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Posts Tagged ‘openwrt’

PROBOX2 AVA 4K TV Box, NAS, and HDMI IN DVR Sells with an Optional Air Mouse

July 18th, 2017 2 comments

We’ve recently come across several TV boxes based on Realtek RTD1295 SoC which offers not only typical 4K Android TV box features like H.265 & VP9 video playback, and HDR support, but acts like a NAS function thanks to a SATA interface and OpenWrt, and provides an HDMI input port that allows for DVR, PiP, and UDP broadcasting functions. PROBOX2 AVA is another one of those device with the hardware extremely similar to Beelink SEA I model, but with an external antenna, and a different user interface. The box can also ship with an optional Remote+ air mouse, which could allow you to turn on the device without using the IR remote control (TBC), as I have to do with other boxes.

PROBOX2 AVA specifications:

  • SoC – Realtek RTD1295DD quad core ARM Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.4 GHz with ARM Mali-T820MP3 GPU
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR4
  • Storage – 16 GB eMMC flash, SD card slot, and 2.5″ SATA III bay
  • Video I/F
    • HDMI 2.0a output with HDR, CEC, and HDCP 2.2 support up to 4K @ 60 Hz (23.976 and 29.94Hz frame rates are also supported)
    • HDMI 2.0 input with HDCP 2.2 support for PVR, PiP, and UDP broadcasting
  • Audio I/F – HDMI with support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD 7.1, optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x USB 3.0 port
  • Misc – Power LED, RTC + battery, IR receiver
  • Power Supply –  12V/1.5A
  • Dimensions – 200 x 125 x 21 mm

While many of the ports are placed in the same position as Beelink SEA I, the box is larger due to the external WiFi antenna. By default, the box ships with a power adapter, an IR remote control, a HDMI cable, and a user guide. The optional PROBOX2 Remote+ air mouse can be used as a game controller, an audio input for voice control, and of course an air mouse over a 2.4 GHz connection. The company (W2COMP) has sold TV boxes with Remote+ remote control for several years, and I used it during my review of PROBOX2 EX TV box in 2014.

Probox2 Remote+ with RF Dongle and User guide (Click to Enlarge)

At the time I liked the air mouse, including gaming and voice input modes, but missed the QWERTY keyboard on the back, and play/pause and trick modes keys that are useful in media players like XBMC (now Kodi). At the time, I could not turn on the device with the air mouse, so hopefully it’s something that has been addressed since then.

The device runs Android 6.0 and OpenWrt with support for Samba server, iTunes (DAAP) server, DLNA (UPnP) server, FTP server, AFP function (for Apple TimeMachine) and BitTorrent download functions as in most other RTD1295 devices. The change is the company’s APEX UI / launcher.

Click to Enlarge

PROBOX2 AVA is now up for pre-order on W2COMP for $135.00, or with Remote+ air mouse for $149.99. Amazon and eBay purchase links will be up on July 28th. More details may be found on the product page.

Xnano X5 4K TV Box with Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI Input, USB 3.0, and SATA Goes for $68 and Up

July 12th, 2017 10 comments

Realtek RTD1295 processor allows for 4K TV boxes with DVR and PiP function through HDMI input, and USB 3.0 and SATA 3.0 storage interfaces. I previously reviewed Zidoo X9S and EWEAT R9 Plus based on the solution, and I especially liked support with NAS function through OpenWrt running side-by-side with Android 6.0. Those are high-end devices that cost well over $100, but we’ve recently seen cheaper models, likely with less refined firmware, no metal case, and possibly lacking OpenWrt that go as low as $78 shipped with LAKE I Home Cloud TV box. We can now get an even cheaper model, albeit with just 1GB RAM and 8GB flash, thanks to Xano X5 sold for $68.32 including shipping on Aliexpress. There’s also a 2GB/16GB version on the same page going for $82.76.

