Most TV boxes on the market are running Android, but if all you’d want to do is watching online or local videos in Kodi, a Linux box may offer a more streamlined experience, and that’s exactly what ARNU Box Mach 10 Pure Linux is offering as an Amlogic S812 TV Box running Kodi 15 Linux. In my “Arnu Box Mach 10 specs, unboxing and teardown” post, we’ve already seen the box bascially uses the same PCB used in Eny M8S, but with some different memory and storage chips. But that’s the software that’s mostly interested in this box, and today, I’ll go through the first time setup and Cloudword, before testing video playback capabilities.
Setting Up ARNU Box Mach 10 Pure Linux
So I’ve just connected an HDMI cable, an Ethernet cable, and the power adapter to get started, and the very first time you’ll go through a detailed setup wizard, that doubles as a tutorial in some cases, as it explains where to change some settings.
The second step is network configuration. If you plan to use Ethernet and DHCP, just press next, but if you want to use a WiFi connection instead enter the WiFi manager. The system detected both my 2.4 and 5 GHz access point, but I finally just pressed next to use Ethernet. If later on, you change your mind, the network settings can be modified in Programs->ARNU Box System Settings-> Network.
The next step if for screen calibration in order to compensate for overscan. My TV HDMI input is already set to fit to underscan, so I selected Next.
The next step is Cloudword installer, one of the key selling point of the box, which allows you to install add-ons by inputting a single word. I had read somewhere, that you could install add-ons for your country easily, so I just click on Install a Cloudword and typed “thailand”, but it did not work.. So for once, I consulted the user’s manual, these can be useful at times, and found out they listed several keywords including:
So I gave a try at “uk”, and the system downloaded and installed about 11MB of data.
Once installation is complete, you need to restart the box, and the system greets you with a Setup Completed window.
The setup wizard may be complete, but you may want to add at least two or three more steps:
- Time zone selection – Go to System->Settings->Appearance->International, and select your Timezone country, and if needed Timezone.
- Automatic frame rate switching – Go to Settings->Video, and change Level to Advanced. Go to Playback, and change Adjust display refresh rate to Always. If you don’t follow this step, there may be some old frames showing up every X seconds. It was especially visible on Big Buck Bunny MPEG4 videos in my case.
- UI resolution – The first time I think I got a 1080p UI, but later after going from standby it suddenly switched to 480i. You can change the default by going to Settings->System, and change the Resolution and Frame Rate as needed in Video Output section.
The setup is now complete, unless you plan to use an AV receiver (tip: it does not work anyway, at least not for me).
I’d like to complete this section, by addressing piracy and add-ons, as some commenters mentioned that ARNU Box devices would be filled with piracy add-ons. So I went to Add-ons->My add-ons->All, and 81 add-ons were installed, including 36 video add-ons, but I could not see any add-ons like Navi-X or 1Channel which are often used to access pirated content, but instead add-ons names include ARNU Box add-ons, BestOfYoutube.com, Disclose.tv, DIY network, Engadget, Filmon, Khan Academy, NASA, etc.. none of which are part of Kodi’s forum banned add-ons. So based on my experience, you don’t need to worry the box may come pre-loaded with piracy add-ons. That does not mean Cloudword may not be used for this purpose, but AFAICS the box and user’s manual don’t point to any pirated content. I tried a few add-ons, and most of them would work properly, either reporting an error (check the log), or letting me browse the list of video, but failed to stream the video. The exception was YouTube which worked as expected.
ARNU Box Mach 10 Video Playback
The box running Kodi 15.2-RC1 (Compiled September 15, 2015), and the operating system is called EmbER 3.0.0~beta2, and runs on top of Linux 3.10.87.
So I went in the Videos menu to browse and add my network shares, and this worked fine, until I was asked to input my password. Inputting password with an IR remote control is a pain, so I connect a USB keyboard, but it was not recognized. Small problem, so I continued with the remote, but after four attempts to login it failed. So I decided to revert to playing video from my hard drive, as I could not access my Ubuntu 14.04 SAMBA share. I played from the NTFS partition. The EXT-4 partition is also mounted, but exFAT is not supported.
Results with video samples from samplemedia.linaro.org, Elecard H.265/HEVC samples up to 1080p, and a low resolution VP9 video:
- H.264 codec / MP4 container (Big Buck Bunny) – 480p/720p/1080p – OK
- MPEG2 codec / MPG container – 480p/720p/1080p – Audio only, the system stays in Kodi’s user interface
- MPEG4 codec, AVI container 480p/720p/1080p – OK (after enabling automatic frame rate switching in the settings. See first section of the review)
- VC1 codec (WMV) – 480p/720p/1080p – OK
- Real Media (RMVB), 720p / 5Mbps – OK
- WebM / VP8 – OK
- H.265 codec / MPEG TS container (360p/720p/1080p) – OK.
