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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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Unboxing of VidOn.me AV200 Android Blu-Ray Box

July 5th, 2014 5 comments

I had only reviewed on device based on AllWinner A31 before, namely CS868 mini PC which turned out to be disappointing. And recently I’ve reviewed quite of few Amlogic and Rockchip TV boxes, so I’m happy to get a change and try again with another AllWinner A31 based device thanks to VidOn.me AV200 Android Blu-ray Box. I’ll start by listing hardware specifications and showing pictures of the device and the board today, and I’ll write a complete review in a few days.

VidOn.me AV200 Specifications

AV200 is an Android TV box with a metallic enclosure very similar to the one used for Mele X1000 Android Blu-ray box, and with the following specifications:

  • SoC – AllWinner A31 quad core Cortex-A7 @ 1.3GHz with PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage: 8GB + SD/SDHC card reader
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • Audio Output – HDMI, optical S/PDIF, and 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • USB – 3x USB host ports, 1x micro USB OTG
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 190x124x45.4mm

AV200 runs Android 4.2.2 with an “enhanced version” of XBMC 12 supporting hardware video decoding, HD audio pass-through, Blu-ray navigation and 3D playback and a few other features such as a crash reporting system. It’s also supposed to support 1080p24.

AV200 Unboxing Pictures and Video

I’ve received the device in the simple package below that reads “VidOne.me Android Blu-ray Box”

VidoOn.me_AV200_PackageAs you open the box you’ll see two QR codes linking to VidOn.me player for Android phones or tablets. I’ll try that during the review.

AV200 and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

AV200 and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

The box comes with an IR remote (2x AAA batteries not included), an HDMI cable, a 5V/1A power adapter, and a Quick Start Guide in English, but with links poiting to setup instructions in simplified and traditional Chinese, Korean, French, Japanese, German, and Spanish.

VidoOn.me_AV200

A closer look at the device shows a nice metallic casing, a large Wi-Fi antenna, a USB port and SD card on one side, and at the back, an audio jack, a micro USB port, a power jack, an HDMI connector, an RJ45 port, two USB host ports, and an optical S/PDIF output. There’s also a power button, a small window for the IR receiver, and an LCD display at the front.

I’ve also shot an unboxing video for those interested.

AV200 Internal Pictures

Opening the box is fairly easy. There’s nothing under the rubber pad, so you can leave them in place. You just have to remove 4 screws, and slide the top cover. You’ll also notice the “Upgrade” button on the middle left of the picture below.

Bottom of AV200 (Click to Enlarge)

Bottom of AV200 (Click to Enlarge)

Once it’s opened we can actually three boards: the mainboard in blue, and the LCD and power button boards in Green,.

AV200 Board (Click to Enlarge)

AV200 Board (Click to Enlarge)

The board name is A31-G39A04-V1.30 and it has been designed on 2013-09-17, the MAC address starts with 00:CE:39, a range which interestingly is not assigned to anybody, and the Wi-Fi module used is based on Realtek RTL8188ETV. Searching for the board name, let me to an older article about a Mele media player, and it turns out it’s basically the same hardware as the Mele M9. Other interesting bits are the unsoldered pads: option for an extra 8 GB flash,  SATA connector + USB to SATA chip, etc… And if you want to have a similar model with SATA, Mele A1000G is apparently also based on G39A04. The firmware provided by VidOn.me is different than the one that’s available from Mele, so that will be the key differentiating factor here.

Cooling is achieved with a small heatsink on top of AllWinner A31. To further remove the board from the enclosure, you have to remove four more screws. But after doing that the board would not still come off, because there’s some thermal paste stick the PCB to the metal case, which should be good news in terms of thermal dissipation. Since I’ve not done the review yet, I decided against taking it further apart as it might affect performance.

I’d like to thanks VidOn.me for providing the sample. AV200 normally sells for $200 on VidOn.me, but it’s currently out of stock, and the site reads “new box is coming soon…”, and I could not find another place to buy AV200… So the only option appears to get a Mele M9 which for once appears the be the cheapest on DealExtreme ($110).

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CloudnetGo CR16 is a Rockchip RK3288 based TV Box with HDMI, AV and VGA Outputs

July 3rd, 2014 6 comments

As we’ve seen in our list of RK3288 Android TV boxes, CloudnetGo has already announced CR12 and CR13 models powered by the quad core Cortex A17 SoC. With their new CR16 model, they are the only Rockchip RK3288 TV box with VGA (and HDMI + AV) output that I know of. Another interesting feature of this media player is the enclosure which stands vertically.

