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Posts Tagged ‘raspberry pi’

Raspberry Pi 3 Repository Has Been Added to Android Open Source Project

May 25th, 2016 3 comments

Android has been ported to the Raspberry Pi boards in the past, but the images were not really usable because the implementation lacked 2D & 3D graphics support. The good news is that Raspberry Pi 3 is likely to officially support the latest version of Android soon, because rpi3 repository has been created in AOSP about 5 weeks ago.

Raspberry_Pi_3_Android_Source_CodeThat’s all we know for now. Raspberry Pi 3 could then be part of the second wave of boards officially supported in Android “mainline”, as currently 96Boards Hikey is the only supported board in AOSP. However, If we go down in the git repo to android/device, we can also see MIPS Creator CI40, Aaeon Upboard, i.mx6ul picoimx board, Intel Edison and Minnowboard, and a few others. Some of the boards will run Brillo instead of Android however, or it could be a different project, so we’ll have to see what happens with RPi3.

Via AndroidPolice and Nanik.

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Preliminary Open Source Bootloader for Raspberry Pi Boards Released

May 16th, 2016 8 comments

Raspberry Pi boards require a closed-source binary to boot. I understand it this is handled by VideoCore IV GPU,  and so  far the Raspberry Pi foundation are not release source code for the bootloader, possibly due to legal reason (e.g. NDA to Broadcom). But I noticed people chatting about an open source bootloader for Raspberry Pi on sunxi-linux IRC channel.

Raspberry_Pi-3

The bootloaded called rpi-open-firmware has been developed by Kristina Brooks (christinaa), who previously did some work on the VideoCore IV GPU, as you can see on her blog and github account.

Kristina describe the project as follows:

This is a small firmware for RPi VPU (VideoCore4) versions 1/2/3 that is capable of initializing VPU PLL (PLLC), UART, SDRAM and ARM itself. It’s intended to be used instead of stock bootcode.bin on RPi’s SD card. You need to have UART to see anything meaningful as far as output goes.

This has been tested on RPi1 Model B (Hynix PoP DDR), RPi 2 Model B and RPi 3 Model B (both Elpida DDR).

Bear in mind that this is all work in progress, and it’s not capable of booting Linux right now. The media part of the VPU is also not handled by this driver, and probably never will. There are multiple license used for the code, with some source  licensed under “Broadcom Corporation”, which the license explains is itself released under a BSD 3-Clause License, as well as code released under GPLv2+.

You can check the code and instructions on Github. There’s also a discussion in Hacker News with some more bits of info.

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Linux 4.6 Release – Main Changes, ARM and MIPS Architectures

May 16th, 2016 2 comments

Linus Torvalds released Linux Kernel 4.6 earlier today:

It’s just as well I didn’t cut the rc cycle short, since the last week ended up getting a few more fixes than expected, but nothing in there feels all that odd or out of line. So 4.6 is out there at the normal schedule, and that obviously also means that I’ll start doing merge window pull requests for 4.7 starting tomorrow.

Since rc7, there’s been small noise all over, with driver fixes being the bulk of it, but there is minor noise all over (perf tooling, networking, filesystems,  documentation, some small arch fixes..)

The appended shortlog will give you a feel for what’s been going on during the last week. The 4.6 kernel on the whole was a fairly big release – more commits than we’ve had in a while. But it all felt fairly calm despite that.

Linux 4.5 added support for GCC’s Undefined Behavior Sanitizer flag (-fsanitize=undefined) which should make the Linux kernel even more secure,an implementation of the next generation media controller, some performance improvements for file systems, etc…

Linux 4.6 brings many changes including:

  • USB 3.1 SuperSpeedPlus (10Gbps) support  – This release adds support for the USB 3.1 SuperSpeedPlus 10 Gbps speeds for usb core and xHCI host controller, meaning that a USB 3.1 mass storage connected to a USB 3.1 capable xHCI host should work with 10Gbps speeds.
  • Improve the reliability of the Out Of Memory task killer – The OOM killer kills tasks in order to free memory, but some tasks may take a long time before freeing up the memory, for example if it is stuck into an uninterruptible state. Linux 4.6 kernel adds oom_reaper thread that tries to reclaim memory by preemptively reaping the anonymous or swapped out memory owned by the OOM victim.
  • OrangeFS, a new distributed file system – OrangeFS is an LGPL scale-out parallel storage system used in applications such as HPC, BigData, Streaming Video, Genomics, Bioinformatics. You can read The OrangeFS distributed filesystem LWN article for more details.
  • 802.1AE MAC-level encryption (MACsec)MACsec standard provides encryption for all traffic over Ethernet using GCM-AES-128.
  • BATMAN V protocol – B.A.T.M.A.N. (Better Approach To Mobile Adhoc Networking) adds support for the V protocol, which does not rely on packet loss anymore, but the estimated throughput.

ARM architecture improvements and new features:

  • Allwinner:
    • Allwinner A83T support – Initial bringup; timer, watchdog and reboot
    • Allwinner H3 – R_PIO support
    • Allwinner A64 – Initial support
    •  NAND – ECC layout definition rework (partially) and randomizer support. Note: For devices that use eMMC, old device trees may no longer work with this version (i.e. you have to rebuild your .dtb files). Expect eMMC I/O errors otherwise.
    • ASoC – A10/A20 SPDIF driver
    • AXP223 PMIC support
    • Added board – Allwinner A83TDevBoard, Cubietruck Plus, Itead Ibox, Lamobo R1
  • Rockchip:
    • Rockchip rk3399 support for the rockchip-io-domain adaptive voltage scaling (AVS) driver
    • Rockchip rk3368 gains power domain support
    • Add Rockchip mailbox drive
    • pl330 updates to support DMAFLUSHP for Rockchip platforms
    • SPI controller bug fixes
    • Add driver for rockchip Display Port PHY
    • Add driver for the Rockchip SoC internal eMMC PHY
    • Add usb-uart functionality in rockchip-usb
  • Amlogic
    • Support for Amlogic S905 SoC and Tronsmart  Vega S95 boxes
    • Enable Amlogic Meson GXBaby platform
  • Samsung
    • Samsung exynos5433 updates for clk id errors, HDMI support, suspend/resume simplifications
    • Enable Samsung MFD and related configs
    • Fix for the Samsung I2S driver locking
    • Samsung Exynos ARM64 improvements – Remove separate ARCH_EXYNOS7 symbol and consolidate it into one ARCH_EXYNOS
    • Samsung Exynos (and older platforms) improvements
      • Split out Exynos PMU driver implementation from arm/mach-exynos to the drivers/soc/samsung which will allow re-use of it on ARM64.
      • Use generic DT cpufreq driver on Exynos542x/5800.
      • Minor cleanups.
    • Device tree updates
      • Split common reboot/poweroff node to separate DTSI
      • Don’t overheat Odroid XU3 by cooling CPU with cpufreq
      • Add SROM controller device nodes.
      • Add Ethernet chip as child of SROM controller on SMDK5410.
      • Allow simultaneous usage exynos-rng and s5p-sss drivers on Exynos5.
      • Cleanup CPU configuration on Exynos542x/5800.
      • Add necessary nodes for cpufreq-dt driver on Exynos542x/5800 (OPPs, regulator supplies) which allows frequency and voltage scaling of this SoC.
      • Minor cleanups
  • Qualcomm
    • ARM64 – Added support for Qualcomm MSM8996 SoC support, updates & cleanups for Qualcomm APQ8064, MSM8974, MSM8916, and others
    • Revert of patches for the Qualcomm BAM, these need to be reworked for 4.7 to avoid breaking boards other than the one they were intended for
    • Add Qualcomm NAND controller driver
    • ASoC capture support for Qualcomm drivers
    • Add Qualcomm Technologies HIDMA channel & HIDMA management drivers
    • Qualcomm IPQ4019 support in pinctrl
    • Qualcomm ARM Based Device Tree Updates:
      • Add documentation for Kryo
      • Add RPMCC node for APQ8064
      • Updates for MSM8974
      • Add board clocks
      • Add support for Nexus7 device
      • Fixup pmic reg properties
      • Various updates/cleanups for APQ8064 based boards
  • Mediatek
    • Added support for  Mediatek MT7623 SoC
    • SMP support for Mediatek mt2701
    • Revert part of the power domain initialization changes that broke mt8173-evb
    • Introduce Mediatek thermal driver
    • New Mediatek IOMMU driver
    • ASoC – New machine driver for Mediatek systems with RT5650 CODECs
    •  Add Mediatek MT8173 EFUSE driver
  • Texas Instruments
    • Improved support for Nokia N900 and other OMAP machines
    •  DaVinci & OMAP now uses the new DMA engine dma_slave_map
  • Other new ARM hardware or SoCs – 96Boards Husky board, AMD Overdrive board, Annapurna Labs Alpine family and development board, Broadcom Vulcan servers, Broadcom Northstar 2 SoC, Marvell Armada 3700 family and development board,   Axis Artpec-6 SoC, TI Keystone K2G SoC, ST Microelectronics stm32f469, ARM Juno R2,  Buffalo Linkstation LS-QVL and LS-GL, D-Link DIR-885L, ARM RealView PB1176 and PB11MPCore,  Google Nexus 7, Homlet v2,  LG Optimus Black, Logicpd DM3730, Raspberry Pi Model A, NXP i.MX6QP

