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Geniatech ATV1960 Octa-core Android TV Box Comes with a Dual TV Tuner (ATSC or DVB-T2)

November 23rd, 2016 3 comments

We now have so many Amlogic S912 Android TV boxes on the market, it becomes hard for companies to differentiate, but Geniatech is offering something different with their Geniatech/Mygica ATV1960 model thanks to a dual TV tuner support either ATSC or DVB-T2 and allowing you to watch a program, while recording another.

amlogic-s912-dvb-t2-atsc

Geniatech/Mygica ATV1960 specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S912 octa-core ARM Cortex A53 processor @ up to 1.5 GHz with ARM Mali-820MP3 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot + 2.5″ SATA bay (cover on the bottom of the case)
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60 Hz
  • Audio Output – HDMI, and optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Tuner – Dual Digital TV Tuner  (ATSC/T2); one for live watching, another for recording; EPG and PVR supported.
  • Misc – IR receiver, reset pinhole
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions –  160 x 110 x 33 mm
  • Weight – 237 grams

The exact specifications are of the device are hard to find since the people who updated the company’s website did not do such a good job. While all other Amlogic S912 TV boxes are running Android 6.0, ATV1960 is said to run Android 5.1, something that’s unlikely but possible in case the drivers for the tuners could not be re-built for Android 6.0.

mygica-atv1960We also could not see any demo of the device yet, and price and availability are not available yet. ATV1960 will likely be sold under the Mygica brand, possibly with some specifications tweaks, as the company has done in the past with other models. You can find more – but not-so-accurate – information on Geniatech ATV1960 product page.

Via ARMDevices

Geniatech ATV195e 4K TV Stick Features Amlogic S905 Processor, 802.11ac WiFi

February 29th, 2016 8 comments

While there are way too many Amlogic S905 TV boxes to keep up, the number of TV sticks based on the processor is fairly low, and until today I had only heard about Guleek A8 a few months ago, but I can’t even see it for sale anywhere.Potential reason include people have released TV stick are not that convenient, or electronic design houses had issues to cool the thing down, as we’ve seen even some full-size TV boxes have issues with cooling. Nevertheless, Geniatech has designed their own Amlogic S905 TV stick called ATV195e with 1GB RAM, 8GB flash, and 802.11ac WiFi.

Geniatech_ATV195e

Geniatech ATV195e preliminary specifications:

  • SoC –  Amlogic S905 quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 2.0GHz with penta core Mali-450MP GPU up to 750MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash (2 to 32GB on-request)
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60Hz with HDCP 2.2 support
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac with external antenna
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB port
  • Misc – IR extender port
  • Power Supply –  5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 80mm x 36mm x 13mm (metallic enclosure)

The stick runs Android 5.1, and ships with a USB Cable, a user’s manual, an IR extension cable, a remote control, and a power supply.

Amlogic_S905_TV_stickThe TV stick is available now at least to distributors, but pricing has not been disclosed. You could also visit Geniatech ATV195e product page, but some of the information is currently conflicting especially in the “Specifications” section. On a related but different news, Geniatech also opened a European office in Germany after purchasing EyeTV business from  Elgato.

Review of Mygica ATV586 Android Set-Top Box with DVB-T2 Tuner

August 27th, 2015 17 comments

I’ve already tested some Android TV boxes with tuners such as HD18T (DVB-T2) and WeTek Play (DVB-S2) , but they were all based on Amlogic AML8726-MX dual core processor. Geniatech recently sent me Mygica ATV586 quad core Android DVB-T2 receiver based on Amlogic S805 processor. I’ve already taken a few pictures, and look at the hardware components,  so today, I’ll write the review, mainly focusing on the live TV program capabilities including PVR and Timeshifting.

First Boot, Settings and First Impressions

I’ve connected a hard drive, a webcam, MeLE F10 Deluxe RF dongle, and a keyboard (for screenshots) to the device’s USB ports, as well as HDMI and Ethernet cables, and a TV antenna cable, before connecting the 5V power adapter to start the device. When everything is connected, the boot takes about 1 minute 35 seconds, but without USB devices, it drops down to 44 seconds. Boot time is not something that Geniatech appears to focus on, as also had slow boot times with Mygica ATV1900AC.

ATV586_Setup_WizardIt all then start with a Welcome screen, leading to a wizard to configure the language (English, Simplified Chinese, or Traditional Chinese) , the Screen resolution and scaling, and networking connectivity (Ethernet or WiFi). What’s missing from the wizard is timezone selection, so you’ll have to configure it in the Android settings, and it’s quite important to do so, if you plan to use EPG to record videos.

Click to Enlarge

Click for Original Size (1920×1080)

Once this done, you’ll get to the user interface with shortcuts to favorites, as well as icons launch Kodi, Mygica and Google Play Stores, access the list opf apps and settings, as well as a black window reading “No Program,  Please click ‘Here’ to scan!”. I did that, and at the beginning all I had was a black screen, but I went back again, and I was able to access the Search menu, set the country to “Thailand”, and start scanning for channels.

Mygica_ATV586_Country_SelectionOther supported countries include France, Myanmar, Taiwan, Canada, Israel, Singapore, Russia, UK, Italy, Australia, and Colombia. The “DTV player” user interface is actually exactly the same as in HD18T, except the list of countries is longer, and all features work as expect. Once scanning was completed, there was 30 TV channels detected in either SD or HD resolutions.

ATV586_DVB_Scan_CompleteYou can now watch the TV channels you wish, but I’ll get back to that later. Going back to the home screen, you’ll see the latest selected TV channel displayed in that black window. I find this rather annoying personally, but it’s probably just a matter of preference.

ATV586_Home_Screen_Live_TVNow let’s check the settings.

