Debian 8 on Orange Pi mini 2 Board (Video)

Yesterday, I wrote a quick start guide for Orange Pi PC / 2 / Plus showing how to install Linux distributions on the board, and build your own image. With the launch of the $15 Orange Pi PC, Xunlong Software has taken over 1,500 orders for the board on their Aliexpress store, and probably sold a few hundreds or thousands in China via Taobao. So the board got relatively popular in a short time, considering it’s only selling via these two channels. I tested my tutorial with Orange Pi mini 2 ($23), a very similar board also based on Allwinner H3, but just a little larger and with an extra USB hosty port, but apart from that it’s similar to Orange Pi PC, and software compatible.

Debian 8 running in Orange Pi mini 2 (Click for Original Size)
Debian 8 running in Orange Pi mini 2 (Click for Original Size)

I had already wrote about my test results in the previous article, where I did not recommend using the board in Linux as a desktop platform especially since video hardware acceleration provided by the VPU was not enabled, but I was asked several questions, including whether I qould shoot a video. I’ve done so showing some of the system technical details in a terminal window, before running Chromium with multiple tabs, playing an embedded video, as well as playing videos (online and local) with SMPlayer and mplayer. I forgot to install LibreOffice before the test, but this should still give a good idea of what you can expect in Debian, or other Linux distributions running on Orange Pi Allwinner H3 board.

If you’d rather skip the video, this is what I had to say yesterday:

I’ve quickly tested the image. Chromium is pre-installed, and the developer must be from Croatia, since Chromium will start by default. Web browsing is fine, but Adobe flash (libpepperflash) is not installed, Thai language is not supported, and Youtube videos are super slow and unwatchable in Chromium. Having said that, you can use SMPlayer to watch YouTube video perfectly fine… in windowed mode (as shown in the screenshot below), but if you go full screen the system can’t cope. I’ve also tried to play a 1080p H.264 video locally, but it won’t play smoothly at all.  es2gears (installed with apt-get install mesa-utils-extra) runs, but es2_info reports the render is the software rasterizer.

So the only new test was to play a 1080p H.264 video with mplayer which support multiple thread, and can (almost) play 1080p videos smoothly in full screen. I also noticed Chromium took about 5 to 6 seconds to launch from my Class 10 micro SD card. So whiel I don’t recommend to use Orange Pi PC / 2 / Plus as a Linux desktop platform it can still be useful for headless application (server / embedded), or applications where HD video playback or OpenGLES is not required. The latter two however work in Android.

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14 Replies to “Debian 8 on Orange Pi mini 2 Board (Video)”

  1. Was the H.264 file on the SD card too? If so I suspect using a faster card (I use x633 ones) could help.
    Or a USB hard disk

  2. @FransM
    Yes, it was on the SD card, but since the video bitrate is just ~ 12Mbit/s, I’m not sure it matters that much.
    I’ll try anyway…

    Edit: I’ve tried on an EXT-4 partition on a USB hard drive, and the result is the same.

  3. I believe the flicker is because Thai power is 50Hz and your camera is recording at 60Hz. Is there an option to set the monitor to run at 60Hz? Should be one in the Debian screen controls. It may also be be caused by nearby 50Hz light bulbs. Monitor may not look good at 60Hz, but it will look good in the recording.

  4. @TC
    That’s a Croatian Serbian music video.. ->

    @Jon Smirl
    Sorry about the bad quality, the display is fine in real life. It’s just I set the refresh rate to 50Hz, in case I recorded a video my usual camera which can only handle 25 fps, but since it’s limited to 720p, and text is difficult to read when recording at that resolution, I switched to my action camera that recorded the video at 60 fps. It’s just due to the mismatch between the recording device fps and the TV refresh rate.

    I’m not sure I can change in the refresh rate in Debian settings, but it can at least be done with the script.bin file.

  5. Orange Pi Mini must be the cheapest way to make a cluster? (eg 16 cores for less than the 16 core Parallela board…)

  6. Any thoughts why the Aliexpress shop linked above does not yet show any feedback? The first orders have been placed on Aug. 25 and guess that some could/should have arrived?

    What risk do you see placing the order and paying in advance 36$ (2pcs)?

  7. @LinAdmin
    If they don’t send out in time 20 days or something. Ali-express sends money back to buyer. I waited a month from time when I placed order to package at local post-office

  8. I want to play and record video on orange pi. I am new for orange pi, how should I start. I have CVBS signal from camera. Please guide

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