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Rikomagic to Launch MK80 and MK12 TV Boxes based on Allwinner A80 and Amlogic S812 Processors

November 11th, 2014 9 comments

There’s a three processors fight right now in the Android mini PC market with Rockchip RK3288, Allwinner A80, and Amlogic S802/S812 SoCs. All have their own strength and weaknesses, and have about the same performance, but so far I like Rockchip RK3288 for 3D gaming, Amlogic S802 and S812 for video playback, and Allwinner A80 for its possibly better potential to run Linux desktop distributions (TBC). Rikomagic have already been selling Rikomagic MK902 II powered by Rockchip RK3288 processor for a little while, and they’ve now announced two new upcoming products: MK80 with Allwinnert A80, and MK12 with Amlogic S812.

Rikomagic MK80 and MK80 Plus

Rikomagic_MK80Preliminary and probably incomplete product specifications:

  • SoC – AllWinner Ultra Core A80 4x Cortex 15 @ 2016 MHz, 4x Cortex A7  @ 1320 MHz big.LITTLE processor with Imagination Technologies PowerVR GC6230 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0, Directx 9.3
  • System Memory – 2GB (MK80), or 4GB (MK80 Plus) RAM
  • Storage – 16 GB (MK80) or 32GB (MK80 Plus) eMMC + external SATA port (via a USB 2.0 bridge) + micro SD up to 64GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4 + AV port
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV and optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac with external antenna, Bluetooth 4.0 (TBC)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 2x USB 2.0 ports.
  • Power Supply – 12V/2A

The board will run Android Kitkat, and they also claim 4K2K H.265 support, which is probably a mistake, since Allwinner only claims H.265 support up to 1080p30, and the codec is not even listed in Allwinner A80 datasheet, contrary to H.264, VC-1 and others. And in my Draco AW80 review, another Allwinner A80 box, none of my H.265 videos could play with H/W decoded in either Kodi or MX Player. So H.265 support @ 2160p is not something I would expect to be possible with Allwinner A80, although I’d be happy to be proven wrong. MK80 and MK80 Plus specifications match exactly the one for Tronsmart Draco AW80 Meta and Telos mini PCs, so I would not be surprised if they were based on the same Sunchip board.

Rikomagic MK12

Rikomagic_MK12Technical specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic S812 quad core cortex A9r4 @ 2 GHz with octa-core Mali-450MP6 GPU @ 600+ MHz
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16 GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot up to 32GB
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 (AP6330)
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4 up to 4K2K @ 30 Hz
  • Audio Output – HDMI, optical S/PDIF
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG
  • Power Supply – 5V/2.5A
  • Dimensions – 116 x 112 x 18.91 mm

MK12 will run Android 4.4 Kitkat, and support 4K2K H.265 video codec. It’s also the first Amlogic TV box I’ve seen that feature the promised Gigabit Ethernet port, so let’s hope that part is correct. The box will ship with an HDMI cable, a USB cable, a power supply, a remote control, and a user’s manual in English.

Pricing and availability information is not available for either MK80 or MK12 for now.

[Update: There’s also MK05 with Amlogic S805, and product pages for MK80 and MK12 are now up]

Via Google+ Mini PC community and China Gadget Reviews.

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Unboxing of Tronsmart Draco AW80 Meta mini PC Powered by AllWinner A80 Processor

November 7th, 2014 20 comments

GeekBuying sent me a sample of their Tronsmart Draco AW80 mini PC powered by Allwinner A80 octa core processor. I’ve received the Meta version with 2GB RAM, and 16GB eMMC, but next month Telos version will ship with 4GB RAM and 32GB eMMC instead. Today I’ll show some pictures of the product and the internal boards, and in a few days I’ll write a full version with the Android 4.4 firmware. Later, I’ll most certainly review the Ubuntu beta image that’s scheduled for released by the end of the month.

Tronsmart Draco AW80 Unboxing

I’ve received the device by DHL in the black and gold package below.