Xnano X5 Smart Box specifications:

  • SoC – Realtek RTD1295 quad core Cortex A53 processor with ARM Mali-T820 MP3 GPU
  • System Memory – 1 or 2GB DDR4
  • Storage – 8 or 16GB eMMC flash, SATA 3.0 connector for external drives, micro SD card slot up to 64GB
  • Video I/O – HDMI 2.0a output with HDR support, AV output (composite), and HDMI input
  • Audio I/O – HDMI in and out, AV out (stereo audio), 1x S/PDIF output
  • Video Playback – 10-bit HEVC/H.265 up to 4K @ 60fps, H.264 up to 4K @ 24 fps, VP9 up to 4K @ 30 fps
  • Audio Features – 7.1 channel audio pass-through
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 with one 5dB external antenna
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Misc – IR receiver, front panel display, RTC with battery
  • Power Supply – 12V/2A
  • Dimensions – 132 x 85 x 19 mm

Based on the documentation on the Aliexpress page, the box appears to run both Android 6.0 and OpenWrt, and ships with a HDMI cable, an IR remote control, a user’s manual, a high gain WiFi antenna, and a power adapter. HDMI input support DVR, Broadcasting over UDP, and PiP functions.

The company also published a picture of the board, and for people who want to develop U-boot or Linux on the board (mainline for RTD1295 is in progress), the 4-pin header on the right between the USB 3.0 port and micro SD slot could the UART header to access the serial console. We’ve previously seen USB 3.0, SATA, and Gigabit Ethernet performance is excellent on such box, so it could also make an interesting Linux device/board if more people work on it.

Other Aliexpress sellers offer the box for a few dollars higher, GearBest is not quite as competitive here, as it sells the device for $78 including worldwide shipping [Update: GBCNA coupon brings that down to $67.19].  If you do a group buy of at least five, DHGate sells it for  $62.29 per unit including DHL shipping.

Thanks to Danman for the tip.

LAKE I Home Cloud TV Box with HDMI Input, SATA Bay Sells for $78

June 28th, 2017 3 comments

Realtek RTD1295 based Android TV boxes are usually interesting devices as they play 4K videos relatively well – minus 4K H.264 @ 30 fps -, support HDMI input with PVR and PiP functions, and often come with a SATA interface for NAS functions handled with OpenWrt. Zidoo X9S and EWEAT R9 Plus are examples of such devices, and I found them to work pretty well in my reviews, but they are quite pricey with prices ranging from $130 to $200 (with internal SATA bay) including shipping. A cheaper option is Beelink SEA I, which I started to review, but one firmware update wiped out the HDCP key, and the product became unusable with the company unwilling/unable to provide the HDCP key. There’s now a new even cheaper model with LAKE I Home Cloud TV box sold for $77.99 on GearBest with GBLAKEI coupon.

LAKE I Home Cloud TV box specifications:

  • SoC – Realtek RTD1295 quad core Cortex A53 processor with ARM Mali-T820 MP3 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR4
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC 5.1 flash + SD card slot up to 128 GB + SATA hard disk bay for 2.5″ drives with 9.5mm / 7.5mm thickness
  • Video I/O – HDMI 2.0a output, and HDMI input (recording and streaming up to 1080p @ 60 Hz)
  • Audio I/O – HDMI in and out, 1x S/PDIF output
  • Video Playback – HDR, 10-bit HEVC/H.265 up to 4K @ 60fps, H.264 up to 4K @ 24 fps, VP9 up to 4K @ 30 fps, BDISO/MKV, etc… automatic frame rate switching
  • Audio Features – 7.1 channel audio pass-through
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 with two external antennas
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0, 3x USB 2.0 ports
  • Misc – IR receiver, front panel display, RTC with battery
  • Power Supply – 12V/1.5A
  • Dimensions – 132 x 124 x 27 mm
  • Weight – 210 grams

The “HardDisk” bay shown in the first picture allows you to add a 2.5″ drive inside the box. The box is said to run Android 6.0, but again we don’t know if it also runs OpenWrt just like on Zidoo and EWEAT boxes. One of the picture also indicates “Intel HD Graphics 400” is used to provides 3840×2160, so the information on GearBest page can not be fully trusted. This fanless TV box ships with a HDMI Cable, a power adapter, an infrared remote control, and a user manual.

I asked GearBest for some confirmations, but I did not get a reply in time for the article. Finally, I found out the box on Alibaba, and it is sold by SHenzhen AZW Technology better known as Beelink, and the system is sold a dual OS TV box with Android 6.0 and OpenWrt there.

