I’ve been informed about a quad core Cortex A7 TV box supporting 2160p output, H.265 codec and featuring a USB 3.0 port, that’s currently selling for just $52.99 on Aliexpress including shipping, as well as Ebay for $62 from the same seller. Only “quad core ARM cortex A7” was listed in the specs, and the exact processor was not mentioned, but I could see marketing material about “Q3 quad core” used, and a quick search redirected me to Himedia Q3 Quad Core also powered by an Hisilicon processor, but a different device. So I decided to contact the seller (“Buyforsure”) who quickly replied it was indeed powered by Hisilicon Hi3798M processor.
The model is called BFS 4KH on Aliexpress/Ebay, but that name has probably been made up by the seller, so it will also be found under other name. Nevertheless here are the specifications of this low cost 4K TV Box:
- SoC – HiSilicon Hi3798M V100 quad core ARM Cortex A7 @ 1.5GHz + quad core ARM Mali-450MP GPU.
- System Memory – 1 GB DDR3
- Storage – 8GB NAND Flash
- Video Out – HDMI 1.4a with HDCP 1.2, and composite RCA output
- Audio Output – HDMI, and L/R stereo output (RCA)
- Video Codecs – MPEG1/2/4, H.264/AVC, H.265, VC-1, REALVIDEO 8/9/10, XviD, DviX, VP6 ,etc.. up to 2160p
- Audio Support – MP3, WMA, AAC, APE, FLAC, WAV, MKA, DTS, DTS HD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD,
- Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi with external antenna
- USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 2.0 host port
- Misc – Power switch (On/Off)
- Power Supply – N/A
- Dimensions – N/A
The box runs Android 4.4.2 with Google Play support, and XBMC pre-installed. It ships with an IR remote control, a power adapter, and an HDMI cable. Supported file systems include NTFS, FAT32, and EXT2/3. In theory, it’s great to have a USB 3.0 port, but it becomes pretty useless, as least for storage devices, if all you have is 10/100M Ethernet, or 802.11n Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, this HiSilicon processor only features an 10/100M Ethernet PHY, so it’s a limitation from the processor itself, and not the device. The power on/off switch is mechanical, but power control is allegedly handled by an MCU, which could allow clean power off, and power on from the remote control.
I’ve included a block diagram for Hi3798M for reference below. Also it only shows 1080p60 for the video decoder, the product brief specifies 4K x 2K video decoding is indeed supported.
Thanks to Gabe for the tip.