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Posts Tagged ‘media player’

Zoomtak T8 Plus Android 5.1 TV Box with Amlogic S812 SoC Features a 2.5″ SATA Bay

August 1st, 2015 No comments

We’ve already seen a few Amlogic S802 with SATA support such as Zoomtak T8 with a SATA bay, or Eweat EW802 with an external SATA connector. Zoomtak has now introduced an updated version T8 Plus with Amlogic S812 that will run Android 5.1 and Kodi 15.0 by the end of August.

Zoomtak_T8s_PlusZoomtak T8 Plus specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S812 quad core cortex A9r4 @ 2.0 GHz with Mali-450MP6 GPU
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash (16GB optional) + SD/MMC card reader + 2.5″ SATA bay
  • Video Output – HDMI supporting 4K30 and 3D, composite output (RCA)
  • Audio Output – HDMI, stereo RCA, and optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – 10/100/1000M Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi with external antenna, Bluetooth 4.0 (AP6234 module)
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – IR receiver, “restore” pinhole, LED display on front panel, and power button.
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – N/A (Aluminum enclosure in black or gold)

Amlogic_S812_SATAThe box currently runs Android 4.4 and Kodi 14.2, but Android 5.1 is planned for the end of August, and Kodi 15.0 sometimes next week. Since the market has decided that SATA was not an important requirement, none of main Chinese TV box silicon vendors include it in their SoC, which means the implementation here is done via a USB 2.0 to SATA bridge.

Compared to the older Zoomtak T8, Amlogic S812 brings support for H.265 hardware video decoding and Gigabit Ethernet support in the newer hardware platform. It also looks like they’ve switched from NAND flash to eMMC flash. The device can be turned on and off with the remote control or the front panel button, as the power circuit is controlled by an MCU.

T8s_Plus_BoardYou can check out Zoomtak T8s Plus product page for details and contact the company if you plan to order in quantities. I could not find the device and retail websites yet, but it’s already listed on Alibaba.

 

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Zidoo X1 Android TV Box Unboxing and Teardown

July 31st, 2015 7 comments

Zidoo X1 is an Android media player powered by Allwinner H3 quad core processor with support for 4K videos up to 30Hz and H.265 / HEVC video codec. The company sent me one unit for review, and today I’ll start by unboxing and tearing down the device, before further testing to get the review posted in a few days.

Zidoo X1 Unboxing

I’ve received the package by (MY)DHL a few days after it was shipped.

Zidoo_X1_PackageThe package shows some of the main features like 4K and 3D support, H.265/HEVC codec, Kodi support, and ZIUI which must be the name given to Zidoo user interface.

Zidoo X1 and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

Zidoo X1 and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

The box comes with an HDMI cable, a user’s manual in English, a warranty card, a 5V/2A power adapter, and a standard IR remote control with IR learning function for 5 keys: Vol +/-, power, AV/TV, and SET so that you can control your TV with a single remote control, in case HDMI CEC does not work.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

I’ve already reviewed a device that looks like a spaceship, but I find Zidoo X1 is more alike to a flying saucer, and one person told me it looks like a shark fin… Nevertheless, the design is interesting and quite different from other rectangular boxes. All ports are at the back: AV jack (composite + audio), HDMI out, one USB 2.0 host port, 10/100M Ethernet, another USB host port and micro SD slot, and a power barrel (5V). There are also the IR receiver and LED on the front of the device which we can see through the semi-transparent casing. A pinhole can also be found on the bottom of the device to enter recovery mode for firmware update (in the unlikely case OTA does not work, or your firmware is corrupted).

If you prefer unboxing videos, here it is…

Zidoo X1 Teardown

Opening the enclosure is fairly easy. Remove the four sticky rubber pads on the bottom of the enclosure, and loosen the four screws.

