I’ve already reviewed two Android TV boxes powered by Realtek RTD1295 processor, namely Zidoo X9S and EWEAT R9 Plus. They are quite interesting devices as beside supporting video & audio playback nicely (minus 4K H.264 @ 30fps), they also serve as a personal NAS thanks to their SATA interface and OpenWrt operating system running alongside Android, as well as a HDMI recorder and streamer thanks to the HDMI input. Zidoo firmware is a little better, but it only comes with external SATA, while EWEAT R9 Plus comes with a neat internal 3.5″ SATA bay inside a metal case. The downside is that it’s quite expensive at $200 shipped. If you’d like a Realtek RTD1295 solution with a SATA bay, but would like something more cost effective, Beelink SEA TV box with might be for you.
- SoC – Realtek RTD1295 quad core ARM Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.4 GHz with ARM Mali-T820MP3
- System Memory – 2 GB DDR4
- Storage – 16 or 32 GB eMMC flash + SD slot up to 128GB + 2.5″ SATA bay supporting up to 6TB SATA III drives with either 7.5 or 9.5mm thickness
- Video I/F – HDMI 2.0a output with HDR, CEC, and HDCP 2.2 support, HDMI 2.0 input
- Audio I/F – HDMI, optical S/PDIF
- Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
- USB – 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x USB 3.0 port
- Misc – Power LED, RTC + battery
- Power Supply – 12V/1.5A
- Dimensions – 188 x 119 x 20mm
Like its competitors, the device runs Android 6.0. There’s no mention of OpenWrt at all, but I’d be surprised if they removed it from the firmware. HDMI input allows video recording, video streaming, & PiP function from a separate video source. The device ships with an IR remote control, an HDMI Cable, a power adapter, and a user’s manual in English.
Beelink SEA is now listed for pre-order on GearBest for $104.99 with 2GB RAM/16GB storage, and $114.99 in 2GB/32GB configuration. Shipping is expected to start on March 1st… You may find a few more details on Beelink SEA product page.
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.
I hope that’s 6TB, not GB…
Nice specs. Looks sleek as well, however, passively cooled.
@Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft), would be great if you could compare its codec support performance with Zidoo. Eweat had 4K playback issues and Zidoo had audio pass-through issues.
At the price, seems good value for money.
Thanks for sharing.
If I recall correctly, Eweat and Zidoo had the same 4K video playback capabilities in the internal player, and Zidoo has most likely fixed the audio pass-through issues I had with earlier firmware. Companies are usually making use of Realtek SDK, so as long as you have firmware updates, performance should convergence over time.
The thing that could be worrying with Beelink SEA is cooling, although they seem to have worked on it based on their marketing materials.
How to read this HDMI input within my own app?
This won’t work on Beelink SEA, but if you get a Zidoo X8 or X9S, Zidoo release an SDK that will allow you to do that -> http://www.cnx-software.com/2016/11/23/zidoo-releases-digital-signage-sdk-for-x8-and-x9s-android-tv-boxes/
has beelink openwrt or not?
No OpenWrt in the first firmware I had, I’ve updated it as explained @ http://www.cnx-software.com/2017/03/16/how-to-reinstall-android-firmware-on-realtek-rtd1295-tv-boxes/, but now it’s unusable as the screen will turn off after 5 seconds, until I remove and reconnect the HDMI cable.
Where does the ‘up to 6TB SATA III drives’ statement originates from? There’s no 6TB limitation known (2TB was such one since old implementations suffered from a 32-bit integer overflow) and currently largest 2.5″ HDD with 9.5mm height are limited to 2TB anyway though. But since it seems spinning rust will be developed further and in a few years 2.5″ with 8TB or more will be available I see no reason why this should be limited to 6TB here.
Is any information available regarding Wi-Fi chipset used and antenna configuration? Also a ‘Linux SDK’ available?
Not sure about the 6TB, just marketing materials. Maybe they just look on the web, and found a 6 TB 2.5″ drive (SSD), and marketing guys decided to show a large number from drives that already exists. WiFi is using Realtek RTL8821AU, see unboxing post @ http://www.cnx-software.com/2017/02/23/beelink-sea-i-android-tv-box-openwrt-nas-and-hdmi-recorder-review-part-1-unboxing-and-teardown/ Realtek provides a dual OS SDK with Android and OpenWrt, so there’s some Linux support. The SDK is not publicly available, and unlikely to become public. By the way, I can’t use the box right now since the screen will turn off every 5 seconds due to a HDCP bug. I’m waiting for… Read more »
Not the worst choice and way better than the usual SDIO connected stuff on SBC. It’s also used in ASUS AC56 and combined with good antenna performance is nice: https://netbeez.net/2016/06/01/iperf-wifi-comparison-on-raspberry-pi-raspberry-pi-3-vs-asus-vs-hawking-vs-linksys-vs-tp-link/
AFAICR other Realtek RTD1295 boxes also come with the same module, and they (see Zidoo X9S and Eweat R9 Plus) are among the best boxes when it comes with WiFi -> http://www.cnx-software.com/2016/12/24/eweat-r9-plus-tv-box-review-part-2-android-openwrt-and-hdmi-recording/#wifi-performance
The only much faster box is Mi Box 3 Enhanced based on Mediatek MT7662 WiFi module -> http://www.cnx-software.com/2016/04/11/xiaomi-mi-box-3-enhanced-unboxing-and-teardown/
is openwrt on this beelink availble?
On Gearbest with EU plug only 2gb, 32gb @£38.50 Flash Sale