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Posts Tagged ‘media player’

$50 CMX Dual Core Android TV Box Runs Android 4.2, Supports XBMC Linux

July 30th, 2014 10 comments

XBMC Android now runs fairly well on ARM based hardware, but some people still prefer to run XBMC Linux because they want a pure XBMC experience, and Android is just an unnecessary overhead, and some features are still better supported in XBMC Linux such as frame rate switching, which is not supported in Android (You need to manually select the refresh rate in the settings). One way to go if you want to get XBMC Linux is to buy one of the boxes pre-loaded with the firmware such as Jynxbox M1V2 Pure Linux or Little Black Box. But these devices are generally significantly more expensive than their Android equivalents. So instead, some people get an Android TV box, and install XBMC Linux firmware compatible with the hardware such as MX Linux which runs on media players with a “g18ref” and “mx2ref” boards. Gbox Midgnight MX2 is one of these g18ref Android TV boxes, but there are quite a few “clones” on the market, and CMX is one of the most recent, powered by Amlogic AML8726-MX, running Android 4.2.2, and selling for just $49.99 on GeekBuying.

Original Matricom Gbox Midnight MX2 and Accessories

Original Matricom Gbox Midnight MX2 and Accessories

CMX specs are indeed exactly the same as Gbox Midnigt MX2:

  • SoC – Amlogic AML8726-MX Dual Core Cortex A9 CPU + dual core Mali-400 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage – 8GB Flash + SD card slot (Up to 32GB)
  • Video Output – HDMI v1.4, composite (CVBS) and component (YUV)
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV, and coaxial S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n internal Wifi + 10/100M Ethernet Port
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 Ports
  • Misc – IR sensor, LED
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A

The box apparently also comes with the same accessories including a 5V/2A power adapter, HDMI and AV cables, the same IR remote control, and a user’s manual.

It’s impossible to verify whether there’s indeed a “g18ref” board inside the device that compatible with XBMC Linux without actually trying it or opening the box [Update: CMX board picture can be seen on Freaktab]. After failing to get a satisfying answer from GeekBuying support, one reader contacted me about this, and I asked GeekBuying to try MX Linux or OpenElec on the device, and they kindly did test both versions, and reported them to boot fine.

Here are the links to both versions with instructions:

  1. OpenELEC 4.2 beta2 – It can be installed on generic g18ref device after flashing Matricom’s firmware 1.1.6 that changes the NAND layout/partition table. Geekbuying reported they did not need to update the firmware on CMX, and it just worked by flashing OpenELEC directly.
  2. MX Linux v1.00 Stable

If for some reasons, after you try XBMC Linux, you want to get back to Android, you can always reinstall the stock firmware.

Beside GeekBuying, CMX TV Box is also available on Aliexpress for $57.99 and up. I don’t know any other dual core Android TV box compatible with XBMC Linux that sells for $50, and whether you run Android and Linux, it looks like a very good deal.

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Skytecx SK-R68b Android TV Box Comes with Three Wi-Fi Antennas

July 28th, 2014 3 comments

There’s now a pretty long list of Android media players powered by Rockchip RK3288, and they keep coming up. While I don’t cover most of them, Skytecx SK-R68b is a little more interesting because for some reasons, the manufacturer has decided to go with not only two, but three Wi-Fi antennas, and the product is the type that you place directly on top of your TV.

Skytecx_SK-R68bThe rest of the specifications looks pretty standard:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3288 quad core CortexA17 @ 1.8 GHz with ARM Mali-T764 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8 to 32GB NAND flash (8GB by default) + micro SD card slot (up to 32 GB)
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band WiFi 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz/5GHz) and 802.11 a/c with triple Wi-Fi antennas, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0 output (female) up to 1080p (sic), AV output (3.5mm jack)
  • Video Codecs
    • Decoding – MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4,H.263, H.264, H.265,AVS, VC-1, RV, VP6/VP8, Sorenson Spark, MVC
    • Encoding – H.264, H.265, VP8, MVC (1080p)
    • H.264, H.265 Data Rate – Up to 60Mbps
  • Audio Codecs/Formats – MP1, MP2, MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG, OGA, APE, FLAC, AAC, M4A, 3GPP
  • USB – 2x USB Host port
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – N/A

A power adapter, an IR remote control, an HDMI cable, and user’s manual are included by default with the device, and optionally an AV cable, air mouse, and/or wireless mouse can be provided.

The box is listed on Aliexpress for about $100 including shipping. The seller, Skytecx, has zero feedback, but they might be the manufacturer of the device as they also have a page on ec21.com with the full name “Shenzhen Skytecx Electronic Co.Ltd”. Although the product is listed on Aliexpress, you should not expect the TV box to be available right now. The latest news about RK3288 products are that there are still quite a few software bugs, HDMI is not working properly right now, and HDMI 2.0 may not be supported at the beginning. Wi-Fi support may also be the part of the specs where specs could be wrong. I’ve seen boards with AP6330 or AP6635 Wi-Fi modules, but most sellers claim support for 802.11ac, which you won’t get with AP6330.

