VP9 is starting to become a first class citizen as more and more ARM SoC, such as Amlogic S905X and Hisilicon Hi3798C V200, are getting 4K VP9 hardware video decoding support. I’ve already tested 4K VP9 in Amlogic S905X based NEXBOX A5, and today I’ll report my results with Sunhed S3 TV box based on the new Hisilicon processor. I won’t do a full review yet, as just like NEXBOX A5, it’s still an engineering sample, and the firmware is not quite ready for public release. For example, Google Play is working, but I could not install YouTube, and Kodi 16.0 (likely a custom version) would not start, even after clearing the cache and data. Anyway, I tested 4K VP9, as well as 4K H.265 and H.264 since the last two codec are also here to stay.
I first tried to play over SAMBA through the Gigabit Ethernet connection, but the T-ara VP9 video shown above with 40 Mbps bitrate would buffer quite often I’ve played all videos from a USB 3.0 hard drive connected to the USB 3.0 port of the device. The app used was either “Video player” or “VideoPlayer” app depending on the video’s container format.
List of videos, and results:
- big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_30fps.mp4 – OK
- big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_60fps.mp4 – Plays, but not very smoothly, and with audio / video sync issue or audio delay.
- Plays but with colorspace conversion issue at times ( compliant video; 36 Mbps) –
- Ducks Take Off [2160p a 243 Mbps].mkv (4K H.264 @ 30 fps; 243 Mbps; no audio) – OK
- Fifa_WorldCup2014_Uruguay-Colombia_4K-x265.mp4 (4K, H.265, 60 fps) – OK
- 4K Hawaii Sunset _ GoPro Hero 4 Black 4k@30fps-I7CycuMpQ3w.webm (VP9 @ 30 fps; no audio; ~24 Mbps; Downloaded from YouTube with youtube-dl script) – OK
- phfx_4KHD_VP9TestFootage.webm (VP9 @ 25 fps; no audio; ~14 Mbps) – OK
- , but no audio (60 fps; Opus audio; ~30 Mbps) – Video OK
- tara-no9-vp9.webm (VP9 @ 60 fps; Vorbis audio; ~40 Mbps) – OK
- Samsung_UHD_Dubai_10-bit_HEVC_51.4Mbps.ts (10-bit HEVC / MPEG-4 AAC) – OK
- 暗流涌动-4K.mp4 (10-bit H.264; 120 Mbps) – Black screen only with audio
- Astra-11479_V_22000-Canal+ UHD Demo 42.6 Mbps (10-bit H.265 from DVB-S2 stream) – OK
So that’s not very good, but confirms the processor support 4K H.264 up to 30 fps, and does not support 10-bit H.264 at all. H.265 and VP9 support appears to be very good, except for one BT.2020 video, and the SoC can handle very high bitrate (~250 Mbps) videos. I found the VP9 videos, especially “” video, so play more smoothly than on Amlogic S905X, at least for now.
Finally, I tested YouTube with a 4K video, and as expected it’s limited to 1080p. The company confirmed that 4K support with YouTube and/or Netflix will require some DRM work.
Youtube 4K and netflix 4K not allowed for DRM policy right now. DRM need hardware and software support and authoriy from google and netflix. We are preparing a DRM tvbox which support 4K netflix this year later.
You can find the video samples in the comments section of that post.
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.