Via AndroidPC.es

Design Amazon Alexa Gateways, Robots and Smart Speakers with WisCore Modular Development Kit

June 17th, 2017 3 comments

RAK Wireless has launched a new development board powered by Mediatek MT7628A processor running OpenWrt with built-in WiFi and Ethernet connectivity, and audio codec and microphone to support Amazon Alexa voice service. Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Z-wave will also be supported via UART modules.

Wiscore Specifications:

  • Processor – Mediatek MT7628A MIPS24KEc CPU @ up to  580MHz
  • System Memory –  128MB DDR2 (64 MB optional)
  • Storage – 16 MB flash + micro SD card

    Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

  • Audio
    • MicroSemi ZL38062 for audio in and out
    • MicroSemi ZL38067 to handle “Alexa” keyword
    • single or dual digital microphone up to 5 meter range
    • Far field voice wake up
    • Support for echo cancellation
  • Connectivity
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi 2×2 MIMO up to 300 Mbps
    • 2x 10/100M Ethernet (LAN and WAN)
    • Optional UART modules for Bluetooth, ZigBeem Z-Wave
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port
  • Expansion – Arduino headers with UART, I2C, SPI and GPIOs
  • Power Supply – 5V via power barrel or mini USB port

As you can see from the photo below, the main components are on separate boards (for some reasons) with a “mother board”, MT7628 module, and an audio sub-board.

As mentioned in the introduction, the MT7628 module runs an OS based on OpenWrt with RAK iGate middleware, and the company provides an SDK allowing you to develop solutions based on Amazon Alexa thanks to one codec that will detect “Alexa” keyword and wake up to the board, and another codec handling audio capture and output. The software architecture is shown below, Wiscore app for Android and iOS is provided to pair the EVK with Alexa, and more documentation and software can be found in the Wiki on Github.

WisCore Software Architecture

The solution can be used to build voice controlled home automation gateways or appliances, smart speakers, and robots. RAK Wireless sells a development kit with the three boards, an Ethernet cable, a speaker, a USB cable, two antennas, some Dupont wires, some jumpers, and a Quick Start Guide for $49 plus shipping. Visit the product page for a few more details.

Zidoo X10 Android & OpenWrt TV Box with 3.5″ SATA Bay Sells for $229

April 11th, 2017 9 comments

Zidoo has sold two TV boxes based on Realtek RTD1295 so far with Zidoo X9S and Zidoo X8, and the company has done a pretty good job based on my review of Zidoo X9S. Both models run Android 6.0 with HDMI input recording and broadcasting functions, as well as OpenWrt for NAS functions, with X8 model relying on USB 3.0 storage, and X9S adding an external SATA port. It would be nice to have a model with an internal SATA bay, and it’s exactly what Zidoo X10 brings to the table.

Zidoo X10 specifications with highlights in bold showing differences with Zidoo X9S:

  • SoC – Realtek RTD1295 quad core Cortex A53 processor with ARM Mali-T820 MP3 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot up to 32GB + SATA 3.0 bay for 3.5″ hard drives
  • Video I/O – HDMI 2.0a output up to 4K @ 60 Hz (23.976 and 29.94 Hz supports) with HDCP 2.2, AV output, and HDMI 2.0 input with HDCP 2.2 input (recording and streaming up to 1080p @ 60 Hz)
  • Audio I/O – HDMI in and out, 1x S/PDIF output, AV port
  • Video Playback – HDR, 10-bit HEVC/H.265 up to 4K @ 60fps, VP9 up to 4K @ 60 fps (rather 30 fps based on my tests), H.264 up to 4K @ 24 fps, automatic frame rate switching
  • Audio Features – 7.1 channel audio pass-through
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 (Realtek RTL8821 module) with two external high-gain antennas
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Misc – IR receiver, VFD display, cooling fan
  • Power Supply – 12V/3A (more power for the 3.5″ drive)
  • Dimensions – 197 x 197 x 65 mm (aluminum alloy enclosure)

All differences are related to the SATA bay which requires a larger & heavier device, a beefier power supply, and a cooling fan. Firmware-wise I’d expect all the features I documented in Zidoo X9S review, plus new features launched since then such as Blu-ray menu navigation and a new external subtitles system with rich settings and ASS/SSA support.

