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Posts Tagged ‘set-top box’

Unboxing of M-195 TV Box Powered by Realtek RTD1195 Processor

November 24th, 2014 6 comments

Realtek RTD1195 is a dual core Cortex A7 processor with a Mali-400 GPU, supporting fast interfaces such as USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, and SATA, as well 4K video decoding (including H.265) and output, and HDMI input. Despite all these features, it can be found in ultra low cost Android media players, so I was eager to find out if it’s as good as it looks on paper.  Thanks to GeekBuying which sent me M-195 TV box, I’ll soon be able to find out. Today, I’ll list the technical specifications of the device, and take pictures of the device and the board, before doing a full test early next month.

M-195 specifications

Hardware specifications as listed in the user’s manual and GeekBuying:

  • SoC – Realtek RTD1195 dual core ARM Cortex A7 processor @ 1.3 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 1 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8 GB eMMC  + SD card slot
  • Video Output / Input  – HDMI 1.4b out up to 4K30 / 1080p60, HDMI In up to 4K30, and AV output.
  • Audio – HDMI, AV, and optical S/PDIF
  • Video Codecs
    • Decoding –  H.265, H.263, H.264, AVS, VC-1, RV, VP6/VP8, Sorenson, Spark, MVC up to 4K
    • Encoding – H.264, H.265, VP8, and MVC up to 1080p]
    • H.264, H.265 data rate – Up to 60 Mbps
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0.
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
  • Misc – IR receiver, power LED
  • Power – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 132 x 83 x 23 mm
  • Weight – 320 grams

The device runs Android 4.4. This model does not have a SATA port, but everything else seems excellent, except the CPU/GPU which probably means it has potential as a media player, but would probably feel sluggish as a mini PC. Anyway, we’ll find out in the full review.

M-195 Unboxing

GeekBuying sent the parcel via DHL, and the device can be found in the generic “4K OTT TV BOX” package below that highlight features of the device like H.265, 3D video, HDMI input, 4K UHD support, USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, etc.. as well as pre-installed apps like Facebook, Twitter, Skype, XBMC, YouTube, and Netflix.
M-195_Package
The box comes with an IR remote control (requiring 2x AAA batteries), HDMI and AV cables, and a 5V/2A power supply.

M-195Android STB and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

M-195Android STB and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

The front panel just has a window for the IR receiver and LEDs, as well as some logos. A USB 2.0 host port, a USB 3.0 port, and a full size SD card slot can be seen on the side of the device.

M-195 Media Player (Click to Enlarge)

M-195 Media Player (Click to Enlarge)

The rear panel features both HDMI In and Out ports, as well as AV output, optical S/PDIF, the Gigabit Ethernet port, the power hack, and a Wi-Fi antenna.

Unboxing video.

M-195 Board Pictures

Simply remove the four stick rubber pads on the bottom of the case, and untighten the four screws to open the device.

Bottom of M-195 Board (Click to Enlarge)

Bottom of M-195 Board (Click to Enlarge)

There’s nothing much interesting on the bottom of the board, so let’s remove three more screws to take out the board.

M-195 Board with Thermal Pad and Tape (Click to Enlarge)

M-195 Board with Thermal Pad and Tape (Click to Enlarge)

There’s a thermal pad sticked on top of the processor, the eMMC, and the RAM chips with some extra tape. The four pins header on the bottom of the board could be for the serial console.

M-195 Board (Click to Enlarge)

M-195 Board (Click to Enlarge)

So I’ve taken out the thermal pad to have a clearer view. The processor is Realtek RTD1195DD, which controls two NANYA NT5CB256M16CP-DI DDR3 chips for 1GB RAM, and a FORESEE NCEFES78-08G eMMC flash (8GB), which I foresee (that was easy) would probably be slow like other eMMC chips from the company I’ve tested so far. The Wi-Fi module is Realtek RTL8723BS that supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and FM, although the latter is not used in the box. The board name is 902_V3.0 manufactured on 2014/08/29. There are also four unsoldered connectors, but without markings it’s difficult to know what they may be for.

