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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41 Comments
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ekimia
6 years ago

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

mat
mat
6 years ago

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

natsu
natsu
6 years ago

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
deskwizard
6 years ago

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

Paul
Paul
6 years ago

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
Dan
6 years ago

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… Read more »

The Cageybee
The Cageybee
6 years ago

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
Kenneth
6 years ago

Does Netflix have 5.1 sound and 1080p resolution?

Marius
Marius
6 years ago

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

adem
adem
6 years ago

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

dhead
dhead
6 years ago

@Jean-Luc Aufranc (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… Read more »

m][sko
6 years ago

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
Marius
6 years ago

@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
adem
6 years ago

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… Read more »

Javi
Javi
6 years ago

dhead : @Jean-Luc Aufranc (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… Read more »

mat
mat
6 years ago

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

no, thank you

Marius
Marius
6 years ago

@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… Read more »

Javi
Javi
6 years ago

You can wait RK3288… no far

The Cageybee
The Cageybee
6 years ago

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
mat
6 years ago

@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
The Cageybee
6 years ago

@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… Read more »

jimbob
jimbob
6 years ago

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… Read more »

dhead
dhead
6 years ago

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.

Stane1983
6 years ago

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… Read more »

Reddy
6 years ago

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
Javi
6 years ago

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.

Zahir Jamal
Zahir Jamal
6 years ago

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
Riaqn
6 years ago

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!

gillian
gillian
5 years ago

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

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