Zidoo Subtitle Designer

Zidoo X10 has been officially launched, and you can purchase it on Amazon or GeekBuying for $229.00. You may find a few more details on Zidoo X10 product page.

GnuBee Personal Cloud 1 Low Cost Linux NAS Supports Up to Six 2.5″ SATA Drives (Crowdfunding)

March 23rd, 2017 46 comments

Networked Access Storage (NAS) with a large number of SATA bays usually cost several hundreds dollars up to thousands of dollars depending on the features set and performance, but there’s a new a project called GnuBee Personal Cloud 1, or GB-PC1, that delivers a MIPS Linux system supporting up to six 2.5″ SATA drives for less than $200.

GB-PC1 NAS specifications:

  • ProcessorMediaTek MT7621A dual core, quad thread processor @ 880 MHz, overclockable to 1.2 GHz
  • System Memory512 MB DDR3
  • Storage – micro SD card slot tested up to 64 GB, 6x 2.5” SATA HDD or SSD
  • Connectivity – Dual Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Serial port – 3-pin J1 connector or 3.5 mm audio-type jack
  • Power – 12 VDC @ 3 A via 5.5 mm x 2.1 mm, center-positive barrel jack
  • Dimensions –  21.6 cm (L) x 7 cm (W) x 14 cm (H)
  • Weight – ~210 g (without drives)

The case is comprised of two anodized aluminum side plates assembled with six threaded brackets and screws, and comes with 24 drive screws (four per drive).

The NAS supports Debian, OpenMediaVault, LEDE, as well as the lesser-known (at least to me) LibreCMC distribution. Source code including Linux 4.9 and U-boot, some documentations, as well as the BoM & schematics (PDF) can be found on Github.  Potential applications include network storage and backup, file server,home media server, download server, web server, or remotely accessible private cloud.

A comparison table has also been provided by the developer with GB-PC1, QNAP TS-431 ($294.22 on Amazon US) and Synology DS416slim ($289.99 on Amazon US).

Click to Enlarge

TS-431 might have an implicit price advantage with support for 3.5″ SATA drives, as you may need less 3.5″ drives to achieve the same amount of storage as with 2.5″ drives. One clear advantage of GB-PC1 is that you should have better control over the software than the two competing commercial solution. One clear disadvantage however is the mechanical design, as GB-PC1 has been designed to offer as low a cost as possible.

GB-PC1 launched on Crowdsupply a few days ago with the goal of raising at least $75,000. Rewards start at $168 for a diskless GB-PC1, but you may also want to add $19 to get a 12V/3A power supply, and potential $6 for a 2 GB micro SD card preloaded with Debian. Shipping is free to the US, and $12 to the rest of the world, with delivery planned for August 2017.

Via Orange Pi’s Facebook Group

Beelink SEA I Android TV Box, and HDMI Recorder Review – Part 1: Unboxing and Teardown

February 23rd, 2017 12 comments

Realtek RTD1295 SoC is so far found in devices running Android & OpenWrt, and equipped with an HDMI input port for recording, PiP, and UDP broadcasting. I have already reviewed Zidoo X9S with an external SATA port, and Eweat R9 Plus with a 3.5″ SATA bay, and I’ve now received Beelink SEA I offering another option thanks to 2.5″ SATA bay, and a lower price of $98.99 and up using coupon GBSEA16 with the 2GB/16GB version, or GBSEA32 with the 2GB/32GB version. As usual, I’ll start with some photos and a teardown in the first part of the review, before testing the firmware in more details.

Beelink SEA I Unboxing Photos

I’ve received the box in the retail package below showing some of the features like 4K video playback, picture-in-picture thanks to the HDMI input, and supports for games and apps.

Beelink SEA I comes with either 16GB or 32GB eMMC flash for storage, and I received the 16GB version.

The box ships with a 12V/1.5A (18 Watts) power supply, anHDMI cable, an IR remote control with IR learning function, and a short user’s manual.

Click to Enlarge

Contrary to its competitors which are all equipped with a metal case, SEA I comes in a plastic case, slightly wider than typical TV boxes to accommodate for the 2.5″ SATA bay.

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The front panel includes an LCD display, an IR window, and power LED, one of the side comes with a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 host port, and an SD card slot, while the rear panel features one HDMI 2.0 output, one HDMI 2.0 input, a Gigabit Ethernet port, optical S/PDIF, and the power jack.