Zidoo_X1_Enclosure_Bottom

There are also eight plastic clips, so you’ll have to use some sharp tool, preferably made of plastic too to avoid damaging the casing, to completely pop-up the top cover.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The first thing that surprised with the board is how small Allwinner H3 processor – as well the corresponding heatsink – is compared to more powerful processors.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The board is name Z-H3-OTT_V1.1, and for those who’d like to hack the board, the serial connector is still there with clear marking. The processor is coupled with SKHynix H27UCG8T2ATR-BC NAND flash (8GB), and two SKHynix H5TQ4G63AFR DDR3 SDRAM chips providing 1GB RAM. A Realtek RTL8189ETV module is used for WiFi connectivity. There’s no built-in Bluetooth.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The board can be completely removed from the casing by gently pulling it out. The micro SD  slot and the u-boot and recovery button can be fond on the bottom of the board. The MAC address starts with DCC0DB, meaning Zidoo has continued its partnership with Kaiboer for hardware design and manufacturing, just like it did for Zidoo X9. A thermal pad and metallic plate are attached to the bottom of the enclosure, and make contact with the bottom of the board to make sure the device stays cool during operation.

If you are interested in buying in quantities, you can contact Zidoo directly, but the box is sold sold retail for $59.99 on GeekBuying, as well as Amazon US, and  Aliexpress.

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Kodi 15 Isengard Release

July 23rd, 2015 No comments

After several months of development, including H.265 hardware decoding in Android, Kodi 15 “Isengard” has recently been released by the developers. It’s available for Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and Android, and for the first time a stable release can directly be downloaded from Google Play store with so far over 400,000 active installs from the app store.

Kodi_15Key features and improvements of Kodi 15 include:

  • Android specific changes – 4K, refresh rate switching and H.265 for hardware that support it including several Amlogic platforms, and Nvidia Shield Android TV. Android 5.0 and greater is required.
  • New chapter selector window – Allows users to visually browse and select chapters from mkv videos and other containers that support chapters
  • Adaptive seeking (aka Skip Steps) – The more times a user presses a button to seek in a period of time, the larger the jump forward or backward will be.
  • Audio and Subtitle Lists – A full list of choices can be selected for content that includes multiple audio and subtitle choices
  • Language Add-ons and Expanded International Preferences – Translations are now independent from Kodi releases, so they can be updated at any time.
  • Easier search thanks to reworked Add-on Manager

There are also some other changes, including dropping some older OS versions. Android 4.2 is now required to run Kodi 15, Ubuntu 12.04 PPA has been dropped, as well as Tuxbox support, etc…

To get the latest version of Kodi, Android users can download it from Google Play, and for others operating systems, and Android users who don’t want to use Google services, simply visit Kodi’s download page.

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Tronsmart Orion R68 64-bit ARM TV Box Sells for Up to 50% Discount

July 18th, 2015 7 comments

We’ve seen several Rockchip RK3366 TV boxes being announced recently such as Eny EKB368 or Beelink i68, and it’s no surprise that Tronmart decided to launch their own model Orion R68 based on the latest Rockchip processor.

Tronsmart_Orion_R68

Two models are available: Orion R68 Meta with 2GB RAM, 16GB eMMC, GbE, and 802.11 ac WiFi, and Orion R68 Pro with 1GB RAM, 8GB eMMC, Fast Ethernet, and 2.4 GHz 802.11n WiFi. The latter appears to be the same Beelink i68 TV Box going for $66.

Tronsmart Orion R68 specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3368 octa core Cortex A53 processor @ 1.5 GHz with PowerVR G6110 GPU
  • System Memory- 1 GB DDR3 (Pro); 2GB DDR3 (Meta)
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash (Pro); 16GB eMMC flash (Meta); SD card slot up to 64GB for both models
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60Hz
  • Audio Output – HDMI, optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity
    • Pro – 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n (AP6212 module), Bluetooth 4.0
    • Meta – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g/n + 802.11ac (AP6335 module), Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Misc – Power button, IR receiver, update button
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 12.0 x 12.0 x 2.4 cm
The mini PCs run Android 5.1 operating system, and ship with an infrared remote control, an HDMI cable, a power adapter, and a user’s manual.

