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Posts Tagged ‘stb’

$80 CX-S806 Android Mini PC Powered by Amlogic S812 SoC

October 24th, 2014 8 comments

Yesterday, I wrote about two upcoming Amlogic S812 Android TV boxes by Eny Technology, namely M8S and M8C, with a production trial run scheduled by the end of this month, but I’ve seen then been informed that CX-S806 TV box with the latest Amlogic quad core processor, 2GB RAM, and 8GB eMMC flash is already shipping for as low as $80, as well as a model with a 2MP front camera called CX-S806S.

CX-S806_Amlogic_S802_mini_PC

CX-S806 / CX-S806S technical specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S812 quad core cortex A9r4 @ 2.0 GHz with octa-core Mali-450MP6 GPU up to 600+ MHz
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB flash. No SD card slot
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 (AP6330 wireless module)
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K2K @ 60 Hz (TBC), 3.5mm AV jack (composite + stereo audio)
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV, optical S/PDIF
  • Video Codecs – H.265 / HEVC [email protected] up to 4k2k@30fps, H.264 AVC [email protected] up to 4k2k@30fps, MPEG1/2/4 up to 1080p60, AVS up to 1080p60, WMV/VC-1 up to 1080p60, WebM up to VGA resolution, RealVideo 8/9/10 up to 1080p,
  • Audio Formats/Codecs – MP3, WMA, OGG, FLAC, AAC, Dolby, DTS, SRS, AC-3
  • Camera – 2MP front camera (CX-806S only)
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, including on OTG port.
  • Misc – Reset button, recovery button.
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A
  • Dimensions – 160 x 96 x 31 mm
  • Weight – 151 grams

CX-S806_Rear_PanelThe box runs Android 4.4.2 Kitkat with MediaBox launcher, and comes with an IR remote control, an HDMI cable, a power adapter, and a user’s manual. There’s uncertainty around the HDMI version used, because some sites indicate HDMI 2.0, while others mention HDMI 1.4b. You’ll only be able to add storage via USB, since there’s no (micro) SD card slot, and as with other Amlogic processors, Ethernet is still limited to 10/100M, despite Gigabit Ethernet being part of S812 (and S805) SoC features. So the only advantage over S802(-H) is support for HEVC / H.265 video decoding up to 2160p resolution.

CX-S806 can be purchased on Amazon US ($79.99), as well as GeekBuying for $84.99, and about the same price on Aliexpress. The version with camera, CX-S806S, is selling for $89.99. Make sure to double check the processor is indeed S812, as an earlier version of CX-S806 ships with Amlogic S802 instead. CX-S806 manufacturer appears to be Shenzhen Sunchip Technology.

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Eny M8S and M8C Android Media Players Powered by Amlogic S812 SoC

October 23rd, 2014 7 comments

The first Amlogic S812 Android TV box I had seen was Xtreamer Wonder which should start shipping for 99 Euros ($140) by the end of the month, but they’ll have some competition as Eny Technology will soon manufacture M8S and M8C Android media players, also based on the same quad core Cortex A9 processor, with 4K UHD video output and HEVC/H.265 hardware video decoding.

Eny_M8SM8S and M8C have the same technical specifications except that the former comes with 2GB RAM, and the latter with 1GB RAM:

  • SoC – Amlogic S812-H quad core cortex A9r4 @ 2 GHz with octa-core Mali-450MP6 GPU @ 600+ MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB (M8C) or 2 GB (M8S) DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB NAND flash + micro SD card reader
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4 up to 4K2K @ 30 Hz, AV port
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV, optical S/PDIF
  • Video Codecs – 4k2k H.264, H.265 UHD, HD MPEG1/2/4, AVC/VC-1, RM/RMVB, Xvid/DivX3/4/5/6, RealVideo8/9/10,
  • Audio Formats/Codecs – MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG, FLAC, APE, AC3, AAC etc… Dolby, TrueHD, DTS, SRS, AC-3
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – N/A
  • Weight – N/A
Amlogic_S812_board

Eny “M9″ Board (Click to Enlarge)

These Android STBs will run Android 4.4, and come pre-loaded with XBMC/Kodi 14.x, hopefully with H.265 support. Amlogic S812 is supposed to support Gigabit Ethernet, but Amlogic must have problems with their GMAC IP or drivers,m because none of the products based on S805 / S812 feature a Gigabit Ethernet port.