Cloudnetgo_CR16The rest of the specifications will probably make you yawn as it’s the same story all over again:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3288 quad core CortexA17 @ 1.8 GHz + Mali-T764 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 /3.0, and OpenCL 1.1
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8 to 16GB NAND Flash + micro SD  slot (up to 32 GB)
  • Connectivity – 100M/1000M Ethernet, dual band WiFi 802.11 b/g/n (AP6330 module) using external Wi-Fi antenna, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • Video Output – HDMI output, AV output (3.5mm jack), and VGA
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV, and optical S/PDIF
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host port
  • Power Supply – N/A
  • Misc – Power button and LED, reset/recovery button.
  • Dimensions – N/A
  • Weight – N/A

The thing is supposed to run Android 4.4 Kitkat and support XBMC, and it should become available in August. It’s not on any retailers site, nor Alibaba, and all we get are some picture on CloudnetGo CR16 product page.

Via AndroidPC.es

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Rockchip RK3288 Based OTT928 / CS928 Android Media Player Sells for $114 and Up

June 26th, 2014 1 comment

In my list of RK3288 TV boxes, I mentioned that although many products had been announced with Rockchip’s quad core Cortex A17 SoC, no reliable company had listed prices yet, except for one selling for $99.99 on Aliexpress, but with no clear shipping date, and nobody to answer potential customer requests. One reader left a comment about OTT-928 Android TV box also featuring a 5MP retractable camera and (pre-)selling on Asiapads for $119.99 including shipping with delivery currently scheduled for July 20, but it can also be purchased via one vendor on Aliexpress for as low as $114 under the name CS928 but with only 8GB flash, instead of 16GB on OTT928.

CS928 / OTT928

CS928 / OTT928

CS928 / OTT928 hardware specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3288 quad core CortexA17 @ 1.8 GHz + Mali-T764 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 /3.0, and OpenCL 1.1
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage
    • OTT928 – 16GB NAND Flash + micro SD  slot (up to 32 GB)
    • CS928 – 8GB NAND flash (16GB optional) + micro SD slot
  • Connectivity – 100M/1000M Ethernet, dual band WiFi 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz/5GHz) and 802.11 a/c using external Wi-Fi antenna, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • Video Output – HDMI output, AV output (3.5mm jack)
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV, and optical S/PDIF
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB OTG
  • Camera – 5MP retractable camera
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 142.3×108.6x21mm
  • Weight – About 500 grams ?

CS928_Ethernet_Audio_Video_portsThe device runs Android 4.4 Kitkat, and sells with HDMI and AV cables, an IR remote control, a power adapter and a user’s manual. The product listing on Alibaba only mentions dual band 802.11 b/g/n, and nothing about 802.11ac, and I really start to have the feeling there won’t any boxes with 802.11ac, despite some many companies claiming they support it. HDMI 1.4 vs HDMI 2.0 is likely to be another headache with RK3288 boxes.

Nevertheless, I’m pleasantly surprised with the prices we start to see, that is around $100 or a bit more, because it’s roughly what Amlogic S802 based Android TV boxes could today, and RK3288 should provide significantly higher performance, especially when it comes to graphics. The only problem is that we’ll all have to wait for the end of July, or maybe August to get hold of these little toys.

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List of Rockchip RK3288 Android TV Boxes So Far

June 25th, 2014 53 comments

In the previous years, you’d normally learn about new devices as they get listed on Alibaba or Aliexpress, and that’s how I built my – now very incomplete – list of Rockchip RK3188 based devices. But now companies seem to be anxious to let people know about their new devices even before they hit the market, and albeit I’ve been told full production of Rokchip RK3288 powered Android TV boxes is only planned by the end of July, many companies are already showing off their new devices, even though only the PCBA may be ready, or in development.

