Posts Tagged ‘Linux’

Amlogic S905, S905X, and S912 Processors Appear to be Limited to 1.5 GHz, not 2 GHz as Advertised

August 28th, 2016 65 comments

When I compared the performance Amlogic S905 and Rockchip RK3368 processors  last year, I noticed Amlogic S905 single thread performance not being much faster than the one of Rockchip RK3368, despite the former allegedly clocked at 2.0 GHz against the latter 1.2 GHz. But early this month one member (koschi) on ODROID forums started a thread entitled “No performance difference between 1.5, 1.75 & 2GHz” about ODROID-C2 board.


The first post link to Ant-computing website about choosing a processor for a build farm, and one of the tables comparing various ARM and x86 processors with the claim that Amlogic S905 was listed to 1.536 GHz, because “the device claims to run at 2.016 GHz but the kernel silently ignores frequencies above 1.536 GHz!”

ARM_x86_CPU_Comparison_TableSo koschi did his own tests with 7z and sysbench, using cpufreq-set -u $FREQ to set a fixed frequency between test, and could confirm the issue:

So it looks like Amlogic is cheating with the frequencies, and anything above 1.536 GHz does not change the results… There has been many comments in the thread with others confirming the issue. Hardkernel investigated the issue, and the answer while truthful is disappointing:

Please don’t waste your valuable time.
All the Coretex-A53 based Amlogic SoCs have the same issue. S905, S905 Rev-C(S905H), S905X and even S912.
The kernel clock frequency 1.75 and 2Ghz do not exist in the BL3x blobs.
It must be Amlogic’s fault. But we should detect it earlier in our internal development stage. Really sorry about that mistake.

We’ve been modifying/testing the BL3x code to find a maximum feasible/stable clocks like 1.53Ghz, 1.58Ghz, 1.61Ghz, 1.65Ghz, 1.68Ghz, 1.71Ghz, etc for a couple of weeks.
But 1.65Ghz seems to be the maximum one due to some power and heat issues. We will run the burnA53 on Ubuntu and the Stress app on Android with 10 set of C2 boards in this weekend (for 48 hours stability test) to make sure it.
Once we will have a test result, we will report it on this thread with update package for further sampling test in early next week.

If we disable two cores, the SoC can run up to 1.75Ghz probably. But we need further stability test too.
And yes. I fully agree most people don’t like this approach.

Anyway, we know well 1.65Ghz or 1.75Ghz is still very far from the 2Ghz. So we will change the C2 specification in our home page next week as per the test result.
And we must consider some compensation for C2 users. But we need to check what we can do first.

Please accept my sincere apologies for the mistake and kindly understand our situation.

The only good news is that the limit might not be 1.5 GHz, and possibly closer to 1.7 GHz, with the final number pending Hardkernel burn-in test results. That issue will not only affect ODROID boards, but also any other devices based on Amlogic S905, S905X, and S912 processors.

Thanks to Tim for the tip.

Getting Started with ReSpeaker WiFi IoT Board’s Audio Capabilities, Voice Recognition and Synthesis

August 27th, 2016 8 comments

ReSpeaker is a development board combining an Atmel AVR MCU, a MediaTek MT7688 WiFi module running OpenWrt, a built-in microphone, an audio jack, and I/O headers to allow for voice control and output for IoT applications. That means you could make your own Amazon Echo like device with the board and add-ons, use it as a voice controlled home automation gateway and more. The board was launched on Kickstarter a few days ago, and already raised $100,000 from about 100 backers, but I’ve received an early sample, so I’ll provide some more information about the firmware, and shows how to use with some Python scripts leveraging Microsoft Bing Speech API.

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Click to Enlarge

You’ll need a micro USB to USB cable to connect your to computer (Linux, Windows, Mac OS…), and a speaker to connect to the board. Linux (OpenWrt) boots in a few seconds, and once it’s done all RGB LED will continuously blink.