Click to Enlarge

If you want to insert an hard drive, you can do so by turning the box around, pushing out the cover, and inserting a 2.5″ hard drive up to 6TB in the slot.

It’s very easy to do, and does not require any tools.

Beelink SEA I Teardown

In order to open the device, we’ll need to remove the two rubber pads at the bottom of the case, loosen the two screws underneath, and use some ridig plastic tool to pop out the bottom cover.

Click to Enlarge

There’s no much to see on the back side of the PCB, so we can loosen 6 screws, then pull out the board around the LCD area in order to take it out from the plastic enclosure. We can see cooling is achieved with a thermal pad placed on top of RTD1295DD SoC and stuck on a metal shield, which is then in contact with another thermal pad placed on top of a thick metal plate. We’ll have to see how effective it is during testing…

Click to Enlarge

The company used a 16GB Samsung KLMAG1JENB-B041 eMMC 5.1 flash for storage with 285/40 MB/s read/write sequential performance, and 8K/10K random R/W IOPS, so they did not cut costs on that part, since the theoretical numbers are pretty good. The board also comes with two Samsung K4A8G165WB-BCRC DDR4 SDRAM  chips (2GB RAM). Networking is implemented with an 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0 LE module based on Realtek RTL8821AU, and H2403N transformer for Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. There’s also a chip marked S342 2227, but I’m unclear what it is for, maybe some sort of PMIC. Beelink SEA I is also one of the rare TV boxes with an RTC battery, and if you’re interested in working on the board, for example for RTD1295 mainline Linux kernel, the serial console is clearly marked on an unpopulated header on the right of “Beelink” silkscreen.

The front panel display is controlled via “AIP1618E0” display controller, but I could not find any references online.

I’d like to thank Beelink for sending the review sample. If you are interested in the device, you could purchase it on GearBest as mentioned in the introduction, while if you plan to purchase in quantities, you may want to contact Beelink directly instead.

Dragino OLG01 Outdoor Single Channel LoRa Gateway Runs OpenWrt, Supports Passive PoE

February 14th, 2017 9 comments

Dragino Technology, a Shenzhen based startup focusing on the Internet of Things, had already designed LoRa shields & Hats for Arduino & Raspberry Pi boards which can be useful for LoRa nodes, but the company has now launched Dragino OLG01 LoRa gateway running OpenWrt that communicates with nodes over LoRa, and to the cloud using WiFi, Ethernet, or 3G/4G.

Dragino OLG01 specifications:

  • WiSoC – Atheros AR9331 MIPS processor @ 400MHz
  • System Memory – 64MB RAM
  • Storage – 16MB flash
  • MCU – Atmel ATMega328P AVR MCU with 32KB flash, 2KB SRAM
  • Connectivity
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi with antenna
    • 2x 10/100M Ethernet with support for passive PoE
    • Optional 3G/4G module connected to internal USB socket (TBC)
    • Semtech SX1276/78 LoRa wireless module + SMA connector (antenna not provided) up to 5~10 km range
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port
  • Power Supply – 12V DC power jack or PoE

Three models are offered with 433, 868, or 915 MHz frequencies: OLG01 433, OLG01 868, and OLG01 915. The weatherproof gateway is designed to be wall mounted, and ships with a 12V power supply, and a PoE injector. OLG01 runs OpenWrt, and documentation can be found on Dragino Wiki, source code on Dragino Github account. The gateways supports auto-provisioning, network firmware update, includes a web server and management UI. The Atmel MCU can be programmed using the Arduino IDE. Note that most of the documentation refers to LG01 instead of OLG01, but both gateways appears to be based upon the same hardware, except OLG01 is weather-proof, and suitable for outdoor use.

Potential application include wireless alarm and security systems, home and building automation, automated meter reading, industrial monitoring and control, long range irrigation systems, GPS tracker,etc… some of which are described in Dragino video below.

You’ll also find some more information on the product page, including a datasheet and a detailed user manual. Dragino OLG01 can be purchased for $70 on Tindie. If you don’t need PoE, nor a weatherproof case, LG01 gateway will be cheaper at $56.

Thanks to Elia for the tip