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Posts Tagged ‘media player’

Unboxing BuyForSure 4KH 2160p/H.265 Android Media Player Powered by HiSilicon Hi3798M SoC

December 19th, 2014 2 comments

BuyForSure (BFS) is a company that sells various item on Aliexpress and Ebay, and then might also be involved in some product development (TBC). A couple of weeks ago I wrote about an inexpensive HiSilicon Hi3798M based TV box (quad core Cortex A7) supporting 2160 (4K UHD) video output and decoding, HEVC/H.265 video decoding, and featuring a USB 3.0 port. The company asked me if I wanted to receive a sample, and I accepted because few companies promote HiSilicon and MStar based products for oversea markets. So they send me their BFS 4KH TV box, my first HiSilicon device, and early next year, I’m likely to receive Zidoo X9 based on Mstar MSO9180 from another company, so that’s another story… Today, I’ll start by taking pictures of the media player and its board, and in several days I’ll post a review showing what this $50+ box is capable of (or not).

BFS 4KH Unboxing Pictures

Since I’m currently quite busy with various hardware, I asked them to send it by registered mail, so I received  China Post airmail package, and amazingly it only took 10 days for delivery (to Thailand). The package itself is entirely in Chinese, with some reference to X3, X5, A6 and A8 devices, and a 499 CNY price tag. But it’s quite possible they use the same box for all their devices.
BFS_4KH_PAckage
Inside the package, we’ll find the 4K media player, an IR remote control (requiring 2x AAA batteries), an HDMI cable, a 5V/2A power supply, a BufForSure business card, and another card reminding you to give 5 stars on Ebay or Aliexpress…

BFS_4KH_Package_Content_640px

BuyForSure 4KH and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

Let’s now have a closer look at the box itself.

BFS_4KH

BFS 4KH (Click to Enlarge)

There’s not much to see at the front, but we’ll later see a power LED, and an IR receiver. A mechanical switch on the side is used to turn on and off the device, and most ports are on the back: composite RCA connector, Left and right audio RCA connectors, a USB 3.0 port, a pinhole for recovery, a USB 2.0 host port, Fast Ethernet, HDMI output, a power jack, and the Wi-Fi antenna. Looking on the botton of the case, we’ll find a sticker mentioning the name of the company in Chinese (which read like Bai Fei “something”, hence the BFS / BuyForSure name in English), as well as the product name which is indeed BFS 4KH.

BFS 4KH Board Pictures

There are no screws holding the case together, so you have to use a thin or hard object (I used some scalpel-like tool), between the front panel and the bottom part of the enclosure to start separating both parts, and work from there.

HI3798M-1C_Board

Hi3798M-1C Board (Click to Enlarge)

One of the first thing, I noticed was that the green and black solder point are quite close to each other. It’s not really dangerous (5V), but potentially that means both wires may short-circuit so the box would always be on, and the switch inactive. Anyway, I was not careful enough, and the black wire detached from the switch, so I have a small soldering job to do tomorrow. Otherwise there’s a small heatsink firmly attached to Hi3798M SoC, the eMMC is the commonly used FORESEE NCEFES78-08G (8GB, which has decent performance on M-195 box), and two Kingston N04268-01 chips are used to get the 1GB RAM used in the device. The Wi-Fi module is Realtek RTL8188ETV, which normally delivers very good performance (better than AP6xxx modules), but it’s only 2.4 GHz, so it’s not for people with a busy Wi-Fi environment that may require 5GHz to “escape the crowd”. The board name is HI3798M-1C-VER.C, and the unpopulated J18 connector on the bottom right side of the heatsink, is probably the UART pin for the serial console.

BFS_4KH_Board_Bottom

Bottom of BFS 4KH Board (Click to Enlarge)

In order to take out the board from the case, you need to remove the two QC covering two screws, untighten these, and take out the board. There’s not much interesting to see on the bottom of the board.

BFS 4KH is currently selling for $52.99 on Aliexpress including shipping, as well as Ebay for $61.99 from the same seller. a BFS 4KH Tiny version is always offered with 512MB RAM and 4GB flash, for just $1 less on Aliexpress, so most people will probably prefer its big brother.

