M8 Android TV Box Powered by AMLogic S802 (Unboxing)

Shenzhen Tomato Technology has send me a sample of their M8 Android TV Box based on the latest quad core AMLogic S802 processor which is said to run Android 4.4 Kitkat. In this post I’ll go through the specs, and show some pictures of the device, and internals. Later, I’ll write a full review with XBMC 13, which I’ve been told is pre-installed. I’ll also receive Tronsmart Vega S89 next week for unboxing and review.

M8 Specifications

M8 has more or less the same specs as other S802 Android TV boxes:

  • SoC – AMLogic S802 quad core Cortex A9r4 processor @ 2GHz with Mali‐450MP6 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB NAND flash + SD card slot
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual band Wi‐Fi (2.4GHz/5GHz), Bluetooth
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4b, AV. HDMI supports 1080p, 4K2K 30fps
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV, and optical S/PDIF
  • Video Codecs and Containers – MPEG1/2/4, H.264, AVC, VC‐1, RM/RMVB, Xvid, DivX3/4/5/6, RealVideo8/9/10…
  • Audio – MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, OGG, AC3, DDP, TrueHD, DTS, DTS HD, FLAC, APE…
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports ,Support U DISK And USB HDD
  • Misc – Power LED (ON:blue; Standby:Red), IR receiver
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A

The box runs Android 4.4 KitKat.

M8 Unboxing

The company send me the sample via Fedex, which I received in the package below.

SZTomato_M8

A 5V/2A, a remote control and a user’s manual are included with the media player.

M8 STB and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)
M8 STB and Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

Although it’s mentioned in the user’s manual there was no HDMI cable. The two AAA batteries required by the remote were not included either. I’d assume these may be included in retail packages, depending on the seller requirements.

M8 Android TV Box (Click to Enlarge)
M8 Android TV Box (Click to Enlarge)

A close up on the box, shows a small triangular window at the front for the IR receiver, an SD card slot on one side, and most of the connectors at the back: two USB host ports, an HDMI output, Ethernet RJ45 connector, AV output, optical SPDIF (that feels low quality because of the plastic), and a power jack.

You can watch the unboxing video below.

 M8 Board and Enclosure

I’ve already shown pictures of the boards of the M8 and Vega S89, but as I got this sample, I found a few more interesting bits.

M8 Enclocusre, Heatsinks and Board (Click to Enlarge)
M8 Enclocusre, Heatsinks and Board (Click to Enlarge)

It may be because the SoC faced down in this box, but there’s a heatsink on the CPU itself, as well as a metallic plate on the casing itself to keep everything cool. I’m not sure if it’s because of the thermal design of the box, or because S802 produce lots of heat, or both.

M8 Board Top (Click to Enlarge)
Top of M8 Board  (Click to Enlarge)

All the connector are on the top of the board, and this is the same PCB manufacturer on the 12/12/2013 and named M9_V0.91 as shown in my previous post.

M8_Board_bottom
Bottom of M8 Board (Click to Enlarge)

At the back, we’ve got AP6330 module for dual band Wi-Fi, and the serial debug port on the top right of the picture. There’s also a sticker with a MAC address starting with C4:4E:AC

S802 Processor on M8 (Click to Enlarge)
S802 Processor on M8 (Click to Enlarge)

It’s quite easy to remove the heat sink from the SoC, as there’s no need to put thermal paste after putting it, as they use a small “cushion” (what’s the right word?). The marking on the SoC is S802. AndroidPC.es reported there are three type of S802:

  • S802 – No HDMI pass-through support
  • S802D – HDMI pass-through for Dolby, but not DTS
  • S802DD or S802H –  HDMI pass-through for Dolby and DTS

I don’t know if the different names will show differently on the SoC marking, or if it will be more subtle than that.

If you are a reseller, you could get this device from Shenzhen Tomato Technology (Alibaba). Individuals can purchase the box from sites such as DealExtremeAliexpress or GeekBuying for about $100.

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gillianTop 10 Posts of 2014 and Stats on CNX SoftwareUnboxing of Eny EM6Q-MXQ Android TV Box Powered by Amlogic S805 ProcessorMyGica - Tiên phong Android Box - Đi đầu về hình ảnh, âm thanhRiaqn Recent comment authors
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ekimia
Guest

Exactly the Box I was looking for. Supported right OOTB by XBMC and Linux.

mat
Guest
mat

Linux support already, really? Where can we find a distro with GPU and VPU acceleration drivers?

natsu
Guest
natsu

nice box, but the H.265 is missing, so it ruined a liitle bit the party
anyway, did you know if they are a DVB S2 version for European countries
thx

deskwizard
Guest
deskwizard

It’s amlogic, don’t get your hopes up.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Where is the review of the rom? How come your reviews only focus on media playing as these are mini pc not just media streaming. Please post complete reviews next time not just your personal focus

Dan
Guest
Dan

There is no linux for M8, Pivos are the ones who made linux for Amlogic and they are leaving that behind going Android only. Everyone else was copying Pivos work tweaking it a little then releasing their version so you can expect activity around linux to taper off just like it did with M6 linux project which has only amateurs hacking away at it.

