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Posts Tagged ‘stb’

Rockchip RK3288 Beta Firmware Release for Unnamed Android TV Box

July 28th, 2014 1 comment

The whole activity around the upcoming media players based on Rockchip RK3288 is pretty interesting, or some would say amusing. First, many companies started to release pictures of their boards a few months before their products are actually ready, and now we’ve got a beta Android 4.4 firmware for Rockchip RK3288 for an unknown TV box released via Geekbuying Blog. I’ve read rumors about a Tronsmart Orion R28, so it might be that one, but who knows.

Android_Kitkat_Firmware_RK3288Before investigating the content of the firmware, here are the features that we know about the hardware:

  • Based on Rockchip RK3288 quad core Cortex A17 processor
  • System Memory – 2GB RAM (Samsung)
  • Storage – 8GB flash (Kingston)
  • Wi-Fi -  AP6330 Wi-fi module

The firmware is based on Linux 3.10, the build number is rk3288-eng 4.4.2 KOT49H eng.ant.20140721.164453 test-keys, and the software version RK3288_R_BOX_Android 4.4.2-SDK_v1.0.0_140613.

Most people won’t need this, but if developers want to checkout the content of the firmware, go ahead and download Geekbuying_RK3288 BETA__AP6330_20140721.zip.

After you unzip it, you’ll get a single Geekbuying_RK3288 BETA__AP6330_20140721.img file, which you might be able to extract with img_unpack and afptool utilities for RK3188 (TBC, I haven’t tried yet).

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Geniatech Unveils ATV585 Enjoy TV Box Powered by Amlogic S805 with HEVC Hardware Decoding

July 26th, 2014 6 comments

After Eny Techology EM6Q-MXQ, there’s at least another Amlogic S805 based media player with Geniatech ATV585 Enjoy TV powered by the quad core Cortex A5 processor, with 1GB RAM and 8GB flash. Compared Amlogic S802 based STBs, you’ll get slower CPU and GPU performance, and lose 4K video decoding and output, but gain HEVC hardware decoding up to 1080p, if you’re lucky, you’ll get Gigabit Ethernet, and in theory, the price should be cheaper.

Geniatech_ATV585_Enjoy_TVATV585 Enjoy TV specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S805 quad core Cortex-A5 @ 1.5GHz with quad core Mali-450MP4 GPU @ 600MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC FLASH + micro SD/MMC card slot up to 32GB
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 1.4 and CVBS
  • Video Codecs / Containers – MPEG1/2/4, H.264, H.265, VC-1, WMV, AVI, MKV, MOV, etc…
  • Audio Formats – MP3, WMA, AAC, etc…
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi with external antenna
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – IR receiver, Net and status LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A (Typical power consumption: 4W)
  • Dimensions – 100 x 100 x 15 mm
  • Weight – 160g

Geniatech_ATV585_Enjoy_TV_Front_PanelThis media player runs Android 4.4 KitKat, and comes with an HDMI cable, a power adapter, an IR remote control with mouse function, and a user’s manual.

ATV585 Enjoy TV appears to be available to resellers right now, but I could not find it listed on any Chinese e-retailer yet. For reference, Eny EM6Q-MQX currently sells for $76 to $80 on Aliexpress. That’s less than most Amlogic S802 based Android TV boxes, but not all. You can find more information on Geniatech ATV585 Enjoy TV page.

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Probox2 EX Quad Core Android Box Comes with an Air Mouse Designed for Gaming

July 22nd, 2014 5 comments

Probox2 EX is an Android TV Box with an enclosure similar to MX3, but with better hardware including Amlogic S802-H, 16GB eMMC Flash, 2GB RAM, dual band Wi-Fi, and more, and an interesting RF air mouse dubbed “Remote+” that can also be used for playing games, and audio chat.
Probox2_EX

Probox2 EX specifications:

  • SoC – AMLogic S802-H quad core ARM Cortex A9r4 at 2.0GHz with ARM Mali-450MP6 GPU up to 600 MHz
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC Flash + micro SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4b  and AV
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV, and S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with external antenna, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports + 1x micro USB OTG
  • Misc – IR Sensor, Power LED, power button, and recovery/update switch via AV jack
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 11.5 x 11.5 x 2.6 cm
  • Weight – 200 grams

If you’re sick and tired of seeing the same colorful Metro style user interface all over again, Probox2′s developers have designed a custom user interface running on top of Android 4.4 that I haven’t seen in other products.