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Android TV Launcher is Now Available on Google Play

December 19th, 2014 2 comments

If you own one of the many Android media player available on the market, and wanted to get Google Android TV on your device, the good news is that Google has just published Android TV Launcher on Google Play. So even though you can’t install Android TV on you device just yet, at least you should be able to run the launcher. But unfortunately, there’s also a bad news: Android TV Launcher is only available for Android TV devices such as ADT-1 Devkit or Nexus Player.

Android TV Launcher

Android TV Launcher

I wanted to side-loaded to one of my Android devices, so I tried APK downloader to retrieve the Android TV launcher apk, but it can’t be downloaded unless your use a “Device ID” from ADT-1 or Nexus Player. So if you want to give it a try, you’ll have to patiently wait for the apk to show up somewhere. One place where it might show up first could be on XDA Developer forums.

[Update: Android TV launcher apk is now available: LeanbackLauncher.apk, but I’ve tried it on my Android 4.4.4 tablet, and it does not work, so a device running Android 5.0 may be needed.

Via XDA Developers Blog

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Categories: Android Tags: android tv, apk, media player

OpenELEC For Amlogic Media Players – MXIII, Tronsmart Vega S89, TV110 and CX-S806 (S812)

December 18th, 2014 17 comments

XBMC / Kodi is not working pretty well on Android devices, and even automatic frame rate switching is available on some Android platforms such as MINIX NEO X6. But if you want a pure XBMC experience, you may consider XBMC/Kodi Linux distributions such as OpenELEC also providing support for some USB DVB tuner dongles and PVR function, both of which are currently unavailable in Kodi for Android. We’ve also seen OpenELEC released for M8 TV Box, but  Kerber, a Russian developer (or at least a Russian speaking developer) has also released OpenELEC 4.97.x for MXIII (Amlogic S802), Tronsmart Vega S89 (Amlogic S802), TV110 (Amlogic S805) , and CX-S806 (Amlogic S812) media players.

CX-S806_OpenELECThe forum post is dated on August 2014, but it has been updated on December 12 with more up-to-date images:

Download is a little slow, so I haven’t checked the content of the zipped firmware, but if it is the same as OpenELEC for M8, these should be “OTA update” files where you just need to copy to an SD card or a USB flash drive, and enter recovery mode to complete the update.

Rough instructions to enable PVR in OpenELEC:

  1. Select and enable one of two backends from OpenELEC repository:  VDR or tvheadend
  2. Configure VDR with pvr frontend VNSI add-on, or tvheadend with TVH / HTS client
  3. If you use tvheadend backend, you’ll get a Web based user interface @ ip_address:9981

Let us know if you try these, and your feedback in the comments section.

Thank to Ovidiu for the information.

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Unboxing of Amlogic S812 based Sunchip CX-S806 Android Media Player

December 18th, 2014 9 comments

Sunchip CX-S806 is my third Android media player based on Amlogic S812 processor, after Eny Technology EM8S (which I haven’t received yet, because the firmware is not really ready yet), and MINIX NEO X8-H Plus with a stable firmware, but some disappointment with regards to peripherals performance (eMMC, Ethernet,…), and poor support for H.265 / 4K videos in XBMC/Kodi, at least for now, since I’m sure they’ll work out the video issue with subsequent firmware / Kodi releases. CX-S806 has lower specs compared to NEO X8-H Plus, and does not come with an air mouse, but it costs about half of the MINIX box, so we’ll have to see how it performs. For now, I simply post pictures of the device and the internal board, since I’ve already posted CX-S806 specifications previously.

CX-S806 Unboxing

Sunchip sent me the box via DHL, and I received it in the black and gold package below.
Sunchip_CX-S806_Package
The box comes with a 5V/3A power supply, an IR remote control (2x AAA batteries required), an HDMI cable, and user’s manual in English.

CX-S806 and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

CX-S806 and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

The box looks pretty nice, and all ports are at the back with a reset pin holes, three USB 2.0 ports including one OTG port, optical S/PDIF, AV and HDMI output, a Fast Ethernet RJ45 port, and the power jack.

