Most Android TV boxes come pre-loaded with XBMC, but Rippl-TV goes a step further by replacing the Android home screen, or other common found launchers, by XBMC which is used not only as a media center, but also to launch apps, access the settings, and so on. Everything is done within XBMC. The hardware is very similar to SZTomato / Enybox M8, and Shenzhen Tomato appears to be the company behind this project, or at least promoting it.
- 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 (AP6330)
- 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
- Misc – Power LED (ON:blue; Standby:Red), IR receiver
- Power Supply – 5V/2A
The box runs Android 4.4.2, and a thread on Freaktab seems to confirm it’s the same hardware as the “squared M8”. During my review of the M8 (aka EM8), I found it to be a bit unstable, but since then, I’ve had several people report they were unable to play complete movies in XBMC, as it would stop about 30 minutes or so, even with the latest firmware. It seems odd to launch a new product based on a platform with stability issues, or maybe I and others were unlucky and received bad samples…
Nevertheless the interesting part is the UI, and you can see how everything is controlled from XBMC in the video below.
It might also be possible to do the same by yourself, by installing add-ons, and automatically starting XBMC at boot time. I’m also not convinced of the usefulness of having XBMC as the main UI, but it’s probably just a matter of taste.
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.