PROBOX2 Ex Home Screen (Click to Enlarge)

PROBOX2 Ex Home Screen (Click to Enlarge)

The device comes with Remote+ air mouse, a power adapter, a backup IR remote control, an external dual band 5dB Wi-Fi antenna, HDMI and AV cables, a USB cable, and a user’s manual. Remote+ features a gyroscope (for air mouse function), a D-pad and buttons for gaming and XBMC navigation, and a built-in microphone. It’s not clear what kind of batteries are used with the remote.

Probox2 EX is available for pre-order now on W2COMP for $149.99 including shipping, with delivery expected for August 8. It’s exactly the same price as MINIX NEO X8-H with NEO  M1 air mouse, and slightly more than Tronsmart Vega S89-H + TSM1 air mouse. However, both Probox2 EX and MINIX X8 comes with eMMC, against NAND flash for Vega S89-H, and Probox2 EX air mouse seems to have more features than M1 air mouse. However, one of the main advantages of MINIX is their regular firmware update and user’s forums. Based on Probox2 Ultimate (RK3066) history, I expect Probox2 EX to receive firmware upgrades, but there’s currently no user’s community. More details can be found on Probox2 EX product page.

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Amlogic S802 TV Boxes Are Getting Cheaper: Meet $72 MX3 (M82) TV Box

July 18th, 2014 8 comments

When Android media players based on Amlogic S802 first launched a little over 3 months ago, they all sold for over $100. Since then various products have come to market, with prices slowly edging lower. But none comes as cheap as MX3 (aka M82), whose name is probably inspired from Gbox Midnight MX2, as it sells for $72.22 on GearBest including shipping.

MXIIILet’s go through the specifications:

  • SoC – AMLogic S802 quad core ARM Cortex A9r4 at 2.0GHz with ARM Mali-450MP6 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 4 GB NAND Flash + micro SD card slot
  • Video and Audio Output – HDMI  and AV
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n,
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports + micro USB OTG
  • Misc – IR Sensor, Power LED, power button, and recovery/update switch via AV jack
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 11.5 x 11.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Weight – 192 grams

The box comes with HDMI & AV cables,  a power adapter, an IR remote control, and a user’s manual. In order to achieve a lower price, they’ve cut a few corners with just 1GB RAM, 4GB flash, and Bluetooth and SPDIF found in many other S802 have been dropped. The biggest issue might be the 4GB flash if you plan to install many applications.

There’s another reseller, Earnwisdom, that sells the box, and they made a review video showing the unboxing and the device in action. It’s still running Android 4.4 with XBMC pre-installed, and the usual metro style user interface.

The MX3 on Earnwisdon is sold for a more standard $99.99, but comes with 2GB RAM, 8GB flash, dual band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so clearly there are several variations of the same model.

Via AndroidPC.es

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Eweat EW802 Android TV Box (Amlogic S802) Supports External SATA Drives, Features Dual Wi-Fi Antennas

July 14th, 2014 2 comments

Amlogic S802 does not support SATA natively, so few Android media players based on this quad core SoC comes with SATA hard drive or SSD support. Zoomtak T8 is one of them, but there’s now another options with Eweat EW802, except than having an internal bay for 2.5″ hard drives, it just features an external SATA connector capable of handling both 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives, and comes with better specs including dual Wi-Fi antennas, 2GB RAM, and 16GB flash.

Egreat_EW802Eweat EW802 specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S802  quad core cortex A9r4 @ 2 GHz with Mali-450MP6 GPU (N.B: It could also be S802-H due to Dolby abd DTS hardware decoding claim).
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB NAND flash + micro SD slot + SATA connector
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi with two external antennas, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4a and AV (3.5mm jack)
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV, and optical S/PDIF
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG
  • Misc – IR receiver, Power LED,  power button (at the back),  and recovery/reset pin hole
  • Power Supply – 12V/2A
  • Dimensions -  161x100x27.5 mm
  • Weight – 850 grams

The device runs Android 4.4 using the same user interface as other S802 boxes, is preloaded with XBMC, and is said to support FAT16, FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, HFS+, and Ext-2/3 file systems. The box comes with an IR remote control, HDMI and AV cables, a SATA cable, a micro USB cable, a 12V/2A power adapter, a Quick Installation Guide, and a warranty card.

Eweat_EW802Eweat EW802 is now available for $118.50 including shipping on Aliexpress. You can also check out Eweat EW802 product page on the company website, where you’ll find a “firmware zone”, but nothing for EW802 just yet.