The M8’s do run hot, you might even see boxes with a fan.

The M8’s also do HD audio bit-streaming TrueHD/DTS-MA but it isn’t working properly yet and may or may not be enabled depending upon who you buy it from, Pivos M8’s will have it enabled but are not due till later this year.

The Cageybee
Guest
The Cageybee

Really looking forward to the reviews for this and the Vega. It feels like we’re moving into a new era with these 2Ghz chips with the improved graphics performance from the new Mali450MP6. It’ll be interesting to see what they benchmark like.

@cnx
Could you let us know if these boxes support CVBS video out. If possible that is. It looks like they didn’t send you an AV cable.

Kenneth
Guest
Kenneth

Does Netflix have 5.1 sound and 1080p resolution?

Marius
Guest
Marius

@The Cageybee
Indeed it’s not bad but I still like the Snapdragon equipped Amazon one better. Too bad it’s USA only.

adem
Guest
adem

i wonder if the amazon box will ever have a fully android system and android UI ang google play

dhead
Guest
dhead

@cnxsoft

The silkscreen on the baseboard of my M3 device says “Shenzen Shiningstar”.
After a bit of googling I got to the conclusion that “Shenzen Shiningstar” and “Shenzen Shiningworth” are the same company, mainly due to this quote “More Products in Shiningstar http://shiningworth.en.alibaba.com/” from this product page (same device as mine) http://shiningworth.en.alibaba.com/product/1471699218-220322830/Hot_Google_1080p_HDMI_Android_4_0_Single_Core_TV_Box_Support_USB_Camera_Skype_OTT_BOX.html

Worth to mention that the same baseboards can be used for both M3 and MX SoM, for example one of my M3 devices and MX device use the latest HD18 v.2.22 baseboard (my guess designer is Shenzen Shiningworth) with the RTL8188ETV wifi.

My guess is all the “manufacturers” like Tomato just assembled the devices and maybe (and this is a big maybe) also solder smt reflow the devices on the baseboard but clearly got no idea in the software development for these devices.
Probably only one company build the Android images and this probably is “Shenzen Shiningworth”.

Amlogic already released kernel 3.10 for the M8 (and M6/MX) and there’re sources for the amplayer and fw for the amplyer in the libplayer package in Buildroot tree publicly released by Amlogic, so if nothing special is missing there shouldn’t be an issue to build Linux image.

Another [strange] fact is that Amlogic releasing on their OpenLinux site customer files with configs to build kernel for specific devices.
With all the mess with the Chinese suppliers and “manufacturers” it’s impossible for a customer to recieve sources for his device, so my guess is that Amlogic probably forcing the PCB designers to send back configs files so it could be released by Amlogic.

Anyway, there’s an interesting discussion about the M8 at freaktab.com (but it hard to say how accurate the info there) http://www.freaktab.com/showthread.php?10472-EM8-Amlogic-S802-quad-core-2Ghz-Octa-core-Mali-450-FIRST-PRICE-INFO!

m][sko
Guest
m][sko

adem :
i wonder if the amazon box will ever have a fully android system and android UI ang google play

@adem

I don’t really think amazon box need it 🙂
If you really think Andorid UI for phones are usefull for tv box plz keep using it this way.
But most of us still want UI for TVs

Comcast use amlogic MX and everybody looks happy

Marius
Guest
Marius

@adem
I’m sure it will but only as a hack made by someone. You can imagine Amazon has no interest in promoting Google services when they have their own competing products.

adem
Guest
adem

well its not ui thats a problem for me its the fact that your limited to a certain amount of apps and that you have to pay for most of the content but you look at the good old trusty mk908 and xbmc with its libstagefright where everything is working perfect you look at all the thing you can do. its practically a pc when you want it and a htpc when you want it. its what ever you want it to be it can play every thing you throw at it. but then i dont know i never used netflix living in australia a lot of content is blocked for us but thanks to xbmc we have every thing we want