Eny Technology informed me they’ll manufacture a small batch at the end of the month, so hopefully they’ll be up for sale at the retail level in November or December. The company was not ready to release pricing information publicly yet, but the Chinese SoC little fairy told me that Amlogic S805 costs about $5, S802 about $10.5, and S812 about $11.5, with further discounts available in large quantities, so products based on Amlogic S812 based products may not be that much more expensive than Amlogic S802 based products using similar components.

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Android TV Boxes with ATSC Tuner: Geniatech ATV1220A and Vigica C70A

October 15th, 2014 1 comment

It’s relatively easy to find an DVB-T2 Android TV box, and DVB-S2 TV boxes are less common, but last time I checked I could not find any Android media player with ATSC tuners to watch free-to-air channels in North America, South Korea, and a few smaller countries. But now there are at least two models Geniatech / Mygica ATV1220A, and Vigica C70A, both powered by Amlogic AML8726-MX dual core processor.

ATV1220(A) TV Box

ATV1220(A) TV Box

I’ve also written about Geniatech ATV1220 at the beginning of the year, which only came with a DVB-T2 tuner at the time. There’s now an ATSC version, but the rest of the specifications are identical.

So instead I’ll have a closer look at the technical specifications listed for Vigica C70A:

  • SoC – AMLogic AML8726-MX dual core Cortex A9 @ 1.5 GHz + Mali-400 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage –  4GB NAND flash + micro SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4a, AV
  • Audio – HDMI, AV, coaxial S/PDIF
  • Terrestrial Digital TV – ATSC tuner, 1x RF IN, 1x RF OUT
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – IR receiver
  • Power Supply – 12V/1.5A DC
  • Dimensions – N/A
  • Weight – N/A
Vigica_C70A_ATSC_Android_TV_Box

Vigica C70A

The product comes with an IR remote control, a power adapter, an AV cable,  and a user’s manual. The specifications are nearly identical to ATV1220A, except it only features with two USB port (vs four), uses a 3.5mm jack instead of RCA connector for AV output, and adds coaxial S/PDIF. Both Android STBs run Android 4.2.2 with an ATSC app, and C70A runs the MediaBox launcher found in most recent Amlogic TV boxes on the market. There are many screenshots on Aliexpress.

Genaitech ATV1220A is available on Aliexpress for $109, and Vigica C70A can be bought from several sellers on Aliexpress, Ebay, and Amazon US for $124.

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Unboxing of MXQ S85 Android Media Player Powered by Amlogic S805 Processor

October 5th, 2014 15 comments

Gearbest sent me MXQ S85 Android media player powered by Amlogic S805 quad core processor with 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, and Ethernet/Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity. MXQ S85 looks very similar to EM6Q-MXQ, another Amlogic S805 based Android STB, which I reviewed last week, but these are two distinct hardware platforms. Today, I’ll take some pictures of the devices, and the board to see which components are used, and who made the board, and I’ll write a full review in a few days.

MXQ S85 Pictures

I’ve received the parcel via DHL in the nameless package below where they just indicate it’s and Android TV box with a quad core processor, quad core GPU, pre-loaded with XBMC, and supporting HEVC / H.265

MXQ_S85_Package

The package contains the box, HDMI and AV cables, an OTG adapter, a 5V/2A power supply, an IR remote requiring two AAA batteries, and a user’s manual in English. The company also included a US plug adapter outside the product package.

MXQ S85 and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

MXQ S85 and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

One quick way to differentiate between MXQ S85 and EM6Q-MXQ is the MX test on top of a red band that’s specific to MXQ Q85.

MXQ S85 (Click to Enlarge)

MXQ S85 (Click to Enlarge)

There’s a power button right on the center on the top of the enclosure. On one side, we’ll find a micro SD card slot, a micro USB OTG port, as well two USB 2.0 ports, and on the rear panel, we can see the DC power jack, the AV output (composite + stereo audio), an Ethernet port, and HDMI port, and optical S/PDIF.