I’m using a computer running Ubuntu 16.04, and ReSpeaker is detected by the system as an Arduino Leonardo board:

That’s optional, but if you want you can access the serial console, with programs like Minicom, screen, putty or hyperterminal and set the connection to 57600 8N1 to access the command. Here’s the full boot log:

If you think something is odd here… That’s because the serial connection will miss some characters. This happens with two computers and different USB cables. Hopefully this is either a specific issue with my sample, or if it is an issue it will be fixed by the time boards ship to Kickstarter backers [Update: The company explained me that it’s because the Atmel 32u4 and Mediatek MT7688 share the same USB port]. So instead of using the serial console, I’ll use SSH instead which means I have to connect to ReSpeaker WiFi access point first, and configure it.

LinkIt_Smart_Access_PointReSpeaker will show as LinkIt_Smart_7688_XXXXX, because the WiFi module is exactly the same as LinkIt Smart 7688 IoT board, and unsurprisingly the configuration interface is exactly the same.ReSpeaker_WiFi_PasswordFirst set the root password, and login with that password.

ReSpeaker_Station_Mode_OpenWrt_LUCIThen go to Network tab, select station mode, and connect to your access point by entering your password. Click Configure, and you’re done. As you can see on the right above, you can also use OpenWrt’s LUCI interface to configure networking.

Now find ReSpeaker IP address via your Router DHCP client list, arp-scan, or other method:

You can now connect to the board via SSH:

and use the password you set in the web interface.

Now let’s check some CPU information:

We’ve got Mediatek NT7688 MIPS24K processor as advertised, so let’s check a few more details:

The board runs Linux 3.18.23, has 7.6MB available storage, and 128MB RAM in total.

I’m not going to test the audio features with command tools, and python script, and also include a video demo at the end of this review.Since I don’t have ReSpeaker Microphone array add-on, I have to be fairly close to the microphone for it to work well, maybe one meter at most, or the volume would be really low.

I’ll start by checking audio recording and playback with any API or internet access requirements.
We can record audio with 16000 sample rate, 16 bit width, 1 channel using the following command

and play it back with aplay:

It worked OK for me, although the volume seemed quite low.

Now we can do something a little more interested as Seeed Studio develop a few Text-to-speech and Speech-to-text Python scripts. You can retrieve the scripts from ReSpeaker github account, and install one dependencies to setup the board:

The script are using Microsoft Speech API, but in theory you could use any other speech API. Since Seeed Studio has already done all the hard work, I simply applied for a Microsoft peech API key in order to be able to use the demo.

Microsoft_API_KeyThat’s free for testing / evaluation, but if you intend to use it in commercial products, or for your own case, if you use more 5,000 transactions per month, you’d need to purchase a subscription.

You’ll find three Python scripts in the directory namely:,, Look for BING_KEY inside each script, and paste your own key.

Time to have some fun, starting with the speech to text script:

It’s pretty slow to start (about 15 seconds), and then there are a few error message, before you can see the “* recording” message, and you can talk, with Bing returning the results: “Bing:你好”. Chinese? Yep, as currently the default is Chinese, but if it is not your strongest language, you can edit, and change the language replacing zh-CN by en-US, or other language strings:

An English works too (sort of):

In the first sentence, I said “Hello World! Welcome to CNX Software today”, but it came out as “hello world next software”, maybe because of my accent, but I doubt it…

Then I wanted to try Thai language, but I got an API failure simply because the number of supported languages by Microsoft Speeach API is limited as shown in the table below.

language-Country language-Country language-Country language-Country
ar-EG* en-IN fr-FR pt-BR
ca-ES en-NZ it-IT pt-PT
da-DK en-US ja-JP ru-RU
de-DE es-ES ko-KR sv-SE
en-AU es-MX nb-NO zh-CN
en-CA fi-FI nl-NL zh-HK
en-GB fr-CA pl-PL zh-TW

If your language is not listed here, then you could Google Speech API instead, and it’s likely Seeed Studio or the community will have written compatible scripts by the time ReSpeaker boards ship to backers.

So you now know how to convert your voice to text, and you can use that text to send a web search, or toggle GPIOs, but you may also want to get an audio answer to your action, and script is there for your, and very easy to use:

It did not really feel realistic, but at least I could understand the female voice in the speakers. Looks in the script I did not see any language settings, so I assume the API will automatically detect the language, and inputted a string in French instead, and all I heard was gibberish. Finally I found that you can change the voice language in script with contains most of the code:

I replaced the US female voice, but a French male voice, added a “famous French saying”:

At least it was understandable, but Microsoft has still some work to do the audio output was more like “Salut mon gars. commencer a va?”. The reason could also be that the correct writing is “Comment ça va”, but the terminal (set to UTF-8), did not let me input “ç”.