ATV586_SettingsIf they look familiar, it’s because it’s the usual Amlogic settings found in MXQ S85, EM6Q-MXQ, MINIX NEO X6, and most other Amlogic TV boxes but with a different background. The settings are mostly the same as in MINIX NEO X6:

  • Network – Enable and configure Wi-Fi or Ethernet
  • Display:
    • Automatic or manual HDMI resolution: 480p @ 60 Hz, 576p @ 50 Hz, 720p @ 50/60 Hz, 1080i @ 50/60 Hz, or 1080p @ 24/50/60 Hz
    • Hide or Show status bar
    • Display Position
    • Screen Save (Never, 4, 8 or 12 minutes)
  • Advanced:
    • Miracast
    • Remote Control (app)
    • Google TV Remote
    • CEC Control
    • Digital audio auto-detection
    • Digital Audio Output (Auto, PCM, SPDIF passthrough, or HDMI passthrough)
  • Other – System Update: Local file or OTA, and “More Settings” for standard Android Settings.

About_ATV586The system set the resolution to 1080p50 automatically, and I used this setting. WiFi and Ethernet could connect without issue, but Bluetooth failed. Bluetooth can only be found in the standard Android settings

ATV586 comes with 8 GB storage with a single 6.95GB partition, and 4.30 GB free. The “About device” section reports model number is “XS″, and the system runs Android 4.4.2 on top of Linux kernel 3.10.33, just like other S805 boxes I tested previously. The firmware is rooted.

Google Play Store worked OK, and I could install most app needed for review through the store, except Vidonn Smartband. I also scrolled through the list of apps of I previously installed on other devices, and some other apps were incompatible: Thailand Post & Track, Plants vs Zombies 2, and the usual SMS and GPS apps. For overall Play Store support is good, and better than with the company’s ATV1900AC mini PC.

There’s no power button on the unit, and a short press on the remote will go to standby mode, while a long press will show a menu asking whether you want to go into Standby or Reboot, meaning there’s no clean power off option. Talking about the remote control, the included Mygica KR-21 remote works pretty well with the DTV app (except to input recording time) and Kodi, and the range is very good, as it was still working 10 meters away. You’d still want to use another input device (air mouse, wireless keyboard, smartphone app..) to use a web browser, a play some games… As with other S805 devices, the temperature is pretty cool, as the maximum temperature  of the top and bottom of the case was respectively 45°C and 43°C after running Antutu 5.7.

The firmware is very stable, but at times it feels a bit sluggish, especially while apps are installed or are updating, as well as inside “DTV Player” app used to watch DVB-T2 channels, as it does not always feel as responsive as it should.

Video Playback

Since I’ve already reviewed three Android 4.4 boxes based on Amlogic S805, results were mostly satisfactory, and my time is limited, I’ll refer you to MXQ S85 review for Kodi performance under the platform. I still quickly tested H.264 and H.265 in Kodi 14.2 “Mygica Edition” as well as HDMI pass-through. 1080p H.264 video played perfectly, but a 1080p H.265 video would only play at 10 fps due to software decoding.

Playing audio through my AV receiver using HDMI pass-through would only generate noise for Dolby and DTS audio, even after settings Kodi and the system to use HDMI pass-through.

Finally, I’ve also run the latest Antutu Video Tester 3.0 to get a reference point for Amlogic S805 platforms.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

683 points is quite lower than Amlogic S812 based ATV1900AC’s 1,059 points, but it was probably to be expected since Amlogic S805 does not support 4K videos. It’s still higher than the mere 532 points achieved by Beelink i68 (RK3368). Please note again that Antutu Video Tester 2.2 and Antutu Video Tester 3.0 scores can’t be compared as for example, ATV586 got 490 points in version 2.2.

Tuner App in ATV586

The main selling point of this device is support for digital tuners, DVB-T2 in the device under test, or ATSC in the other version. I’ve already explained about first time setup and autoscan in the first section of this review, so let’s look at overlay data and menu.

ATV586_Overlay_MenuWe’ve got the channel number and name and some EPG info with current program and upcoming program, and as well as icons to adjust the aspect ratio (16:9, 4:3, full), access EPG, select the audio language, configure TeleText and record the current program.

Click for Original Size

Click for Original Size

The EPG data looks great, as the device got data for 7 days for all channels, and for once, the app also supports complex languages such as Thai. You can then select one or more programs from the program guide, and schedule a recording once, daily or weekly.

EPG_Record_ProgramOnce you have scheduled a few recording, you may want to press the red button on the remote control to access the schedule list.

EPG_Schedule_ListOne minute before the program is set to start, a pop-up window will show up asking you to go to the app, or it will go there within one minute. That means background recording is not possible, DTV Player app must be in the foreground in order to record a program, and you can’t do any other tasks during recording. You could also record a program manually, by pressing the record button, and inputting the time in minutes. The app will automatically detect external storage, and partitions available to record program. It will select one automatically, and create a directory called TVRecordFiles, which you can access with Kodi to playback later, or via the PVR Manager in the settings menu of DTV Player app.

The setup menu will let you change the default recording path, set TimeShilting time, enter TimeShitfing mode, and some other settings which you can see in the video where I show Live TV features in ATV586, or in HD18T mini review as the options are the same.

Overall the implementation is much better than in HD18T, as everything works, however I found the responsiveness of the app could be improved, and more importantly, sometimes the video will be choppy, audio cut, and/or audio & video may be out of sync, especially while changing channels, but this should only last a few seconds.

Finally, the user’s manual mentions DTV Viewer app that’s supposed to stream live TV to up to 2 mobile device. The QR code redirects to DTV Viewer on Google Play, but the link is not working at the time of writing, and the company did not reply to my email asking for clarifications.

Network Performance (Wi-Fi and Ethernet)

I’m using a 278 MB file transferred between a SAMBA share and the internal flash to test network performance, repeating the test three times with ES File Explorer. Wi-Fi transfer speed is a little disappointing @ 2.1 MB/s on average, quite lower than MXQ S85 or EM6Q-MXQ reaching close to 3MB/s.