I’d like to thanks GeekBuying which provided this product for review, and sell it for $68 including shipping. Other shopping options include Amazon US, Aliexpress, and Ebay.

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Unboxing of Eny M8S H.265 / 4K Android Media Player Powered by Amlogic S812 Processor

November 17th, 2014 11 comments

M8S and M8C Android TV boxes are updates of M8 / TM8 box, replacing Amlogic S802 quad core processor with Amlogic S812 processor which has about the same feature except it bring HEVC/H.265 hardware video decoding. M8S comes with 2GB RAM, whereas M8C features only 1GB RAM. Eny Technology decided to send me M8S for review. As usual, I’ll start with some pictures of the package, box, and board, and will do the full review in the next few days.

M8S Unboxing Pictures

The company send me the parcel via DHL which I promptly received with the product in the package below marked “4K OTT TV BOX” and a predominant “HEVC”.

4K_OTT_TV_BOX

The back of the package list the main specifications: quad core processor, octo core Mali 450 GPU, Android Kitkat. and so on. There’s also a sticker showing the MAC address, which starts with C4:4E:AC for those interested.

Eny M8S and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

Eny M8S and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

The box comes with an IR remote control (requiring 2x AAA batteries), an HDMI cable (1.2m), a 5V/2A power supply, and a user’s manual in English and Chinese.

m8sAs expected the box looks exactly the same as M8 / TM8 media player with the same front LED, and SD card slot on the side.

M8S_4K_OTT_TV_Box_PortsOn the rear panel, the exact same connectors and placement can be seen with two USB host ports, an HDMI output, an Ethernet RJ45 port, AV output jack, optical SPDIF (that still feels low quality because of the plastic), and a power barrel.

If you fancy watch an unboxing video instead, I’ve made one for you.

M8S Board Photos

We’ve already seen some pictures released by Eny Technology, but for the sake of it, and to have slightly sharper pictures, I’ve opened the box, and take a few more. To open the box it’s the same old same old method: remove sticky rubber pads on the bottom of the case, take out four screws, and pop the lid.

M8S_Board_and_Metal_Plate

M8S Board and Enclosure (Click to Enclosure)

The similarity with M8 are normally external, but components and connectors placement is exactly the same. Let’s remove four more screen to take the board out completely.

Bottom of M8S Board (Click to Enlarge)

Bottom of M8S Board (Click to Enlarge)

The Wi-Fi module is AP6330 which supports dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. I’ve also removed the heatsink, and taken a closer picture of the top of the board.

M8&M9 Board (Click to Enlarge)

M8&M9 Board (Click to Enlarge)

Oh surprise, it’s exactly the same PCB as Rippl-TV, namely M9&M8_V1.0 (2014/07/07), which is based on M8 hardware, but an updated version of the board compared to my earlier sample. Four Samsung K4B4G1646D DDR3L SDRAM chips are used to 2Gb RAM, MT 29F64G08CBABA NAND flash provides 8GB internal storage (so no eMMC in that device), and Ricoh RT618M PMIC handles the power. The recovery button is located right behind the AV port as usual.  So basically, they’ve simply take the last M8 PCB, and replaces Amlogic S802 by Amlogic S812.

Eny Technology sent the M8S sample for review, and you could consider purchasing M8S or M8C from them if you are a resellers buying in quantities. Individuals can buy M8S for $87 and up on Aliexpress, and M8C (1GB RAM only) is starts at $75 including shipping.

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$199 Gizmo 2 Development Board Powered by AMD G-Series GX210HA SoC

November 11th, 2014 2 comments

There are only a few Intel / AMD x86 embedded development boards on the market, at least for the hobbyist market, namely MinnowBoard MAX based on Intel E3815 or E3825 processors, and Gizmophere Explorer Kit powered by AMD G-Series GT-40E dual core APU + A55E hub controller. Gizmosphere, a non-profit organization, had now released a new version of their embedded board called Gizmo 2 powered by AMD G-Series GX210HA SoC combining a dual core x86 processor, a Radeon GPU, and peripherals.

