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Posts Tagged ‘openelec’

WeTek Hub and WeTek Play 2 TV Boxes Giveaway

November 22nd, 2016 401 comments

I may just have finished Giveaway Week at the beginning of the month with my own review samples, but I have three new devices to offer courtesy of WeTek who asked me whether I could organize a giveaway for two WeTek Hub and one WeTek Play 2 Android & OpenELEC TV boxes on CNX Software.

WeTek Hub

WeTek Hub

For some reasons I’ve been unlucky with my attempted reviews of the two devices with my WeTek Hub review sample having severe stability issues, while my country’s customs office required time-consuming and expensive paperwork for WeTek Play 2, so I had to abandon the package. End of the day, I did not review either. Other reviewers were luckier, with – from what I’ve seen – positive reviews for both devices. For example, Mark Hodgkinson concluded his review of WeTek Hub on AV Forums as follows:

The Wetek Hub is a well-designed little device, both inside and out, that should serve the media needs of most for some time to come and, given its fairly low entry price, it’s one we’re happy to term as a Best Buy.

Kodi forum moderator wrxtasy tested WeTek Play 2, found the Android or OpenELEC firmware was comparable to the one of WeTek Hub (he gave an A mark, once the IR remote was excluded…), and also gave his opinions about WeTV App for the tuner with a good mark for live TV  playback and prompt channel switching, but he had some grievances with regards to some features like EPG presentation, the number of clicks required for some functions, and a few other issues. The device still got an decent B- for the DVB/PVR part as of October 29th.

WeTek Play 2

WeTek Play 2

WeTek Hub is also getting Android 6.0 firmware with support for 4K streaming on services that offer 4K content, including Netflix.

If you are interested in either device, please leave a comment below. Complete rules as follow:

  • Only one entry accept. I will filter out entries with the same IP.
  • The contest is open for 48 hours, and comments will be closed after 48 hours, so you’ll know when the contest is over.
  • Winners will be selected with random.org, and announced in the comments section.
  • The first winner will get WeTek Play 2 (with tuner of his/her choice), and the second and third winner will receive WeTek Hub.
  • I’ll contact the winners by email, and I’ll expect an answer within 24 hours, or I’ll pick another winner.
  • Shipping – Free and handled by WeTek
  • The contest is open to all humans living on planet Earth. Dogs, cats, and extraterrestrial lizards not allowed.
  • If you have already won a device during giveaway week in November 2016, you can’t participate in order to give others a chance.

Good luck!

Khadas Vim Amlogic S905X Android and Linux Development Board Sells for $50 and Up

November 17th, 2016 19 comments

Last summer I wrote about Shenzhen Tomato TVI development board powered by Amlogic S905X processor, and at the time the company focused on business to business customers, but the board is now sold as Khadas Vim through GearBest with 2 GB RAM, 8 or 16 GB flash, and price starting at $49.99 including shipping.

3 Stacked Khadas Vim Boards

3 Stacked Khadas Vim Boards

Khadas Vim and Vim Pro boards’ specifications:

  • SoC –  Amlogic S905X quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5 GHz with penta-core Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage
    • Vim – 8 GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot
    • Vim Pro – 16 GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot
  • Video & Audio  Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz
  • Connectivity
    • Vim – Fast Ethernet port, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 (Ampak AP6212 module) with IPEX connector
    • Vim Pro – Fast Ethernet port, dual band 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 (Ampak AP6255) with IPEX connector
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports with 500mA fuses, 1x USB type C port for power and USB devices (no video)
  • Expansion header – 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header with USB, UART, I2C, ADC, PWM, JTAG, I2S, and GPIOs
  • Misc – Blue & red LED, dual channel IR, power/function/reset keys, header for RTC battery
  • Power Supply –  5V via USB type C or extra header with 2.6A fuse
  • Dimensions – 82.0 x 57.5 x 11.5 mm
Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

We already knew the board supports Android 6.0, OpenELEC 7.0 and Ubuntu 16.04, we we did not have any details about documentation and source code. You’ll find lot of info include u-boot and Linux 3.14 source code, as well as schematics (PDF) among other things on Khadas’ Github account.

The board is sold as Khadas Vim with 1 GB RAM and 8 GB RAM for $49.99 and Vim Pro with 2GB/16GB configuration for $64.99, which you can purchase on GearBest. The acrylic case shown in the first picture is included with the board, as well as a user’s manual. You may also be interested in the manufacturer’s website (Shenzhen Wesion Tech), where you’ll find not only more info about Vim boards, but discovered the company is also making Rockchip RK3366 based GeekBox board and landingship baseboard.