Throughput in MB/s

WiFi Throughput in MB/s

iperf looks even worse, maybe because I’m using full duplex transfer (iperf -t 60 -c server -d):

Over Ethernet, the file could be transfered at 5.5 MB/s, not a fantastic result, but in line with other Amlogic S805 devices.

Throughput in MB/s

Ethernet Throughput in MB/s

I’ve also included iperf result over Ethernet for reference:

Miscellaneous Tests

Bluetooth

There’s no built-in Bluetooth.

Storage

A FAT32 (micro SD) partition, as well as NTFS and exFAT partitions on my USB 3.0 hard drive could be mounted and accessed in read/write mode.

File System Read Write
NTFS OK OK
EXT-4 Not mounted Not mounted
exFAT OK OK
BTRFS Not mounted Not mounted
FAT32 OK OK

USB hard drive and internal flash performance were tested with A1 SD Bench app. The read and write speeds were respectively 18.91 MB/s, and  23.27MB/s for the NTFS partition (mounted to /storage/external_storage/sda1), not an exciting results, but again pretty much in line with MXQ S85 performance. exFAT performance was even lower at 13.70MB/s and 2.12 MB/s, or the lower combined (R+W) performance I’ve reported so far. Make sure you use an NTFS drive on this device…

Read and Write Speeds in MB/s

Read and Write Speeds in MB/s

The internal storage reads at 22.87Mb/s and writes at 12.18 MB/s, less than average among all devices, but still the fastest storage I found in the four Amlogic S805 devices I tested. It’s right above MINIX NEO X6, and much better than MXQ S85, so I wonder where the sluggishness I experience during testing comes from…

Read and Write Speed in MB/s

Read and Write Speed in MB/s

USB Webcam

The “Test / Echo Service” in Skype worked, as well as a normal call, and the same could be said about Google Hangouts. Both apps used a UVC webcam connected to a USB port of the device.

Gaming

Please refer to previous reviews for gaming performance on Amlogic S805 platforms.

Mygica ATV586 Benchmarks

Again, I’ll keep it short here since S805 is a well known and tested platform by just running CPU-Z and Antutu 5.7.1 in order to make sure the system performs as expected.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The surprise here is that they boosted the CPU frequency to 1.61 GHz instead of 1.49 GHz in the other platforms I tested. It’s not the first time an Amlogic S805 is clocked as that frequency though, as I had read about the higher clock for ODROID-C1(+) board firmware. The rest of the information is pretty much as should be expected. The model name is XS and the board name stvm8b.

ATV586_Antutu_5

Click to Enlarge

The higher frequency shows in Antutu 5 score, as ATV586 gets 18,071 point, while for instance, MXQ S85 got 16,448 points with the firmware I tested in October 2014.

Conclusion

Mygica ATV586 is the first quad core Android box with tuner that I’ve tested, and the implementation of the DTV software, is way better than I experienced in HD18T DVB-T2 receiver, as multiple countries are supported, EPG, PVR and Timeshifting functions are all working. Performance is also on par with other Amlogic S805 TV boxes such as MINIX NEO X6 or MXQ S85. However, I did notice some slowdowns in the system and “DTV player” app from time to time, something I hope can be solved in subsequent firmware upgrades

PRO:

  • Well tested platform (Amlogic S805) and stable firmware.
  • All DTV features advertised work out of the box: Autoscan, EPG, PVR, TimeShifting, complex languages (at least Thai) are handled correctly
  • HEVC/H.265 hardware video decoding support. Working in MX Player, but not with Kodi “Mygica Edition” yet
  • USB webcam worked in Skype and Google Hangouts
  • Future update: Streaming live TV to up to two Android smartphone or tablet using DTV Viewer app

CONS:

  • System and DTV Player app may experience noticeable slowdowns. For the latter, video and audio are often affected for several seconds right after switching channels.
  • Wi-Fi performance is less than average
  • Power not controlled by MCU (only standby or reboot are available)
  • USB exFAT storage performance is very poor (NTFS is OK)
  • Audio pass-though is not working in Kodi
  • No Bluetooth

Mygica ATV586 is available now, and can be purchased either in quantity directly from Geniatech/Mygica with either a DVB-T2 or ATSC tuner, or online for $109 on Mygica Aliexpress store.

Mygica ATV1900AC Android 5.0 Mini PC Review

August 20th, 2015 14 comments

4K TV boxes based on Amlogic S812 processor have been around for about 9 months, and I already reviewed MINIX NEO X8-H Plus and CX-S806 mini PCs, but Mygica ATV1900AC is one of the first to support Android Lollipop, so I though it would be interesting to see the progress made compared to devices that run Android KitKat. I’ve already taken apart the TV Box, and found some interesting Toshiba eMMC flash and Realtek 802.11ac WiFi chips on the board, but today, I’ll test the firmware including stability, features and performance in this review.

First Boot, Settings and First Impressions

I’ve connected all ports of the device using the four USB host port with a webcam, hard drive, an RF dongle for a wireless gamepad, the RF dongle for the included remote, as well as inserting an HDMI cable, an optical audio cable S/PDIF, an Ethernet cable to Gigabit switch, and a Class 10 micro SD card. Finally I connected the power cable, and the device started straightaway. The boot took a long 1 minute 40 second to complete, so I disconnected all USB devices, except the one required for the remote, and boot time dropped to a more respectable 50 seconds, but I was still expecting a much faster boot.

"Mygica Android 5.0" Launcher (Click for Original Size)

“Mygica Android 5.0” Launcher (Click for Original Size)

"Home Screen" Launcher (Click for Original Size)

“Home Screen” Launcher (Click for Original Size)

You’ll then be offered to choose your launched between “Mygica Android 5.0” and “Home Screen”, with the latter looking very similar to Google’s Android TV launcher. I still prefer the first one, and that’s the one I used for most of the review, although it misses the Status Bar which makes it a little harder to use with an air mouse, as I had to use the remote control to press the “Home” key.