If you prefer an unboxing video, here it is.

MXQ S85 Board Pictures

There aren’t any screws on the outside of the case, so you need to use a flat-head precision screwdriver to pop-up the bottom of the enclosure.

Botton of MXQ S85 PCB (Click to Enlarge)

Botton of MXQ S85 PCB (Click to Enlarge)

The sticker make it clear it’s yet another board made by Shenzhen Netxeon Technology, and that the board features on Amlogic S805 with 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, and AP6210 Wi-Fi module. There are also some though holes that could be interesting,. But let’s remote four screws to completely take the board out of the case.

MXQ S85 Board (Click to Enlarge)

MXQ S85 Board (Click to Enlarge)

Contrary to EM6Q-MXQ, there aren’t any metallic plate inside the enclosure so the box is much lighter, and we’ll have to see if it has any consequence with regards to power dissipation. There’s no heatsink either, but instead a gray sticker, which I peeled and put on the left side in the picture. The board is named S85_V2.0_20140716, and definitely made by Netxeon… Beside the S805 processor, two MIRA P3P4GF4BLF DDR3 chips, and a 8GB 29F64G08CBABA NAND flash are soldered on the board. We can also confirm AP6210 is indeed the Wi-Fi module (2.4GHz) chosen for this product. Some of my readers bought TV110 media player, also powered by Amlogic S805,  and they are now unable to flash an updated firmware since there is no recovery button, but luckily S85 does feature one just at the back of the AV output jack. There are also three unconnected header including one that looks like a JTAG header, and the one of the two 4-pin headers must be used to access the serial console.

Gearbest currently sells MXQ S85 for a little over $50. There are two versions: one without Bluetooth, and one with, which costs about $6 more. Other shopping options include Dealsmachines ($49 – allegedly with Bluetooth), DealExtreme, Amazon US, and Aliexpress.

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Review of EM6Q-MXQ Android Quad Core Media Player

September 23rd, 2014 7 comments

After taking a few pictures of Eny EM6Q-MXQ Android media player, it’s time for a full review. I’ll first give my first impressions and go through the user interface, test video playback, test the system, network, and storage performance, try a few games, and check various hardware ports are working as they are supposed to do.

First Boot, Settings and First Impressions

I’ve inserted two AAA batteries in the provided infrared remote control to check it’s working, and it’s usable in the main user interface and XBMC, but once you start using most Android apps it’s useless, so I quickly switched to  Mele F10 Deluxe air mouse. Before powering up the device, I’ve connected an HDMI cable, an Ethernet cable, and made with use of the 4 USB ports by connecting two RF dongles (Air mouse and gamepad), a USB hard drive, and a UVC USB webcam. The box lacks a power button, so it starts as soon as you connect the power supply. The boot is pretty slow as it completes in about 1 minute 50 seconds…

EM6Q-MXQ Launcher (Click for Original Size)

EM6Q-MXQ Launcher (Click for Original Size)

The user interface is exactly the same as found in Amlogic S802 TV boxes such as M8 and Vega S89. With some big icons that are folders for apps, and a link to a custom Setting menu, and there’s a customizable shortcut bar at the bottom with smaller icons. The status bar is disabled by default, but I prefer to have it when using it with an air mouse, so I restored it via the Setting menu. The first boot, the resolution was automatically detected to 720p, but I changed that to 1080p60, and the resolution is indeed 1920×1080.

The “Setting” menu provides access a Metro-style interface for settings with four sub menus: Network, Display, Advanced and Other.

  • Network – Enable and configure Wi-Fi or Ethernet
  • Display:
    • Automatic or manual HDMI resolution: 480p/i @ 60 Hz, 576p/i @ 50 Hz, 720p @ 50/60 Hz, 1080i @ 50/60 Hz, or 1080p @ 50/60 Hz
    • CVBS Mode Setting: 480 CVBS or 576 CVBS (if Composite output selected on TV).
    • Hide or Show status bar
    • Display Position
    • Screen Save (Never, 4, 8 or 12 minutes)
  • Advanced:
    • Miracast
    • Remote Control (app)
    • CEC Control
    • Location for weather(Chinese cities only)
    • Screen Orientation settings
    • Digital Audio Output (Auto, PCM, S/PDIF pass-through, or HDMI pass-through)
  • Other – System Update: Local file or OTA (not working), Backup, and “More Settings” for standard  Android Settings.