MIPS pull request included the following changes:

  • Fix spelling mistakes all over arch/mips
  • Provide __bswapsi2 so XZ kernel compression will build with older GCC
  • ATH79 clock fixes.
  • Fix clock-rated copy-paste erros in ATH79 DTS.
  • Fix gisb-arb compatible string for 7435 BMIPS
  • Enable NAND and UBIFS support in CI20.
  • Fix BUG() assertion caused by inapropriate smp_processor_id() use.
  • Fix exception handling issues for the sake of debuggers
  • Fix the last remaining instance of irq_to_gpio in the db1xxx_ss PCMCIA code
  • Fix MSA unaligned load failures
  • Panic if kernel is configured for a not TLB-supported page size
  • Bail out on unsupported relocs in modules.
  • Partial fix for Qemu breakage after recent IPI rewrite
  • Wire up the preadv2 and pwrite2 syscalls
  • Fix the ar724x clock calculation

I’ve generated Linux 4.6 changelog with comments only using git log v4.5..v4.6 --stat, but you might as well as just read the changelog on kernelnewbies.org which is also detailed and includes links to relevant articles.

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MiQi Dual Boot Android & Ubuntu Development Board Crowdfunding Campaign Has Launched

May 13th, 2016 8 comments

MiQi is a development board using a form factor similar to Raspberry Pi boards, but based on a more powerful Rockchip RK3288 Cortex A17 processor combined with 1 or 2 GB. I had the change to test an early sample pre-loaded with a dual boot image with Android 5.1 and Lubuntu 14.04, and found it to be one the fastest sub $100 development board in Linux, behind Hardkernel ODROID-XU4, as well as better CPU & GPU performance compared to recent Android TV boxes based on Amlogic S905, Rockchip RK3368, and so on. MQMaker has now launched a flexible funding crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds for mass production.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Let’s remind us of MiQi hardware specifications first:

  • SoC – Rockchip 3288 quad core ARM Cortex A17 up to 1.8 GHz with Mali-T764 GPU supporting OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 /3.0, and OpenCL 1.1
  • System Memory – 1 or 2G DDR3 depending on model
  • Storage – 8 or 32 GB eMMC flash depending on model + micro SD slot
  • Video & Audio output – HDMI 2.0 up to [email protected]
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB port
  • Debugging – Serial console header
  • Expansion Headers – 16-pin header, and 12-pin header but details are not known.
  • Misc – Button, unpopulated fan header
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 85 x 56 cm (PCB)
MiQi, Fan, Case, and USB Dongle

MiQi Board, Fan, Case, and USB Dongle

One downside at this stage of development is the lack of documentation for the board. All I could find right now, what a link to the dual boot image, and some source code and tools (Linux, Android SDK, mkimgboot) on Github. It’s quite likely many instructions will overlap with what’s already available on Firefly-RK3288 Wiki. MQMakers has their own Wiki, but for now all info is about their WiTi router board.