You can watch all those demo in the video below to get a better feel about the audio quality, delays, and capabilities of Microsoft Bing Speech API.

Ambarella A12S SoC Allows For Cheaper 4K 30 fps Action Cameras, or Does it Not?

August 26th, 2016 3 comments

[Update: I’ve been informed that Ambarella A12S product brief from their website contains outdated information (It will be updated soon), and that A12S does indeed support 4K @ 30 fps. I’ve left the rest of the post unchanged, but that means Ambarella A12S75 based cameras can support 4K @ 30 fps recording.]
Ambarella_A12S75Some ultra cheap Allwinner V3 based cameras are advertised as 4K cameras, but in reality they are limited to 4K @ 15 fps, and on top of that the software have to extrapolate data to get to that resolution. So there are not usable for most people, unless maybe if you somehow need a 4K CCTV camera. Currently one of the cheapest “true” 4K action cameras is Yi Technology / Xiaomi Yi 2 sports camera based on Ambarella A9S SoC, capable of recording up to 4K @ 30 fps, and selling for around $250. But there’s now a new wave of cheaper “4K 30 fps cameras” based on Ambarella A12S75 Cortex A9 SoC such as EKEN H8 Pro selling for $139.99, or Andoer C5 Pro going for $125.99 both of which use Sony 12 MP image sensors respectively IMX078 and IMX177.

Instead of focusing on the cameras themselves, I’ve decided to check the SoC in details instead and see its “4K capabilities”

Block Diagram for a Typical Action/Flying Camera Based on A12S - Click to Enlarge

Block Diagram for a Typical Action/Flying Camera Based on A12S – Click to Enlarge

Nothing shows for A12S75 SoC in Google, just the cameras, so I searched for Ambarella A12S instead, and found A12S75 “string” in the chip rendering shown on the top left of this article, as well as the product brief with the following key features/specs:

  • CPU – ARM Cortex-A9 CPU up to 792 MHz
  • Camera Sensor – Up to 32 MP still picture capture
  • Video Encoding
    • 1920x1080p100, 2560x1440p30 and 1280x720p240 Encoding
    • Simultaneous 1080p30 + 720p30 Encoding
  • Image / Video Processing –  Advanced Electronic Image Stabilization and Tilt Correction
  • Connectivity – USB Host for 4G Module Connectivity, DMA UART for Bluetooth (BT) module connection, dual encode for on-the-fly mobile resolution streaming
  • Processor – 28-nm low-power CMOS Process

The SoC supports ThreadX and Linux.


EKEN H8 Pro Fake? 4K Camera

But wait, where is 4K support listed? There’s no mention of 4K support at all, and Amberalla A12S was unveiled together with A9S processor in a press release in October 2015 that reads:

Ambarella, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMBA), a leading developer of low-power, HD and Ultra HD video compression and image processing semiconductors, today announced the addition of A12S and A9SE to its range of camera solutions for drones, or flying cameras. The Full HD A12S SoC family enables a new generation of entry-level flying cameras, including small form factor designs and racing drones; while the 4K Ultra HD A9SE SoC family is ideal for midrange designs.

So there you go, somebody used a Full HD camera SoC, applied some voodoo magic, and comes up with a 4K camera. So maybe they are able to extrapolate resolution to 4K, but the resulting videos are likely to be no better than on a 1080p cameras. So if you want to buy a 4K action camera don’t fall in the trap with the ones using A12S, and falsely marketed, and make sure they are based on Ambarella A9S or later.

Categories: Ambarella, Hardware, Linux, Video Tags: 4k, ambarella, camera, Linux

VideoStrong KII Pro Android Set-top Box with DVB-T2 & DVB-S2 Tuners Comes with 2GB RAM

August 26th, 2016 25 comments

Based on the number of comments I get daily on my review of Videostrong K1 Plus T2 S2 Android TV box, the device is rather popular thanks to its dual DVB-T2/T2C and DVB-S2/S tuner, its low price, and OpenELEC community support. However, some people are possibly affected by the mere 1GB RAM in the system, with some apps being killed during use due to lack of memory. One solution is to purchase WeTek Play 2, but at $120 it’s in a different price range, and does not offer a dual tuner solution. But Videostrong has recently launched their KII Pro DVB T2+S2 model based on K1 Plus DVB T2+S2, but with 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, and 802.11ac WiFi.