Sunchip CX-S806 TV Box (Click to Enlarge)

Sunchip CX-S806 TV Box (Click to Enlarge)

We can’t see anything at the front, but it’s a semi transparent plastic hiding the IR receiver and a power LED.

Unboxing video:

CX-S806 Board Pictures

There’s large rounded sticky rubber band the bottom of the case, but there’s nothing under, so everything is held together with clips. At first I tried to open the box by popping the clip from the back of the case, and I could start to open it, but it would not come off completely, the gap between the black plastic case and the semi-transparent plastic at the front was basically inexistent, so I got stuck thiking glue may be involved, and I asked Sunchip who kindly provided some pictures explaining how to open the box, including the one just below.

CX-S806_Disassembly_by_Sunchip
Once I knew how to get started, I managed to open it with my disassembly toolkit. The tiny triangular green tool was not tiny and strong enough, so I used the scalpel like tool to take out the front panel, and separated the rest of the enclosure with the other green tool.

CX-S806_Dissassembly
There’s a bit less cooling elements than in other Amlogic S8x1 boxes with just a heatsink on top of Amlogic S812, so I’ll have to keep an eye on the temperature.

CX-S806 Board (Click to Enlarge)

CX-S806 Board (Click to Enlarge)

The board is named CX_S806_V1.2_140825. The wireless module (for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) is AP6210. Four Samsung K4B4G1646D-BCK0 DDR3-1600chips are used for the 2GB RAM, and a FORESEE NCEFES78 eMMC flash for the 8GB internal storage. You’ll also notice four pins on the right of the IR sensor which should be for serial console access.

Bottom of CX-S806 Board (Click to Enlarge)

Bottom of CX-S806 Board (Click to Enlarge)

I had to remove four screws to have a look at the back, but there’s not much to see here, except a sticker with the board key specifications, and QC status, located just on top of solder pads for another flash chip.

Sunchip is the company that designs and manufacture all CX-??? media players and TV sticks, and their board is also found in some other brands, so if you want to purchase in large quantities, you could contact them via CX-S806 product page (Contact link is on top).  Individuals can purchase the box for $80 on Amazon US, Ebay, GeekBuying, as well as Aliexpress.

Disclaimer: Although this post is not sponsored, Sunchip has recently become a sponsor for CNX Software.

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Inphic i8 Android Media Player Supports VP9 and H.265 Video Codecs, Features Allwinner H8 Processor

December 15th, 2014 1 comment

Allwinner H8 a new octa-core Cortex A7 processor for low cost Full HD media players with H.265 & VP9 codec support, and one the first product using the new Allwinner H-Series processor is Inphic i8, which sells for as low as 349 CNY (~$57) on JD.com and it’s also available on Taobao for 499 CNY (~$80). Some Inphic i8 boxes are available on Aliexpress, but so far all models are based on Allwinner A31s, promoted as quad core processor eight core GPU boxes, so don’t be fooled.

Inphic_i8Inphic i8 (Allwinner H8) specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H8 octa-core Cortex-A7 processor @ 2.0GHz with PowerVR SGX544 GPU up to 720MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB or 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8, 16, or 32GB internal storage
  • Video Output – HDMI up to 1080p, Composite output (RCA)
  • Audio Output – HDMI, and Left / Right RCA connectors
  • Video Codecs
    • Multi-format 1080p@60fps video playback, including H.264 BP/MP/HP, VP8, MPEG1/2, MPEG4 SP/ASP GMC, H.263 including Sorenson Spark, WMV9/VC-1, JPEG/MJPEG, etc
    • H.265/VP9 1080p@30fps video playback
    • H.264 1080p@60fps or 720p@120fps video encoding
  • Audio Format/Codecs – AAC-LC/HEAAC/HE-AAC v2, AC3 (Dolby Digital), AMR-NB, DTS, MP3, OGG, RA_COOK, WMA, WMA, LPCM/PCM/ADPCM, FLAC
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • USB – 2x USB host ports
  • Power Supply – 5V/1.5A
  • Dimensions – 175 x 116 x 32 mm
  • Weight – 192 grams

Inphic_i8_ports

The package should also include HDMI and AV cables, a power adapter, a remote control, and a power supply. The box is said to be running Android KitKat 4.4.2, with support for Google Play, XBMC / Kodi , and  Skype, as well as Airplay, DLNA, and Miracast. The Chinese websites instead report the OS is YunOS, so it’s possible there will be a Chinese version, and an international version.