There are two versions of the board, one with 1GB RAM and 8GB flash for $35, and another one with 2GB RAM and 32 GB flash $69. The boards don’t include heatsink, fan, and accessories by default, so you may consider kits with heatsink (really recommended for high loads), fan, a black enclosure, and WiFi or/and Audio DAC USB dongles. For example, the rewards with MiQi 2GB with a heatsink, fan, metal case, and USB cable goes for $79. Shipping is not included, and quite reasonable if you are in China ($3) or Hong Kong ($5), but goes up to $10 to Taiwan, and $20 to the rest of the world. Delivery is scheduled to start on  July 5, 2016 a few days after the campaign ends.

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VideoStrong VS-M9RD Development Board is a Raspberry Pi Lookalike with Amlogic S905 SoC

May 11th, 2016 13 comments

VideoStrong is better known for their Android TV boxes with or without digital TV tuners, such as K1 Plus T2/S2 TV box, but the company has also designed several Amlogic based single board computers and development boards, including the latest Raspberry Pi inspired VS-M9RD board powered by Amlogic S905 quad core 64-bit ARM processor.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

VS-M9RD board technical specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S905 quad core cortex-A53 processor @ 2.0 GHz with penta-core Mali-450 GPU up to 750 MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Storage – Optional 4 to 32 GB eMMC flash module, micro SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K2K
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports + mini USB OTG port
  • Expansion Header
    • 30-pin header
    • 28-pin header
    • 7-pin header with CVBS and JTAG signals
  • Debugging – 4-pin 2.54mm pitch serial console header
  • Misc – IR receiver, power and update buttons.
  • Power Supply – 5V via power jack and (maybe mini USB port)
  • Dimensions – 85 x 55mm

You’ll notice in the pictures above and below that what should be the USB hub chip and micro SD slot are not soldered, but that’s likely because they just rushed to take pictures. The company also elected to use eMMC modules just like on Hardkernel ODROID-C2, an development board based on Amlogic S905. Some of the main differences with ODROID-C2 include less memory (1GB RAM vs 2GB RAM), but more I/Os with 65-pin for expansion against 47-pin.

Raspberry_Pi_Amlogic_S905_640px

Click to Enlarge

Apart from the fact than the board will run Android 5.1.1, there’s also no firmware image, source code, and documentation right now, but this will have to be published once the board becomes available if they plan to target the maker market.

Price has not been disclosed yet. Some more details may eventually surface on VideoStrong S905 development board page.

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

April 27th, 2016 3 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.

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Chromium OS for SBC Aims to Turn Popular Development Boards into Chromeboxes

April 27th, 2016 3 comments

A team of developer has come together last December in order to provide Chromium OS, the open source project which Chrome OS is based on, to single board computers such as Raspberry Pi boards. So far, they’ve provided Chromium OS images for Raspberry Pi 2 & 3, but more boards should be supported in the future.

Chromium_OS_Raspberry_Pi

The latest version 0.5 release is said to be usable, but WiFi, Netflix, and HTML5 video are not working. The installation procedure is standard. You simply need to download and uncompress the archive (e.g. SamKinison_v0.5_Pi3_16GB.tar.xz), and dump it on a micro SD card with Win32DiskImage or dd. They have released different images for Raspberry Pi 2 & 3, and different SD card sizes (2GB and 16GB). Chromium OS is using 12 partitions, so that may be why they don’t provide a single image and resize the file system during the first time. You can report issue on their forum or Reddit.

The community has also received several boards from other companies including a few Shenzhen Xunlong’s Orange Pi boards, LeMaker Guitar & Hikey boards, FriendlyArm  NanoPi2, NanoPi Fire, NanoPi M2, & NanoPi M1, as well as a Roseapple Pi board. Pine64 also gave some Pine A64 for development, and one developer recently joined the community specifically to work on Pine64 port.

Via Liliputing

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What’s the Best Android TV Box?

April 25th, 2016 18 comments

I often get asked which TV box to buy, or what the best Android TV box is, and the answer is the TV box that fits your needs for the lowest price point possible. Considering there are around 2 millions apps for Android, they are multitudes of use cases, and you can’t provide a single answer for everybody. So I’ll provide a list of things to look for beside the processor, and three TV boxes that I think are worth considering, before providing alternatives for people who want cheaper devices.