Orion R68 Meta normally sells for $99.99, and Orion R68 Pro for $74.99, but Tronsmart and GeekBuying have organized a promotion, where you can get the box for up to half price either:

  • Random draw for 10%, 20%, 30% or 50% coupon
  • 50% coupon for people already owning a Tronsmart device. All you need to do is post a picture of your device on twitter or Facebook, and send an email to [email protected]

The promotion should still be going on, since it’s scheduled to run until July 23, but they’ve sold the first 500 pieces, and I’ve noticed the random draw does not work right now, but you can still try your luck to get a coupon if your own an older Tronsmart TV box.

Thanks to Jake for the tip.

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Rockchip RK3368 based Beelink i68 Media Player Sells for $66 and Up

July 10th, 2015 4 comments

The 64-bit ARM TV boxes are coming either with Rockchip Rk3368, Amlogic S905, or Allwinner A64, but so far I could not find much price information. The good news is that the first 64-bit ARM mini PCs will be cheap, as Beelink i68, powered by Rockchip RK3368 octa-core Cortex A53 processor, is listed for as low as $66.35 with 1GB RAM on Gearbest, but you can also select the 2GB RAM version for $81.68. Using coupon BI68 will reduce the price further by one or two dollars.

Beelink_i68Beelink i68 specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3368 octa core Cortex A53 processor @ 1.5 GHz with PowerVR G6110 GPU
  • System Memory – 1 or 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash + SD card slot up to 64GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60Hz
  • Audio Output – HDMI, optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Misc – Power button, IR receiver
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 12.0 x 12.0 x 2.4 cm

Beelink_i68_Connectors

The box will ship with a US power supply and a EU adapter, an HDMI cable, a remote control, a USB OTG adapter, and an English user’s manual. Like other pre-announced RK3368 boxes, it runs Android 5.1, with Kodi pre-installed supporting H.265 hardware decoding up to 2160p @ 60Hz.

It looks like the product is basically ready to ship (i.e. not a pre-sale), but somehow GearBest mostly uses 3D renders in their product page, except when showing the full package with accessories.

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Eny EM95 Android Mini PC Runs Android 5.1 on Amlogic S905 Processor

July 8th, 2015 17 comments

Amlogic S905 is the first 64-bit ARM processor by Amlogic, and comes with four ARM Cortex A53 cores coupled with a Mali-450MP GPU, with S912 to follow later with the same CPU cores, but more powerful Mali-T7xx GPU. With Acemax G9C we already have one company working on an Amlogic S905 TV box, but Eny Technology just informed me they are about to launch two models based on Amlogic armv8 processor: EM95-MXQ, which looks exactly like G9C, and EM95 with a different casing, but very similar specs.

EM95Eny EM95 specifications:

  • SoC –  Amlogic S905 quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 2.0GHz with quad core Mali-450MP GPU up to 750MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3 (Option: 2GB)
  • Storage – 8GB NAND flash (Option: 16GB) + SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60Hz with support for CEC and HDCP 2.2 , AV output
  • Video Codecs – H.264, H.265, HD AVC/VC-1, HD MPEG1/2/4, RM/RMVB, Xvid/DivX 3/4/5/6, RealVideo 8/9/10 up to 4K resolutions
  • Audio – HDMI, AV, optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet (Optional Gigabit Ethernet), Wi-Fi @ 2.4GHz, Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc- Power LED, LED display on front panel
  • Power Supply –  DC 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – N/A

The box will run Android 5.1 Lollipop, and the company sent me a short video showing the system booting, and they claim development is nearly complete.