- WebM / VP9 (no audio in video) – OK
Overall very good, except MPEG-2 videos are not supported
Time for some higher bitrate videos:
- ED_HD.avi – Won’t start, stays in UI
- big_buck_bunny_1080p_surround.avi (1080p H.264 – 12 Mbps) – OK.
- h264_1080p_hp_4.1_40mbps_birds.mkv (40 Mbps) – OK
- hddvd_demo_17.5Mbps_1080p_VC1.mkv (17.5Mbps) – Plays but could be smoother (few boxes can handle this video perfectly)
- Jellyfish-120-Mbps.mkv (120 Mbps video without audio) – OK
Then I configured audio pass-through in Kodi, and turned off my Onkyo TX-NR636 receveir to test HD audio. I normally start with HDMI pass-through using BD/DVD input, and if that works well, I also test optical S/PDIF using TV/CD input of the receiver. As reference, I also tested audio down-mixing to PCM.
|Video||PCM Output||HDMI Pass-through||S/PDIF Pass-through|
|AC3 / Dolby Digital 5.1||Audio OK, but no video (MPEG-2 bug)||Short noise (> 1s), then PCM 2.0, and no video||Dolby D 5.1 (no video)|
|E-AC-3 / Dolby Digital+ 5.1||OK||Short noise, then PCM 2.0||Dolby D 5.1|
|Dolby Digital+ 7.1||OK||PCM 2.0||Audio Formats Not Supported over S/PDIF|
|TrueHD 5.1||OK||PCM 2.0|
|TrueHD 7.1||OK||PCM 2.0|
|Dolby Atmos 7.1||OK||PCM 2.0|
|DTS HD Master||OK||Short noise (> 1second), then PCM 2.0|
|DTS HD High Resolution||OK||Short noise (> 1second), then PCM 2.0|
Let’s carry on with some audio videos, and pass-through disabled. Sintel-Bluray.iso Blu-ray ISO video could play, but two 1080i video samples did not play properly because they are encoded with MPEG-2.
Hi10p videos are almost watchable, and the keyword here is almost :
- [Commie] Steins;Gate – NCED [BD 720p AAC] [10bit] [C706859E].mkv – Audio OK, subtitles OK, but the video has some artifacts from time to time.
- [1080p][16_REF_L5.1][mp3_2.0]Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu BD OP.mkv – Audio OK, subtitles OK, but the video has much more noticeable artifacts.
Contrary to other boxes I tested recently, 4K videos play reasonably well in ARNU Box Mach 10, but with one important caveat:
- HD.Club-4K-Chimei-inn-60mbps.mp4 – OK
- sintel-2010-4k.mkv – OK.
- Beauty_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) – OK
- Bosphorus_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) – OK
- Jockey_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_TS.ts (H.265) – Won’t play, the system stays in user interface.
- MHD_2013_2160p_ShowReel_R_9000f_24fps_RMN_QP23_10b.mkv (10-bit HEVC) – Outputs a different garbled image every 2 seconds.
- phfx_4KHD_VP9TestFootage.webm (VP9) – Probably plays at 3 to 4 fps.
- BT.2020.20140602.ts (Rec.2020 compliant video) – Won’t play, the system stays in the user interface
- big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_30fps.mp4 – OK
- big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_60fps.mp4 – Somewhat slow motion, and audio/video synchronization issues (Actually better expected as Amlogic S812 does not support 4K video at 60fps)
It’s quite good, so what’s that caveat? Video output is set to 1080p60 or 1080p50 depending on video, but I have not found any way to make the system output to 2160p, whether in the user’s manual, or in ARNU Box forums. I’m using LG 42UB820T television for testing, and the only time I could get 2160p output was when the video signal went through my AV receiver which upscaled the signal from 1080p to 2160p, but it’s obviously not the ideal solution as clarity is lost in the process.
Even though my television does not support 3D, it’s still worth checking out if the system can decode 3D stereoscopic videos:
- bbb_sunflower_1080p_60fps_stereo_abl.mp4 (1080p Over/Under) – Not smooth, and audio/video sync delay
- bbb_sunflower_2160p_60fps_stereo_abl.mp4 (2160p Over/Under) – Audio only (None of my hardware can decode this though, as it requires two 4K decoders for 4K 3D videos…)
- Turbo_Film-DreamWorks_trailer_VO_3D.mp4 (1080p SBS) – OK
FLV videos, othe videos from my library (H.264, DViX/XVid, and MP4) could play fine and smoothly, except VOB and mpg videos using MPEG-2 codec. I also played a full length 1080p MKV movie without interruption. The box was also pretty stable, but I managed to make it hang once when I played an empty (0 byte) mpg video.