Unrelated, but useful, here’s a list of Ampak module features I found while looking up for AP6335: (Source: 1688.com)

  • AP6181: WiFi
  • AP6210: WiFi/BT4.0
  • AP6251: WiFi/GPS (GLNSS)
  • AP6330: WiFi 2.4G,5G/BT4.0/FM
  • AP6476: WiFi/BT4.0/FM/GPS (GLNSS)
  • AP6493: WiFi/BT4.0/NFC
  • AP6441: WiFi2.4G,5G/BT4.0/NFC
  • AP6234: WiFi2.4G,5G/BT4.0
  • AP6335: WiFi 11ac 2.4G,5G/BT4.0/FM

Provided this list is correct, that means only products based on AP6335 module will support 802.11ac, all others AP6xxx modules only support 802.11 b/g/n. There will probably be other 802.11ac modules from other brands though.

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Rockchip RK3288 Beta Firmware Release for Unnamed Android TV Box

July 28th, 2014 1 comment

The whole activity around the upcoming media players based on Rockchip RK3288 is pretty interesting, or some would say amusing. First, many companies started to release pictures of their boards a few months before their products are actually ready, and now we’ve got a beta Android 4.4 firmware for Rockchip RK3288 for an unknown TV box released via Geekbuying Blog. I’ve read rumors about a Tronsmart Orion R28, so it might be that one, but who knows.

Android_Kitkat_Firmware_RK3288Before investigating the content of the firmware, here are the features that we know about the hardware:

  • Based on Rockchip RK3288 quad core Cortex A17 processor
  • System Memory – 2GB RAM (Samsung)
  • Storage – 8GB flash (Kingston)
  • Wi-Fi -  AP6330 Wi-fi module

The firmware is based on Linux 3.10, the build number is rk3288-eng 4.4.2 KOT49H eng.ant.20140721.164453 test-keys, and the software version RK3288_R_BOX_Android 4.4.2-SDK_v1.0.0_140613.

Most people won’t need this, but if developers want to checkout the content of the firmware, go ahead and download Geekbuying_RK3288 BETA__AP6330_20140721.zip.

After you unzip it, you’ll get a single Geekbuying_RK3288 BETA__AP6330_20140721.img file, which you might be able to extract with img_unpack and afptool utilities for RK3188 (TBC, I haven’t tried yet).

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Geniatech Unveils ATV585 Enjoy TV Box Powered by Amlogic S805 with HEVC Hardware Decoding

July 26th, 2014 6 comments

After Eny Techology EM6Q-MXQ, there’s at least another Amlogic S805 based media player with Geniatech ATV585 Enjoy TV powered by the quad core Cortex A5 processor, with 1GB RAM and 8GB flash. Compared Amlogic S802 based STBs, you’ll get slower CPU and GPU performance, and lose 4K video decoding and output, but gain HEVC hardware decoding up to 1080p, if you’re lucky, you’ll get Gigabit Ethernet, and in theory, the price should be cheaper.

Geniatech_ATV585_Enjoy_TVATV585 Enjoy TV specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S805 quad core Cortex-A5 @ 1.5GHz with quad core Mali-450MP4 GPU @ 600MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC FLASH + micro SD/MMC card slot up to 32GB
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 1.4 and CVBS
  • Video Codecs / Containers – MPEG1/2/4, H.264, H.265, VC-1, WMV, AVI, MKV, MOV, etc…
  • Audio Formats – MP3, WMA, AAC, etc…
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi with external antenna
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – IR receiver, Net and status LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A (Typical power consumption: 4W)
  • Dimensions – 100 x 100 x 15 mm
  • Weight – 160g

Geniatech_ATV585_Enjoy_TV_Front_PanelThis media player runs Android 4.4 KitKat, and comes with an HDMI cable, a power adapter, an IR remote control with mouse function, and a user’s manual.

ATV585 Enjoy TV appears to be available to resellers right now, but I could not find it listed on any Chinese e-retailer yet. For reference, Eny EM6Q-MQX currently sells for $76 to $80 on Aliexpress. That’s less than most Amlogic S802 based Android TV boxes, but not all. You can find more information on Geniatech ATV585 Enjoy TV page.