Via AndroidPC.es

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Eny Technology Introduces EM6Q-MXQ Android STB Based on Amlogic S805 SoC

July 8th, 2014 6 comments

In the last few months, we’ve seen a few Amlogic S802 powered Android media players such as Tronsmart Vega S89, SZTomato/Eny M8, and MINIX NEO X8(-H), which have the fastest Cortex A9 processor on the market with a relatively powerful octa core Mali-450MP6 GPU, as well as 4K decoding and output capabilities. But if you’d like something a little more affordable, don’t care about 4K, and would do with a quad core SoC that’s not quite as powerful, but more power efficient, and still supports HEVC, you may consider one of the upcoming devices based on Amlogic S805. Eny Technology is one of the first company to announce an S805 media player with their EM6Q-MXQ. You can check S802 / S805 / S812 comparison for details.
EM6Q-MXQThe enclosure and remote control both look pretty familiar, and the hardware specifications are quite similar to GBox Midnight MX2, except for the Amlogic S805 SoC:

  • SoC – Amlogic S805 quad core Cortex-A5 @ 1.5GHz with quad core Mali-450MP2 GPU @600MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB NAND FLASH + SD/MMC card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4b with CEC support, and AV
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV, and coaxial S/PDIF
  • Video Codecs – MPEG1/2/4,H.265, HD AVC/VC-1,RM/RMVB, Xvid/DivX3/4/5/6, RealVideo8/9/10
  • Video Container Formats – AVI, RM/RMVB, TS, VOB, MKV, MOV, ISO, WMV, ASF, FLV, DAT, MPG/MPEG
  • Audio Formats – MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, OGG, AC3, DDP, TrueHD, DTD, DTS HD, FLAC, APE
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports (including one USB OTG port?)
  • Misc – Power LED (ON :blue; Standby :Red),
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
HD18Q Board found in EM6Q-MXQ (Click to Enlarge)

HD18Q Board found in EM6Q-MXQ (Click to Enlarge)

EM6Q will run Android 4.4, and by default, comes with an IR remote control, a power adapter, an HDMI cable, and a user’s manual in English and Chinese. You may have noticed that S805 support Gigabit Ethernet, but I’ve been confirmed this board only supports 10/100M.

I’ve been informed that the company will start taking order (wholesale) this week, and production will take place later this month, with delivery to their customers scheduled by the end of the July, so I’m assuming individuals may be able to start buying S805 Android media player in August. I could not get pricing information at this stage. Further details may be found on Enybox EM6Q-MXQ product page. Firmware downloads should eventually be found here.

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VidOn.me AV200 Android TV Box Review

July 7th, 2014 1 comment

After providing some pictures of VidOn.me AV200 media player, and its PCBA, it’s now time for a review. I’ll start by giving my first impressions, and checking out the system settigns and user’s interface, go through my library of video test files, and cover most hardware features. As usual, I’ll also test Wi-Fi performance, but I’ve now added more tests including Ethernet performance, and USB hard drive support and performance with NTFS, FAT32, EXT-4, and BTRFS partitions.

First Boot, Settings and First Impressions

The device comes with an IR remote control with lots of buttons, including shortcuts, D-Pad control, digit keys and trick modes (play/pause, fast forward and rewind, next and previous), but the two required AAA batteries were not included, and I did not have spare batteries, so I did not use the remote control, which looks pretty OK for XBMC, and just control the device with my Mele F10 air mouse. I’ve connected an Ethernet cable, the provided HDMI cables, the Mele F10 USB RF dongle, and the power adapter to boot the device. It took around 40 seconds to reach the user interface, which looks pretty similar to the one provided with many recent firmware on devices such as Tronsmart Vega S89 or SZTomato M8.

VidOn.me_Android_Home_Screen

At the top left of the screen, clicking on the VidOn.me logo redirect you to their website. The small top right icons are for Download (with download speed shown in real-time), App (Kill, Move to SD card or Remove), Network connection, and date and time. The large icons in the center of the screen are for VidOn XBMC, and “folders” for TV shows, movies, games and music applications. The lower row is composed of icons redirecting to the list of apps, a file manager, and custom system settings. The Add icon allows you to add your preferred app to the row for faster access. The user interface resolution is stuck to 1280×720.

There are quite a few common pre-installed apps including Chrome, the Play Store, Gmail, YouTube, Pandora, Netflix, Pinterest, Skype, Fadcebook and Twitter. I had no problem installing other apps with Google Play.