Kodi 14.2 “Mygica Edition”, YouTube, the Browser, Mygica store, Google Play, Netflix, 4K MoviePlayer and Facebook were all pre-installed and set as the shortcut in the interfaces. Other pre-installed apps include Miracast and Crackle.

Click for Original Size (1920x1080)

Click for Original Size (1920×1080)

There’s also Settings page on the right that will let you configure various aspect of the system:

  • Wi-Fi – Enable/Disable WiFi, Select ESSID, Connect via WPS…
  • Ethernet – Enable/Disable Ethernet, select Fixed IP or DHCP, configure Proxy if needed
  • Display
    • Screen resolution: Auto, 480p-60Hz, 576p-50Hz, 720p 50/60Hz, 1080i 50/60Hz, 1080p 24/50/60Hz, 4K2K 24/25/30Hz or SMPTE
    • Screen position
    • Daydream
  • More Setting – Android Lollipop Settings
  • Manage Apps – Open, stop, uninstall, clear data, cache, or defaults for a given app
  • Date & Time – Automatic Date & Time On/Off. The timezone however must be set via “More Setting”
  • Software Updates – Local or automatic updates
  • Language – List of languages for Android UI (Check walk-through video below for a complete list).

What you won’t find here are options to set audio output like PCM, or HDMI / SPDIF pass-through, and it won’t be in “More Setting” either, and instead, you need to go to the list of app, and access another Settings app (Icon with white background) to have more options, many of which are already accessible from the list above, and go to Device->Sounds->Digital Sounds… I’m not really impressed the way Settings are handled in that box, as you have 3 different places to adjust settings, a complete mess!

OTA firmware update is working, but with some caveats. I had played around one hour with the box, and installed all apps required for testing and taken a few screenshots, when the firmware update pop-up appeared. I clicked “Cancel” as I wanted to complete the current task. But soon the Upgrade app crashed, restarted and asked me again, after a few loop of this, I finally gave up and clicked on “OK” to carry on with the firmware update. It went well, except the procedure wiped out all installed app and my screenshots, meaning I had to restart all over again… I’d expect a firmware update made with Windows tools to wipe out my data, but not an OTA update…

About_Mygica_ATV1900ACOne good thing is that they did not separate app and data partitions (unless that explains why I lost all my data), as a single 12GB partition is used for both, so you won’t quickly fill up the app partition present – usually 2GB large – in some other boxes. WiFi and Ethernet worked OK (more on that later), but there’s no built-in Bluetooth, although there’s an option for it in the Android Lollipop settings. I had no problem selecting HDMI output up to 4K30.

The “About device” section shows the model number is “Mygica ATV1900AC”, and the system runs Android 5.0.2 on top of Linux 3.10.33. Despite having just update the firmware (OTA), the build date is on 17th of July 2015. Root checker exports the firmware is rooted.

The remote control is quite interesting. At first, when I saw the RF dongle, I assumed it was an air mouse, but it can only control the pointer with the arrow keys. The range  is however excellent, and standing in the corridor around 10 meters from the device, I could still control it.  It also supports Voice command and search, so you can start apps by just saying their name, e.g. Firefox, YouTube, K.O.D.I, and if the name if not recognized, it will just start a web search. You’ll need an Internet connection for voice recognition to work.  I have tested this feature in the review video below, where I also play 4K video samples in Kodi and 4K MoviePlayer, and go through the user interface and settings.

I haven’t tried Mygica store, as Google Play worked mostly OK. As usual on TV boxes, SMS and GPS app can’t be installed, but there was a long list of apps that should probably have installed, but did not including: all Bloomberg apps, AtHome Camera, some banking apps, Wiwo, Vidonn Smartband, Plants vs Zombies 2, Torque Lite, PPTV streaming, a Thai dictionary, Antutu Video Tester (OK first time, but not after firmware update) and a few more… The Amazon app installed just fine, and I could download Riptide GP2 racing game with it.

ATV1900AC can’t be powered off, and the only option is go to into standby. It worked with both the provided remote control, and MeLE F10 Deluxe air mouse.  Other Amlogic S812 TV boxes ran pretty cool, and the latest Mygica box is no exception, as the maximum temperature was 53°C and 49°C on the top and bottom of the enclosure after running Antutu 5.7, and  52°C & 46°C after playing Riptide GP2 for about 15 minutes.

I could a few hiccups as I started using the device,  including some network connection problems (WiFi and Ethernet), and I found the settings a pain to navigate because options are all over the place, but the firmware is usually quite OK, and Android 5.0 really makes a difference when launching apps, especially games, as the load much faster than to ART runtine replacing Dalvik found in earlier versions.

Video Playback with Kodi

The box ships with Kodi 14.2 “Mygica Edition”, so Geniatech must have made changed to the official Kodi 14.2 release, I’m just not sure what they are. Anyway, I used the provided version, and played video samples and movies stored on SAMBA shares over Ethernet. Initial connections to SAMBA shares in Kodi and ES File Explorer worked fine, but “connection time out” messages started to show up in Kodi a little later (after testing was complete), while ES File Explorer had no such problem.