Things to Look for

There are still a few things you may want to specifically look for before purchasing an Android TV box:

  • History of regular firmware updates – If a company provides regular firmware updates, your device is likely to get better and better overtime. The cheapest TV boxes normally follow the ship-and-forget model, so you can’t expect any improvements, unless some community members offer custom firmware. OTA (Over-the-air) updates
  • Support forums – That’s obviously a plus, as the company and other members should be able to help you, especially if it is a common problem.
  • 4K Support – If you want to purchase a device that will support 4K videos, you should look for devices with HDMI 2.0 for 3840×2160 or 4096×2160 output up to 60 Hz. Also make sure 10-bit HEVC/H.265 codecs are supported up to 4K @ 60 fps, and optionally VP9 codec.
  • 5.1 or 7.1 HD audio pass-through support – In case you own an amplifier or A/V receiver capable of handling Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS HD Master, DTS HD High Resolution, or DTS:X, you really need to check the reviews on this site or others, as many devices fall short despite claiming support. So far, I’ve never seen Dolby Atmos and DTS:X supported, but normally they should at least fall back to respectively Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master.
  • Automatic frame rate switching – This is the ability of the device to match the monitor refresh rate to the video frame rate to avoid a phenomenon called micro stutter, which makes the videos not as smooth as it could be at regular intervals, and especially noticeable when the video is panning. if this is properly implemented, e.g. 24 fps videos played using 24 Hz on the monitor, then micro-stutter disappears.
  • DRM support for HD and UHD video streaming – If you’re paying for video streaming services like Netflix, you’ll have to make sure they are specifically supported, with Widewine Level 1 DRM necessary, but not sufficient condition for playing the videos at HD or UHD (4K) resolution. Most devices can only stream videos in SD resolution due to the lack of proper DRM and a hard-to-get “Netflix license”.
  • Thermal design and storage performance – Many Android TV boxes have similar specifications, but IMHO, two key design choices are especially impacting the performance between apparently similar devices. Some TV boxes will overheat over time, leading to poor performance after a few minutes, while others with proper cooling will perform the same over hours. Fast storage will ensure the device boots quickly, apps load fast, and the device does not get slowed down while apps are installing or updating in the background.

MINIX NEO U1

 

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Criteria:

  • History of regular firmware updates – MINIX is known to update the devices for about a year or so.
  • Support forumsMINIX forums are quite active, and you should be able to get help from there.
  • 4K Support – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60 Hz is supported, with very good support for 4K 10-bit H.265 and H.264 videos. VP9 is not supported.
  • 5.1 or 7.1 HD audio pass-through support – Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD audio pass-through is working with the most recent firmware & Kodi/SPMC version.
  • Automatic frame rate switching – OK
  • DRM support for HD and UHD video streamingNetflix can only play with SD resolution, and only Widewine Level 3 is implemented.
  • Thermal design and storage performance – The device has a large heatsink with excellent cooling leading to constant performance, and the internal storage is one of the fastest I’ve ever seen in an Android TV box

So as long as you don’t really care about Netflix HD, or HD playback in other premium apps, I’d definitely recommend looking into this product. You can read MINIX NEO U1 review for details, and bear in mind that some bugs have been fixed since my review including HD audio pass-through.

Price: $129.90 shipped on Amazon US, GearBest, GeekBuying, etc… If you buy the excellent NEO A2 Lite air mouse with the device, the price is $149.90.

WeTek Core

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Criteria:

  • History of regular firmware updates – WeTek is providing updates to their devices over an extended period, and their are also one of the rare companies to provide OpenELEC and Linux images for their devices.
  • Support forums – You can get support on WeTek forums, which are also fairly active.
  • 4K Support – HDMI 1.4 up to 4K @ 30 Hz is supported, with decent support for 4K  H.265 and H.264 videos, as long as you don’t try to play 4K @ 60 fps videos. VP9 is not supported.
  • 5.1 or 7.1 HD audio pass-through support – Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD audio pass-through is working with the most recent firmware with Kodi or SMPC 16.x.
  • Automatic frame rate switching – OK
  • DRM support for HD and UHD video streamingNetflix HD is supported as they have all the proper licenses.
  • Thermal design and storage performance – The heatsink is not especially large, but I have not noticed any performance degradation over time during my testing. However, the internal storage is not quite as fast as it could be, so you may experience some slowdowns when installing apps in the background, or when the boxes does other I/O intensive activities.