Giveaway Week – K1 Plus T2 S2 Android TV Box and DTV Receiver

November 5th, 2016 254 comments

Videostrong K1 Plus T2 S2 is one of the most popular devices this year on CNX Software, as it’s probably the cheapest 4K Android TV box that includes both DVB-T/T2 and DVB-S2/T2 tuner, and beside just supporting Android, the community has also released an OpenELEC image with tuner support, and tools such as a Windows channel editor.

KI_Plus_TV_BoxWhen I first reviewed K1 Plus T2 S2 in February of this year, I found the Android part still needed some work, but the DTV app to watch live TV through my aerial antenna or satellite dish worked reasonably well despite some bugs here and there. Since then the company must have fixed some of the issues through various firmware updated, but some people are running Vitmos OpenELEC image instead since it may be more familiar, and other interfaces like Enigma may also be supported.

Android_Digital_TV_Receiver_Accessories

All accessories shown above will be included in the package sent to the winner.

To enter the draw simply leave a comment below. Other rules are as follows:

  • Only one entry per contest. I will filter out entries with the same IP and/or email address.
  • Contests are open for 48 hours starting at 10am (Bangkok time) every day. Comments will be closed after 48 hours.
  • Winners will be selected with random.org, and announced in the comments section of each giveaway.
  • I’ll contact the winner by email, and I’ll expect an answer within 24 hours, or I’ll pick another winner.
  • Shipping
    • $17 for registered airmail small packet for oversea shipping payable via Paypal within 48 hours once the contest (for a given product) is complete.
    • If Paypal is not available in your country, you can still play, and I’ll cover the cost of sending the parcel by Sea and Land (SAL) if you win.
  • I’ll post all 7 prizes at the same time, around the 10th of November
  • I’ll make sure we have 7 different winners, so if you have already won a device during this giveaway week, I’ll draw another person.

Good luck!

If you’re not lucky, Videostrong K1 Plus T2 S2 can be purchased for around $60 on GeekBuying, eBay, Aliexpress, and other websites.

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

August 26th, 2016 185 comments

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

K2-PRO

KII Pro specifications:

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

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

 

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

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

August 25th, 2016 15 comments

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

Xtreamer_mxV_Plus_Pro

The three devices share the same specifications:

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

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

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

Thanks to Slowstream for the tip.

SZTomato TVI Amlogic S905X Development Board to Support Android 6.0, OpenELEC 7.0, and Ubuntu 16.04

August 16th, 2016 11 comments

Shenzhen Tomato has been selling Android TV boxes for a few years now, but one of their next product will be a development board based on Amlogic S905X processor with 8GB flash, 2GB RAM, and the usual 40-pin Raspberry Pi header.

Click to Enlarge

“VIM3316” Board – Click to Enlarge

SZTomato TVI development board specifications:

  • SoC –  Amlogic S905X quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 2.0GHz with penta-core Mali-450MP GPU @ 750 MHz
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3 (1GB or less as option)
  • Storage – 8GB Samsung eMMC flash (other capacities as option)  + micro SD slot
  • Video & Audio  Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz
  • Connectivity – Fast Ethernet port, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 (Ampak AP6212) with IPEX connector
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports with 500mA fuses, 1x USB type C port for power and USB devices (no video)
  • Expansion header – 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header with USB, UART, I2C, ADC, PWM, JTAG, I2S, and GPIOs
  • Misc -Blue & red LED, dual channel IR, power/function/reset keys, header for RTC battery
  • Power Supply –  5V via USB type C or extra header with 2.5A fuse
  • Dimensions – 82.0 x 57.5 x 11.5 mm
Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The company will provide support for Android 6.0, OpenELEC 7.0 and Ubuntu 16.04, and source code will be provided to customers.

The bad news is that the board will only be sold to companies purchasing in volume, not to hobbyists. The company told me they already have engineering samples, and accept order from OEM/ODM customers. Price has not been disclosed publicly, but I’m guessing it should probably be around $40 or less. [Update 24/08/2016: More info can now be found on TVi product page. They have four versions: TVi, TVi Lite, TVim and TGVim with different memory, storage, and wireless configurations]

WeTek Hub TV Box Unboxing and Teardown

June 21st, 2016 16 comments

WeTek Hub is the latest TV box by WeTek running Android 5.1 or OpenELEC, with support for Widewine Level 1 allowing Netflix HD in Android as well as Microsoft Playready DRM, and featuring Amlogic S905-H Rev. C processor that fixes video playback issues on some 4K H.265 DVB streams, and includes Dolby and DTS licenses. The company has now sent me a unit for review, and I’ll check the hardware first before reviewing the TV box in a separate post.