“H.265 Hardware Decoder” is explicitly listed on the product page, but Allwinner also claimed support for H.265 and VP9 codec in Allwinner A80 processor,  but after testing actual products such as Draco AW80, it turns out it’s probably only software decode, or maybe GPU accelerated (GPGPU with OpenCL) instead of being actually supported by the VPU. Products will have to be tested to make sure these two codecs are properly supported. I’m currently testing Infocus CS1 A83 tablet, based on Allwinner A83T processor with the same CPU and GPU as Allwinner H8, and Antutu Video Tester reports a score of well over 600 points, which shows the tablet has good video playback capabilities and quality, so this looks promising if both A83T and H8 share the same video engine.

Since the box sells for $57 in China, I’d expect it to be available for $70 to $80 on Aliexpress sooner than later. More details can be found on Inphic i9 product page, where they mention 4K support, but I believe these claims can be discarded since H8 only supports 1080p decoding and output.

Via Home Theater Life on Google+ MINI PC Community.

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WeTek Play Android & Linux DVB-S2 / DVB-C/T/T2 Receivers are Now Available for 109 Euros

December 13th, 2014 24 comments

I reviewed Wetek Play Android media player with a DVB-S2 tuner this summer, and although I found it pretty good for a dual core media player, and liked its PVR functions, more work was needed to fix several bugs, and improve “WeTek Theater Live TV” app. Several months later, they must consider their devices ready, as they’ve now launched their online store selling the DVB-S2 and DVB-C/T/T2 versions for 109 Euros, and a version without DVB tuner for 99 Euros, all including free shipping worldwide.
Wetek_PlayLet’s remind us of the specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic AML8726-MX dual core Cortex A9 @ 1.5GHz with a dual core Mali-400MP GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 4 GB NAND flash + 1x micro SD slot
  • Video Output – HDMI, AV (CVBS + R/L audio)
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV, and optical S/PDIF
  • Tuners – DVB-S2, or DVB-C/DVB-T/DVB-T2 depending on model with two antenna connectors. ATSC and ISDBT versions may also be in the works based on the released datasheet.
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi , and Bluetooth 4.0 (AP6210)
  • USB – 3x external USB 2.0 ports, 2x internal USB 2.0 ports (used by anti-copy USB token, and RF dongle for remote)
  • Debugging – Serial debug port
  • Misc – IR receiver, 3 LEDs for power, Ethernet and Wi-Fi, RS-232 port for serial console.
  • Power – 12V/1.5A
When I received WeTek Play package it included the media player, a 12V/1.5A power supply, a RS232 serial cable for debugging, a IR + RF remote, and a registration card to activate your device online. The retail package will include all that, plus an HDMI cable, and a multilingual Quick Start Guide.
Wetek_Play_DVB-T2

WeTek Play DVB-C/T/T2

Beside running Android 4.4, the company also provided me with some images for Lubuntu 14.04, Linux Enlightement, CyanogenMod, AOKP, OMNI ROM, and PanaroidAndroid, as well as CWM and TWRP recovery. But these are rather old, so I’d wait for the latest images on their Download page (now empty, except user’s guide). More recently, I’ve also received links to the latest OpenElec 5.0 and Android 4.2 images. You might also find more details on WeTek forum, where the Linux section is moderated by codesnake an active OpenElec developer. The device is also one of the rare Android media players to be get the Google GMS certification.

Further details can be found on WeTek Play product page.