Video samples from samplemedia.linaro.org, Elecard H.265/HEVC samples, and a low resolution VP9 video:

  • H.264 codec / MP4 container (Big Buck Bunny) – 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • MPEG2 codec / MPG container –  480p/720p/1080p – OK could be smoother (Kodi live log also reports ~21fps instead of the native 25 fps)
  • MPEG4 codec, AVI container 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • VC1 codec (WMV) – 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • Real Media (RMVB), 720p / 5Mbps – Software decode @ ~20 fps instead of 25 fps
  • WebM / VP8 – 480p/720p OK. 1080p could be a little smoother (18 fps instead of 25 fps)
  • H.265 codec / MPEG TS container (360p/720p/1080p) – 360p: OK; 720p: OK most of the time, except in some scenes where the frame rate drops.. 1080p:  plays at ~15fps with audio/video sync issues.
  • WebM / VP9 (no audio in video) – OK

Moving on to some higher bitrate videos:

  • ED_HD.avi – audio only
  • big_buck_bunny_1080p_surround.avi (1080p H.264 – 12 Mbps) – OK.
  • h264_1080p_hp_4.1_40mbps_birds.mkv (40 Mbps) – OK
  • hddvd_demo_17.5Mbps_1080p_VC1.mkv (17.5Mbps) – 15 fps instead of 29.970 fps
  • Jellyfish-120-Mbps.mkv (120 Mbps video without audio) – OK (played from network)

The next step was to test some videos samples with HD audio tracks using PCM (down-sampling), HDMI pass-through with Onkyo TX-NR636 AV receiver. I skipped S/PDIF pass-through because as we’ll see audio pass-through is not working, even after enabling AC3 and DTS in Kodi, as well as HDMI audio output in the hard to find part of the system settings.

Video PCM Output
Kodi
PCM Output
“Video Player” app
HDMI Pass-through
Kodi
S/PDIF Pass-through
Kodi
AC3 / Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio OK, but video not smooth No audio PCM 2.0 (and Noise) Skipped test
E-AC-3 / Dolby Digital+ 5.1 OK No audio PCM 2.0 (and Noise) Skipped test
Dolby Digital+ 7.1 OK No audio PCM 2.0 Audio Formats Not Supported over S/PDIF
TrueHD 5.1 OK No audio PCM 2.0
TrueHD 7.1 OK No audio PCM 2.0
Dolby Atmos 7.1 OK No audio PCM 2.0
DTS HD Master OK No audio PCM 2.0 (and Noise)
DTS HD High Resolution OK No audio PCM 2.0 (and Noise)

Beside pass-through not working, any video with Dolby or DTS sound tracks will have to be played in Kodi, as other the system does not support them.

Sintel-Bluray.iso and amay.iso (Ambra – Prism of Life) Blu-ray ISO videos played fine,  as did GridHD.mpg & Pastel1080i25HD.mpg my two 1080i MPEG2 video samples.

That’s the best Hi10p video decoding I’ve seen so far as the video plays all the way and with less artifacts than usual, but unfortunately the videos are still not watchable:

  • [Commie] Steins;Gate – NCED [BD 720p AAC] [10bit] [C706859E].mkv – Audio & subtitles OK, and video plays with with some artifacts
  • [1080p][16_REF_L5.1][mp3_2.0]Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu BD OP.mkv – Audio & subtitles OK, and video plays with with some artifacts.

H.264 4K videos can play, but unfortunately H.265 4K videos won’t play smoothly in Kodi 14.2, as it only supports software decode even after customization by Geniatech:

  • HD.Club-4K-Chimei-inn-60mbps.mp4 – OK
  • sintel-2010-4k.mkv – OK
  • Beauty_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) –  Playing @ 2 to 3 fps
  • Bosphorus_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) – Playing @ 2 to 3 fps
  • Jockey_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_TS.ts (H.265) – Won’t play, the system stays in user interface.
  • MHD_2013_2160p_ShowReel_R_9000f_24fps_RMN_QP23_10b.mkv (10-bit HEVC) – Plays @ 3 to 4 fps.
  • phfx_4KHD_VP9TestFootage.webm (VP9) – Plays at 3 to 4 fps using software decode as all eight cores are close to 100% CPU usage.
  • BT.2020.20140602.ts (Rec.2020 compliant video) – Won’t play, the system stays in the user interface
  • big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_30fps.mp4 – OK
  • big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_60fps.mp4 – ~40 fps, with audio cuts, and audio/video issues (excepted, as it’s not supported by the hardware…)

I’ve tried the H.265 videos @ 30 fps or less again in 4K MoviePlayer and they could also play smoothly, except 10-bit HEVC video, and BT2020. The ones with AC3 audio did not have audio.

The TV I use for reviews, namely LG 42UB820T, does not support 3D, but I can still try to play stereoscopic 3D videos to find out if the device under test can decode them:

  • bbb_sunflower_1080p_60fps_stereo_abl.mp4 (1080p Over/Under) – OK
  • bbb_sunflower_2160p_60fps_stereo_abl.mp4 (2160p Over/Under) – Audio only, black screen.
  • Turbo_Film-DreamWorks_trailer_VO_3D.mp4 (1080p SBS) – OK

Finally, I’ve played movies and videos from my library, including FLV, AVI, MKV VOB/IFO, and MP4 videos, and they could all play fine, except I’ve noticed one or two could not be zoomed / stretched. The option was there, but it simply did not work.

The stability test with a complete 1080p MKV movie ran without interruption, but scenes with panning did not seem as smooth as usual, and Kodi log window reported around 7,000 skipped frame.

Since Antutu Video Tester could not be installed from Google Play, I sideloaded version 2.2, and upgraded to version 3.0, before running the test. Last week, Beelink i68 got 532 points, but Mygica ATV1900AC got a much higher score at 1,059 points.

Antutu Video Tester 3.0 results can be found below, and somehow, AC3 audio is working according to the test results… Go figure.

Mygica_ATV1900AC_Antutu_Video_Tester_3.0

Click to Enlarge

Video samples can be downloaded from “Where to get video, audio and images samples” post and comments.

Wi-Fi and Ethernet Network Performance

In order to test network performance, a 278 MB file is transfered using ES File Explorer between a SAMBA share and the flash. The test is repeated three times, and the average is used. WiFi performance on Mygica ATV1900AC is outstanding, it’s the best device in terms of performance I used both with 802.11 b/g/n (300 Mbps) and 802.11ac (867 Mbps) with transfer averaging respectively 5.08 MB/s and 7.45 MB/s.