WeTek Core is more suited to people wanting to watch Netflix in HD, or prefer a pure Linux experience (OpenELEC). You can find more details in WeTek Core review, and just like with NEO U1, several bugs have been fixed since I posted the review close to 6 months ago.

Price: $110.32 via WeTek website.

Nvidia Shield Android TV Box

Nvidia_SHIELDI have not reviewed the device myself, but I can read of lots of praise for it on the net.

Criteria:

  • History of regular firmware updates – Nvidia has provided several firmware updates since the device was released, and version 3.1 even upgrade the Android version to 6.0 marshmallow
  • Support forums – An active SHIELD Android TV board is running on Nvidia Geforce forum.
  • 4K Support – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60 Hz is supported with support for 4K  H.265, VP9 and H.264 video playback.
  • 5.1 or 7.1 HD audio pass-through support – Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD audio pass-through has been supported since OTA 2.0 firmware (The latest firmware is now version 3.1)
  • Automatic frame rate switching – OK for Kodi and Plex at least.
  • DRM support for HD and UHD video streamingNetflix HD & 4K are officially supported
  • Thermal design and storage performance – I could not find reports of overheating or throttling for SHIELD Android TV, and while I could not find the storage benchmarks, I’ve seen reviews saying the device performs well in all conditions.

Nvidia TV box will also be a better than any other TV boxes available so far if you are interested in 3D games. The main downside is the higher price, especially if you don’t happen to live in a region or country where it’s been officially released. It’s also running Android TV by default, which limits the number of apps in the play store. It’s however possibly to install a full (unofficial) version of Android.

Price: $199.99 on Amazon US, going up to around $245 with the gamepad when shipped to the US. If you live in some other countries the total price may go up to $300 to $400 once shipping, US forwarding, and taxes are taken into account.

Other Alternatives for less than $100

While the three boxes above have performance above the rest, not everybody wants to spend $100 or more on a TV box, so I’ll propose some alternatives.

  • MXQ S85 – This box is based on Amlogic S805 processor, and while the manufacturer does not provide direct support, Freaktab provides some alternative firmware, it’s one of the most popular device around (based on the traffic I get), and it was my best value for money TV box at the end of 2014.  So if tyou don’t mind about Netflix HD, 4K videos, and want something decent for 1080p H.264 and H.265 videos, it could be a good choice. MXQ S85 now sells for about $38 shipped.
  • Zidoo X1 II – This device supports 4K video playback of 10-bit H.265, and 10-bit H.264 up to 4K output @ 60 Hz. You’ll also get regurlar OTA firmware updates from Zidoo. However, don’t expect Netflix HD (SD should be OK), and some Android apps may feel slow due to the low-end GPU, so it’s better used exclusively as a media player, rather than an Android mini PC. Zidoo XI II is sold for $49 on GeekBuying, Banggood, or Aliexpress.
  • Raspberry Pi 2/3 Board – I’m not myself a big fan of using development boards as media players, since Android TV boxes price are now so low that you’ll end up paying more with a board once you had the extra accessories, potential codec fees, and the enclosure. In the case of Raspberry Pi 2 board, the VPU is also limited to 1080p30 without H.265 support, except with some hacks that may not work for all videos. Raspberry Pi 3 board does support H.264 1080p60 natively. However, some people disagree, with most of their content being 1080p24 / H.264, so Raspberry Pi board fit their requirements, even with 3D MVC support, and thanks to software developed over the years, they believe think it may be one of the best media solution available. This is a Linux based solution, as Android does not run properly on the boards.A complete media player kit based on Raspberry Pi 2 or 3 would cost $70 to $80.

I hope this post will help some people making an educated choice when purchasing a TV box.

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