Gizmo2 AMD Development Board (Click to Enlarge)

Gizmo 2 AMD Development Board (Click to Enlarge)

Gizmo 2 development board specifications:

  • SoC –  AMD Embedded G-Series GX210HA SOC with a dual core “Jaguar” processor @ 1.0 GHz and a Radeon 8210E GPU @ 300 MHz with support for DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.2x and OpenCL 1.2. 153 GFLOPS of performance. 9W TDP.
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3-1600 SDRAM
  • Storage – mSATA/mini PCIe Connector + micro SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • Audio I/O – HDMI and 3.5mm earphone jack
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports,  2x USB 2.0 host ports, 4x extra USB ports available via headers.
  • Expansion Connectors
    • High-speed and Low-speed Special Features Card Edge Connectors
    • 4×1 links of PCIe Gen2 for GPP, and 1×4 links fo PCIe for GPU
    • 2x 2.54mm headers with access to GPIO, SPI (for programming), I2C, UART, DAC, ADC
  • Debugging – JTAG AMD Debug Header
  • Misc – RTC + battery slot
  • Power Supply – 12V/2A
  • Dimensions – 10.16 x 10.16 cm (4” x 4”)
Bottom of Gizmo2 Embedded Board (Click to Enlarge)

Bottom of Gizmo2 Embedded Board (Click to Enlarge)

The board comews with a micro SD card pre-loaded with TimeSys Embedded Linux and a Qt UI, but Minoca OS (That’s new!), and  Windows Embedded 7 and 8 are also supported, and a Debian Linux distribution will soon be available. . The platform also includes a coreboot-based SageBIOS open source package from Sage Electronic Engineering. Documentation, hardware design files (schematics, gerber, PCB layout), software downloads (including BSP, application and demo code),  project examples, and news will be available on Gizmosphere Community and Element14.

The kit will include the Gizmo2 board, as well as a 12V/A universal power supply, international plug adapter, a micro SD and a coin cell battery. It can be used for digital signage, set-top boxes, IPTV applications, thin clients, home automation, point-of-sale systems, robotics, and more.

Gizmo2 can be purchased on Element14 for for $199. (Product code: GIZMO-2-GSOCD9W-1.0).

Promo video:

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JmGO G1 Android “Home Theater” Projector Powered by Mstar 6A918 SoC

October 23rd, 2014 4 comments

JmGO G1 is a neat looking Android 4.4 projector powered by Mstar 6A918 quad core Cortex A9 processor with a Mali-450MP4 GPU (same as Mstar 9810?), and featuring a Texas Instruments LED based DLP projector. It comes with USB 2.0 / 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, AV, S/PDIF ports, and four speakers on the periphery.

jmGO_G1_Android_Projector

jmGO_G1_remote_controlTentative hardware specifications:

  • SoC – Mstar MSO6A918 Quad core ARM Cortex A9 @ 1.5GHz with an ARM Mali-450MP4 GPU.
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16 GB eMMC + microSD card slot
  • Projector
    • Texas Instruments DLP
    • RGB LED. Native resolution: 1280 x 800
    • 30,000 hours LED life (About 10 years @ 10 hours per day)
    • 15″ to 300″ screenI
    • Brightness – 450  Lumens
  • Video Inputs – HDMI IN, AV IN
  • Audio I/Os – Inputs HDMI, AV, coaxial S/PDIF; Output: 4x speakers
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x USB3.0 port
  • Power Supply – 19V/4.74A
  • Dimensions – 219 mm diameter x 60 mm height
  • Weight – 1550 grams
I’m not 100% sure of my specifications, as I assumed all video and audio ports are inputs, but I’d be glad to bring correction from people who can read Chinese… A  hook is available under the projector to mount it on a tripod or a wall. A simple yet innovative Wi-Fi remote control lets you adjust the projector focus, control the volume, and comes with Back/Home/Menu/Mouse/OK buttons, as well as a microphone for voice control.

jmGO_G1_Android_Projector_rear_panel JmGO G1 costs 2399 CNY (~$392), but I could not find it for sale anywhere, and it’s for sale on Ebay for $566 + shipping. More details and pictures can be found on JmGO G1 product page (Chinese).