Mygica_ATV1900AC_WiFI

Throughput in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

However, there’s potentially a stability issues, as one of the transfer stalled and stopped (802.11n 2.4GHz). I could not easily reproduce the issue, and I could hear a commercial plane fly over when it occurred (Could it affect WiFi?). I also noticed a WiFi re-connection another time while shooting the video review embed above.

I also ran iperf “iperf -t 60 -c 192.168.0.104 -d” command line to check the raw performance for

  • WiFi 802.11n (300 Mbps)

  • WiFi 802.11ac (867 Mbps)

A 885 MB file transfer from SAMBA to flash and vice versa took just under one minute using Gigabit Ethernet, again ranking Mygica ATV1900AC at the top of the charts.

Throughput in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

Throughput in MB/s

Contrary to transfers with WiFi or Fast Ethernet, transferring a file over Gigabit Ethernet is often bound by storage performance, and it’s the case for Mygica’s TV box, as running iperf shows Amlogic S812 Ethernet limitations as seen in other devices.

Mygica_ATV1900AC_Gigabit_Ethernet_Iperf

Throughput in Mbps

iperf output:

Since the fastest storage interface is USB 2.0 (480 Mbps max), this limitation is unlikely to matter in practise.

Miscellaneous Tests

Bluetooth

There’s no Bluetooth capable chip in the device. However, there’s a Bluetooth option in Android settings, and I tried to connect a USB Bluetooth 4.0 dongle, but still failed to enabled it.  So Bluetooth is not supported, even with external hardware, at least with this firmware.

Storage

A FAT32 micro SD card could be access in read/write mode, and the NTFS and exFAT partitions in USB 3.0 hard drive could be mounted, however while the partition are about 250GB large, the system only detected 10MB partitions with 10MB free, so reading files worked, but copying files to these partitions failed due to an incorrectly reported lack of space…

File System Read Write
NTFS OK No
EXT-4 Not mounted Not mounted
exFAT OK No
BTRFS Not mounted Not mounted
FAT32 OK OK

That means I could not run A1 SD Bench app to benchmark USB 2.0 performance, so I only tested the performance of the Toshiba eMMC flash. The results are quite good, but far from the theoretical 270 MB/s and 50MB/s read and write speeds, probably because Amlogic S812 does not support eMMC 5.0 HS400 mode.

Mygica_ATV1900AC_eMMC_Performance

Read and Write Speeds in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

USB Webcam

The Echo / Sound Testing Service works in Skype, and I could make a video call, but for some reasons, there was no input from the camera, and I could only see the caller video.

Google Hangouts worked fine with my USB webcam.

Gaming

I installed Candy Crush Saga, Beach Buggy Racing, and Riptide GP2 to test gaming. The main difference compared by my previous versions was how fast the games would load, probably a combination of fast internal storage and ART runtime. Candy Crush Saga had no issue, Beach Buggy Racing was smooth using standard settings, but because a little less smooth with graphics settings maxed out.  Riptide GP2 was not quite as smooth as expected even with default settings, while I was quite happy with all the game on MINIX NEO X8-H Plus. I did the previous test 9 months ago, and as it’s a subjective test, I may have become an old grumpy man that is a little more demanding, or the processor may not run at its full potential…

Mygica ATV1900AC Benchmarks

Even though Amlogic S812 is a mature platform, it’s still interesting to run CPU-Z, and in this case we find out that the processor only runs up to 1608 MHz, while most other devices run it at its full speed (2.0 GHz).

Mygica_ATV1900AC_CPU-ZI doubled-check with Android terminal just in case…:

And indeed the maximum frequency is set not too exceed ~1.6GHz. Other information looks good, and the board codename is stvm8.

Mygica_ATV1900AC_AntutuDespite the lower CPU frequency, Antutu 5.x score (34,137) is still higher than the one in MINIX NEO X8-H Plus box running Android 4.4 (31,204).  Somehow (for a metal test), it seems that Android 5.0 has better integer and floating-point performance than Android 4.4, as the scores are about the same despite the lower frequency, unless Antutu changed how their benchmark behaves in their minor releases (5.7.1 vs 5.3). The runtime score is about twice as fast, and that one can easily be explained by the switch from Dalvik to ART, while 2D graphics score is a bit lower, and 3D graphics a bit higher.

Mygica_ATV1900AC_VellamoVellamo 3.x metal score in Mygica (884) is also higher than the one in the MINIX device (792), while multicore is lower (1,472 vs 1808).

Mygica_ATV1900AC_3DMark3DMark Ice Storm Extreme is slightly lower at 5,834 points vs 6,056 points. The Physics score is where the score difference was made, but both scores are pretty close.

Conclusion

There’s certainly an advantage in running Android Lollipop firmware over KitKat as app will noticeably load faster. Mygica ATV1900AC has also by far the fastest WiFi connection I’ve ever seen on TV boxes both using 2.4GHz 802.11n and 5GHz 802.11ac, and Ethernet performance is also pretty good. Video playback in Kodi also pretty good, but their “Mygica Edition” is still based on Kodi 14.2, and H.265 hardware decoding does not work. I also never managed to make audio pass-through work. The firmware is usually stable and responsive, but there are still a few bugs and annoyances to iron out.

PROS:

  • Android Lollipop firmware
  • Very good Ethernet and outstanding WiFi performance (although with a question mark regarding stability)
  • Fast internal storage
  • Video Output – 1080p 24/50/60 Hz, 4K @ 24/25/30Hz, etc…
  • Video Support – Good in Kodi 14.2 for most videos, and very high score in Antutu Video Tester 3.0
  • Hardware video decoding for H.265 4K up to 30Hz in “4K VideoPlayer”
  • RF remote control with long range and voice command and search
  • OTA firmware update (with caveats see below)
  • Two launchers including an Android TV like.