KII Pro specifications:

  • SoC –  Amlogic S905 quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 2.0GHz with  penta-core Mali-450MP GPU @ 750 MHz
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot up to 32GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60Hz, and 3.5mm AV (composite video) jack
  • Audio – HDMI, AV (stereo audio), optical S/PDIF
  • Video Codecs – 10-bit H.265 up to 4K60, MPEG/VC-1/AVS+/H.265 up to 4K30
  • Tuner – Combo DVB-T/T2 and DVB-S/S2 with two connectors
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0 (Ampak AP6335) – Not Realtek RTL8189 as shown in Aliexpress according to VideoStrong.
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – Power button and LED, IR receiver
  • Power Supply –  DC 12V/1A
  • Dimensions – 130 x 120 x 32 mm
  • Weight – 187.50 grams

K2 Pro runs Android 5.1.1 and comes with the same DTV app installed on K1 Plus S2 T2 with channel scanning, EPG, channel recording and CCCAM/NEWCAMD support. People who require AC3 / Dolby D 5.1 in some countries will have the same issue as on K1 Plus T2 S2 because the Dolby license is still missing, and a device with Amlogic S905-H is required, unless maybe if you use OpenELEC (TBC) instead of Android.


KII_Pro_T2_S2The box is currently sold on Aliexpress for $82.69 shipped, and GeekBuying for $79.99. It’s also sold under the Acemax brand for about the same price, but it’s unclear whether the WiFi module is the same since they only mention dual band WiFi. More details may soon be available on Videostrong products page.

KowanTV Click Linux IPTV Box Review

August 25th, 2016 8 comments

CNXSoft: Ray reviews Amlogic S812 powered Linux based KowanTV Click TV box with allegedly access to over a thousand free IPTV channels. While the hardware is pretty standard, you pay a (hefty) premium to access their IPTV servers, and it reminds me of Jynxbox Live which I reviewed a few years ago.

I received one these rare Linux stream boxes. It’s called TVone Entertainment hub, advertised as: KowanTV Click To Play Entertainment Hub European American TV Channels Live Broadcast Video on demand IPTV BOX 1000+ Free Channels, and provided by GeekBuying for this review.

KowanTVKowanTV Click Specifications

Operating System Embedded Media OS( linux )
CPU Amlogic S812( ARM cortex-A9 )
GPU Mali-450 Octo-core
ROM 8GB Flash Memory
Wifi Connectivity IEEE 802.11 b/g/n  2.4GHz/5GHz
Ethernet 10/100M
Bluetooth Yes
Video Supported Video (up to 4K) – MPEG1/2/4,  H.264,  H.265,AVC, VC-1 , RM/RMVB , Xvid , DviX3/4/5/6, RealVideo 8/9/10
Picture Supported JPEG, GIF, TIFF, BMP, PNG
Resolution 4K*2K
Range RF Remote Receiver  15M
Dolby Digital Decoder Up to 7.1
Internet Requirements Supports most standard dsl connections ADSL, ADSL 2 and ADSL 2+ , cable Internet and Wifi (including 3 g and 4 g speeds )
HDMI Port HDMI 1.4
Other Interfaces HDMI, Optical Audio, Ethernet, USB 2.0*2,DC IN
Dimensions & Weight
Dimensions 135*125*27mm/5.31*4.92*1.06in; Product 12.8*10.6*2.2cm/5*4.2*0.9inches
Weight 550g/19.40oz; Product 264g/9.45oz
Package Contents
1 x KowanTV Entertainment Hub
1 x Kowan RF Remote
1 x HDMI cable
1 x Power adapter (A right AC Adapter will be sent as your shipping country)
1 x Micro USB Remote Charger Cable
1 x Set-up Guide

Unboxing and first impressions

After opening the package, we see the top of the box and the fancy looking RF remote, covered in soft foam, a USB 2.0 to Micro USB (1 meter), and a HDMI cable v.1.4 (1.5 meter) together with a quick setup manual and the power supply.