Tronsmart_Draco_AW80_PackageI was surprised by the size of the box (16.4 x 16.4 cm) which quite larger than what I’m used to with other TV boxes, and all cables and accessories are stored in little black boxes within the main package.

Draco AW80 and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

Draco AW80 and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

Accessories include a 12V/2A power adapter, a SATA cable, an HDMI cable, a USB 2.0 cable, an IR remote control requiring two AAA batteries (not included), and a quick start guide in English.

Draco AW80 Meta (Click to Enlarge)

Draco AW80 Meta (Click to Enlarge)

A small rounded window for the IR receiver, and a through hole for a bi-color LED can be seen on the front panel. One one side, we’ve for two USB 2.0 host ports, an SD card slot, and a SATA connector. The rear panel features the Wi-Fi antenna, an RJ45 port for Gigabit Ethernet, a USB 3.0 OTG port (full size), HDMI and AV outputs, optical S/PDIF, and the 12V DC power barrel. There’s also a “Fn” through hole on the bottom of the metallic enclosure, most probably for firmware update.

Unboxing video:

Draco AW80 Meta Board Pictures

In order to open the enclosure, I had to take out the four sticky rubber pads on the bottom, and untighten four screws. The base of the case would not come out, so I pulled it with a precision screwdriver using one of the many ventilation hole on the bottom of the enclosure.

Bottom

Bottom (Click to Enlarge)

There’s a tiny board connected to the mainboard for the IR receiver and a Blue/Red LED. Nothing much to noticed on the mainboard except SW6 switch which should be to access U-boot / FEL mode for firmware update. Four more screws need to be removed to take out the board from the case.

Tronsmart_Draco_AW80_BoardThere’s a massive heatsink, and it indeed looks exactly like the board used in Zero Devices Alice Z8C. I’ve popped out three bits with spring to take out the heatsink. There a thermal rubber pad between the heatsink and the SoC/RAM/eMMC, no thermal paste.

AW80 Board (Click to Enlarge)

AW80 Board (Click to Enlarge)

There’s a shiny sticker reading “Tronsmart Draco AW80″ on the board to hide the actual board name. The Wi-Fi / Bluetooth module is AP6335 which means dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 n/g/n and 802.11ac should be supported together with Bluetooth 4.0. Four Samsung K4B4G1646D 16-bit DDR3 chips are used to get 2GB RAM, and the eMMC is model Samsung KLMAG4FE3B-0001 moviNAND (eMMC v 4.41) with maximum sequential write speed of 60MB/s, and sequential read speed of 150MB/s. Other ICs include AC100  audio codec, and  Realtek Gigabit transceiver. There’s part of the board that unpopulated, but I’m not sure what it was meant for, expect for the LED and IR parts. The UART pins for serial console can be found right below the DC jack and S/PDIF connector.

Tronsmart Draco AW80 Meta pictured in this post sells for $149 on GeekBuying, whereas the upcoming Draco AW80 Telos with 4GB RAM and 32GB flash is available for pre-order for $199, and should ship by the end of the month. You can also purchase either model on Aliexpress.

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Review of Rippl-TV Android XBMC TV Box

November 5th, 2014 11 comments

Rippl-TV is an Android TV box based on an update revision of Eny Techology/Shenzhen Tomato M8 (square) TV Box with an Amlogic S802 quad core processor, but featuring a different firmware with an alledgedly customized Android 4.4 OS called utilOS, and a launcher based on XBMC also called Rippl-TV. I’ve already written an unboxing post, including pictures of the board, so today I’l focus on the full review, and compare the performance to the original M8, as well as a closer look at the new user interface.

First Boot, Settings and First Impressions

Rippl-TV comes with an IR remote, and as long as your stay in XBMC and play videos, it’s fine, but as this type of remote is usable with most Android apps, I used Mele F10 Deluxe air mouse instead to control the device. I’ve connected an Ethernet cable, an HDMI cable, a USB hard drive, and a USB hub with  Mele F10 Deluxe and Tronsmart Mars G01 gamepad RF dongles, as well as a USB UVC webcam. There’s no power button, so as soon as you connect the power supply, the blue LED turns on the board boots. After Rippl-TV logo, comes a Rippl-TV animation with creepy audio, and after around 90 seconds the device is ready to use.