WeTek Hub Unboxing

The device comes in a blue and black retail package showing some of the key features including  WiFi, Dolby, DTS, HDMI, and Bluetooth support.

WeTek_Hub_PackageThe QR Code on the package redirects to http://www.wetek.com/qr/201603, which just looks like WeTek main page. The top cover of the package can slide to reveal more small boxes with the device and accessories.
WeTek_Hub_Packages

The device ships with a basic IR remote control taking two AAA batteries, a 5V/2A with US, UK, and EU plug adapters, an HDMI cable, an IR extension cable with 3M sticker, a 3.5mm jack to serial cable for developers or debugging your device, a WiFi antenna, as well as a user manual including an “emergency” clip to re-flash the firmware if needed.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The tiny device has the antenna connector, micro SD slot, UART and IR extension hacks, as well as a USB port on one side, and the DC jack, Gigabit Ethernet and an HDMI 2.0 port on the rear.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

WeTek Hub is really a small device, and to show just how small it is I took a photo with a Raspberry Pi 2 board. The IR extension cable would also allow you to completely hide the device in your cabinet.

WeTek_Hub_Vs_Raspberry_Pi

WeTek Hub Teardown

The bottom of the case has a sticker with a MAC Address starting with E8:18:63:50, which looks up to WeTek Electronics Ltd, as well as a hole giving access to a yellow button for firmware recovery, among plenty of smaller ventilation holes.

WeTek_Hub_Mac_Address

I had to take out the rubber feet, and loosen four screws to access the bottom of the board with the micro SD card slot, and a 8GB Samsung KLM8G1WEPD-B031 eMMC 5.0 flash with 130 MB/s read speed, 7 MB/s write speed, and  5000/600 random R/W IOPS.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The board is then fairly easy to lift, and we can see the company used an heatsink with thermal paste on the Amlogic processor and two RAM chips (1GB in total), with the heatsink then in contact with a thermal pad glued to a metal plate on top of the case.  Hopefully, this thermal design will be good enough to keep the performance at a good level even under high loads.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

A close on the board shows AP6335 module has been used for 802.11ac WiFi (433 Mbps) and Bluetooth 4.0, and Realtek RTL8211F + Pulse H5009NL for Gigabit Ethernet.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The board is called WeTek Cube VL1, so maybe the company had the idea to launch a cube instead in the earlier stage of development, before deciding on a smaller form factor. You’ll also notice an IR receiver is soldered on the board, so you don’t have to use the IR extension cable if you don’t want to.

That’s all for today. The full review may take a while, as I have received several devices in a short time frame. WeTek Hub can be pre-ordered WeTek Hub, with shipping scheduled for July.

LibreELEC (OpenELEC Fork) v7.0.0 Released with Kodi 16.1

April 27th, 2016 5 comments

It’s not always easy to get along in life, and recently this has been true in Kodi developer community and related project, with Koying leaving his role as the main Kodi Android developer, possibly meaning Kodi 17 won’t get an Android port, and more recently several OpenELEC developers, not satisfied with some of the current project developments, decided to fork it, and create LibreELEC. The team of 25 or so members has now released LibreELEC v7.0.0 based on Kodi 16.1 which had also  been released a few days ago.

LibreELEC

The changelog only reads:

The 7.0.0 release contains Kodi Jarvis 16.1 (final) and a fix for Verisign SSL certificate changes that impacted Pandora add-on users. It also addresses a bluez crash, a firmware update for Intel Skylake users, and a fix for an Amlogic CEC issue on WeTek Play/Core. Most importantly it also contains our new logo branding.

The images are available for x86 (Intel/AMD PCs), Raspberry Pi and Pi Zero, Raspberry Pi 2 & 3, WeTek Core and Play TV boxes,  as well as NXP i.MX6 based platforms. LibreELEC source code can be found on github.

I’m not entirely sure about the main differences with OpenELEC, but I understand LibreELEC developers intend to release a new version more often.

Thanks to Harley for the tip.