I’ve tested the device using HDMI set to 1080p60 most of the time, but there’s also an AV port for connect to the composite input and RCA stereo audio port of older TVs, and it worked just fine for 480 CVBS and 576 CVBS settings.. Component (YPbPr) output however is not supported.

You can watch a video with the user interface walk-through, XBMC user interface, and H.265 video playback in MX Player.

In the standard Android Settings, About_MediaBox_hd18qEM6Q-MXQ’s 8GB NAND flash has a single partition (5.26 GB) with 4.95 GB free for both apps and data. The “About MediaBox” section indicates the model number as “hd18q″, that happens to be the name of the board, and the system runs Android 4.4.2 on top of Linux kernel 3.10.33. Root Checker confirmed the firmware is rooted. which can be convenient if you don’t have the right cable for the full-size USB OTG port on the device. The company gave me a link to the firmware (September 3), which brings peace of mind in case something goes wrong.

I could install all apps I tried with Google Play Store including Antutu, 3D Marks, ES File Explorer, MX Player, Beach Buggy Blitz, etc…  I did not try paid apps, as the only one I have requires Bluetooth, that’s not built-in into the device. I could also install Riptide GP2 via Amazon AppStore.

There’s no power button on the device, and the remote control only allows you to enter and leave standby mode, so the only way to actually power off the device is to disconnect the power adapter. The latest ARM based mini PCs powered by Amlogic S802 and Rockchip RK3288 get pretty hot, but as expected with a Cortex A5 processor, the temperature is pretty much under control. I measured 39°C and 51°C with an infrared thermometer respectively on the top and bottom of the box, right after running Android 5 benchmark. After playing Riptide GP2 for 20 minutes at 1080p, and a few hours of usage previously,  the maximum temperature on top and bottom reached 42°C and 65°C…

The system itself is very stable, and it only freezes when I try to play a 4K video in XBMC (100% reproducible). However, apps often exit for no obvious reasons. which in theory, could be some bugs within the apps themselves, but it happens a bit too often to my liking… Amlogic S805 is not designed to be the fastest processor around, but while the box runs smoothly most of the times, at other times the box is really sluggish, and becomes frustrating to use. It’s probably not because of the processor, but rather the NAND flash with poor performance, resulting on slow loading times (Close to 2 minutes boot time, XBMC loads in 12 seconds), and in a few instances, I’ve experience very high CPU usage (e.g. 10) with the blue bar (I/O interrupt time) taking most of the load. This compares to 20 seconds boot time, and 2 seconds XBMC start time on recent RK3288 devices with an eMMC. During high load, it may take over 5 seconds to reach the launcher after pressing the Home key of the remote, compared to virtually instantaneous access when there’s no I/O activity.

Video Playback

I played videos from a SAMBA share over Ethernet using XBMC, only switching to MX Player in case of issues. At first, I had some permissions issues connecting to a specific shared folder in XBMC, but eventually I could connect to SAMBA with both XBMC and ES File Explorer,

I started with videos from samplemedia.linaro.org, H.265/HEVC videos by Elecard, as well as a new VP9 video:

  • H.264 codec / MP4 container (Big Buck Bunny), 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • MPEG2 codec / MPG container, 480p/720p/1080p – OK, but there’s a regular blinking effect (about 1sec) in  some scenes, especially visible with the grass and trees. The same issue happens in many devices.
  • MPEG4 codec, AVI container 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • VC1 codec (WMV), 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • Real Media (RMVB) – RV8, RV9, and RV10 – OK but not that smooth (S/W decode)
  • WebM / VP8 – 480p/720p OK, 1080p plays in slow motion
  • H.265 codec / MPEG TS container
    • XBMC – Audio only
    • MX Player – OK (H/W decode), but if you jump to another time in the video it will switch to S/W decode. Probably a bug in MX Player.
  • WebM / VP9 (no audio in video)
    • XBMC – Won’t even start
    • MX Player – OK (H/W decode).