Most of the video samples used for testing can be found in the comment section of the post “Where to get video, audio and images samples”.
Other Remarks and Conclusion
Most of the time I’m using a MeLE air mouse during my Android TV box review, but with ARNU Box, the IR remote was quite pleasant to use, except when I had to input text, as Kodi is well suited to IR input, play/pause & stop keys are included (strangely a rarity in TV boxes…), and some keys like Zoom and Subtitle make Kodi’s user experience better than on most Android TV boxes. The range is pretty good, as the remote works fine about 10 meters away. I did noticed some missed pressed however, when I use the remote at a sharp angle.
The system supports standby and reboot, but not power off, so you’ll need to go into standby before unplugging the device if you want to complete turn off the power. I measured power consumption in four use cases:
- Standby – 1.3 Watt
- Idle (On in main interface) – 4.1 Watts
- Standby with USB HDD – 3.0 Watts
- Idle with USB HDD – 6.2 Watts
Standby power consumption is about halved compared to 5 other TV boxes I tested, but sadly the USB ports won’t be turned off in standby mode. Idle is a little higher though at 4.1 Watts, against 3.0 to 3.4 Watts to other ARM based TV boxes in my power consumption test.
ARNU Box Mach 10 offered a much better playback experience than the other boxes I reviewed recently, but it’s not perfect, and features like MPEG-2 video decoding, 4K video output, and HDMI audio pass-through are not working.
- Good video playback experience with Kodi 15.2 including 4K and H.265 video decoding, and automatic frame rate switching support
- Setup Wizard makes initial setup easy, even for people not familiar with Kodi
- Cloudword makes installed of add-ons easy
- optical S/PDIF pass-through
- Case with LCD display feels higher quality of most other devices I tested
- OTA firmware update (not tested)
- Could not login to password protected SAMBA share
- HDMI pass-through did not work
- USB keyboard did not work
- 4K video playback works, but video output is limited to 1080p60 max (unless I missed an option somewhere)
- Many add-ons did not work properly (might be be specific to my location / Internet connection).
Hopefully most of the bugs listed above will be fixed in upcoming OTA firmware updates.
ARNU Box Mach 10 Pure Linux sample was provided by Theater in a Box, which sells the device for $149.99, which is significantly more expensive than some other Amlogic S812 TV boxes like Tronfy MXIV Telos, but I found that it performs better, yet with some regrettable bugs, but combined with support and firmware updates, it may warrant the price difference. Your choice…
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.
34 Replies to “ARNU Box Mach 10 Pure Linux Review”
Rip-off at 149.99 USD and their work is 0 on this, they just took credit of another companies which support AMLogic development at Kodi (Android/Linux)…
For EU people just wait for WETEK new box with Amlogic S812 and gibabit lan for 99euros and openelec official support.
Don’t fall for this overrated pos, with OS compiled from stolen sources bliah…..F*** you gpl breakers! Go to hell mfks
I think that is not serioues to review these boxes, since the “Cloudword installer” is mostly about piracy and illegal to use in most contries as it is violating copyright.
You do not want to be seen as an active promoter of ways to make easy piracy, do you?
As far I can can tell, there was no piracy add-ons installed on the device, even after using Cloudword with “uk” keyword. This is explained in the review.
So if that ARNU Box somehow makes piracy easy, then so is Kodi.
A couple of points:
– you can restore backups from many different Kodi backup sources. Including Openelec backups, and compressed/uncompressed backups made by the backup add-on.
– This system has the capability of mounting and SD Card as the internal memory. Expanding it to whatever size SD Card you use.
– Cloudword is designed to configure the whole system not just installing add-ons. It can configure skinning, system settings and can install additional servers to your device (like Maraschino or perhaps a web server…)
You should probably do your homework before making statements like that…
Hi, I am Corey the creator of EmbER… Maybe you’ve heard of us.. But maybe not as based on your comments it seems you live under a rock!!
1 – Stolen sources…. REALLY, maybe look into that a***ole, i have worked on this for more then 2 years, since i founded Mx Linux, and provided the very first M6 Linux Kodi completely open source and free, next Stane1982 and myself were the first people to port the Linux over to M8/M8B/M8M2…… point made….