Via AndroidPC.es

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Kaiboer Q8 Android Media Player Features USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, and a 2.5″ SATA Bay

October 8th, 2014 8 comments

Kaiboer Q8 may look like an alarm clock radio, but it’s definitely an upcoming Android media player powered by Mstar 9810 SoC with 2GB RAM, 16GB eMMC, USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, and an internal 2.5″ SATA bay. The company had previously launched three MSO9810 Android STBs, two of which did not support hard drives, and one with a 3.5″ SATA bay, so this new product fills the void for 2.5″ hard drives.

Kaiboer_Q8Kaiboer Q8 specifications:

  • SoC – Mstar MSO9180D1R Quad core ARM Cortex A9 @ 1.5GHz with a quad-core ARM Mali-450MP GPU.
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16 GB eMMC + microSD card slot + internal SATA bay for 2.5″ drives
  • Video I/O – HDMI in, HDMI out (All models)
  • Audio I/O – HDMI in/out, optical S/PDIF
  • Video Codecs –  Up to 4K. MPEG-1/2, MPEG-4, DivX, H.264, H.265 VC-1, H.263, Real Media, MVC, etc…
  • Audio Formats – MPEG, WMA, WAV, APE, OGG, FLAC, ACC, Dolby Digital, DTS…
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB3.0 port
  • Front panel – LED display wit 5 digits and various icons
  • Misc – Power and back buttons, and D-Pad on device, with another power button on the rear panel.
  • Power Supply – N/A
  • Dimensions – N/A

Kaiboer_Q8_Rear_Panel_with_SATA_bayHard drives can simply be inserted in the slot you can see on the rear panel above. This media player is said to run Android 4.3, and the package should include an IR remote control among other accessories. Kaiboer seems fully focused on the Chinese market, and I’m not aware of any English version of their firmware for previous models, so even the hardware looks quite interesting, and it should become available on Aliexpress, most people may want to skip this product, unless the company has changed their stance about oversea markets. It might be possible to change the language to English in the settings, and I’m not 100% sure Google Play Store is pre-installed, so it might have to be manually installed.

There’s no word about pricing nor availability at this stage, but you can find more information on Kaiboer Q8 product page (in Chinese).

Via AndroidPC.es

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Xtreamer Wonder Might Be the First Android Media Player Powered by Amlogic S812

October 1st, 2014 10 comments

Amlogic S812 processor is an upgrade of S802 processor with HEVC/H.265 hardware video decoding up to 3840×2160 resolution, and Gigabit Ethernet support, and it looks like the first Android TV boxes will start shipping by early November, starting with Xtreamer Wonder “TV entertainment system” running Android 4.4 Kitkat and XBMC / Kodi.

Xtreamer_Wonder

Xtreamer_AirmouseXtreamer Wonder specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S812-H quad core cortex A9r4 @ 2 GHz with Mali-450MP6 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB  eMMC 5.0 + micro SD card reader
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4
  • Audio Output – HDMI, optical S/PDIF
  • Video Container Formats – DAT, MPEG, MPE, MPG, TS/TP, VOB, ISO, AVI, MP4, MOV, 3GP, FLV, MKV, M2TS, MTS, M4V, WMV, ASF, RM/RMVB, etc…
  • Audio Formats – MP2, MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG, OGA, FLAC, ALAC, APE, AAC etc… Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital+, and DTS
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 13.8 x 16.6 x 2.8 cm
  • Weight – 190 grams.

The box will run Android 4.4 Kitkat with Xtreamer ver 2.0 UI, and ship with Xtreamer AirMouse, an HDMI cable, a power adapter, and a quick start guide.

There should not be hardware differences between S812 and S812-H SoC, expect the latter will come with an SDK supporting Dolby Digital & DTS with the right licenses, and any media app in Android should be able to handle these audio formats. 5-ch and 7-ch pass-though is said to be supported too.