Once I mostly lost control with the keys in XBMC, and I could only use the mouse pointer and the OK button. Same result with Mele F10 Deluxe or the included IR remote control. Restarting XBMC fixed the issue.

Now some higher bitrate videos:

  • ED_HD.avi – XBMC: audio only; MX Player: black screen only, no audio.
  • 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, but could be smoother, and XBMC reports skipped frames regularly.
  • Jellyfish-120-Mbps.mkv (120 Mbps video without audio) – OK (Play from USB hard drive)

High definition audio codec could be decoded (PCM output) in XBMC, but performance could be better:

  • AC3 – OK
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 / 7.1 – OK
  • TrueHD 5.1 – OK &
  • True HD 7.1 – Some audio cuts playing from SAMBA, OK from USB hard drive
  • DTS-MA – OK
  • DTS-HR – SAMBA: Audio completely cuts after a few seconds. USB: No problem with audio, but video feels slow.

Sintel-Bluray.iso video could play in XBMC, meaning Blu-ray ISO files are supported.

I also played some AVI, MKV, FLV, VOB and MP4 videos in my library. They could all play, and I did not notice any A/V sync issues, or other obvious problems with playback. I also tested XBMC stability by playing a complete 1080p video (1h50). Sometimes XBMC refuses to exit immediately, and I need to press the “Home” button to get the the main menu. This must be an XBMC issue, as I’ve had this problem in some other devices previously.

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)

In order to test network performance, I simply transfer a 278 MB file between a SAMBA share (Ubuntu 14.04) and the internal flash, and vice versa, repeating the test three times with ES File Explorer. I left the Ethernet connected when I first tested Wi-Fi performance, and with the numbers I got during transfer, I decided to disconnect the Ethernet cable to make it was not done over Ethernet, as throughput peaked at up 5.0MB/s, whereas I’m usually lucky to see 3MB/s for most other devices. But this was all real, and when it comes with Wi-Fi performance, EM6Q-MXQ is truly amazing, and crushes the competition with an average throughput of 3.84 MB/s.

EM6Q-MXQ_Wi-Fi_Performance

Wi-Fi Performance in MB/s

I wonder if the internal Wi-Fi antenna connection to a stainless steel plate inside the case has anything to do with it.

Ethernet worked fine @ 100Mbps even connected to my pesky Gigabit switch.

EM6Q-MXQ_Ethernet_PerformanceI’ve also tested Ethernet performance with iPerf app to get a raw number using “iperf -t 60 -c 192.168.0.104 -d” command line. It does not max out the Ethernet bandwidth but I suppose the results are still decent, even though not outstanding. As reference, Kingnovel R6 achieved over 90 Mbits/sec in both directions via a Fast Ethernet switch.

Client connecting to 192.168.0.102, TCP port 5001
TCP window size:  136 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[  6] local 192.168.0.104 port 47764 connected with 192.168.0.102 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  4]  0.0-60.0 sec   570 MBytes  79.7 Mbits/sec
[  6]  0.0-60.0 sec   484 MBytes  67.7 Mbits/sec

Miscellaneous Tests

Bluetooth

EM6Q-MXQ does not support Bluetooth, at least the model I have, does not.

Storage

FAT32 formatted micro SD card and USB flash drive could be recognized and properly mounted by the system
I’ve also connected my USB 3.0 hard drive, and only NTFS and FAT32 could be mounted automatically, as for some reasons EXT-4 does not seems to be supported by Android.

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

I’ve run A1 SD Bench  to benchmark performance of the USB hard drive and internal flash, starting with the NTFS partition in /storage/external_storage/sda1. The read speed was 30.35MB/s, and the write speed of 31.79MB/s, both of which are the best readings I’ve ever got, but only marginally better than the competition. We should probably expect very little variability between devices using USB 2.0, and see some performance boost and more variability with devices that support USB 3.0.

USB Hard Drive Throughput in MB/s

USB Hard Drive Throughput in MB/s

A slow internal storage can make a device behave very poorly, especially during write operation, and unfortunately the NAND flash used cripples a device that would otherwise be a pretty decent product.

Internal Storage Read and Write Speed (MB/s)

Internal Storage Read and Write Speed (MB/s)

This confirms the NAND flash is the likely cause of slow boot time, and apps loading times, as well as temporary, but annoying, slowdowns when flash is written to, for example while installing apps.

