XBMC Android now runs fairly well on ARM based hardware, but some people still prefer to run XBMC Linux because they want a pure XBMC experience, and Android is just an unnecessary overhead, and some features are still better supported in XBMC Linux such as frame rate switching, which is not supported in Android (You need to manually select the refresh rate in the settings). One way to go if you want to get XBMC Linux is to buy one of the boxes pre-loaded with the firmware such as Jynxbox M1V2 Pure Linux or Little Black Box. But these devices are generally significantly more expensive than their Android equivalents. So instead, some people get an Android TV box, and install XBMC Linux firmware compatible with the hardware such as MX Linux which runs on media players with a “g18ref” and “mx2ref” boards. Gbox Midgnight MX2 is one of these g18ref Android TV boxes, but there are quite a few “clones” on the market, and CMX is one of the most recent, powered by Amlogic AML8726-MX, running Android 4.2.2, and selling for just $49.99 on GeekBuying.
CMX specs are indeed exactly the same as Gbox Midnigt MX2:
- SoC – Amlogic AML8726-MX Dual Core Cortex A9 CPU + dual core Mali-400 GPU
- System Memory – 1GB DDR3 RAM
- Storage – 8GB Flash + SD card slot (Up to 32GB)
- Video Output – HDMI v1.4, composite (CVBS) and component (YUV)
- Audio Output – HDMI, AV, and coaxial S/PDIF
- Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n internal Wifi + 10/100M Ethernet Port
- USB – 4x USB 2.0 Ports
- Misc – IR sensor, LED
- Power Supply – 5V/2A
The box apparently also comes with the same accessories including a 5V/2A power adapter, HDMI and AV cables, the same IR remote control, and a user’s manual.
It’s impossible to verify whether there’s indeed a “g18ref” board inside the device that compatible with XBMC Linux without actually trying it or opening the box [Update: CMX board picture can be seen on Freaktab]. After failing to get a satisfying answer from GeekBuying support, one reader contacted me about this, and I asked GeekBuying to try MX Linux or OpenElec on the device, and they kindly did test both versions, and reported them to boot fine.
Here are the links to both versions with instructions:
- OpenELEC 4.2 beta2 – It can be installed on generic g18ref device after flashing Matricom’s firmware 1.1.6 that changes the NAND layout/partition table. Geekbuying reported they did not need to update the firmware on CMX, and it just worked by flashing OpenELEC directly.
- MX Linux v1.00 Stable
If for some reasons, after you try XBMC Linux, you want to get back to Android, you can always reinstall the stock firmware.
Beside GeekBuying, CMX TV Box is also available on Aliexpress for $57.99 and up. I don’t know any other dual core Android TV box compatible with XBMC Linux that sells for $50, and whether you run Android and Linux, it looks like a very good deal.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
14 Replies to “$50 CMX Dual Core Android TV Box Runs Android 4.2, Supports XBMC Linux”
Will the Linux build degrade the strong wifi performance that was tested on this box running 4.2? Any G-Box MX2 Linux videos or tests yet? I noticed the video reviews had a lot of dislikes for some reason.
Good questions. I doubt running Linux or Android degrades Wi-Fi on the box, because they must have the same kernel / drivers. However, even though this products is software compatible, the hardware will be different. That’s one of the reasons they can offer it at a lower price, so there’s no guarantee about Wi-Fi performance.
I haven’t tested XBMC Linux myself, so I don’t know, and the box has been given away. There may be various reasons with the disliked on the video.
correction here… all Amlogic MX boxes that are using Realtek USB chips (most of them are using rtl8192cu or 8188eu) needs driver modifications to work better (because original Aml driver have p2p interface, wfd interface… which are not needed in Linux and it only confuses Linux). Doing some tests I can confirm that modified Linux drivers shows better performance than stock Amlogic one (under Linux).
Thanks for the correction.
I understand you compare the performance of Wi-Fi between the modified drivers and Amlogic drivers under Linux. Does it also mean Wi-Fi is better under Linux than under Android?
Correct. For example, in Linux I use original realtek drivers, w/o amlogic modifications which showed much better performance.
So does the one sold in geekbuying works with xbmc linux and 1080p or not? If so which version is it?
Yes, the one we sold support xbmc linux, i can check the resolution is 1280*720, i know in android xbmc, there is choice for me changing the resolution,but i can’t find it in linux xmbc, is there anyone can help? i also want to know if it can run @1080P.
Afaik, nor Linux or Android for Amlogic MX platform supports real 1080p output, just scaled one.
There is a very similar *looking* device that has piqued my interest, this http://www.dx.com/p/hd18t2-dvb-s2-dual-core-android-2-2-google-tv-box-player-wireless-signal-w-1gb-ram-8gb-rom-black-294645. It has the same SOC and specs but I have no idea as to the internals. It has an inbuilt DVB-T2 tuner [ no info on that either ] and I am trying to figure out if it can run openElec, would be awesome if XBMCs PVR features worked on this
It looks like that box: http://www.cnx-software.com/2014/05/22/unboxing-of-hd18t-android-media-player-with-dvb-t2-tuner/
The board is different from g18ref, so I guess MX Linux / OpenElec won’t work. I also don’t know whether XBMC Linux (ARM) supports DVB and PVR (if that’s what you are interested in). Maybe Stane1983 can confirm/correct that.
Using that HD18T box, It can’t find any TV channels where I live, and I’m waiting for a reference device to make sure it’s not my antenna. (Free from the government but they keep postponing it).
Two guys from Singapore reported DVB-T2 does not work, but one of them said DVB-T is OK. It’s also possible there are DVB-T and DVB-T2 on the market.
Hi, Do you know if this box can, with OpenELEC 4.2 beta2, support USB Terratec HTC HD DVB-C, pls? My goal is to watch Live TV with it.
Stane1983: With some modifications you can have real 1080p playback in XBMC. See my post in 1.1.9 thread on Matricom forum for patch for Android (since people have some problems with it, I guess you also need to turn off XBMC scaling). On Linux all you have to do is turning free_scaling off. I confirmed real 1080p by playing test patterns.
Can I use this boxes and programs to get cable tv iin US?