2. Not GPL…… maybe look on git….. https://gitlab.com/ember-dev or https://github.com/ember-dev …. kernel and libplayer are protected by NDA with Amlogic, maybe email them and ask why….
3 – OpenELEC/Wetek, Codesnake is a great developer and has done well with porting it… Ask him were he first started……. MX Linux…. Dumb F**k…
so to sum it up…. When i release a S905 in coming months with my sponsors at Arnu you can enjoy your Wetek S812, well our users enjoy a S905 😀
Fu**ing forum trollsget a life, thanks for a awesome review CNX
Wow some serious haters here. I’ve been using these guys since they were armada, still getting updates to the latest versions of their software… started off with gotham now I’m on isengard.. no extra payment and no headaches. Maybe it’s just me but not everyone has the tech knowledge to load boxes with different firmwares (openelec). Good work arnu / ember team. even my mom and dad know how to use this thing lol
Stop cheating people with overpriced hardware. I guess your s905 hardware will cost more than nvidia shield tv console?
Armada is full into piracy and faciliating it with sales of “preloaded” and “fully loaded” crappy hardware over ebay and amazon.
pure linux its copy of OpenELEC
I bought a mach 10 in the usa and there is nothing preloaded on it. where is the piracy? seems like you are here to talk about something you haven’t even purchased, used or done any research on.
It’s a shame people don’t value the work done be others. Croniccorey was the first to bring XBMC to the M6 platform with MX Linux. Later OpenElec was ported by Codesnake. I have run both and now I run EmBer, EmBer is the best firmware my MX2 has ever seen. And is has been for free all the time, since EmBer is that good and I value the work I have donated to the EmBer project.
People should think about how much time these guys spent so we can enjoy our (otherwise useless) Chinese mediaplayer. So yes, they have a partnership with a commercial partner, why not…. Don’t they deserve some credit for their work? If 1% of all the leechers out here would donate they might have distributed the M8 EmBer firmware for free……
does this box have license for dolby, DTS, MPEG-LA and hdmi?
EVERYBODY HAS AN OPINION!!!
Kusta, I would like to know which company that they’re are taking credit from since you obviously know?
Demetris you silly muppet, your hyping up a company whos specs are 2 years behind these guys and the stolen sources,
PLEASE ELABORATE!! No need for the unnecessary language. DON’T TRY TO GROW MINERALS ON A REVIEW FOURMS!
Harley, piracy is the word you used, point it out to me!! WHERE? The boxes come with nothing on it. And if your worried about “piracy” what are you doing with one of these boxes?? Are you saying the same thing about Gbox? They sell a key separate so you unlock all the piracy you want!! And last is davor.rosick, you sound upest about something… I Don’t know! And 2 days later you want to know about license… LOL!! I have dealt with these guys for 2 years and never had a problem. They have GREAT customer service and support! AND THEY DO NOT PROMOTE PIRACY. If you dont like their boxes, thats cool!! BUT DONT TELL LIES!! Go buy another box with no support if thats what you fancy. I have Minix, Gbox, Ouya, Amazon Fire and Prometheus!! As you can see I am a POWER user and only ARNU gives me same day support when I need it. HEY Corey keep your head up and keep up the GREAT work!!
F ing WANKERS
They just borrow code from openelec and odroid and make their own firmware with fixes/tweaks but i must apologise for calling them gpl breakers because i have looked at their gitlab and they are not breaking anything afaik.
So sorry guys for calling you names i wish i could erase that from above but still please push anything useful back to openelec since you are using it 😛
Just because it appears you haven’t done much research on this… But EmbER (formally MX Linux) is not based on Openelec at all… It’s based on buildroot… And also initial Openelec ports were based on my budroot and kernel for meson6 buildroot….
Not sure how to check Dolby and DTS license, but usually you can check HDMI license @ http://www.hdmi.org/learningcenter/adopters_founders.aspx. The only problem is to find the company that makes the box, which we don’t know in the case of ARNU Box.
I’m also not sure who needs to for HDMI license. It looks like the HDMI guys get a cut at all level of the supply chain from the SoC (e.g. Amlogic), manufacturer (e.g. Geniatech), and maybe brands (e.g. Google).
I can only see Geniatech (Mygica), MINIX, Zoomtak, from the most common Chinese TV box companies have an HDMI license. HDMI 2.0 for MINIX and Geniatech. HDMI for Zoomtak.
I forgot my own unboxing post…. The box, or at least the PCB, manufacturer, should be SHENZHEN SHININGWORTH TECHNOLOGY, and they do have an HDMI 2.0 license. I guess the company behind “ARNU Box” devices should also get one (TBC).