USB Webcam

My USB webcam with built-in microphone worked with Skype. I could test audio successfully with the Echo service in Skype, and I could see the video from the camera while making a call. Google Hangouts could detect the webcam, I could start a video call (ringing), and the webcam image was displayed albeit at a very slow framerate (1 or 2 fps), but after a few seconds massive colorful artifacts started to show up.

The Android camera is pre-installed, and I could take a few shots, and record a video.

Gaming

As usual, I’ve tested Candy Crush Saga, Beach Buggy Blitz, and Riptide GP2. I played Candy Crush Saga with my air mouse, and at the beginning audio cut due to I/O interrupts (kswapd0, irq/60-sdio processes), and logging into Facebook was sluggish as hell, but once actually playing the game, everything worked pretty well, and smoothly.

I played the two other games with Tronsmart Mars G01 wireless gamepad. Beach Buggy Blitz just as smooth as more recent processors (S802, RK3288) with default setting,s but when I maxed out the graphics settings, it was still very playable, but the framerate was impacted. Riptide GP2 was playable, but not perfectly smooth, actually not that much different from Amlogic S802. Decreasing the graphics quality improves playability (frame rate). I’ve raced on several circuits, and after the third circuits, I noticed the 3D image froze once. Playing a fourth games, it was clear I had the same problem as with Amlogic S802 (Probox2 EX), where the 3D image with just stop for a few seconds, before resuming, stop again and so on, but the 2D graphics (position on track) will still render properly and continuously.  So I checked the temperature and I got 42°C and 65°C on the top and bottom of the enclosure. I could be Mali-450MP GPU overheats due to the workload of this specific game, and does not work properly.

EM6Q-MXQ / Amlogic S805 Benchmarks

Since it’s the first device with Amlogic S802, I had to run CPU-Z.

Amlogic_S802_CPU-ZThe app correctly detect a quad core Cortex A5 @ 1.49 GHz with a Mali-450 MP GPU. The scaling governor is set to performance which explains why the cores’ frequency is set to 1488 MHz, as the developers preferred to give full performance to the system, since there’s no overheating issues. The screen resolution is set to 1920×1008 (not 1080 because I enabled the status bar on) with 1280×672 resolution in dp. 825 MB RAM is available to the system, and 5.26 GB internal storage as mentioned previously.

EM6Q-MXQ_Antutu_5.1

The device gets 16,647 points in Antutu 5.1, and is right at the bottom of the scale in the graphics chart. For reference RK3188 based device usually have a score just above 20,000, so I suppose this score is to be expected because of the slower CPU cores, and despite the faster GPU.  I’ll make a side-by-side comparison with Amlogic S802 in a separate post.

EM6Q-MXQ got 3985 points in Quadrant, close to the score of Asus Transformer Pad (TF201) tablet based on Nvidia Tegra 3.

Quadrant Score (Click to Enlarge)

Quadrant Score (Click to Enlarge)

I’ve also run Vellamo 3.x which shows a performance similar to Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone (Exynos 4).

Vellamo_Amlogic_S805_EM6Q-MXQFor comparison with other devices, you can download Metal, Multicore, and Browser comparison charts.

Ice Storm Extreme test in 3DMark really shows the lower performance of the quad core Mali-450MP GPU used in S805 (Mali-450 MP2?) against something like Mali-T764 found in RK3288 SoC that gets a score three times higher. I haven’t tested Amlogic S802 with an eight core Mali-450 MP6 GPU yet.

3DMarks ICE Storm  Ultimate (Click to Enlarge)

3DMarks ICE Storm Ultimate (Click to Enlarge)

Conclusion

EM6Q-MXQ could really have been a low cost device with pretty good performance, where it not for the subpar NAND flash used in this hardware. Wi-Fi is the best I’ve ever seen, and by a large margin, video decoding is pretty good, although H.265 is still not supported in XBMC, and the firmware is stable, despite apps exiting randomly at times, but I wonder if it’s related to the I/O performance, and the app are just killed because the system does not respond fast enough.

