WeTek Play TV boxes are Android set-top boxes with DVB-T2/C2, DVB-S2, or ATSC tuner powered by Amlogic AML8726-MX dual core Cortex A9 processor. Even though the hardware is not the greatest right now, I found that it did a pretty good job with video playback and digital TV playback and recording in my review of the DVB-S2 version. The company also provided various images including one using OpenELEC, a Linux based distribution running Kodi only. But now, if you’d rather have OpenELEC pre-installed in the box, instead other Android, WeTek made an OpenELEC box based on the same hardware platform selling for $90.55 on OpenELEC website.
OpenELEC box has mostly the same hardware specifications as WeTek Play:
Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi , and Bluetooth 4.0 (AP6210)
Tuner – DVB-T/T2/C, or 2x DVB-S2, or ATSC
USB – 3x external USB 2.0 ports, 1x internal USB 2.0 ports
Misc – IR receiver, 3 LEDs for power, Ethernet and Wi-Fi, RS-232 port for serial console.
Power – 12V/1.5A
The set-top box ships with an HDMI cable, a serial cable, a power supply, as well as a remote control, that’s a bit different from the one I got to play with my WeTek Play.
OpenELEC Box Remote Control
The Wetek Play remote was an air mouse, but you might only get a standard IR remote with the OpenELEC Box (TBC) since the Kodi interface is specifically designed for this type of input device, and a mouse pointer is normally not needed.
Amlogic S905 is the first 64-bit ARM processor by Amlogic, and comes with four ARM Cortex A53 cores coupled with a Mali-450MP GPU, with S912 to follow later with the same CPU cores, but more powerful Mali-T7xx GPU. With Acemax G9C we already have one company working on an Amlogic S905 TV box, but Eny Technology just informed me they are about to launch two models based on Amlogic armv8 processor: EM95-MXQ, which looks exactly like G9C, and EM95 with a different casing, but very similar specs.
Eny EM95 specifications:
SoC – Amlogic S905 quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 2.0GHz with quad core Mali-450MP GPU up to 750MHz
The box will run Android 5.1 Lollipop, and the company sent me a short video showing the system booting, and they claim development is nearly complete.
Amlogic S905 TV Box Board for EM95-MXQ (Click to Enlarge)
Pricing is not available publicly yet, but that mean we should soon have affordable 4K Android media players supporting 2160p @ 60 Hz. You can visit EM95 product page if you want to contact the company to order in quantities.
[Update: July 17. Picture of EM95 board
Some ports still do not match the 3D rendering though…
Added PiP function, You can press the TV button on the IR remote to enable it.
Optimized audio compatibility.
Fixed various Player bugs – Audio compatibility, OSD timeout, typos fix, etc…
Fixed various File Manager bugs
I don’t have the box with me right, so I could not try it, and Zidoo did not reply to my request for pictures and demo in time for this post, so I’m not sure if there are any shortcomings with the current implementation.
But if you own X9, make sure you update to the latest firmware (OTA) if you want to try the PiP function with the TV button on the remote control. I’ll make sure to update that post with any demo that may show up.
If you need your Android TV box to record external video via HDMI, few options are available on the market, and one of them is Zidoo X9. It works relatively well, and gets frequent firmware update. It now costs around $120, but Tronsmart has now launched a model based on the same Mstar MSO9810 processor with HDMI recording function that costs $89.90 shipped on GeekBuying or Ebay.
Tronsmart Pavo M9 specifications:
SoC – Mstar MSO9180D1R quad core Cortex A9 processor up to 1.5GHz with a Mali-450MP2 GPU
System Memory – 1GB DDR3
Storage – 8GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot
Video Output / Input – HDMI output up to 4K, HDMI input with PVR and Time Shifting support (up to 1080p), and AV port (Composite + stereo audio)
Audio I/O – HDMI Out and In, AV, and optical S/PDIF
(Main) Video Codecs – H265, VC-1, WMV-HD, MPEG1/2/4 up to 4Kx2K, etc..