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On first sight, all looks from high quality in a straight forward design. But stay tuned, this box will show some surprises.

One of the big “advertisements” of this box is, that it would come with a preload (or after OTA updates) of over 1000 Channels. The company also provided a comparison table showing differences with “standard Android TV boxes”. Kowan TV1 is the box being reviewed here, as Kowan TV2 also include dual DVB-T2/C & DVB-S2 tuner.


Surprisingly the number of TV stations after my first connection was just 95 channels.

I got suspicious and tried to figure out, what’s really behind the Kowan TV1! The firmware is simply a kind of modified Linux/Kodi Modification, similar to Arnubox Mach 10 Pure Linux! A mixture of renewable OTA TV links and a integrated Kodi styled Addon GUI.

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It reminded me directly of my bad experiences with Arnubox Mach 10, with similar specifications, also using Amlogic e S812 ARM Cortex-A9 processor with an octa-core Mali-450MP GPU.

I tested the quality of the “live links” and it was a new experience. Never ever before I saw streams such bad video streams, almost all in a range between 500 and 800k, meaning they are not watchable on big screens at all. Most streams are delivered by FilmON add-on.

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I connected 3 different brands of Wireless mouses without success, and even Mele F10 Deluxe did not work. Then I tried a standard USB keyboard, no success either. This box only seems to work with the original remote, a handicap what could be fatal one time.

The box is also advertised with Bluetooth capability, but I could not find any such setting in the settings menu or anywhere else, so I guessed it might be some sort of permanent Bluetooth connection, and tried different devices with “searches”…result: none at all. So one way to work around the issue could be to use a USB Bluetooth dongle instead, which I did, but again unsuccessfully…

After connecting my Samsung soundbar HW-K950, Kowan TV1 box showed us its first bright side, as it delivered a real Dolby experience. After a web search, I found out that a box with the same promises and advertisements was advertised in 2011. So it looks like a remake of a hard-to-sell device…

Video Test Results

Resolution Video Format Local Playback Network (Wi-Fi/LAN) Playback
720p (1280*720) AVC ([email protected]) Playing correctly Playing correctly
1080p (1920*1080) AVC ([email protected]) Playing correctly Playing correctly
 2160p (3840*2160) HEVC (H.265) – 10Bit Playing correctly Playing correctly with pre-Buffering
4K (4096*2304) AVC ([email protected]) Playing correctly Playing correctly with pre-Buffering
4K TS HEVC files HEVC (H.265) Does not play / play with artifacts and stutter Does not play / play with artifacts and stutter


KOWAN TV1 Linux seems like a promising system. It shows great performance, but I also experienced issues with connecting built-in Kodi addons to servers (both through Ethernet and WiFi), signing-in into YouTube, some add-ons did not work, and the remote control was useful but quite flawed.

The biggest disappointment was, that this box delivers the advertised “over 1000” channels only by using pirate Kodi addons only. As I mentioned previously, I also manged to get 95 live channels, and half of them would not even open because of endless pre-buffering, so it was more then disappointing.

On the bright side, this “Kodi machine” has good picture quality, and managed to play almost anything thrown at it (within Amlogic S812 chipset limitations – no TS files). Local network performance proved to be quite good, though with long pre-buffering for heavy 4K content. There are also some services reminiscent of the old NMT (network media tanks), which allows things, like torrent download and playback, and other interesting options.


  • Live Streams with EPG
  • Very nice Remote with keyboard function including backlight and rechargeable battery via a micro USB port. Range tested up to 12/15 meters
  • Relatively easy to handle GUI
  • No Temperature issues


  • The price… definitely.
  • Works only with original remote control
  • Nothing more than a modified Linux running Kodi in the background.
  • 95 “live Streams” are delivered through Kodi’s IPTV simple client, which once a while needs an update over the so-called update when starting the box! There would be a premium package to book later on, but this is normally free (FilmOn licensed live stream Inc.).
  • If you want to watch movies, you have to launch Kodi add-ons, with long pre-bufferings and all kind of bad effects delivered by these freebies.
  • The whole experience is within the confines of Kodi, there’s no getting out.
  • The Channel update experience was less than encouraging, as the device was unable to connect to the update server quite a few times. Much like most of other “pure Linux” based TV boxes, a manual update through a USB/SD Card is not possible since the  firmware is not public

Entertainment systems running on Linux never really made their way to the end consumers in the past through their handicap to be married to Kodi only somehow. More successful Linux boxes, such as the Mag boxes, use different middleware  offering end users a simple way to connect to a IPTV portal. I wish Kowan TV1 would have gone this way in compiling a real hybrid able to run a nicely done GUI with Kodi together with portal compatibility. This would have made it a real unique box with potential, and not ending up being an overpriced Kodi Entertainment System, although the name Kodi does not appear at all in the the modified GUI.

