AOMedia AV1 video codec has been in the works for several years, and has strong industry backing since it’s open-source, royalty-free and delivers compression similar or even superior to H.265. Some services like YouTube and Netflix have already started using AV1 on PCs where the CPU is powerful enough to handle software video decoding.
But relying on software video decoding is not ideal on typical Arm-based devices, either because of battery life concerns (e.g. phones) or simply impossible because the processor won’t be able to cope. The latter is especially the case on TV boxes who are not usually fitted with Arm Cortex-A53 cores leaving hardware video decoding to a video processing unit (VPU). Since AV1 is still fairly new, most VPU doesn’t support the new video codec, and while we have seen several AV1 capable processors including Broadcom BCM7218x, Realtek RTD1311/RTD1319, and Amlogic S905X4. as well as at least one Android TV box for operators, I’m not aware of any consumer TV box capable of handling AV1 available right now.
But this should change very soon, as Amlogic S905X4 powered Ugoos X4 Cube Android 9.0 TV box should soon be launched with the ability to play 4Kp120 AV1 videos.
Ugoos X4 Cube specifications:
- SoC – Amlogic S905X4 quad-core Arm Cortex-A55 processor with Arm Mali-G31MP2 supporting OpenGL ES3.2, Vulkan 1.1 and OpenCL 2.0
- System Memory – 2GB RAM
- Storage – 16GB eMMC flash, MicroSD card slot
- Video Output – HDMI 2.1 up to 4K @ 60+Hz, AV output with composite video
- Audio – Analog stereo audio via AV output, digital audio via HDMI, and optical S/PDIF
- Video Playback
- AV1 up to 4K @ 120 fps
- H.265 HEVC MP-10 up to 4K @ 75fps
- VP9 up to 4K @ 75fps
- AVS2-P2 up to 4K @ 75fps
- H.264 AVC up to 4K @ 30fps
- MPEG1/2/4 ASP, WMV/VC-1, RealVideo8/9/10,
- HDR – HDR 10, HLG, PRIME HDR, TCH PRIME, options HDR10+, optional Dolby Vision
- Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0
- USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 2.0 OTG port
- Misc – Power button; IR expansion port; reset pinhole
- Power Supply – TBD (likely 5V via Micro USB or USB-C)
- Dimensions – 110 x 62 x 22mm
Ugoos X4 Cube ships with an HDMI cable, a power supply, an external IR receiver, an IR remote control, an external WiFi antenna, and a user manual in English. The Android 9.0 firmware should also have an option to easily configure the device as a SAMBA server since previous Ugoos Cube X models support the feature.
Ugoos X4 Cube is available for pre-order now, but somehow only in Ukraine, for 2,599 UAH including 20% VAT (TBC), or about $97. The Google translation reads “Ugoos X4 CUBE on the new Amlogic S905X4 processor is expected at the end of the year”, so it may take a while before Ugoos X4 Cube, and other Amlogic S905X4 become widely available.
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.
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