CONS:

  • Kodi 14.2 “Mygica Edition” based on Kodi 14.2 does not support H.265 hardware decoding. (Kodi 15 should won’t work either, see comment)
  • Audio issues:
    • HDMI audio pass-through does not work at all in Kodi
    • Dolby and DTS down-mixing not supported in 4K MoviePlayer and other players (except in Kodi, where it’s handled by software).
  • Incorrect partition size detected on USB hard drive leading to read-only partitions
  • OTA firmware download program may crash, firmware update will wipe out apps and data
  • Lack of power off (only standby supported)
  • User-friendliness of parts of the UI could be improved – Settings are all over the place (in three different locations), the status bar cannot be displayed.
  • Bluetooth not supported (No built-in hardware, and USB Bluetooth dongle not recognized)

Mygica ATV1900AC can be ordered in quantities directly from Mygica/Geniatech, and consumers can purchase the Lollipop box on eBay for $179.99 including shipping, and soon on Mygica Aliexpress store. on Mygica Aliexpress store for $169 including shipping.

Mygica ATV586 Quad Core Android DVB-T2 Receiver Unboxing and Teardown

August 13th, 2015 3 comments

Today, I received both Mygica ATV1900AC and ATV586 from Geniatech. I’ve already taken apart ATV1900AC, so it’s now the turn for Mygica’s latest Android DVB-T2 receiver powered by Amlogic S805 to get photographed and torn down. If you don’t like in a region where DVB-T2 is supported, Mygica also sells a version with an ATSC tuner.

Mygica ATV586 Unboxing

That’s the retail package for the receiver that shows the tuner type (DVB-T2), and that the box is based on a quad core processor supporting HEVC/H.265 video codec and running Kodi in Android 4.4.

Mygica_ATV586_packageThere are quite a lotf of accessories in the package including the usual HDMI cable, 5V/2A power supply, and IR remote with two AAA batteries, but there’s also a TV antenna set with an indoor antenna and mounts. I’ll try the indoor antenna, but it’s unlikely to work in my location, so I’ll probably connect the box to my roof antenna during testing. A Quick Start Guide is provided, as well as more detailed user’s manual in English, which might be useful for this type of device.

ATV586, Power Supply, TV Antenna, Cables etc... (Click to Enlarge)

ATV586, Power Supply, TV Antenna, Cables etc… (Click to Enlarge)

The set-top box has an IR receiver and power LED on the front, two USB 2.0 ports and a micro SD slot on the side, as well as a single RF input, an HDMI output, an Ethernet port, a WiFi antenna, and the DC jack on the rear panel.

Mygica ATV586 (Click to Enlarge)

Mygica ATV586 (Click to Enlarge)

You may also want to watch the unboxing video.

Mygica ATV586 Teardown

There aren’t any screws to remove from the case, and you need to  a sharp and rigig pastic tools to pop the bottom cover. It does not really come off easily, but I still managed to take it off without breaking any clips.

Click to Enlarge

Bottom of ATV586 Board (Click to Enlarge)

There’s no much too see on the bottom of the board, except the firmware recovery button, and the metallic plate used to cool the device, but without direct contact with the board…  Let’s loosen the four screws that hold the PCBA in place.

Click to Enlarge

ATV586 Board (Click to Enlarge)

The silkscreen markings read “RMF1029 VER 1.1, 20150124, RD_hfy”. Amlogic S805 is a low power processor, and Geniatech did not feel it necessary to add an heatsink. Two NANYA NT5CB256M16CP-DI DDR3 chips are used to get 1GB RAM, and a Samsung KLM8G1WEMB-B031 eMMC 5.0 flash (100MB/s read, 6MB/s write) provides 8GB storage. A Wi-Fi module based on Realtek RTL8189ETV adds 802.11 b/g/n WiFi to the board. I could not find more information about the tuner, since the shield is soldered to the board.

Mygica ATV586 is available now, and can be purchased either in quantity directly from Geniatech/Mygica with either a DVB-T2 or ATSC tuner, or online on eBay for $149.99 including shipping. [Update 24/8/2015: It’s $109 on Mygica Aliexpress store] That’s about double price a bit more expensive than Videostrong K1 (aka GX-TVA30), another Amlogic S805 Android receiver with a DVB-T2, so Mygica firmware will have to be outstanding to justify the price different. That’s what I hope to find out in the full review.

Mygica ATV1900AC Android Lollipop TV Box Unboxing and Teardown

August 13th, 2015 5 comments

Geniatech sent me two samples of their latest Android devices this morning with Mygica ATV1900AC TV box powered by Amlogic S812 quad core Cortex A9 processor, and Mygica ATV586 DVB-T2 receiver powered by Amlogic S805 quad core cortex A5 processor. Beside relatively high-end specs with 802.11ac, Gigabit Ethernet, 2GB RAM, and 16GB eMMC, one of the former main selling point is the Android Lollipop firmware that is said to brings significant improvement over Android 4.4 KitKat. But today, I’ll focus on the hardware side with pictures of the devices and its internals, before writing the results of my tests in a few days.

Mygica ATV1900AC Unboxing

Geniatech sent me both boxes in a DHL parcel, and both are Mygica branded retail packages. Mygica ATV1900AC packages shows some of its key features like Android Lollipop support, 4K UHD, H.265, 802.11ac WiFi, voice search and so on…
Mygica_ATV1900AC_package
Most TV boxes ship with a useless IR remote control, but ATV1900AC comes with a small air mouse with its USB RF receiver and two AAA batteries, as well as as an HDMI cable, a 5V/2A power supply (EU plug for my sample), and a quick Start Guide in English only.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

A close look at the device reveals a power button, IR receiver and LED on the front panel, four USB 2.0 host ports on the side, and the remaining ports on the rear panel including a micro SD slot, a reset pinhole, HDMI output, a Gigabit Ethernet port, optical S/PDIF, and the DC jack. You’ll have notice an placement for an RF connector, so there may be a version with digital tuners in the work, or the enclosure is used for other models too.
Mygica_ATV1900AC_Android_Lollipop
You’ve also got two external Wi-Fi antennas: one for 2.4GHz, one for 5.0 GHz.