The specifications are about the same as any of the other Amlogic S812 based boxes out there, and the main difference remains the operating system. The manufacturer markets the box as better than its Android counterparts, but I found it to be a mixed bag.

The default skin that was custom made for the box, requires some getting used to, if you are used to the standard confluence Kodi skin. But it works quite well, If you come from Android, or even Windows boxes, this Linux box will require some adjustments. It might be the right fit for you, but you will need to know that it’s Kodi only, and there is nothing else, no matter the modified GUI, which is on the other hand, an improvement to standard Kodi systems, for an inexperienced or older user.

Did I like it? Not really. I was disappointed with some of the issues I found as my expectations were higher for a dedicated box.

Would I recommend it? I would, but only for people with limited technical understandings and who just need a capable kind of Entertainment/Kodi box, and are willing to live with its limitations, and extremely higher than average price.

GeekBuying kindly provided the sample for review, and if you still want to purchase it, you can do on on their website for $199 (No typo). Free shipping and a free Tenda F3 N300 wireless router somewhat soften the high price tag. It can also be found on Aliexpress and eBay for the same price.

Xtreamer mxV Plus DVB-T2 and mvX Pro DVB-T2/DVB-S2 Combo TV Boxes Support Android and OpenELEC

August 25th, 2016 14 comments

Xtreamer mxV is a family of TV boxes powered by Amlogic S905 processor, and supporting Android 5.1 and OpenELEC firmware provided by the company [Update: It looks like they simply used Vitmos/ image]. There are three models: mxV without tuner, mxV Plus with a DVB-T2 tuner, and mvX Pro with a DVB-T2/DVB-S2 combo tuners.


The three devices share the same specifications:

  • SoC –  Amlogic S905 quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 2.0GHz with  penta-core Mali-450MP GPU @ 750 MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60Hz with HDCP 2.2 support, and 3.5mm AV jack
  • Audio – HDMI, AV (stereo), optical S/PDIF
  • Video Codecs – 10-bit H.265 up to 4K60, MPEG/VC-1/AVS+/H.265 up to 4K30
  • Tuner
    • mxV – None
    • mxV Plus – DVB-T2 tuner with two connectors
    • mxV Pro – Combo DVB-T/T2 and DVB-S/S2 with two connectors
  • Connectivity – Fast Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – Power button and LED, IR receiver
  • Power Supply –  DC 12V/1A
  • Dimensions – mxV: 130 x 110 x 32 mm; mxV Plus / Pro: 130 x 120 x 32 mm

The device ships with IR remote control, a quick instruction guide, an HDMI cable, and a 12V/1A AC/DC power adapter. If the design and specs looks similar, it’s because mxV is based on K1 Plus, and mxV Pro on K1 Plus T2/S2. According to a post on Freaktab, mxV firmware either Android 5.1. called “Xtreamer Android TV OS” and supporting OTA firmware updates, or OpenELEC OS released by the company also work on K1 Plus devices. K1 Plus DVB TV boxes have supported OpenELEC (Vitmos build) for several months already, but the Xtreamer version appears to be officially supported by the company.

mxV_EPG_GuideXtreamer boxes are also reasonably priced with mxV selling for 39 Euros, mxV Plus for 49 Euros, and mxV Pro for 59 Euros. At first prices in Euros made me think it was sold from Europe, avoiding custom issues (e.g. “my” WeTek Play 2 has been stuck in customs for 3 weeks with basically no hope of getting it out) and extra duties, but it’s actually shipped from Hong Kong. You can find more information and/or purchase the devices on Xtreamer mxV product pages.

Thanks to Slowstream for the tip.