Rockchip_RK3288_Android_TV_BoxLet’s go through the list of Rockchip RK3288 quad core Cortex A17 media devices that’s known (to me) so far:

  • No brand D368 – HDMI 1.4 TV dongle with 1 or 2 GB RAM, 4, 8 or 16 GB flash, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac + (optional) Bluetooth, and 2x USB host ports.
  • No brand B368 – TV box with 2GB RAM, 8GB flash, GbE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth, 2x USB host ports, and HDMI 1.4 and AV outputs.
  • Ugoos UM3 – TV box with 2GB RAM (1GB as option), 8 GB flash (16/32GB as option), Wi-fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0, 3x USB host ports, and HDMI 2.0
  • Ugoos UT3 – Same as Ugoos UM3, but with 16GB flash by default (option up to 64GB), and adds Gb Ethernet, and HDMI 1.4 input.
  • Rikomagic MK902 II – TV box with 2GB RAM, 8 or 16 GB flash, GbE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, and Bluetooth 4.0, 3x USB host ports, and HDMI and AV outputs.
  • Zero Devices Z6C – TV box with 2GB RAM, 16 GB flash, GbE, “Broadcom Wi-Fi”, and Bluetooth 4.0, 3x USB host ports, and HDMI output.
  • Kingnovel K-R68 – TV box with 2GB RAM, 8 GB flash (16/32Gb as option), GbE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, and Bluetooth 4.0, 2x USB host ports, and HDMI 2.0 and AV outputs. (Bottom right of the picture above)
  • MINIX NEO X9 – TV box (rumor)
  • Sunchip CX-920 and CX-998 – Respectively HDMI TV stick and TV box.
  • No brand GK388 ($99.99) – TV box with 2GB RAM, 8GB flash, GbE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0, 2x USB host ports, and HDMI 1.4 output.
  • Eny Technology EKB328 – TV box with 2GB RAM, 8GB flash, GbE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0, 2x USB host ports, and HDMI 1.4 output.
  • Artway Q8 – TV box with 2GB RAM, 8GB flash (16GB as option), GbE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0, 2x USB host ports, and HDMI 1.4a and AV outputs.
  • PMD OEM Box – TV box with 2GB RAM, 8GB eMMC flash (16GB as option), 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0, 3x USB host ports, and HDMI 1.4a and AV outputs. It also comes with a built-in 2MP camera.
  • Starlead Q8 aka Neken M9 – TV box with 2GB RAM, 8GB or 16GB flash, GbE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0, 2x USB host ports, and HDMI 1.4a and AV outputs.
  • CS928 / OTT928 ($114 to $120 – Added 27/6) – TV box with 2GB RAM, 8GB or 16GB flash, GbE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0, 3x USB host ports, and HDMI and AV outputs. It also comes with a built-in 5MP camera.
  • CloudnetGo CR12 ($149 – Added 27/6) – TV box with 2GB RAM, 8GB or 16GB flash, GbE, dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0, 2x USB host ports, and HDMI and AV outputs. It also comes with a built-in 2MP camera.
  • CloudnetGo CR16 (Added 03/7) – TV box with 2 GB RAM, 8GB or 16GB flash, GbE, dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0, 3x USB host ports, and HDMI, AV and VGA outputs.
  • MK903V ($122 – Added 02/9) – HDMI Stick with 2 GB RAM, 8GB NAND flash, dual band WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0, 1x USB host port, and HDMI output.
  • Nagrace NT-V6 ($129 and up – Added 02/9) – TV boxes with 2 to 4 GB RAM, 8GB, 16GB or 32GB eMMC flash, GbE, dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, and Bluetooth 4.0, 3x USB host ports, and HDMI and AV outputs.
  • Tronsmart Orion R28 ($99 and up – Added 02/9) – TV boxes (3 models) with 2 to 4 GB RAM, 8GB, 16GB or 32GB eMMC flash, GbE, dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, and Bluetooth 4.0, 3x USB host ports, and HDMI and AV outputs.
  • Uyesee G1H (Added 02/9) – TV box with 1 to 2 GB RAM, 8 to 16GB eMMC flash, GbE, dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, and Bluetooth 4.0, 3x USB host ports, and HDMI and AV outputs.

No prices are currently available, at least from reliable sellers, except for GK388 which is sold for $99.99 on Aliexpress by a seller with lots of positive ratings. But when I try to chat to now inquire about, it seems I was replied in less than a second, most probably by a chat bot, saying “you would get your parcel soon because I am processing your order now ,so we have no time to talk to you” :). Anyway with all these companies launching RK3288 mini PCs, prices are likely to be very competitive.