You can watch the unboxing video too if you please.

Mygica ATV1900AC Teardown

On the bottom of the case, we’ll find a screw holding a cover for what looks like a 2.5″ SATA bay. Once we remove the only screw and take out the cover, there’s indeed a space for 2.5″ drive, but unfortunately there’s no SATA connector, so that enclosure must definitely be used for other models.

ATV1900AC_SATA_Drive_BayTo take the device further apart, you’ll need to remove the two rubber pads close to the WiFi antennas, remove the two screws underneath, as well as two more screws located in the “SATA bay”. Then you can turn over the device in upward position, and use a sharp and hard plastic tool to pop-up the top cover.

Click to Enlarge

ATV1900AC Opened (Click to Enlarge)

We’ll see the bottom of the board, but there’s not much to see here, so let’s loosen three more screws so take the PCBA out.

Click to Enlarge

ATV1900AC Board (Click to Enlarge)

There’s some sort of cooling pad on top of the processor, but it’s not a heatsink, nor your typical thermal pad, as it’s quite hard. The silkscreen on the board reads “R&D_hfy RMG0129 VER 1.2”, four NANYA NT5CB256M16CP-D1 DDR3 chips provide 2GB RAM, and we get 16GB storage with a Toshiba THGBMBG7D2KBAIL eMMC 5.0 flash with theoretical 50MB/s write speed, and 270MB/s read speed in HS400 mode. Geniatech also chose a WiFi SoC that I have not often seen in other boxes with Realtek RTL8812AU chip using a USB interface, and supporting 802.11 b/g/n and 802.11ac in 2×2:2  MIMO configuration according to Wikidevi. There’s also a Linux driver for this Realtek chip. Other components include two GL852G USB 2.0 hub chips, and Realtek RTL8211F Gigabit Ethernet transceiver.

The hardware looks very interesting, and although I don’t think Amlogic S812 supports HS400 mode, I’m expecting fast boot and app loading times thanks to the Toshiba eMMC, and very good 802.11ac performance. We’ll see how that turns out.

Mygica ATV1900AC is now in mass production, and distributors can get the box from Mygica/Geniatech. The Android box is also listed on eBay for $179.99 including shipping, and should soon show up on Mygica Aliexpress store.

Mygica ATV586 Amlogic S805 Android TV Box Comes with DVB-T2 or ATSC Tuner

April 9th, 2015 9 comments

One of the first quad core Android DVB-T2 receiver was VideoStrong K1 that now sells for $80 on Aliexpress, but there’s now some competition from Geniatech, with the same Amlogic S805 processor, thanks to Mygica ATV586 Android TV box featuring either a DVB-T2 or ATSC tuner.
ATV586_DVB-T2_Media-player
ATV586 Specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S805 quad core ARM Cortex A5 @ 1.5GHz with quad core Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 1 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 4 GB NAND flash + micro SD slot (up to 32GB)
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 1.4
  • Video Codec – H.265, H.264 etc.. up to 1080p60
  • Tuner
    • DVB-T & DVB-T2 standard with single input terminal (75 Ohm); Frequency – 48.25 – 863.25 MHz; Bandwidth: 6, 7 or 8 MHz
    • ATSC also supported (with a different tuner)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Misc – IR sensor
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 210 x 171 x 35 mm
  • Weight – 160 grams

DVB-T2_Android_Media_Player

The box runs Android 4.4.2 (Kitkat) with various pre-installed apps like Kodi 14.1, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and more. The DVB-T2 function is allegedly supported directly within Kodi, which might be an advantage against competing solutions, and the system can also stream digital TV from the box to your smartphone or tablet. Other features include OTA firmware update, EPG and TV recording to an external hard drive.

The box should be available by the end of the month for $139 (MSRP), which is quite a mark-up compared to Videostrong K1 price, but hopefully actual retail price will be a bit lower, and software may justify the price. Mygica ATV586 must be based on Geniatech ATV586, but with some modifications like the addition of an external Wi-Fi antenna, which replaces optical S/PDIF on the Geniatech device.

Mygica ATV1900AC Quad Core Media Player Runs Android 5.0 Lollipop

April 7th, 2015 18 comments

Geniatech has launched a new Amlogic S812 quad core media player that should be one of the very first to run the full version of Android 5.0. It comes with 2GB RAM, 16GB internal flash and fast connectivity options with a Gigabit Ethernet port and 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO.

Mygica_ATV1900AC

Mygica ATV1900AC specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S812 quad core cortex A9r4 @ 2 GHz with Mali-450MP6 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB  eMMC flash + micro SD card reader
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 2T2R
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4
  • Audio Output – HDMI, optical S/PDIF
  • Video Codec – H.265 up to 4K2K, H.264, etc…
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – IR receiver, reset pinhole, power button, network and power LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 168 x 132 x 21 mm
  • Weight – 300 grams.

Geniatech_ATV1900AC
The Android 5.0 Lollipop firmware will also alledgedly include YouTube/Netflix TV app with support for 1080p and 4K2K support, as well as a custom version of Kodi 14.1. Voice search and OTA update will also be enabled. I’ve been in contact with some developers working on Android 5.0 on Amlogic S802 and S812, and I’ve been told the system feels much faster with Lollipop compared to Kitkat.

Price has not been announced yet will be $169 US (MSRP), and Mygica ATV1900AC should become available by the end of April. There’s currently no Mygica ATV1900AC page, but some more information might be found on Geniatech ATV1900AC page although some details, such as RAM and storage, are different.