Amlogic S905 TV Box Board for EM95 and EM95-MXQ (Click to Enlarge)

Amlogic S905 TV Box Board for EM95-MXQ (Click to Enlarge)

Pricing is not available publicly yet, but that mean we should soon have affordable 4K Android media players supporting 2160p @ 60 Hz. You can visit EM95 product page if you want to contact the company to order in quantities.
[Update: July 17. Picture of EM95 board
EM95_BoardSome ports still do not match the 3D rendering though…
]
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Zidoo X9 Android HDMI Recorder & Media Player Gets Picture-in-Picture (PiP) Support

July 1st, 2015 5 comments

Zidoo has released another firmware for their X9 Android mini PC with HDMI input, which implements Picture-in-Picture (PiP) support, on top of the existing HDMI video recording. That’s the first Android TV box that I know of that supports it, although I’ve seen Geniatech demo HDMI input and PiP with their ATV1810 last year, but it does not seem to be available for sale anywhere.
Zidoo_X9_Picture-in-PictureChangelog for Zidoo X9 firmware version 1.0.3.5:

  • Added PiP function, You can press the TV button on the IR remote to enable it.
  • Optimized audio compatibility.
  • Fixed various Player bugs – Audio compatibility, OSD timeout, typos fix, etc…
  • Fixed various File Manager bugs

I don’t have the box with me right, so I could not try it, and Zidoo did not reply to my request for pictures and demo in time for this post, so I’m not sure if there are any shortcomings with the current implementation.

But if you own X9, make sure you update to the latest firmware (OTA) if you want to try the PiP function with the TV button on the remote control. I’ll make sure to update that post with any demo that may show up.

[Update: Please find a video demo below

]

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Tronsmart Pavo M9 is a $90 Android HDMI Recorder and 4K Media Player

June 27th, 2015 21 comments

If you need your Android TV box to record external video via HDMI, few options are available on the market, and one of them is Zidoo X9. It works relatively well, and gets frequent firmware update. It now costs around $120, but Tronsmart has now launched a model based on the same Mstar MSO9810 processor with HDMI recording function that costs $89.90 shipped on GeekBuying or Ebay.

Tronsmart_Pavo_M9

Tronsmart Pavo M9 specifications:

  • SoC – Mstar MSO9180D1R quad core Cortex A9 processor up to 1.5GHz with a Mali-450MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot
  • Video Output / Input –  HDMI output up to 4K, HDMI input with PVR and Time Shifting support (up to 1080p), and AV port (Composite + stereo audio)
  • Audio I/O – HDMI Out and In, AV, and optical S/PDIF
  • (Main) Video Codecs – H265, VC-1, WMV-HD, MPEG1/2/4 up to 4Kx2K, etc..
  • Audio Codec – MP3, AAC, AC3, DTS-HD Master, TrueHD 7.1 pass-through, etc…
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (Realtek 8188)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0 host ports.
  • Misc – ON/OFF switch, IR receiver
  • Power Supply – 12V/2A
  • Dimensions – 15.24 x 15.24 x 4.06 cm
  • Weight – ~260 grams

Compared to Zidoo X9, you’ll have to trade the aluminum enclosure for  plastic one. you’ll lose Bluetooth, Wi-Fi only support 2.4GHz (no 5.0 GHz), the two external antennas are gone, and so is the small LCD display on the front panel, and finally the system features 1GB RAM instead of the 2GB RAM found in Zidoo X9.

Tronsmart_Pavo_M9_ConnectorsPavo M9 comes with an IR remote with IR learning function (The same as Zidoo X9), a 12V/2A power adapter, an HDMI cable, an a user’s manual. The box runs Android 4.4 with Kodi pre-installed, and OTA firmware updates support. Since Kodi is likely to be the same version as in X9 TV box, bear in mind that some videos, especially 4K ones H.265 videos, may not play very well in Kodi, and HDMI audio pass-through may not work, but all these will often work just fine in the other media player that comes pre-installed in the box, and that gets updates more often.

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