it. Could be used with cable + sat config.
    I think we will not see any soon a libreelec/openelec build with tv headend. As all other s912 box does not have it. But if Android works fine with it in kodi with proper setup and newcamd like script. Its fine.

    WAITING for more information

  2. piotrasd
    March 14th, 2017 at 02:00 | #2

    demuxer support dvb-s/dvb-t/dvb-c but there is only one tuner – so only one source at time could work
    and yes DVB-C working also but on LibreELEC in K1/KII

  3. TC
    March 14th, 2017 at 03:53 | #3

    that tuner on a pci card or with usb…

  4. piotrasd
    March 14th, 2017 at 04:54 | #4

    that tuner inside this box 😉

  5. prawnman
    March 14th, 2017 at 14:12 | #5

    Hey, I made an account here specifially to ask the following:

    How well does DVB-S2 work in android, in these boxes? Ts there some TV tuner app that is used, or does it work under Kodi? When using the app, does HDMi_CEC work well?

    Thanks for anybody who provides any feedback

  6. March 14th, 2017 at 14:16 | #6

    @prawnman
    I have not started it yet, but based on the user’s manual screenshots, it should be like KI Plus: tuner does not work in Kodi, but via a separate “DTV app”. Check K1 Plus T2 S2 review for details.
    Not sure about HDMI CEC, I never managed to make it work here.

  7. prawnman
    March 14th, 2017 at 14:17 | #7

    @cnxsoft
    Cheers, thanks for the reply!

    Looking forward to part 2 of the review. 😀

  8. Steve
    March 14th, 2017 at 16:14 | #8

    @TC

    Looks like neither PCI nor USB to me, but instead a parallel TS (transport stream) interface, probably with something like I2C for device control?

    That seems quite common for integrated tuners in these kind of devices?

  9. piotrasd
    March 14th, 2017 at 16:48 | #9

    yes tuner is connected over SDIO/GPIO 😉

  10. TC
    March 14th, 2017 at 17:36 | #10

    Looks like neither PCI nor USB to me, but instead a parallel TS (transport stream) interface, probably with something like I2C for device control?
    That seems quite common for integrated tuners in these kind of devices?

    yeah, thats standard for drop in tuners

    i meant, i would like to have that tuner with pci or usb interface

    it should be way cheaper than the TBS or Haupauge all in one solutions currently avaiable

  11. Ron
    March 15th, 2017 at 09:33 | #11

    Thanks cnxsoft!

    I am excited towards reading the full review!

    And I wonder whether should I wait for a new Wetek with S912 and Dvb-T2 (if there will be such a device – a Play3 model, for example), or maybe I could settle for this KIII Pro.

  12. kentec
    March 15th, 2017 at 11:29 | #12

    @prawnman
    it is a apk
    named DTV, and when open DVB-S2, DVB-T2 for your choices

  13. Tarwin
    March 15th, 2017 at 19:30 | #13

    Don’t you need HDMI 2.0b for HLG?

  14. March 15th, 2017 at 19:46 | #14

    @kentec
    Accordingly to HDMI website, you need HDMI 2.0b, but HLG was always part of Amlogic S912 features set. So I don’t know, and it’s not something I’ll be able to test.

  15. Urogeek
    March 18th, 2017 at 20:12 | #15

    Hi
    Thanks for this excellent part 1 review. I have some questions:

    1- Does it have the same audio sync problem as the KII PRO AND KI PLUS? a big problem that videostrong never solved.

    2- Can the DTV APP be lanched auromatically in the start ??

    Thanks

  16. March 18th, 2017 at 20:20 | #16

    @Urogeek
    1. I did not notice any audio/video sync issue in K1 Plus @ http://www.cnx-software.com/2016/02/28/review-of-k1-plus-android-tv-box-with-combo-dvb-s2dvb-t2-tuner/. I’m watching live TV from DVB-T2 on KIII Pro now, and no problem either.
    2. You can launch it with that method http://www.cnx-software.com/2013/03/30/how-to-autostart-xbmc-in-android/

    Good news is that DVB-T2 and DVB-S2 channels are shown together, you don’t need to choose either one at start time.