Rippl-TV Launcher (Click for Original Size)

Rippl-TV Launcher (Click for Original Size)

The first time, you’re being ask to select the “home app” either MediaBox launcher, the metro-like launcher found in other Amlogic TV boxes like Tronsmart Vega S89, or Rippl-TV, the XBMC centric launcher. I’ve used Rippl-TV launcher as it is one of the key selling point of the device.

The device comes with lots of add-ons pre-installed that let you watch live TV over IP, or even movies, probably more or less legally. The system menu has not been ported to Rippl-TV UI, and instead its using the metro-style system menu found in other S802 media players, as well as the standard Android settings for “advanced settings”. I won’t go through all settings, so simply read Tronsmart Vega S89 review or M8 review if you have never come across the user interface, although I’ll show it in my user interface walk-though video below. For a couple of minutes I struggled to find a way to access the list of apps from this launcher, and it turns out, you just have to click on Rippl-TV.

About_Rippl-TVSince virtually nobody is using composite output, I only used HDMI during my test, and it was set manually to 1080p60. There’s a single flash partition, which I find nice, with 5.75GB total space, and about 4.5 GB free after I completed this review. utilOS is based on Android 4.4.2 and runs on top of Linux kernel 3.10.33. The firmnware is rooted. It will probably be an issue to get a download firmware, since it could be easily installed on cheaper competing products.

Both Google Play and Aptoide are pre-installed in order to let your install various apps, and I have to say I failed to find any unsupported app in Google Play, except Vidonn smartband app. I tried to install Riptide GP2 via Aptoide, but the game failed to start (license check failed), so instead I installed it via Amazon AppStore since I got it as part of a “free app of the day” offer.

There’s no power button, so the only way to truly turn off the device is to disconnect the power. There are multiple power options in Rippl-TV including Timer, Power off System, Reboot, Hibernate, and Log Off, but most simply reboot the device. You can however go in standby mode with the power button on the remote control. It works with Mele F10 Deluxe power button too.  I’ve checked the temperature of the box after running Antutu benchmark. The top was 45 °C, the bottom 39 °C, with my room temperature around 28 °C. After Riptide GP2 the temperature went up to 55 °C (top) and 48 °C (bottom).

Watch the user interface walk-through to see the boot time, how to use Rippl-TV UI, and available options.

After testing the reboot option, Rippl-TV launcher refused to launch (black screen), and I had to clear data in the Android settings, meaning I lost all pre-installed add-ons, and some of XBMC settings (SAMBA shares), but I could restore the pre-installed add-ons with XBMC Backup as shown in that video. It hapenned another time, and instead of “clearing the data”, I simply “cleared the cache” and it could recover without losing settings and XBMC config.

Apart from that very annoying issue with the black screen and losing pre-installed add-ons, I did not really encounter any other major issues with the firmware, all is nice, fast and smooth. So stability is definitely better than with the firmware I tried on M8 last April.

Video Playback

Rippl-TV reports XBMC 1.1 version which does not mean much, but it’s probably based on XBMC 13 Gotham. I’ll only test video with Rippl-TV in this review, and play them from a SAMBA share located on a PC running Ubuntu, unless otherwise stated.

I played videos from samplemedia.linaro.org, and as well as H.265/HEVC codec and VP9 test videos:

  • H.264 codec / MP4 container (Big Buck Bunny), 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • MPEG2 codec / MPG container, 480p/720p/1080p – OK.
  • MPEG4 codec, AVI container 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • VC1 codec (WMV), 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • Real Media (RMVB) – OK for RV8, RV9 and RV10, but smoothness could be a bit better.
  • WebM / VP8 – 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • H.265 codec / MPEG TS container, 360p/720p/1080p – Audio only. H.265 is not supported in this version of XBMC.
  • VP9 – Won’t even start

I’ve also tested some higher bitrate videos:

  • ED_HD.avi (1080p MPEG-4 – 10Mbps) – No video, audio only.
  • 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) – Video is playing but frames are skipped or dropped, and it’s clearly noticeable.
  • Jellyfish-120-Mbps.mkv (120 Mbps video without audio) – OK (Played from USB hard drive)

Mostly no problem with high-end audio codec (PCM output):

  • AC3 – OK
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 / Dolby Digital 7.1 – OK. However. some bright parts of the video with 7.1 audio are blinking.
  • TrueHD 5.1 & 7.1 – OK.
  • DTS-MA and DTS-HR – OK.