PRO:

  • Best Wi-Fi performance I’ve ever experienced in a TV box, and by a wide margin.
  • The system is rather stable, and only hung once when trying to play a 4K video
  • Both 720p and 1080p user interfaces are supported
  • Decent video playback capabilities.
  • HEVC hardware video decoding support. Working in MX Player, but not with XBMC (yet)
  • Webcam supported in Skype (but the image was garbled in Google Hangouts)
  • 4x USB 2.0 host port available

CONS:

  • Very slow internal storage, leading to severe slowdowns especially while installing apps, or other write operations.
  • Apps may exit suddenly for no reason, maybe related to first point above.
  • Slow boot time, and apps loading times, most probably related to first point above
  • No proper power off (standby only)
  • Lack of Bluetooth support (No Bluetooth module)
  • No option for 24Hz, 25Hz, 30Hz video output

Eny Technology EM6Q-MXQ can be purchased on Aliexpress for about $70 including shipping. In that link, bothEM6Q-MXQ and MXQ S85 are listed so you’ll need to check the USB port (4x port with EM6Q-MXQ only), and/or the Red MX stripe found in S85 version. Resellers can visit EM6Q-MXQ product page to contact the company for larger orders.

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MXQ S85 Android TV Box Based on Amlogic S805 is Available for $50

September 17th, 2014 5 comments

Android media players powered by Amlogic S805 quad core processor such as TV110 are already pretty cheap at around $60, but there’s currently a deal on Gearbest where you can get MXQ S85 for less than $50 without Bluetooth and about $55 with Bluetooth by using BackToSchool8 coupon to get 8% discount. Prices include shipping.

MXQ_S85MXQ S85 specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S805 quad core ARM Cortex A5 @ 1.5GHz with quad core Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 1 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8 GB NAND flash + micro SD slot (up to 32GB)
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and optional Bluetooth 4.0.
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4, AV output
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV, optical S/PDIF
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports + 1 x micro USB OTG port
  • Misc – IR sensor
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 11.4x 11.4 x 2.3 cm
  • Weight – 137 grams

The box ships with a power adapter, HDMI and AV cables, 1x OTG cable. an IR remote control, and user’s manual. The operating is Android 4.4.2.  There’s no mention of Wi-Fi module, but it’s likely the version without Bluetooth features AP6210 (2.4Ghz Wi-Fi), and the other AP6330 (dual band Wi-Fi + BT 4.0). This type of device should be good if you only plan to play 1080p videos (no 4K), and require HEVC video playback.

Via AndroidPC.es

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Android TV Overview – Linaro Connect US 2014

September 17th, 2014 No comments

Google announced Android TV and ADT-1 devkit last June, as the company wants to bring user-friendly Android user-experience to TVs, set-top boxes and game consoles. Mark Gregotski, head of the Linaro Digital Home Group (LHG), has provided a technical overview of Android TV during the on-going Linaro Connect US 2014. You find a summary of yesterday sessions on Linaro’s blog, and the even will last until Friday, where several demos will be showcased.

Android_TV_Goals

SoC companies currently involved in Android TV include Nvidia, Marvell, Qualcomm, Mediatek, Intel, Broadcom, and ST micro, so none of usual Chinese Android TV Box players (Rockchip, Amlogic, AllWinner…) are represented. Android (for smartphone) currently support video playback but you may experience dropped frame from time to time, where in the STB market requirements are not stringent. For example, NTT is said to only allow one frame dropped per month! So Android TV aims to improve video playback. Some of the features related to Android TV includes: VP9/H.265 codecs, 4K support, NDK media APIs, TV input framework, improved AV sync, cast receiver (DIAL protocol, Chromecast functionality), 64-bit secure environment, OpenGL ES 3.1 support, Android Extension Pack, subtitle / closed captions enhancements, etc.

The TV input framework will gather several sources for example Cable, Satellite, IPTV, and Terrestrial video input into one single user interface, for example to display a unified EPG, where the user does not even need to be aware of the source. Android TV uses Exoplayer with support for MPEG DASH and Smooth Streaming, and you can find the source code on github. For PayTV, DRM will also be an important part of Android TV with support for Level 1 Widevine and Playready DRM.

The presentation slide are available here.

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