  17. joe
    March 18th, 2017 at 22:23 | #18

    Hi,I have just recievd this kIII BOX after I have tested I have found out the problem is the signal is 50%-60% still had the same problem with previous models the signal on terestrial is very good
    I tested it on biss it works fine I also tested it iptv works very good. on Kodi very good no more buffering . however I had problems with cccam it doesnt open all of the channels in the package and its slow I think the box needs more engerniring software de-bug
    the box has problems such as blurring as you will see on the photos attached below and on SD channels the quality is not good
    http://www.sat-universe.com/showthread.php?p=2036760234#post2036760234

  18. March 19th, 2017 at 11:41 | #19

    @Urogeek
    No problem on Thaicom satellite. I only have SD channels working though. I also don’t really understand what the people say on the TV (I guess I need to work on my Thai and Burmese), but I just try to follow lips movements, especially at the end of sentences.

    @joe
    I have good signal for DVB-T2 here. Strength: 97%; quality: 100%
    DVB-S2 is much weaker, but I have several long cables running to the box. S: 57%; Q: 48%. It’s about the same as K1 Plus T2/S2. I can’t compare to other boxes, as they only use T2 at home.

  19. joe
    March 19th, 2017 at 16:50 | #20

    @ UroGeeek Ive been in the satellite buisness for many years now from analoge to digital
    I have 3 different models KI , KII, KIII . the terestrial signal quality is good 100 % but the problem is on HD and SD satellite channels are bad they dont have picture autocorrection and the satellite tuner has not been changed since they realeased the 3 models . videostrong company is not doing anything to correct these problems this was my last box as I am not buying from this company anymore They dont support the products !!

  20. March 19th, 2017 at 18:30 | #21

    The DVB S2 tuner was great in the original KI S805 box, I got 99% signal quality, that dropped to 50-60% In the KII Pro, and it seems that same problem will be there with the KIII, very disappointing, I’m going to start looking for alternatives, that also has HDMI 2.0 for 4k res

  21. Urogeek
    March 19th, 2017 at 20:01 | #22

    Looking for a 4k dvb s2 sat receiver. .. KIII PRO would have been perfect if videostrong changed corrected the issues. .. i’ve read somewhere that s905D processor was made To support DVB boxes. .. is there any dvb box out there with this processor

  22. March 19th, 2017 at 20:19 | #23

    @Urogeek
    There’s Datamax DM145S http://www.cnx-software.com/2017/01/10/datamax-dm145s-hybrid-tv-box-with-digital-tuners-is-powered-by-amlogic-s905d-processor/
    But I’m not sure how good it is, and I have not seen it for retail yet

  23. March 19th, 2017 at 20:21 | #24

    @James
    I had the same signal strength (~55%) for DVB-S2 in K1 Plus T2 S2 (S905). They’ve changed the RF part of the tuner, still same brand (Rafael) but different model.

  24. March 20th, 2017 at 17:48 | #25

    @cnxsoft
    Yeah,TBH I have a very good signal with my satellite dish as I have a good LNB so signal isnt really the problem, It does drop by 20%+ with the KI+ KII, KIII boxes but I still have good enough signal quality to not get any drop outs with my channels. The main problem I have is the sound and picture being out of sync with the HD channles. I dont get this problem with my standard 1080p TV , But i do get it with my LG 4K TV, and it is only when using the KI, KII or KIII boxes. An earlier post said something about them not having picuture autocorrection. I have never heard of this but im wondering if this is the problem.

  25. March 20th, 2017 at 17:53 | #26

    @James
    I only have SD channels working on DVB-S/S2 here, the only HD channel I’ve got shows “No signal”.
    No problem on DVB-T2.

    The box has quite a few more problems than I expected. Hopefully, I can finish the review on Wednesday.

  26. March 20th, 2017 at 20:58 | #27

    @cnxsoft
    Yeah really look forward to that, these reviews are of a great help thank you

  27. joe
    March 20th, 2017 at 23:58 | #28

    heaven see with my eye , the best programmer engineer on satellite STB , are korean !!!

  28. March 21st, 2017 at 09:25 | #29

    @joe
    Ah yes. I forgot the Korean maker of U4 Quad Hybrid, are working on U5pvr model with HDMI 2.0 support. That’s another option, but I think they are still doing testing.

  29. joe
    March 21st, 2017 at 18:53 | #30

    hi mate all ok on KIII PRO picture i change the HDM cable picture excellet !!!

  30. OldSchool
    March 22nd, 2017 at 01:33 | #31

    @joe
    Hi Joe, i have see on sat-universe a picture with RAI HD opened.
    AT me it still encrypted, but swiss, french and other channel working fine (de-scrambled).
    You have make some particular settings?
    I have tested with with CCcam

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