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Probox2 EX Quad Core Android Box Comes with an Air Mouse Designed for Gaming

July 22nd, 2014 5 comments

Probox2 EX is an Android TV Box with an enclosure similar to MX3, but with better hardware including Amlogic S802-H, 16GB eMMC Flash, 2GB RAM, dual band Wi-Fi, and more, and an interesting RF air mouse dubbed “Remote+” that can also be used for playing games, and audio chat.
Probox2_EX

Probox2 EX specifications:

  • SoC – AMLogic S802-H quad core ARM Cortex A9r4 at 2.0GHz with ARM Mali-450MP6 GPU up to 600 MHz
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC Flash + micro SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4b  and AV
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV, and S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with external antenna, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports + 1x micro USB OTG
  • Misc – IR Sensor, Power LED, power button, and recovery/update switch via AV jack
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 11.5 x 11.5 x 2.6 cm
  • Weight – 200 grams

If you’re sick and tired of seeing the same colorful Metro style user interface all over again, Probox2′s developers have designed a custom user interface running on top of Android 4.4 that I haven’t seen in other products.

PROBOX2 Ex Home Screen (Click to Enlarge)

PROBOX2 Ex Home Screen (Click to Enlarge)

The device comes with Remote+ air mouse, a power adapter, a backup IR remote control, an external dual band 5dB Wi-Fi antenna, HDMI and AV cables, a USB cable, and a user’s manual. Remote+ features a gyroscope (for air mouse function), a D-pad and buttons for gaming and XBMC navigation, and a built-in microphone. It’s not clear what kind of batteries are used with the remote.

Probox2 EX is available for pre-order now on W2COMP for $149.99 including shipping, with delivery expected for August 8. It’s exactly the same price as MINIX NEO X8-H with NEO  M1 air mouse, and slightly more than Tronsmart Vega S89-H + TSM1 air mouse. However, both Probox2 EX and MINIX X8 comes with eMMC, against NAND flash for Vega S89-H, and Probox2 EX air mouse seems to have more features than M1 air mouse. However, one of the main advantages of MINIX is their regular firmware update and user’s forums. Based on Probox2 Ultimate (RK3066) history, I expect Probox2 EX to receive firmware upgrades, but there’s currently no user’s community. More details can be found on Probox2 EX product page.

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XBMC Linux (Beta) for SZ Tomato / Eny M8 Available for Download

July 19th, 2014 3 comments

SZ Tomato / Eny (E)M8 is an Android TV box powered by Amlogic S802 quad core processor, with 2GB RAM and 16 GB flash, but Stane1983 has been working on an XBMC Linux port for the device, and has released a beta version on Freaktab a few days ago.

M8 Android TV Box (Click to Enlarge)

M8 Android TV Box (Click to Enlarge)

The firmware file (MX_LINUX-K200-update.zip) is available, and just need to be copied to an SD card to perform the update. The version is Gotham 13.1. This will completely replace you Android installation, and only works on M8 TV box, as the bootloader is not compatible with other S802 hardware, and the firmware only support AP6330 Wi-Fi module. If you decide not to keep using XBMC Linux, you can revert to Android, but reflashing the firmware via the SD card.

This is a beta version, so expects some bugs. The list of known bugs is as follows:

  • Bootlogo and splashscreens (booting up/shutting down) are not shown
  • 720p and 1080i/1080p resolutions work for sure, however I’m pretty sure 4k output will not work at all or will not work correctly
  • When network connected via cable MAC address is picked randomly so on each reboot box will have different MAC address and IP address assigned by router. This means that router’s DHCP pool might fill up quickly if there are many reboots.
  • Some users reported USB mouse issues, poor Ethernet performance, etc..
  • Many add-ons do not seem to work

You can also access the device with SSH using root/letmein credentials.

Thanks to Stanislav for the tip.

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Amlogic S802 TV Boxes Are Getting Cheaper: Meet $72 MX3 (M82) TV Box

July 18th, 2014 8 comments

When Android media players based on Amlogic S802 first launched a little over 3 months ago, they all sold for over $100. Since then various products have come to market, with prices slowly edging lower. But none comes as cheap as MX3 (aka M82), whose name is probably inspired from Gbox Midnight MX2, as it sells for $72.22 on GearBest including shipping.

MXIIILet’s go through the specifications:

  • SoC – AMLogic S802 quad core ARM Cortex A9r4 at 2.0GHz with ARM Mali-450MP6 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 4 GB NAND Flash + micro SD card slot
  • Video and Audio Output – HDMI  and AV
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n,
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports + micro USB OTG
  • Misc – IR Sensor, Power LED, power button, and recovery/update switch via AV jack
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 11.5 x 11.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Weight – 192 grams

The box comes with HDMI & AV cables,  a power adapter, an IR remote control, and a user’s manual. In order to achieve a lower price, they’ve cut a few corners with just 1GB RAM, 4GB flash, and Bluetooth and SPDIF found in many other S802 have been dropped. The biggest issue might be the 4GB flash if you plan to install many applications.

There’s another reseller, Earnwisdom, that sells the box, and they made a review video showing the unboxing and the device in action. It’s still running Android 4.4 with XBMC pre-installed, and the usual metro style user interface.

The MX3 on Earnwisdon is sold for a more standard $99.99, but comes with 2GB RAM, 8GB flash, dual band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so clearly there are several variations of the same model.

Via AndroidPC.es

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