Amlogic S812 is also supposed to support Gigabit Ethernet, but this box seems limited to 10/100M Ethernet, which could be an issue with some high bitrate (>60 Mbps) 4K videos, so the only advantage using S812-H or S802-H with this device is H.265 support.

Xtreamer UI v.2

Xtreamer UI v.2

Xtreamer Wonder is currently available for pre-oder for 99 Euros ($139 US) with shipping scheduled for October 31, 2014. Further details about the device and its air mouse, can be found on Xtreamer Wonder product page.

Thank you dhead666!

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Review of Nagrace HPH NT-V6 Android Mini PC Powered by RK3288 with 4GB RAM, 32GB Internal Storage

September 30th, 2014 8 comments

Last week-end, I finally received TP-Link TL-WDR7500 router (Chinese variant of Arched C7) router, so I could complete my review of Nagrace HPH NT-V6 including 802.11ac Wi-Fi. I’ve already listed the specifications, and taken a few pictures of the device and the board, and today I’ll focus on the test results. I’ll start by giving my first impressions, going through the user interface and settings, before testing video playback, as well as benchmarking networking, storage and overall system performance, playing some games, and testing most hardware features of this mini PC.

First Boot, Settings and First Impressions

A simple infrared remote control is provided with the device, and I’ve quickly tried it by inserting two AAA batteries, and it works fine, but for the rest of testing I switched to Mele F10 Deluxe air mouse to control the device, as it’s much more user friendly than any IR remote. Before booting up the device, I’ve connected an HDMI cable, a USB hard drive, an Ethernet cable, a USB webcam, and a USB hub with RF dongles for my air mouse and gamepad, and USB flash drive. Finally connect the power supply to boot the device in about 20 seconds.

NT-V6 User Interface (Click to Enlarge)

NT-V6 User Interface (Click to Enlarge)

The company has made their user interface, but in a similar style than the one common found in Amlogic S802 devices. On the top right, you’ve network status (Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Bluetooth). The status bar won’t show in the main menu, but in some other apps and settings, you’ll be able to access it. A large section with 9 folders can be found on the left with Movie (Videoplayer), XBMC (yes a folder too containing XBMC, so you have to click twice), Music, Game, Browser, Stream (Youtube and Netflix), Screencast, Social and Market. On the right, you’ve got the time, and weather (that does not work), and four more icons: “My Device” (Actually a file manager), “All Apps”, “Settings”, and “All Tasks Killer”. The user interface resolution is set to 1920×1080.

The Android settings are very similar to other RK3288 TV box. The Wireless and Networks menu comes with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, and Data Usage sections, as well as a “More” section with VPN, Portable Hotspot, etc… Display settings let you set the font size, adjust the screen size, select between HDMI, YPbPr (Component), and “TV” (Composite) video outputs, and the resolution: “auto”, 1080p 24/25/30/50/60Hz, 720p 50/60, 720×576 or 720×480. I don’t own a 4K UHD TV, but if I did, there should also be some 4K options. You can choose between “Default Output” (PCM), “Spdif Passthough”, and “HDMI Bitstream” (HDMI pass-through) in the Sound settings. HDMI video output is working, but composite and component (YPbPr) video outputs failed to work. An AV cable was not included, so I used some other cables, and I could only see a black screen. Audio (L/R) works fine.

What about HDMI In? I’ve connected Orino R28 meta to the HDMI input port of the NT-V6, clicked on HDMI IN app, and I could see R28 user interface, but apart from that I could not do much. Things like Android notifications of the “host” won’t show up, as as it stands the HDMI In function is just like a cheap HDMI switcher. To go back to main user interface, simply press the back key on the remote.

The version of HPH NT-V6 I got comes with a 32GB eMMC, other options includes 8, 16 or 64 GB, which is partitioned into a 1.91GB “Internal Storage” partition for apps, and a 25.99 GB “NAND FLASH” partition for data. After I installed all applications I needed for this review, I was left with 568 MB available. It would have been preferable to design the system with a single flash partition, or make the “Internal Storage” a bit bigger. Nevertheless with 26 GB for data, there’s plenty of data, even to download and place movies directly from eMMC flash.

