There are plenty of Android media players on the market, and Linux only TV boxes with recent processors have become a rarity. One of them is Armada Mach 8 Pure Linux based on Shenzhen Tomato / Eny M8 hardware, and a new device called Xunity Aurora, also powered by Amlogic S802 quad core processor, will run Linux based on an hardware platform that looks very much like Zoomtak T8.
- SoC – Amlogic S802 quad core cortex A9r4 @ 2 GHz with Mali-450MP6 GPU @ 700 MHz
- System Memory – 2GB DDR3
- Storage – 8GB NAND flash + SD card slot
- Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi with external antenna, Bluetooth 4.0
- Video Output – HDMI 1.4a up to 4K30, composite output (RCA)
- Audio Output – HDMI, stereo RCA, and optical S/PDIF
- Video Containers – DAT, MPEG, MPE, MPG, TS/TP, VOB, ISO, AVI, MP4, MOV, 3GP, FLV, MKV, M2TS, MTS, M4V, WMV, ASF, RM/RMVB, etc…
- Audio Formats – MP2, MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG, OGA, FLAC, ALAC, APE, AAC etc…
- USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports
- Misc – IR receiver, LED display on front panel, and power button.
- Power Supply – 5V/2A
- Dimensions – N/A (Aluminum enclosure)
The box comes with an IR remote control, a 5V/2A power adapter, an HDMI cable, an a user’s manual. XBMC 13.2 is pre-installed in the box, together with iStream add-on, a “smart media aggregator that stores media preferences, creates a digital online library in the cloud, and let you watch TV shows, movies, and YouTube videos without the need to pay for cable TV subscription”.
Zoomtak T8 can also feature an optional SATA bay under the device, but it has not been included in Xunity Aurora, so the company recommends to use a USB hard drive instead.
Linux based TV boxes are normally more expensive than Android ones, which I understand as sales should be lower, and software developers need to be pay somehow. But here the price gap is a little more than expected, as while Zoomtak T8 sells for $95 shipped, Xunity Aurora goes for 160 Euros (~$190 US) + shipping, although it can also be found on Ebay for $169.95. I guess this could be still attractive for people who want to get rid of their cable subscription, and don’t know how to install an XBMC add-on. If you have a twitter account, the company also organize a giveaway to win this Linux box. Further details may be found on Xunity Aurora product page.