Compared to Zidoo X9, you’ll have to trade the aluminum enclosure for plastic one. you’ll lose Bluetooth, Wi-Fi only support 2.4GHz (no 5.0 GHz), the two external antennas are gone, and so is the small LCD display on the front panel, and finally the system features 1GB RAM instead of the 2GB RAM found in Zidoo X9.
Pavo M9 comes with an IR remote with IR learning function (The same as Zidoo X9), a 12V/2A power adapter, an HDMI cable, an a user’s manual. The box runs Android 4.4 with Kodi pre-installed, and OTA firmware updates support. Since Kodi is likely to be the same version as in X9 TV box, bear in mind that some videos, especially 4K ones H.265 videos, may not play very well in Kodi, and HDMI audio pass-through may not work, but all these will often work just fine in the other media player that comes pre-installed in the box, and that gets updates more often.
Ruach A20 was a media player based on Allwinner A20 processor released about a year ago. Now Ruach Electronics launched an updated model featuring Rockchip RK3128 quad core Cortex A7 processor with the somewhat confusing name Ruach A20s.
Ruach A20s specifications:
SoC – Rockchip RK3128 quad core ARM Cortex A7 @ 1.2 GHz with ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU @ 500 MHz
Video Output – HDMI 1.4 up to 1080p, composite (RCA)
Audio Output – HDMI, stereo audio output (RCA)
USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports
Misc – IR sensor, power button (mechanical On/Off switch), recovery pin hole
Power Supply – 5V/2A
Dimensions – 11.8 x 7.8 x 3.0 cm
The features and ports are just like the older model, so the main difference is really only the Rockchip processor. The model still lacks a micro SD card and Bluetooth. It runs Android 4.4 with Kodi pre-installed. The company released the factory firmware, which you can upgrade using the usual method, but I would not expect regular firmware update for this product.
Ruach A20s is the cheapest RK3128 based product so far as it sells for about $35 on Aliexpress including shipping, and there’s also a version with 512MB RAM, that’s supposed to be cheaper, but for some reasons ends up costing the same once shipping is included. You may notice lots of orders and positive feedback on Aliexpress, but this was for the previous model, and they just updated the information, so this may not be relevant to that particular product. Nevertheless, Ruach A20s is still significantly cheaper than F6 TV Box ($42), or FirePrime board, which has just been listed for $69 + shipping. However, the board has some extra features (Bluetooth, GbE, ore USB port…), runs both Android 5.1 and Ubuntu 15.04. and is likely to have much better support.
Allwinner H3 based Android TV boxes have been selling for a few months for $80 or less, and Draco H3 HDMI TV stick even goes for just $35. Zidoo has been working on their own Allwinner H3 platform called Zidoo X1 for a little while, and they are about to launch it for $59 (MSRP).
Zidoo X1 specifications:
SoC – Allwinner H3 quad core ARM Cortex A7 @ 1.5GHz with quad core Mali-400MP2 @ 600 MHz
System Memory – 1 GB DDR3
Storage – 8 GB NAND flash (16GB in option) + micro SD slot up to 32GB
Video Codec – H.265/HEVC up to 4K30, 1080p60 decoding for H.264, VP8, MPEG-1/2, MPEG-4, H.263. WMV9, VC1, etc…
USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
Misc – IR receiver
Power Supply – 5V/2A (power barrel)
Dimensions – 12.6 x 11.8 x 3.6 cm
Weight – N/A
The box runs Android 4.4, and will ship with an HDMI cable, an IR remote control, a power adapter, and a user’s manual. Based on my experience with Zidoo X9, the company is very good as providing regular firmware update all provided over-the-air (OTA), except when it comes to Kodi/XBMC support. But it’s quite possible they did not have the source code for XBMC modifications made for the Mstar processor in X9, but with Zidoo X1, they claim to have worked extensively on a Kodi 14.2 port with features like hardware decoding and 1080p24 automatic frame rate switching, and they’ll also have their own Zidoo’s add-on repository, although they haven’t provided details about the add-ons yet. I’m not quite sure Zidoo is committed to comply with Kodi’s GPL license though…
The 4K media player is not quite up for sale, but in order to promote their brand, and new product, they’ll launched a promotion where they will give away up to 100 Zidoo boxes (Only 50 units if less than 300 entries) to people who participate. You’ll need to register to their forums, post a picture of your TV (40″ or greater), and also share the link of the promotion in at least one social network or forum in order to enter the draw (Rules on the latter point are not 100% clear). If you are a winner, you’d need to pay $9.9 by Paypal to cover the cost of shipping by DHL. The competition closes on June 25, and the boxes will start to ship on June 30. Good luck to those who choose to participate.