The “About device” section only lists the model number (HPH-F0-N6) and the Android version (4.4.2). It’s running on top of Linux kernel 3.10.0, but it’s not indicated in this section. The firmware is not rooted, and NT-V6 is another device with a USB A receptacle, instead of a micro USB port, and I could not root it via the OTG port since I don’t have a proper cable. There’s a System Update app for OTA firmware upgrades, and the firmware version is currently 1.1.9 in my device. I’m not 100% sure it works, because I have not received a firmware upgrade yet.

In the video below, I boot the device, and go though the user interface, and system settings.

Google Play Store mostly works. I could install most apps, install a paid app, such as ES File Explorer, MX Player, Antutu, Beach Buggy Blitz, CPU-Z, etc…  Vidonn activity tracker app was reported as “incompatible with your device”. I discover an easy way to quickly scan through compatible apps that you’ve installed in other devices previously with the same account. Go to My Apps->All in the Play Store, and you can scroll down to see which apps are already installed, or incompatible. You can also select multiple apps, and click Install for bulk installation. Since I got Riptide GP2 as a “free app of the day”, I installed Amazon AppStore to install the game.

Power control work as it should. A short press on the remote will put the device in standby mode, and you start it again but pressing the remote button again. A long press on the power button will pop-up the Android menu with Power Off/Airplane Mode/Silent Mode, in order to achieve true power off. A press on the box button will have the same effect. When the device is powered off, you can press the remote power button, or the power button on the media player, although I’ve found the latter does not always work… It takes 3 to 4 second for power LED to run blue after pressing the power button, so it’s a bit confusing at times. and you need to wait 4 seconds to make sure you’ve really powered the device on. Both the included remote control and Mele F10 Deluxe could power on/off NT-V6. As with other RK3288 devices, the case may become hot. After Antutu benchmark, the maximum temperatures measured with an infrared thermometer on the top and bottom of the box were respectively 58°C and 64°C, and 58°C and 66°C after playing Riptide GP2 for over 20 minutes.

HPH NT-V6 mini PC is very stable, and I never had a reboot and hang up during my 6-8 hours testing. Boot time (20s) and XBMC load time (2s) are very similar to Kingnovel R6 as both integrate a fast eMMC flash.

Video Playback

Video playback results are the same as Kingnovel R6 (previously known as K-R68), so I invite you to visit R6 review for video testing. To summarize, a version of XMBC 13 alpha12 is pre-installed, and suffers from not-so-smooth MPEG2 playback (in some files), lack of support for VC1, some 4K videos are not smooth at all, as well as audio/sync issues.

What’s different however is that I could play some HEVC/H.265 videos in XBMC:

  • H.265 codec / MPEG TS container (Elecard 360p / 720p / 1080p) – Audio only
  • Beauty_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 – OK
  • Bosphorus_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 – OK
  • Jockey_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_TS.ts – Won’t start to play

I’ve also test some VP9 videos. They can’t be played in XBMC, but can in MX Player:

  • out9.webm (low resolution) – OK. H/W decode according to MX Player.
  • phfx_4KHD_VP9TestFootage.webm (3840×2160) – Maybe 1 or 2 frames per second, still with H/W decode according to MX Player, but internally it’s certainly using S/W decode.

I also played a complete FullHD video (1h50) with XBMC to test stability. I had the same slow XBMC exit as with other boxes, which does not happen all the time, and apparently only during scanning or other background tasks.

Links to various video samples used in this review and be found in “Where to get video, audio and images samples” post and comments.

Network Performance (Wi-Fi and Ethernet)

To evaluate network performance, I transfer a 278 MB file between a SAMBA share and the internal flash, and vice versa, using ES File Explorer, and repeating the test three times. I now have two routers, but I’ll keep testing 2.4GHz Wi-Fi with my old TP-Link TL-WR940N router, and test 5GHz Wi-Fi with TP-Link TL-WDR7500 (Archer C7) which also support 802.11ac. I already tested NT-V6 in TL-WDR7500 review, and found the connected with NT-V6 to be unstable, and not that fast. That was on Sunday… But on Monday I tested it again, and the performance and stability was much better. I have no idea why. The only differences are: it was raining on Monday, and I was the only  one using Wi-Fi, whereas on week-ends, TL-WR940N may get 4 to 5 connected clients. So it went from 1.92 MB/s to 3.91 MB/s average speed with 802.11n, and 3.02MB/s  to 4.85 MB/s with 802.11ac, the best performance I ever got with Wi-Fi.