The processor used is S802, not S802-H with proper Dolby/DTS license, so XBMC is handling decoding by software.

Sintel-Bluray.iso is playing fine, so Bluray ISOs are supported.

4K video play as expected, except for the new codec (H.265/VP9)

  • HD.Club-4K-Chimei-inn-60mbps.mp4 – OK
  • Sintel-4k.mkv – Plays, but artifacts can be seen on the right of the screen

Over twenty AVI, MKV, FLV, VOB and MP4 videos could also play without issues. There’s a recurrent display bug in Rippl-TV with the last video frame often shown in the background, when it should not be. At one point, I also have had problem s changing the view mode of the video (16:9, Stretched, Zoomed) as it did not have effect, but it does not happen all the time.

I played a 2h00 1080p mkv video without issues, so I could not reproduce the 30-minute playback issue some people had with M8/.

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

Network Performance (Wi-Fi and Ethernet)

To evaluate network performance, and the time it takes to transfer a file over Wi-Fi or Ethernet, I transfer a 278 MB file between a SAMBA share and the internal flash, and vice versa, using ES File Explorer, and repeating the test three times. Rippl-TV had decent, but average performance with a speed of 2.69 MB/s on average.

Throughput in MB/s

Throughput in MB/s

Fast Ethernet performance is also OK, and actually one of the fastest devices.

Throughput in MB/s

Throughput in MB/s

In order to get a “pure” network test, I also used iPerf app and iperf in my Ubuntu PC, using “iperf -t 60 -c 192.168.0.104 -d” command line in Android, and here we can see some weakness when it comes to pure Ethernet performance, but it might be the same for all Amlogic devices.

Throughput in Mbps

Throughput in Mbps

Miscellaneous Tests

Bluetooth

I use ThL W200 Android smartphone to send a picture to Rippl-TV which is recognized as “bluedroid”.

Sixaxis Compatibility Checker mentions PS3 Bluetooth Gamepads “appear to be supported”, but the driver segfaults, so I could not connect my Sony game controller clone to the device.

Vidonn X5 activity tracker was used to test Bluetooth 4.0 LE. Since I could not install Vidonn app from Google Play (incompatible), I directly installed vidonn.apk, and successfully connected to my wristband to get the data.

Storage

The system could detect and mounted a micro SD card and USB flash drive formatted with FAT32, but only the the NTFS and FAT32 partitions on my USB 3.0 hard drive could be mounted, as with most other Android devices..

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

A1 SD Bench is used to test performance for internal storage, and the USB NTFS partition. In this firmware, the NTFS partition is located in /storage/external_storage/sda1. The read speed is 24.98MB/s, and the write speed  23.47MB/s, both of which are a little underwhelming.

USB NTFS Performance in MB/s

USB NTFS Performance in MB/s

The internal storage of Rippl-TV is good enough not to suffer from poor loading time, and slowdowns. Yet for some reasons, boot time is painfully slow.

Rippl-TV_Flash_PerformanceUSB Webcam

Skype and Google Hangouts are both working well with a generic USB UVC camera with built-in microphone.

I tested audio successfully with the Echo service in Skype, and could record a video message too, something that often crashes in other devices. Google Hangouts also recognized the camera, and I could make a video call.

Games

Candy Crush Saga and Beach Buggy Blitz were very smooth and nice to play. I played the former with Mele F10 Deluxe, and the latter with Tronsmart Mars G01 wireless gamepad. Beach Buggy Blitz was set to the best graphics quality possible, and ran smoothly. Riptide GP2 is also playable, but just not as smooth as on Rockchip RK3288 platforms, and I encountered the same “3D graphics freeze” issue, where the game is stuck on a picture for a short while, before carrying on,. It started to happen on the fourth race, before it become impossible to play on the 6th race. The solution is to wait, and let the system cool down. Temperature measurements after 6th race: 55°C (top) and 48°C (bottom).