The “Setting” menu gives you access to the settings shown in the same Metro-style with four sub menus: Network Settings, Display Settings, “Volume” Settings and Others Settings. Network settings let you choose between Wi-Fi and Ethernet almost no problem here, except the vey first boot, Ethernet is set by defautl as fixed IP without any IP, so you have to go to the Android Settings menu, via the Other Settings menu to configure Ethernet, not that user’s friendly… The Display Settings provide menus top configure HDMI output to 720p 50/60, 1080i 50/60 and 1080p 24/50/60, as well as slider for overscan adjustment. The  “Volume” settings are actually audio settings, that let you select the Audio output (HDMI or 3.5mm audio jack), whether it’s connected directly to a TV or via a decoder amplifier (pass-through), and adjust the volume. “Other Settings” are not settings at all, but report the model (Android Blu-ray Box), thefirmware version (V3.1.3), the MAC Address, and the n-board storage (1GB app partition, 4.14 GB internal SD card). There are also two buttons” System Upgrade” which allows for OTA or local upgrades, and “Advanced Settings” that are the Android settings you can find on any Android device.  There’s not much to see over there, except the kernel version is 3.3.30, and developer options are enabled. Ethernet configuration must also be done in the Android settings…

The device has been released last year, so I was expecting a super stable firmware, and it’s working pretty well most of the time, but I did get two random reboots, and once XBMC would not start at all, and I had to reboot to recover. There’s a power button on the device and one the remote, I did not test the latter, but pressing the former really shuts down the device properly, which is a plus.

Video Playback

The box comes pre-loaded with a special version of XBMC called VidOn XBMC Pro which I used for testing video playback. The first time you start the app, you have to register with VidOn.me and  login, or you can’t use XBMC, and I found that quite annoying. But I was pleased to be asked if I wanted to receive an automatic upgrade for XBMC, which I downloaded only to be told there was not enough space! That’s a new device where I only install 2 or 3 small apps (Root checker, and screenshot apps). That’s the result of silly partitioning like I had on my Android phone with 1GB for apps, and 4+ GB for data which is never used. So I used the App tool the provided to move some apps to the internal “SD Card”. When I went to XBMC again, they had to re-downloable the fully update yet again, which takes about 5 minutes, before it got successful…

But after a poor user experience due to forced registration and  problems with installating an update, I was pleasantly surprised as the user interface is very smooth and rendered @ 60 fps (1280×720), and I did not experience any slowdown.

Let’s start with video playback. Unless otherwise noted, the videos are played from a SAMBA share on Ubuntu 14.04 using the Ethernet connection of the device. I had no problem for SAMBA configuration in XBMC nor ES File Explorer.

Videos from samplemedia.linaro.org:

  • H.264 codec / MP4 container (Big Buck Bunny), 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • MPEG2 codec / MPG container, 480p/720p – OK; 1080p – The video can play but there seemed to be some sort of screen/color blinking every few seconds.
  • MPEG4 codec, AVI container 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • VC1 codec (WMV), 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • Real Media (RMVB) – The video can played but lots of frames are skipped.
  • WebM / VP8 – 480p/720p/1080p is – OK.

I’ve also tested some high bitrate videos:

  • ED_HD.avi (1080p MPEG-4 – 10Mbps) – Lots of frames skipped and massive audio/video sync issue
  • big_buck_bunny_1080p_surround.avi (1080p H.264 – 12 Mbps) – OK.
  • h264_1080p_hp_4.1_40mbps_birds.mkv (40 Mbps) – OK
  • hddvd_demo_17.5Mbps_1080p_VC1.mkv (17.5Mbps) – OK
  • Jellyfish-120-Mbps.mkv (120Mpbs) – Some buffering occurs, and the video is not really smooth at anytime. Tested using a USB hard drive (EXT-4)

I’ve also tested common audio codecs below using downsampling:

  • AC3 – OK
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 / Dolby Digital 7.1 – OK
  • TrueHD 5.1 & 7.1 – OK
  • DTS-MA and DTS-HR – OK

Even there’s no Blu-ray drive to be seen, AV200 is sold as a “Blu-ray” player, as it is supposed to play Blu-ray. I could play Sintel-Bluray.iso in XBMC without issue, and navigate between chapters. 3D Blu-ray are also supported, but I’m not sure how to test it yet.

I’ve also tested several 4K Videos since AllWinner A31 SoC does support 4K decoding, but unfortunately hardware decode does not seem to have been implemented in XBMC:

  • HD.Club-4K-Chimei-inn-60mbps.mp4 (60 Mbps) – Audio cuts after 2 seconds, and video is very slow.
  • Sintel.2010.4K.mkv – Very slow playback, frames skipped.

I also tested several AVI, MKV, FLV and MP4 videos, and they could all play. Finally, I also played some “motion bar” videos to check 24Hz, 23.976Hz, 50Hz, 59.940Hz, and 60Hz support, but there seemed to be jitter a bit all the time, so results are not conclusive.