Throughput in MB/s

Throughput in MB/s

The top line is with 802.11ac, and the second line with 802.11n @ 2.4GHz. But as I said this chart may overestimate the actual Wi-Fi capabilities of NT-V6, and performance seem irregular… Using “sunday” results, 802.11ac would have been in third position in the chart, and 802.11n between Vega S89 and VidOn.me AV200.

And now Ethernet…. I had rather disappointing performance with Fast Ethernet, and still more problems with Gigabit Ethernet… I should really buy another Gigabit switch to make sure that’s not the root cause.

Fast Ethernet Performance in MB/s

Fast Ethernet Performance in MB/s

I could actually get a Gigabit Ethernet connection, but I got a transfer rate of 250 KB/s from network to flash, and 1.8MB/s from flash to network…

In order to get a “pure” network test, I also used iPerf app and iperf in my Ubuntu PC, using “iperf -t 60 -c 192.168.0.104 -d” command line in Android. It clearly show some issues with both Fast and Gigabit Ethernet, and whereas one direction has good performance, the other is problematic (100Mbps first, then Gigabit):

Client connecting to 192.168.0.108, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 85.0 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[  6] local 192.168.0.104 port 35429 connected with 192.168.0.108 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  4]  0.0-60.1 sec   672 MBytes  93.8 Mbits/sec
[  6]  0.0-60.1 sec  81.0 MBytes  11.3 Mbits/sec
Client connecting to 192.168.0.108, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 85.0 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[  6] local 192.168.0.104 port 35764 connected with 192.168.0.108 port 5001
[  4]  0.0-60.0 sec  6.16 GBytes   882 Mbits/sec
[  6]  0.0-60.9 sec  16.5 MBytes  2.27 Mbits/sec

Miscellaneous Tests

Bluetooth

File transfer over Bluetooth works fine. I use ThL W200 Android smartphone to send a picture to NT-V6.

I skipped Sixaxis test for PS3 Bluetooth Gamepad support, because the firmware is not rooted, and I’m not sure how to root it without OTG cable.

Vidonn X5 activity tracker was used to test Bluetooth 4.0 LE. I could not install Vidonn app from Google Play (incompatible), so I instead installed vidonn.apk, and successfully connected to my wristband to get the data. Note-to-self: make sure to set the time on the mini PC before making the connection to the wristband, or it will mess with the data…

Storage

The system could detect and mounted a micro SD card and USB flash drive formatted with FAT32.
It seems nobody is interested in having EXT-3/4 working for external storage in Android, and as usual only the NTFS and FAT32 partitions on my USB 3.0 hard drive could be mounted.

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

I benchmarked the eMMC and the NTFS partition on my hard drive with A1 SD Bench. There does not seem to be a standard for mount points in Android, and firmware from various (SoC) vendors, have different mount points. In this firmware, the NTFS partition is located in /mnt/usb_storage/USB_DISK2/USB3_NTFS. The read speed was 35.62MB/s, and the write speed of 15.08MB/s, so NT-V6 gets both the best read speed, and the worst write speed of all devices I tested.

MB/s

USB NTFS Performance in MB/s

Hopefully, the only solution is some optimization for NTFS writing speed.

The Samsung eMMC found on the board has very good performance, reading at 55 MB/s, and writing at 18 MB/s.

MB/s

MB/s

Beside fast loading times, a product with a fast eMMC is much less likely to experience slowdowns.

USB Webcam

I could test audio successfully with the Echo service in Skype, but unfortunately although my webcam appeared to be detected in both Skype and Google Hangouts, I could only see a black screen during video calls.