Rippl-TV Benchmark

I’ll keep the benchmark section short, since I’ve tested enough Amlogic S802 devices previously, and simply ran Antutu.

Rippl-TV_Antutu_5Rippl-TV gets 29,849 points in Antutu 5.1, a very good score for an Amlogic S802 based device.

I was also expecting CPU-Z app to report a k200 board (like for M8), but it reports “Rippl-TV” model made by “Tomato” manufacturer, and based on “rtv83″ board.

Conclusion

Rippl-TV is clearly a better product than M8/TM8 TV box, with a firmware much more stable, better Wi-Fi performance, and the same if not slightly better video playback support in XBMC. Rippl-TV user interface may be confusing at first, but once you get used to it, it’s pretty nice. The pre-installed add-ons are convenient if you want to watch live TV or movies, and don’t know which add-ons to install, or don’t want to spend the time to do it. The only worrying part is when I tried the “reboot” function once, and Rippl-TV launcher failed to start (black screen), and I could only fix it by “Clear Data” for Rippl-TV app in the Android settings, which meant I lost all pre-installed add-ons, and had to re-install them. The black screen issue happened twice, but is not easily reproducible.

PRO:

  • Stable and fast firmware
  • XBMC 13? pre-installed with many add-ons for Live TV, movies, series, etc…
  • Blu-Ray ISO and 4K video playback
  • 1080p user interface, 4K video output up to 30 fps supported
  • Good Ethernet performance (60 Mbps video playback OK), and decent Wi-Fi performance
  • Good video formats/codecs support in XBMC
  • USB webcam works with Skype and Google Hangouts

CONS:

  • No power button
  • Potential black screen issues with Rippl-TV launcher. Fixable with “Clear Data” or “Clear Cache” in Android settings.
  • Rippl-TV / XBMC Issues: Last video frame sometimes shown in XBMC user interface, and sometimes changing the View Mode (16:9 Stretch, Zoom, Original…) as no effect.
  • OTA firmware update not supported.
  • Relatively slow boot time (90+ seconds)
  • Some 3D games, such as Riptide GP2, may freeze after a while. Common to other platforms using Mali-450MP GPU.
  • Sony Sixaxis game controller are not recognized
  • More expensive than other Amlogic S802 boxes with similar hardware features.

Shenzhen Tomato provided the sample for review, and if you want to buy in quantity, you can contact them via rippl-tv.com. Individuals can purchase Rippl-TV for $139.90 on Amazon and Aliexpress plus shipping.

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Unboxing of Rippl-TV XBMC Android Media Player

November 1st, 2014 3 comments

Half year ago, I reviewed Shenzhen Tomato M8 / TM8 Android TV Box. It was the first hardware I received based on Amlogic S802, and although I found overall performance and video playback in XBMC was very good, the firmware was not always stable, and Wi-Fi performance was poor. Shenzhen Tomato has now sent me another model based on Amlogic S802 called Rippl-TV (click for full specs), with an hardware very similar to M8 as we’ll see below, but a completely different firmware that relies on XBMC as the Android launcher.

Rippl-TV Unboxing

I received the TV Box by Fedex in the following package that reads “Rippl-TV a drop of perfection brings out the best in media…”

Rippl-TV_PackageThe package lists the key features of the TV with 4K UHD video playback, XBMC Rippl-TV Edition, Android 4.4 OS (called UtilOS), dual band Wi-Fi, a quad core Cortex A9 CPU coupled with an octa core Mali-450 GPU, 2GB RAM, and 8GB flash. There’s also a QR code linking to rippl-tv.com, but there’s nothing to download from the website, just some information about the box, and ODM/OEM services.

Rippl-TV_Accessories

Rippl-TV and Accessories

The device comes with an HDMI cable, a 5V/2A power adapter, an IR remote control, and a tiny and mostly useless user’s manual in English.