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TV01II Android Media Player with Rockchip RK3288 Processor Sells for $53 (Promo)

December 10th, 2014 8 comments

I’ve been informed that GeekBuying is running a promotion for a Rockchip RK3288 TV Box called TV01II that normally sells for $75.99, but you can follow this link, apply PAYPALSALE coupon, and pay by PayPal to get it for just $53.19 including shipping by registered mail. [Update: The product is now out of stock].

TV01II_TV_BoxTV01II specifications:

  • SoC –  Rockchip RK3288 quad core ARM Cortex A17 processor @ 1.8GHz with ARM Mali-T764 quad-core 3D GPU with support for OpenGL ES 3.0, OpenCL 1.1, and DirectX11
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB NAND Flash + micro SD slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4 up to 4K @ 30fps, AV port
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, AV,  and optical S/PDIF, built-in MIC.
  • Video Codecs – MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4,H.263, H.264, H.265,AVS, VC-1,RV, VP6/VP8, Sorenson Spark, MVC 3800 x 2160P 60FPS
  • Audio Codecs – MPEG1, MPEG2 (Layer I/II), MP3, AC3, E-AC3, AAC-M4A, WMA, M4A, etc…
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 (AP6330)
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports including one OTG port.
  • Misc – Power LED, reset button, and IR receiver.
  • Power – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – N/A
  • Weight – N/A

The box runs the usual Android 4.4.2, and ships with a 5V/2A power adapter, an IR remote control, HDMI and AV cables,a USB cable for the OTG port, and a user’s manual. The stock firmware (TV01II_0916-T032_AP6330_public_20140910.rar, password: geekbuying.com) has been released, but no other updates have been provided since September, so I’m not sure you should expect further updates. I can’t find any review either, but others on Freaktab may have decided to buy it.

Thanks to Christophe for the tip.

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Categories: Android Tags: Android, discount, media player

How To Upgrade Firmware on Ugoos UM3 mini PC

December 9th, 2014 1 comment

Ugoos released two new dual boot Android / Ubuntu images for Ugoos UT3 and UM3, which reduces the size of the system by 300MB, includes LibreOffice, replaces Firefox by Chromium + PepperFlash plugin, and fixes various bugs:

The firmware update procedure for Rockchip RK3288 is well-known, and Ugoos even includes a word file with flashing instructions in Microsoft Windows with the firmware images. However, it still took me about one hour to find out how to do with Ugoos UM3, so I thought I’d write a post in case others encounter the same issue.

I flash the firmware in Ubuntu, so instead of using Android Tool, I flashed it with upgrade_tool command line utility I got from Orion R28 SDK, but you can also download Linux_Upgrade_Tool_v1.2.tar.gz directly.

First let’s enter recovery mode. The procedure is the same as for any device, and you have to press the recovery button (“reset” pinhole in UM3), insert a USB cable between your PC and the OTG port of your device, wait a couple of seconds and release the recovery button.

Ugoos_UM3_USB_OTG

The thing that wasted so much time was the marking on the device. First I naively used the “OTG/DC” micro USB port, but I did not get anything in the kernel log (dmesg), and after several tries, and switching between my Linux PC, and a netbook running Windows XP, I decided to investigate further, and found out the actual USB port was the left USB port on the side of the device.

Once I found this little detail out, it worked fine, and I followed the same flashing instructions I used with Tronsmart Orion R28.

If you get the message “Creating Comm Object failed!”  while using upgrade_tool, change the udev rules in Ubuntu as follows:

sudo sh -c 'echo SUBSYSTEM==\"usb\", ATTR{idVendor}==\"2207\", MODE=\"0666\", GROUP=\"plugdev\" > /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules'
sudo udevadm control --reload-rules
sudo udevadm trigger

And now you should be able to complete the firmware upgrade:

./upgrade_tool uf UM3_dualboot_v0.2.img

After a successful firmware update, which should take about 10 minutes, upgrade_tool output should look like:

Loading firmware...
Support Type:RK32    FW Ver:4.4.02    FW Time:2014-12-08 17:34:53
Loader ver:2.17    Loader Time:2014-11-10 03:42:00
Upgrade firmware ok.

That’s all for today, now I’ve got some testing to do…

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