Javi
Guest
Javi

dhead :
@cnxsoft
The silkscreen on the baseboard of my M3 device says “Shenzen Shiningstar”.
After a bit of googling I got to the conclusion that “Shenzen Shiningstar” and “Shenzen Shiningworth” are the same company, mainly due to this quote “More Products in Shiningstar http://shiningworth.en.alibaba.com/” from this product page (same device as mine) http://shiningworth.en.alibaba.com/product/1471699218-220322830/Hot_Google_1080p_HDMI_Android_4_0_Single_Core_TV_Box_Support_USB_Camera_Skype_OTT_BOX.html
Worth to mention that the same baseboards can be used for both M3 and MX SoM, for example one of my M3 devices and MX device use the latest HD18 v.2.22 baseboard (my guess designer is Shenzen Shiningworth) with the RTL8188ETV wifi.
My guess is all the “manufacturers” like Tomato just assembled the devices and maybe (and this is a big maybe) also solder smt reflow the devices on the baseboard but clearly got no idea in the software development for these devices.
Probably only one company build the Android images and this probably is “Shenzen Shiningworth”.
Amlogic already released kernel 3.10 for the M8 (and M6/MX) and there’re sources for the amplayer and fw for the amplyer in the libplayer package in Buildroot tree publicly released by Amlogic, so if nothing special is missing there shouldn’t be an issue to build Linux image.
Another [strange] fact is that Amlogic releasing on their OpenLinux site customer files with configs to build kernel for specific devices.
With all the mess with the Chinese suppliers and “manufacturers” it’s impossible for a customer to recieve sources for his device, so my guess is that Amlogic probably forcing the PCB designers to send back configs files so it could be released by Amlogic.
Anyway, there’s an interesting discussion about the M8 at freaktab.com (but it hard to say how accurate the info there) http://www.freaktab.com/showthread.php?10472-EM8-Amlogic-S802-quad-core-2Ghz-Octa-core-Mali-450-FIRST-PRICE-INFO!

The “M8” was designed by Netxeon, who owns the brand “Beelink”.

I, in person, saw the board design, detailed layers design, 3d work of the case… some months ago.

mat
Guest
mat

hum, no h.265, no linux, speed not much more than rk3188 an price nearly doubled……

no, thank you

Marius
Guest
Marius

@mat
I must point out that the price is not double. Take into account that this a full media box and not a TV stick. Any real RK3188 media box will probably cost $80 ( not the slower RK3188T ) while this is at $100 and going down.
Given enough time we will see TV sticks based on this which should be priced lower but this one seems to need some more cooling.
Linux support will come and even h265 might work using the GPU.
My only problem with this is there are new Rockchip and Allwinner SOCs that are 1-2 months away which have a much better performance.

Javi
Guest
Javi

You can wait RK3288… no far

The Cageybee
Guest
The Cageybee

Lol. How much h.265 content do people have anyway? Is it really a showstopper if a soc doesn’t include it?
I find it strange that people decry that these systems can’t display 4k @60hz also. How many people have TVs that can display it anyway. By the time they both become standard we’ll probably be a few generations on.

mat
Guest
mat

@The Cageybee
Man these chips are new and pricey (R-K42 is about $68 gg), we would like just to see something worth the money.

10% performance more than rk3188 isn’t.
[email protected] will likely be of no use without h.265 (wanna bet? check how much 1080p non-h.264 you see nowadays).
No linux drivers out of the box.
Seems it gets hot, a lot.
I’s simply too expensive for what offers.

The Cageybee
Guest
The Cageybee

@mat
The performane difference looks much greater than 10%. The Vega got 30805 on Antutu in Geekbuyings tests vs about 20000 (on a good day) for the rk3188.
The Amlogix 802 boxes all seem to be true 1080 output OTB as well whereas the rockchip ones have all been 1080 downscaled to 720. (hacks probably available to do 1080 but with performance drop due to extra pixel shifting)
Also the rk3188 have had quite a lot of problems regarding video decoding. Amlogic have a very good track record in this regard, although we’ll have to wait for the reviews to start before we can see if this continues.

jimbob
Guest
jimbob

Thanks for taking the time to show us this unboxing, I look forward to the full review. 🙂 I almost ordered a couple of these for myself, but held back as I have been burnt on aliexpress/alibaba before and would rather buy from somewhere I can pay with Paypal and would like to see the firmware.

Regarding the performance difference – I have both a Pipo M9Pro (RK3188) which I have had for approx 9 months and an Onda V975M v3 (AML M802), which I have had for a few weeks now.
Despite the Pipo being my day to day choice (due to the feature set and ROM availability) the performance (especially graphically) of the AMLogic chipset is in another league entirely.