Rippl-TV Ports (Click to Enlarge)

Rippl-TV Ports (Click to Enlarge)

The top of the enclosure looks like ripples from a water drop, hence the name Rippl-TV. On the front panel, there’s a “drop” acting as a window for the IR receiver and blue power LED,  and one of the sides, an SD card slot can be found, while most connectors are located on the rear panel: 2x USB 2.0 host ports, an HDMI port, Ethernet RJ45 connector, 3.5 mm AV jack, optical S/PDIF,. and a power barrel. On the bottom of the enclosure, we can read “designed in Philadelphia, assembled in China”, which could give credence to rumours the device has been designed with the team that made Matricom G-Box Midnight MX2.

I’ve also shot a video for those who prefer a more visual unboxing.

Rippl-TV Board

Before getting the device, I assumed the hardware would be very similar to M8 / TM8 TV box, so let’s open it to find out. First remove four sticky rubber pads on the bottom of the case, and untighten four screws in order to open  the device.

Rippl-TV Opened (Click to Enlarge)

Rippl-TV Opened (Click to Enlarge)

There’s a metallic plate screwed on the enclosure’s bottom for cooling, and a largish heatsink on top of the CPU and RAM chips, and you’ll clearly notice a striking resemblance M8 TV box.  Four more screws need to be remove to completely take the board out of the case.

Bottom of PCBA (Click to Enlarge)

Bottom of PCBA (Click to Enlarge)

We’ll find AP6330 wireless module for dual band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, and notice four pins for serial console on the top right of the picture.

Rippl-TV M8&M9 Board (Click to Enlarge)

Rippl-TV M8&M9 Board (Click to Enlarge)

I’ve removed the heatsink to have a better look at the PCBA, and it’s now 100% clear it’s the same design as M8 box, but a different revision called M9&M8_V1.0 (2014/07/07) instead of M9_V0.91 (2013/12/12) found in my M8 sample. They have also chosen to use different, and maybe better, components, for example by replacing NANYA SDRAM chips with Samsung K4B4G1646Q DDR3L SDRAM chips.  The recovery button is located right behind the AV port as usual.

I’d like to thanks Shenzhen Tomato for sending a sample, and if you buy in quantity, you can purchase from them. Individuals can purchase Rippl-TV for $139.90 on Amazon and Aliexpress plus shipping, which is over $40 more expensive than M8 TV box including shipping, so the firmware is better worth it, but it’s something we’ll find out in the full review.

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OpenELEC for M8 TV Box (Amlogic S802) with USB Tuner Support

October 28th, 2014 20 comments

M8 TV Box is an Android media player based on Amlogic S802 that’s relatively popular. We’ve already seen XBMC Linux ported to M8 device, for people who want a more pure XBMC experience, and automatic frame rate switching, but now OpenELEC Beta 2 is also available for the device thanks to Alex Deryskyba (Codesnake).

M8 Android TV Box (Click to Enlarge)

M8 Android TV Box (Click to Enlarge)

The firmware image (OpenELEC-Meson8-K200-devel-test build 2.zip) will work on M8 / TM8, and any other Amlogic S802 devices based on K200 board. It is based on OpenELEC 4.1.2 and Linux 3.10, and a beta version, so there may still be some bugs, for example Bluetooth is not working. One very interesting feature is built-in VDR / Tvheadend DVB backends which means you should be able to use one of these USB tuners to watch Live TV from your box via satellite (DVB-S/S2), cable (DVB-C) or digital terrestrial TV (DVB-T2/ATSC) dongle.

The zip files contains three files (OpenELEC-CodeSnake-Meson8-K200-update.zip, factory_update_param.aml, recovery.img), and installation should be easy, as you just need to copy these three files to an SD card, enter recovery mode, and wait for the update to complete. This will complete overwrite your Android firmware, so if you just want to try it out, make sure you backup your app/data before doing an update.

Thanks to Ovidiu for the tip!

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

October 24th, 2014 30 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 12 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 2 comments

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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