10-bit H.264 and H.265 Video Playback in MXQ-4K Rockchip RK3229 TV Box

Rockchip RK3229 is an exciting media processor because it’s found in ultra low cost TV Boxes such as MXQ-4K, outputs up to 4K @ 60 Hz, and supports 4K video decoding of 10-bit H.264, 10-bit H.265 and VP9, including videos with very high bitrates (200+ Mbps). That’s the theory, which I’ve put to the test with MXQ-4K TV box.

MXQ-4K_hard-drive

Since the network interfaces of the device are limited to 100M Ethernet and 802.11n WiFi, and some videos are well above 100 Mbps, I’ve decided to test video playback from a USB hard drive instead. I’ve tried the three pre-installed video player apps: Kodi 15.1, “Video”, and “Video Player” , and they all have similar capabilities except Kodi is a little less stable on this device.

The system detected my 4K TV (LG ) and automatically set the resolution to 3840×2160 @ 60 Hz, which I used for the remainder of this test.

I’ve started with 10-bit H.264 videos at 720p and 1080p resolution that no other devices I’ve reviewed could play properly:

  • [Commie] Steins;Gate – NCED [BD 720p AAC] [10bit] [C706859E].mkv – OK with video, audio, and subtitles.
  • [1080p][16_REF_L5.1][mp3_2.0]Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu BD OP.mkv – Black screen only

That’s 50% success. better than nothing.

Then I switched to some 4K videos:

  • Beauty_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) – OK (at least the first time)
  • big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_30fps.mp4 – Choppy and massive audio delay, followed by audio cuts from time to time.
  • BT.2020.20140602.ts (Rec.2020 compliant video) – Not smooth and some audio cuts
  • Fifa_WorldCup2014_Uruguay-Colombia_4K-x265.mp4 (4K, H.265, 60 fps) – Slow motion
  • Samsung_UHD_Dubai_10-bit_HEVC_51.4Mbps.ts (10-bit HEVC / MPEG-4 AAC) – Difficult to judge 100%, because the video is a time lapse, but it appears to suffer from the same issues
  • 暗流涌动-4K.mp4 (10-bit H.264) – Video and audio play, and subtitle are shown, but video is again not smooth

If you want to get a better idea of the performance, you can watch all those videos played in MXQ-4K below.

I’ve also tested other 4K videos, and most have the same problem. I’ve also tried to switch to 1080p60 video output instead, but the results are only a little better. I’m not exactly sure what may cause the choppiness, and I first thought about memory bandwidth issues, but I’ve noticed the problem is not really constant, and get worse overtime, and very quickly (about one minute), so overheating, or an over sensitive scheduler, may be the reason. My room temperature is around 28 to 30 C so this may affect the results too, since some other people told me they were satisfied with the device.

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Gabe
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Gabe

So video playback is crap like usually on Rockchip.

Member

Something is wrong in the software port for this box. Maybe this ODM stuck an RK3128 build on it since it is upwardly compatible. I don’t understand why this box is shipping with Kitkat while other RK3229 boxes are shipping with Lollipop.

Also — I do seem to remember having video trouble with Kitkat on my RK3128 systems. Those problems went away after I switched to Lollipop with a newer (3.10) kernel. Maybe this ODM has used that old kernel that was broken. What kernel is this box running?

Of course non-participation by the silicon vendor in software issues always results in the vendor’s reputation getting destroyed. When will the chip vendors learn that it is in their own best interest to host their up-to-date SDKs on a public, read only server. All of the secrecy just results in the shipping of broken products and unhappy customers.

Gabe
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Gabe
mo123
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mo123

@cnxsoft
Hi

There is a big bug in Android Kodi that scans complete hard drives and all USB storage devices and cause stuttering.
Here is the bug. On slow devices it cause more problems but on fast devices you won’t notice it that much.
https://github.com/xbmc/xbmc/pull/9250

Just to let everyone know.

nowthenagain
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nowthenagain

You get what you pay for..

Member

If you Google, you can see other vendors shipping Lollipop on RK3229. It is just this vendor using Kitkat.

For example this box looks to be identical except it is running Lollipop.
http://jingweiya.en.alibaba.com/product/60402819566-802550058/Vplus_MXV_Kodi15_2_Android_5_1_Lollipop_RK3229_Quad_Core_OTT_TV_Box_4k_smart_tv_box.html

That’s why I’m suspicious that someone has put the wrong Android onto your box because they don’t want to pay the fee for SDK access.

Stane1983
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@Jon Smirl
Just compare title of Alibaba page and chipset specs (hint: RK3229 and S805). On Alibaba you can see many listings like that one.

mo123
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mo123

@Stane1983
+1
Yes, Alibaba doesn’t always have accurate descriptions, at 3 places it is different and even different devices. So for end users it’s not a good idea to buy from Alibaba, rather use Aliexpress and also make sure about the descriptions and buy from a store with high ratings and lots of comments.

...
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...

Can you post the mediainfo [http://mediaarea.net/en/MediaInfo] dumps for the test clips?

> [1080p][16_REF_L5.1][mp3_2.0]Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu BD OP.mkv – Black screen only

16 refs @ 1080p would likely be difficult for a hardware decoder. Most only support up to 4 refs @ 1080p.

Member

@Stane1983

Here one that is clearly RK3229 with Android 5.1.
http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Vplus-Mini-Mx-RK3229-Quad-Core_60388729765.html?spm=a2700.7724857.29.48.x7AOr4

Another one, this one is an HDMI dongle.
http://www.globalsources.com/gsol/I/Android-based-TV/p/sm/1137806499.htm#1137806499

I had problems almost identical to this when running Android 4.4 on the RK3128. Moving onto Android 5.1 fixed everything. I believe the fixes are in the newer kernel, not the actual Android 5.1.

Member

Something is messed up here. Rockchip has released Android 5.1 for the RK3128. I have the source code for it and it works fine. You can get the source at the Fireprime site. That source is about a year newer than the Android 4.4 port for the RK3128. But… that Android 4.4 port has been widely distributed and it is easy to find source for it.

The RK3129 is just an RK3128 with some moderate changes to the video engine. I have not seen a detailed datasheet but I think this is on the order of clocking the video hardware faster and changing the HDMI PHY.

So why would Rockchip add support for this chip to a two year old 4.4 release when they are already have a current 5.1 release that is 95% of what they need? Or…. did some OEM who didn’t want to pay SDK fees hack on the Android 4.4 version until it booted? And then everyone copied it.

It is just idiotic to be charging for these SDKs. It is in the chip maker’s best interest to have all of their products running their latest and greatest code. Anything that slows this distribution down (like SDK fees, NDAs, etc) is harmful to the chip maker reputation. Put the SDKs up on github or similar in read-only accounts so that we can find the current version of your code.

Oren
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Testing this box now.. It’s half baked, and not due to the Android version, but more due to the firmware which needs more optimization and correction.. I think. ENY is updated constantly with all the bugs and issues I find, so I hope they’ll do something about it and soon.