I think that the “EmbER” OS itself deserve its own blog post article as it is free and open source software that can be loaded onto other Android media player hardware, set-top boxes, and development boards:
You can read more about “EmbER” (formerly MX Linux) operating-system on wikipedia:
Shame that ARNU/Armada box had to drag Kodi and EmbER names through the mud by pre-loading its Cloudword installer which promotes piracy, it does not deserve publication on your blog.
OK. I can now see Cloudword is a banned add-on on Kodi forums.
However, after using it with “uk” keyboard, I can’t find any dubious add-ons apart from Cloudword itself, which does nothing apart from installing add-ons, as I understand it.
YOU KEEP TALKING AND YOU DONT KNOW WHAT YOUR TALKING ABOUT!!!!
WHAT DID CLOUDWORD DO TO YOU?? ARE SAYING THE SAME THING ABOUT TOTAL INSTALLER OR ADDON INSTALLER BY
Cloudword is in the banned add-on list @ http://kodi.wiki/view/Official:Forum_rules/Banned_add-ons.
That’s why. But as I said, after testing the box I have not seen piracy add-ons installed. So I guess it depends with words you input…
Nor EmbER or ARNU support or endorse piracy in anyway, Cloudword simply installs pre-built add-on packs witch contain no piracy enabling add-ons that i am aware of it is also a basis to supply our users with personalized OTA bug fixes, Rom customizations, and allow backup/restore with the ARNU cloud servers.
I hope this will shed light on this issue for anyone questioning it.
Sorry I’ve just seen I forgot a small, but important word in my comment above: “not”… I’ve added it…
I just wanna say Ember is frickin amazing! I have been running it on 2 cmx boxes for a few months now. At first I bricked mine because of a stupid mistake i made and Josh.5 was awesome enough to spend a considerable amount of his time helping me fix it. There is no way I could have done it without him. And the work that must have gone into getting this thing working and working amazingly well must have been enormous. Everyone that is running their mouth have obviously not even tried Ember. The extra feature they put idea this thing makes the idea worth a donation. Only thing that is missing is a built in mysql database to sync all boxes together. Ember devs – Don’t listen to all these haters. But, I’m sure u guys know better anyway. Keep it up.
I have 2 Mach 8 Pure Linux media player. croniccorey is the man in regards to media players. Jealously will get you guys no where in life….
just bought one is aussieland.exchange rate and delivery really nearly doubled the price.still think excellent product for post popcorn hour.if i get 5-6 yrs like it i will be really happy.this is a box for peeps who want to enjoy media with little fuss.i experimented with zorin 10 which had the software.networked fine but with only 1.6MB/s pipe the HD tv failed to work.i guess i will find out in a week or so if it was internet speed.great to hear you guys cheering support.being able to play nearly every file type and scope for further addons and updates. this fine piece of technology will be around for quite awhile. will update in a month or two.
I love this device! I have the Armada Mach 8 Pure Linux and I love it. I bought several for my home and for family members as gifts. The Arnu Mach 10 is a nice improvement over the awesome Armada Mach 8! I’ve already bought 4 of the new Arnu Mach 10’s but Christmas is just around the corner. I’ve purchased all of my Armada’s and Arnu’s from https://www.theaterinabox.tv/ I’ve always received great, fast, service from them!
I experienced good playback with the Mach10, but… with heavy files, network playback takes a long time to start as it pre-buffers quite a bit (1-2 minutes) before it begins actual playback. Also, the remote is pretty annoying – Hard buttons, quite directional, and sadly also interfered with my Remote controlled stand fan.
hey iim tryin to find out if i can put andoird firmware on my mach 8 armada pure linux will that work??
I don’t see why it would not. Both the Android and Pure Linux should be exactly the same hardware wise. So if you can get the Android firmware, then you should be able to flash it. I’m not sure the company has released Linux firmware however, so you might not be able to go back.
I have a mach 8 which was armada but soon changed to arnu. Awesome box, and have had it since it was released. Worth every cent. Simple, user-friendly and best remote of any box i have had. Blows any android out the water. Have gone through several androids during the life of the mach 8 pure Linux box. Linux is the best, fastest and most fun to use.
Recently i tried using my 1tb usb thumb drive with the mach 8 and it will not read it. Anything that can be done to make it and my 2tb usb thumb drives accessible..? Will the mach 10 read the 1tb and 2tb usb thumb drives..?
Maybe try to use another file system. If you used NTFS, try EXT-4 instead, or maybe FAT32 (as long as you don’t plan to have files > 4GB).