If you’d rather not share personal information in this competition, the box is now listed for pre-order on Geekbuying for $59.99, and should soon be found on Amazon and eBay too. A few more details can also be found on Zidoo X1 product page.
Action Semi ATM7039 quad core Cortex A9 processor was launched in 2013 and can be found in low cost tablets, but the company has now launched ATM7039S processor, with similar features but adding 4K video support for OTT boxes, and Kaiboer F5 Plus is one of the first product to feature the new processor.
Kaiboer F5 Plus specifications:
SoC- Actions Semi ATM7039S quad core ARM Cortex A9r4 with PowerVR SGX544MP GPU
System memory – 2GB DDR3
Storage – 16GB + micro SD card slot (up to 32GB)
Video & Audio Output – HDMI 1.4b with HDCP 1.1 + AV port (RCA)
Video playback support – Up to 4K @ 30Hz – AVI, WMV, MOV, MKV, RM/RMVB, MP4/M4V, DivX/Xvid,FLV, 3GP, DAT, VOB, MPG/MPEG, AVS, ASF, TP, TRP, TS, M2TS/MTS. H.265, h.264, etc…
Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, and Bluetooth 4.0
USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
Misc – Power LED, reset button
Power Supply – 5V/2A
Dimensions – 187 x 128 x 24mm
The box is said to run YunOS 2.1 (Aliyun OS), based on AOSP, and it ships with a power supply, an HDMI cable, and a remote control. Kaiboer is not really interested in overseas market, so the interface will most probably only be only in Chinese, and you can have a glimpse in the review on imp3.net.
ZTE XZ296702 is a dual core Cortex A9 processor with a Mali-400 GPU that targets Android set-top boxes and media players, and while Charbax filmed a video with ZX296702-AD1 development board at Linaro Connect HK, initial patchsets were recently submitted to the Linux ARM Kernel mailing list for XZ296702 SoC and the development board.
There aren’t any product page for ZX296702 processor, so instead let’s have a look at the board’s specifications:
SoC – ZTE ZX296702 dual core ARM Cortex A9 processor with Mali-400 GPU
System Memory – 512 MB RAM
Storage – 4GB flash + micro SD card
Video Output – HDMI + AV (RCA)
Audio Output – HDMI + Stereo audio (2x RCA)
Connectivity – Ethernet and Wi-Fi
USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
Power Supply – 5V
Considering the board is running Android 4.4, the specs are quite low end, however the developers claim to have performed memory optimizations, and improved the boot time to 10 seconds (Closer to 17 seconds based on the video below) in order to make the box feel like a higher-end device. I’ve been reviewing several products with higher end processors like Rockchip RK3288, Allwinner A80 or Mediatek MT6752, and fast eMMC flash, and the best devices can only boot in 15 to 20 seconds. So what kind of sorcery is that?
The developers explain that their reference platform used to boot in 30 seconds, but they’ve used open source tools, namely TuxOnice, to save RAM into the flash, and at boot time it will simply copy/uncompress the saved RAM back to memory, in the same way you use hibernation on your laptop.
ZTE ZX296702 processor is likely to be found only in ZTE set-top boxes for the Chinese and overseas market,s but I’ve also found the processor listed for sale on a Chinese website.