Gaming

Candy Crush Saga, Beach Buggy Blitz, and Riptide GP2 all worked pretty well. I played Candy Crush Saga with Mele F10 Deluxe, and the two racing games with Tronsmart Mars G01 wireless gamepad. Beach Buggy Blitz is super smooth all the time, even after maxing out graphics settings. Riptide GP2 is very playable as well, but not optimal all the time, but clearly mini PCs based on Rockchip RK3288, and much better than the rest of Chinese Android mini PCs thanks to its Mali T-764 GPU. I played the latter game for over 20 minutes to test stability, and I did not encounter any specific issues. Temperature measurements after game: 58°C (top) and 66°C (bottom).

Nagrace HPH NT-V6 Benchmark

CPU-Z app returns similar data as other TV boxes with Rockchip RK3288 processor being a four Cortex A12r0p1 core processor with a Mali-T764 GPU, except this time, the CPU frequency is between 312 MHz and 1.61 GHz, instead of topping at 1.8GHz for other devices.. I could also check there’s indeed 4GB RAM installed with over 2700 MB free.HPH_NT-V6_CPU-Z

NT-V6 could achieve G1H got 35,321 points in Antutu 5.1, a bit lower than Kingnovel R6 score (37,428), most probably because of the lower CPU frequency.

HPH_NT-V6_Antutu

I had not run Vellamo 3.x  test in R6 media player, but the scores in NT-V6 are better than the ones for Uyesee G1H.

HPH_NT-V6_Vellamo_3

Ice Storm Extreme benchmark score (7,056) in 3DMark is however a bit lower than the two other RK3288 box I tested (7,278 and 7,531).

Ice Storm Extreme (Click to Enlarge)

Ice Storm Extreme (Click to Enlarge)

Conclusion

Nagrace HPH NT-V6 is a pretty good hardware with a fast processor, excellent 3D and eMMC storage performance. The firmware is stable, and provides a smooth user experience, without slowdowns. Wi-Fi can be excellent too, but stability may be an issue. As with other Rockchip RK3288 devices I’ve tested,  video playback in XBMC is rather disappointing, but at least there’s partial HEVC/H.265 codec support. partial, nbecause only some caontainers appear to be supported.

PRO:

  • Fast new processor
  • Excellent 3D graphics performance for games
  • Stable and fast firmware.
  • Memory and Storage capacity (4GB / 32GB)
  • Excellent Wi-Fi performance, when it works
  • Fast eMMC, both for reading and writing speeds.
  • Both 720p and 1080p user interfaces are supported
  • Video Output – 1080p support 24, 25 ,30 , 50 and 60 Hz output. 4K @ 60Hz should be supported (not tested).
  • Partial HEVC/H.265 video decoding support in XBMC.
  • OTA update appear to be support
  • Proper power off/standby handling.
  • HDMI In

CONS:

  • XBMC has too many issues: VC1 not supported, H.265 support only partial, audio/video sync issue, some MPEG-2 and XVID videos are skipping frames, some of the 4K videos I used could play properly, etc…
  • Some MPEG-2 file won’t play smooth in either XBMC or MX Player
  • Potential Ethernet issues, confirmed with my Gigabit switch (D-Link DSG-1005A) and 10/100Mbps D-Link router (configured as a switch).
  • Video output – Component and composite do not work atall (black screen)
  • Webcam not working properly (black screen) in Skype and Hangouts
  • Relatively slow write speed on NTFS/USB partition.
  • Wi-Fi may be unstable at times
  • HDMI In support is quite basic (only as HDMI switcher)

HPH NT-V6 with 4 GB RAM and 32 GB eMMC (as reviewed in this post) purchased for $189 including shipping by DHL or EMS, but there’s also a 2GB RAM/16GB eMMC available on Aliexpress for $129 + shipping. I’ve also been told Ugoos UT3 is based on the same board (TRN6A), but should have a different firmware. It is listed on Chinavasion for $149.99, and DealsPrime for $134.99 (bot 2GB/16GB versions). Resellers and distributors can check out Nagrace NT-V6 product page to order in quantities.

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