There are reviews for the Beelink M8 (same as Tronsmart S89) already up – Antutu figures are around the 30k mark.

However, it depends on how good the ROM is….. with the Onda, despite the gaming performance and video playback/searching being pretty astonishing, there are issues in some fundamental areas – in any web browser, typing lags horribly. This is why I am so interested in a full review of this unit (I am not interested in the Beelink/Tronsmart equipment because of the round design). to see if day-to-day useage is good.

dhead
Guest
dhead

Javi :
The “M8″ was designed by Netxeon, who owns the brand “Beelink”.
I, in person, saw the board design, detailed layers design, 3d work of the case… some months ago.

@Javi

Thanks for the info, it’s nice to get insights from the Chinese EE industry as it’s a conundrum to me.

trackback

[…] review, I wrote an unboxing post about M8, an Android TV Box powered by Amlogic S802 quad core Cortex A9r4 processor with a Mali-450MP6 GPU. […]

trackback

[…] perspective, NEO X8 is very similar to the two other Amlogic S802 STBs I’ve received, namely M8 and Tronsmart Vega S89, but NEO X8s is the first Android TV Box I’ve ever seen being […]

Stane1983
Member

Dan :
There is no linux for M8, Pivos are the ones who made linux for Amlogic and they are leaving that behind going Android only. Everyone else was copying Pivos work tweaking it a little then releasing their version so you can expect activity around linux to taper off just like it did with M6 linux project which has only amateurs hacking away at it.
The M8′s do run hot, you might even see boxes with a fan.
The M8′s also do HD audio bit-streaming TrueHD/DTS-MA but it isn’t working properly yet and may or may not be enabled depending upon who you buy it from, Pivos M8′s will have it enabled but are not due till later this year.

Man, get a life and stop throwing out bull*hit. If there were no Rene van Dorst, Daniel, j1nx, Corey Moyer, Jon Block, me and some other guys, Linux XBMC for MX (or M6, what you prefer) would not exist. It is true that we used Pivos version of XBMC as start because of already implemented Amlogic stuff and network manager, but XBMC, which is software that runs of top of Linux (kernel + drivers + alot of buildroot packages and in the end XBMC) is just frontend for user.

trackback

[…] Tomato has finally sent me an updated firmware (password: 17r0) for M8 / TM8 Android TV box powered by Amlogic S802. This firmware is rooted, and adds support for Google Apps (Play Store, […]

trackback

[…] few days ago, I wrote an Unboxing and Specs post about the M8, an Android TV Box powered by Amlogic S802 quad core Cortex A9 processor. The review took a little […]

Reddy
Guest

Hi,

I am planning to order from Shenzhen Tomato Technology. But they accept only T/T and WU.
Can you please let me know if it is safe, how reliable is this?

Thanks,

Javi
Guest

cnxsoft :
@Javi
Would that be possible that Netxeon/Beelink designed the box, but the actual manufacturing had been done by Shenzhen Shiningworth? Companies are not really supposed to use other companies’ MAC addresses, but this is China, so many things become possible…

I don’t understand why everybody choosen “M8” name… The one you reviewed here is not designed by Netxeon, but the Beelink M8. I’ll make a comparision between them, I think The Beelink is really beter, there are some design issues on this M8, just need to look at the ESD protection (where?), capacitors and another “small” details.

trackback

[…] on Chinese SoCs with lots of announcements. Devices powered by Amlogic S802 quad core SoC such as M8 and Vega S89 are already available, Rockchip RK3288 Android TV boxes are likely to sell in May, […]

Zahir Jamal
Guest
Zahir Jamal

Hi:

Nice write-up – but in the absence of post-beta firmware and therefore a real performance test – inconclusive. Early reports about terrible Wi-Fi performance are worrisome. Where is the internal antenna in your teardown pictures? Is it adequate?

I will have one of these boxes next week and will let you know how it behaves under real-world conditions.

Riaqn
Guest

haha, I have found a privilege to be a Chinese, is that you pay only 430CNY(~70USD) to buy such a board. I ‘m going to get one. 🙂
Thanks for your all your works!

trackback

[…] There’s also MAC address on the bottom of the casing starting with C44EAC that looks up to Shenzhen Shiningworth Technology Co., Ltd found in some other Amlogic products. […]

trackback

[…] M8 Android TV Box Powered by AMLogic S802 (Unboxing) (April 2014) – As people checkout M8 review, the top post of 2014, they also clicked on the unboxing post to checkout pictures and specs of the device. […]

gillian
Guest

My m8 box android does not power up do you have any suggestions as to how to fix it. I have tried more than one power plug and it still does not power