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)

I used to test only Wi-Fi, since I believed Ethernet performance would be pretty similar in all devices, but I’ve changed my mind, and will now provide both Wi-Fi and Ethernet performance results. The test consist in transferring a 278 MB file between a SAMBA share and the internal flash, and vice versa, repeating the test three times. Transferring the file between flash and SAMBA took 1:49 (2.55Mb/s), and in the reverse direction it’s a bit slower as it took 2:18 (2.01 MB.s). There was very little variability between the test which is nice, and on average the transfer was performed at 2.25MB/s, a pretty decent result.

AV200_Mele_M9_WiFiCS868, Mele X1000, and AV200 (aka Mele M9) all happen to have a metallic casing, and I wonder if it could be related in any way to Wi-Fi performance, albeit T428 also comes with a metallic enclosure but does not fare that well.

The Ethernet test does not really test pure Ethernet speed, but a common use case transferring the same 278 MB between SAMBA and the internal flash. From SAMBA to the flash was done @ 3.43 MB/s (1m21s), and from the internal flash to SAMBA @ 4.27MB/s (1m05s).

Miscellaneous Tests

Bluetooth

There’s no Bluetooth support in both the hardware and firmware, so even external USB Bluetooth dongles won’t be supported.

External Storage

I could use an SD card formatted to FAT32 successfully.
I’ve also purchased a USB 3.0 hard drive that I partitioned in 4 with NTFS, EXT-4, FAT32, and BTRFS. Here are the performance results achieved by copying files between the internal flash and the partitions.

File System Read Write
NTFS 6.17MB/s 5.05MB/s
EXT-4 Not supported
FAT32 6.31MB/s 13.9MB/s
BTRFS Not supported

I used a stopwatch, and did the transfer with ES File Explorer waiting for the transfer window to disappear. I mention this detail because the transfer is reported as finished much earlier, but ES File Explorer appears to flush the file to disk for a few more seconds (around 20) before the transfer window is closed.I used a stopwatch, and did the transfer with ES File Explorer waiting for the transfer window to disappear. I mention this detail because the transfer is reported as finished much earlier, but ES File Explorer appears to flush the file to disk for a few more seconds before the transfer window is closed.

The read transfer speed is unfortunately not representative of the true speed as it must be limited by the internal flash write speed. I also tried to copy from FAT32 to SAMBA but it’s even slower. I’ll need to find another way…

Gaming

I’ve tested two games: Angry Birds Star Wars, and Beach Buggy Blitz. Both are running fine, including Buggy Blitz set to maximum graphics settings.

VidOn.me AV200 Benchmark

I’ve just run one quick benchmark (Antutu) since AllWinner A31 is not exactly new, to check there was not performance issues.

Antutu Benchmark Results (Click to Enlarge)

Antutu Benchmark Results (Click to Enlarge)

A 11399 score for a quad core Cortex A7 @ 1 Ghz seems about right, considering a Rockchip RK3188T (4x Cortex A9 @ 1.4Ghz) now gets around 14,000, so the score is probably helped by the PowerVR GPU.

Conclusion

VidOn.me AV200 is performing quite well, especially when it comes with video playback, but I feel a little worried that I had 2 automatic reboot during my day of testing, especially since the device went through several firmware iterations.

Let’s summarize the PROS and CONS

  • PROS
    • Smooth and fast firmware.
    • Custom version of XBMC with Blu-Ray ISO and 3D support, and HDMI pass-through
    • Very Good video formats/codecs support
    • High quality metallic enclosure
    • Good Wi-Fi performance
    • OTA firmware and XBMC upgrades
  • CONS
    • Stability problems.
    • Their XBMC version requires registration and login to VidOn.me
    • 4K hardware video decoding not supported, at least in XBMC
    • Poor partitioning of the flash, leading to problems to install apps or updates.
    • Device is sold out, and can only be obtained as second hand, or by buying Mele M9.
    • Further firmware updates very unlikely due to above reasons.

VidOn.me AV200 has one of the best, if not the best, audio/video format/codec support I’ve ever seen from the device I tested, baring lack of support for 4K, H.265, and some visual effects in one of my MPEG2 files, but I tend to test recently released device, and the VidOn.me team had more time to iron out issues with this media player, which makes the two reboots I had all the more disappointing, but maybe I was just unlucky, and it did not happen during video playback (One in ES File Explorer, and one in the System Settings).

As mentioned before, you can’t buy VidOn.me AV200 anymore, but it’s the same hardware as Mele M9, and according to reports you can install VidOn.me firmware on Mele M9 or A1000G.

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