4K VP9 Video Playback in Amlogic S905X based NEXBOX A5 Android TV Box

I’ve never been able to play 4K VP9 videos smoothly in any Android TV boxes so far. It’s possible in Nvidia Shield Android TV, but the device is relatively expensive, and hard to source in many parts of the world, and NEXBOX A5 is the first Android TV Box I own capable of handling 4K VP9 @ 60 fps thanks to Amlogic S905X processor.
4K_VP9_60fps_Video_Amlogic_S905XSo I tested 3 4K Vp9 video using MoviePlayer app pre-loaded in the device:

  • 4K Hawaii Sunset _ GoPro Hero 4 Black [email protected] – 3840×2160 resolution @ 30 fps; no audio; ~24 Mbps; Downloaded from YouTube with youtube-dl script
  • phfx_4KHD_VP9TestFootage.webm – 3840×2160 resolution @ 25 fps; no audio; ~14 Mbps
  • The.Curvature.of.Earth.4K.60FPS-YT-UceRgEyfSsc.VP9.3840×2160.OPUS.160K.webm – 3840×2160 resolution @ 60 fps; Opus audio; ~30 Mbps

As you’ll see in the video below, the good news is that all three videos could be played relatively smoothly.

The not-so-good news are that the player does not currently support Opus audio (minor issue should should be easily fixable by software), it was not perfectly smooth (although watchable), and the version of Kodi 16.1 inside the device does not support VP9 hardware video decoding just yet.

NEXBOX A5 firmware is actually work in progress, and the company is also waiting for a new version of Amlogic SDK. Google Play Store and related Google services are not installed, so I have not tried 4K videos in YouTube, one of the main reason to get VP9 support. However, I understand that Android TV is required for support for 4K YouTube videos, so only a handful of devices should support it, but who knows maybe there will be workarounds.

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