NanoPi NEO Board Gets Armbian Debian 8 & Ubuntu 16.04 with Linux 4.6 & 4.7 (Mainline), h3consumption Power Consumption Tool

August 23rd, 2016 10 comments

We’ve been blessed with a wide range of low cost Allwinner H3 boards thanks to Shenzhen Xunlong Orange Pi and FriendylARM NanoPi boards. Recently, armbian developers have been focusing on NanoPi NEO board, and they’ve now released Debian Jessie and Ubuntu Xenial with Linux 4.6.7 and Linux 4.7.2. The latter is mainline kernel with some patchsets for Ethernet.

FriendlyARM_NanoPi_NEO_BoardYou can download the Linux 4.6.7 based “beta” images from armbian NanoPi NEO page, and selected the “Vanilla” versions, then flash then one a micro SD card as you would normally do. Linux 4.7.2 based “experimental” images with USB OTG support and schedutil cpufreq governor can be found on the separate server in a temporary directory.

Thomas Kaiser explains further:

Ethernet and throttling are working (the latter not as efficient as with legacy kernel but at least it protects the SoC from overheating). Please note that all vanilla kernel images currently suffer from random MAC addresses on reboot so better choose a static IP address configuration. Also keep in mind that current cpufreq scaling settings in mainline kernel don’t know the 912 MHz operating point so with our default /etc/defaults/cpufrequtils contents you end up with 816 MHz max cpufreq (feel free to adjust, throttling works with these images).

You can test the schedutil cpufreq governor in Linux 4.7, by changing /etc/default/cpufrequtils to something like:

They have not released equivalent “Vanilla” images for Allwinner H3 Orange Pi boards, but I guess it will done once NanoPi NEO images are proven to be working reasonably. Eventually, you’ll be able to download the Linux kernel directly from for your Allwinner H3 boards. I’ve been told this won’t happen in Linux 4.8, but I’d assume Linux 4.9 or 4.10 are realistic targets.

Since NanoPi NEO board has been designed for IoT applications with low load too, armbian community has also investigated how to lower power consumption, and after finding that disabling Ethernet PHY saved 200 mW, and disabling HDMI and the GPU 210 mW, they created a new tool (bash script) called h3consumption, and working on all Allwinner H3 boards. You can find more power savings tips and h3consumption options in the forums.

Nvidia Provides More Details About Parker Automotive SoC with ARMv8 Cores, Pascal GPU

August 23rd, 2016 9 comments

Nvidia demonstrated DRIVE PX2 platform for self-driving cars at CES 2016, but did not give many details about the SoC used in the board. Today, the company has finally provided more information about Parker hexa-core SoC combining two Denver 2 cores, and four Cortex A57 cores combining with a 256-core Pascal GPU.

Nvidia_Parker_Block_DiagramNvidia Parker SoC specifications:

  • CPU – 2x Denver 2 ARMv8 cores, and 4x ARM Cortex A57 cores with 2MB + 2 MB L2 cache, coherent HMP architecture (meaning all 6 cores can work at the same time)
  • GPUs – Nvidia Pascal Geforce GPU with 256 CUDA cores supporting DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, Nvidia CUDA 8.0, OpenGL ES 3.1, AEP, and Vulkan + 2D graphics engine
  • Memory – 128-bit LPDDR4 with ECC
  • Display – Triple display pipeline, each at up to 4K 60fps.
  • VPU – 4K60 H.265 and VP9 hardware video decoder and encoder
  • Others:
    • Gigabit Ethernet MAC
    • Dual-CAN (controller area network)
    • Audio engine
    • Security & safety engines including a dual-lockstep processor for reliable fault detection and processing
    • Image processor
  • ISO 26262 functional safety standard for electrical and electronic (E/E) systems compliance
  • Process – 16nm FinFet
PX Drive 2 Board with two Parker SoCs

PX Drive 2 Board with two Parker SoCs

Parker is said to deliver up to 1.5 teraflops (native FP16 processing) of performance for “deep learning-based self-driving AI cockpit systems”.

This type of board and processor is normally only available to car and part manufacturer, and the company claims than 80 carmakers, tier 1 suppliers and university research centers are now using DRIVE PX 2 systems to develop autonomous vehicles. That means the platform should find its way into cars, trucks and buses soon, including in some 100 Volvo XC90 SUVs part of an autonomous-car pilot program in Sweden slated to start next year.