All the boxes appears to support both 802.11 b/g/n and 802.11ac and Gigabit Ethernet, except one. From this list the box with the highest specifications seem to be Ugoos UT3 as it features HDMI 2.0 output and HDMI 1.4 input, and a version may be sold with up to 64GB flash. There’s no way I can guarantee the specs are correct, but there are still a lot of boxes that list HDMI 1.4, and not HDMI 2.0, and it’s something you’ll have to check before purchasing one, although it is only important if you have, or plan to buy, a 4K TV, and need 60 fps. I have listed all details of the specs such as micro USB OTG, and optical S/PDIF both of which can be found in most full sized Android TV boxes listed above, and all are said to run Android 4.4 Kitkat.

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Giveaway Week – Jynxbox Live TV Streaming Box

June 21st, 2014 89 comments

The sixth prize of this giveaway week on CNX Software will be Jynxbox Live. It’s a standard Android TV box based on Rockchip RK3066 dual core processor, except it has software that normally allowing live streaming of about 300 TV channels around the world, and sells at a steep price compared to Android media player based on similar hardware.

Jynxbox Live and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

Jynxbox Live and Accessories

However after installing the Live TV app, which is not included when the box ships, possibly due to legal reasons, I could only load 10 TV channels, and none of them would play. I’m not exactly sure why, maybe their server is blocked from Thailand, as other users reported the box worked just fine. There’s no Google Play store pre-installed in the box, only Jynx Market with a limited number of applications, so you may have to install another market (Amazon, Yandex, Google Play..) by yourself.

To enter the draw simply leave a comment below.

Other rules are as follows:

  • Only one entry per contest. I will filter out entries with the same IP and/or email address.
  • Contests are open for 48 hours starting at 10am (Bangkok time) every day. Comments will be closed after 48 hours.
  • Winners will be selected with random.org
  • I’ll contact the winners by email or Facebook, and I’ll expect an answer within 24 hours, or I’ll pick another one.
  • Shipping
    • Free for winners with a shipping address in Thailand
    • Flat fee of $19 for the rest of the world payable via Paypal within 48 hours once the contest is complete, or I’ll pick another winner.
  • I’ll post all 8 prizes at the same time, so around the 25th of June, using Airmail (Small Packet) with tracking.
  • I’ll make sure we have 8 different winners, so if you have already won a device during this week giveaway, I’ll draw another person.

Good luck!

When I received the box it sold for $350, but it’s now available for $192 on Amazon, or $199.99 on Theaterinabox, the company which sent me the sample. There are some rumors that the live TV channels are only available for a year on the box (TBC).

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Giveaway Week – Gbox Midnight MX2 Android Media Player

June 19th, 2014 95 comments

The fourth prize for this week is Matricom Gbox Midnight MX2, an Android TV box powered by Amlogic AML8726-MX dual core processor with 1GB RAM, 4GB flash, HDMI and AV output, optical S/PDIF, Wi-Fi and Ethernet, and 4 USB ports. The company had specifically worked on the XBMC port at the time, and I found it did a pretty good job.

GBox_Midnight_MX2_AccessoriesI tested the device in May of last, and I found the firmware to be very stable and responsive, and XBMC works as expected, supporting most video files without issues, except some MPEG-2 had aspect ratio issues,, RMVB files would make XBMC exit, and WebM 1080p could not be played smoothly due to software decode for this particular codec. It could decode all high-end audio codecs such as DTS and Dolby just fine. I did have problems with composite and component outputs but it must have been fixed now. It also had very good Wi-Fi performance until I upgraded my Wi-Fi router and Wi-Fi throughput took a hit, but was still usable. The other nice thing about this device is support for OTA updates, and albeit the device was released around May 2013, the firmware is still continuously improved, and the latest Beta 1.1.9 has been announced on June 14 in Matricom forums.

To enter the draw simply leave a comment below.

Other rules are as follows:

  • Only one entry per contest. I will filter out entries with the same IP and/or email address.
  • Contests are open for 48 hours starting at 10am (Bangkok time) every day. Comments will be closed after 48 hours.
  • Winners will be selected with random.org
  • I’ll contact the winners by email or Facebook, and I’ll expect an answer within 24 hours, or I’ll pick another one.
  • Shipping
    • Free for winners with a shipping address in Thailand
    • Flat fee of $17 for the rest of the world payable via Paypal within 48 hours once the contest is complete, or I’ll pick another winner.
  • I’ll post all 8 prizes at the same time, so around the 25th of June, using Airmail (Small Packet) with tracking.
  • I’ll make sure we have 8 different winners, so if you have already won a device during this week giveaway, I’ll draw another person.

Good luck!

Matricom Gbox Midnight MX2 can be purchased on Amazon for $105.

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