Nvidia Shield Android TV vs Apple TV vs Roku 3 vs Fire TV vs Nexus Player – Video Capabilities and Features Comparison

Since Nvidia released the Shield Android TV box, I’ve heard several people saying Nvidia raised the bar and even disrupted the TV box market by bringing a powerful HTPC and gaming console to the market for just $199. The company has now released OTA 2.0 firmware that improves HTPC capabilities, including under Kodi and Plex, and the box supports for 10-bit HEVC, H.264, and VP9 @ 4K, and audio pass-through for HD audio codecs such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master. As part of the release announcement, Nvidia also compared the Shield TV media capabilities to the ones of other US centric media players, namely Apple TV (2015), Roku 3, Amazon Fire TV (2015), and Nexus Player. Since it comes from Nvidia, it was also going to show the Shield TV in a good light, but I’m very surprised to see that Apple, Amazon, Google, and Roku would ship a […]

Mygica ATV1900AC Android 5.0 Mini PC Review

4K TV boxes based on Amlogic S812 processor have been around for about 9 months, and I already reviewed MINIX NEO X8-H Plus and CX-S806 mini PCs, but Mygica ATV1900AC is one of the first to support Android Lollipop, so I though it would be interesting to see the progress made compared to devices that run Android KitKat. I’ve already taken apart the TV Box, and found some interesting Toshiba eMMC flash and Realtek 802.11ac WiFi chips on the board, but today, I’ll test the firmware including stability, features and performance in this review. First Boot, Settings and First Impressions I’ve connected all ports of the device using the four USB host port with a webcam, hard drive, an RF dongle for a wireless gamepad, the RF dongle for the included remote, as well as inserting an HDMI cable, an optical audio cable S/PDIF, an Ethernet cable to Gigabit switch, […]

Razor Forge TV SnapDragon 805 Android Game Console is up for Pre-order for $100

Razor Forge TV was first unveiled at CES 2015, and on paper at least looks like a great Android TV console for $100 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, 2GB RAM, and 16GB flash. The gaming console can now be pre-ordered in the US for $99.99, although most people might want to get the bundle with the wireless controller for $149.99. Razor Forge TV specifications: SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad core Krait 450 CPU @ 2.5GHz per with Adreno 420 GPU System Memory –  2GB RAM Storage – 16GB Video Ouput – HDMI 1.4 output Connectivity –  Gigabit Ethernet, Wireless 802.11ac 2×2, Bluetooth 4.1 + HS USB – 1x USB 3.0 port Power – N/A Dimensions –  105mm x 105mm x 17mm The device will run Android TV 5.0 Lollipop, support up to four controllers, and be Google Cast Ready, meaning it can also be used like a ChromeCast. […]

Nvidia Unveils $199 SHIELD Android TV Game Console Powered by Nvidia Tegra X1 Processor

Can it run Crisis? Yes! Nvidia has just announced SHIELD, an Android TV Game Console powered by the latest Tegra X1 SoC coupled with 3GB, 16GB flash, and which I believe to be the very first consumer ARM system with true 4K video output, decoding/encoding  up to 60 fps, as well as both VP9 and H.265 codec at 4K resolution. I’m still not 100% sure gaming will be feasible at 4K resolutions. Since they already have a Shield tablet, and Shield portable game console, it would have been nice to find another name though… SHIELD specifications: SoC – NVIDIA Tegra X1 octa-core processor with 4x Cortex A57 cores, 4x Cortex A53 cores, and a 256-core Maxwell GPU System Memory – 3GB RAM Storage – 16 GB + MicroSD slot Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60 Hz Video – 4K playback and capture up to 60 fps […]

Kodi 15 Alpha 1 Adds Support for H.265 on Android, Drops Some Older OS Versions and Hardware

Kodi 15 Isengard got its first public Alpha release, with 400 pull-request for code merges, 1322 commits and thousands of code lines changed compared to Kodi 14 release with modifications of all operating systems ports, and changes to newer OS versions. Major changes for Kodi 15.0 Alpha 1 include: Added adaptive seeking through audio and video playback, also know as “skip steps” Android HEVC H.265 HW decode support for some chipsets Improved webserver caching control External subtitles over UPnP Allow scanning of new sources and marking as watched during other library operations such as “update library” Allow different sort orders for different sort methods Start of integration binary add-ons and changing the build system around it Improved CC (Closed Captions) support for Live TV ffmpeg 2.5.4 update Remove remaining SDL code New OS Requirements: Minimal Mac OSX 10.7 Lion requirements (Only OSX 64-bit builds provided, no more 32bit builds) Minimal […]

Android TV Launcher is Now Available on Google Play

If you own one of the many Android media player available on the market, and wanted to get Google Android TV on your device, the good news is that Google has just published Android TV Launcher on Google Play. So even though you can’t install Android TV on you device just yet, at least you should be able to run the launcher. But unfortunately, there’s also a bad news: Android TV Launcher is only available for Android TV devices such as ADT-1 Devkit or Nexus Player. I wanted to side-loaded to one of my Android devices, so I tried APK downloader to retrieve the Android TV launcher apk, but it can’t be downloaded unless your use a “Device ID” from ADT-1 or Nexus Player. So if you want to give it a try, you’ll have to patiently wait for the apk to show up somewhere. One place where it might […]

SPMC 13.3.3 Release Adds H.265 Video Playback and Android TV Support

SPMC (Semper Media Center) is a fork of XBMC for Android with some modifications, that you can easily install from Google Play or Amazon AppStore. The latest version is particularly interested as it adds H.265/HEVC codec support for platforms such as Rockchip RK3288, and Amlogic S805/S812, and other SoCs making use of MediaCodec API and libstagefright should also work, including Realtek RTD1195 and Hisilicon K3V2. This version is also the first to support Android TV based on Android 5.0 Lollipop. SMPC 13.3.3 Changelog: Preliminary support for h265 (including RK3288) Preliminary support for Android TV Allow sleep and Daydream to kick in (e.g. on Amazon Fire TV) Add setting to scrape all videos, even if they failed Add “sd” & “hd” to the advanced settings of libstagefright (and mediacodec) for fine tuning Allow fullscreen on Jelly Bean Hide irrelevant video & audio settings Another possible fix for start crash Make the […]

Android TV Overview – Linaro Connect US 2014

Google announced Android TV and ADT-1 devkit last June, as the company wants to bring user-friendly Android user-experience to TVs, set-top boxes and game consoles. Mark Gregotski, head of the Linaro Digital Home Group (LHG), has provided a technical overview of Android TV during the on-going Linaro Connect US 2014. You find a summary of yesterday sessions on Linaro’s blog, and the even will last until Friday, where several demos will be showcased. SoC companies currently involved in Android TV include Nvidia, Marvell, Qualcomm, Mediatek, Intel, Broadcom, and ST micro, so none of usual Chinese Android TV Box players (Rockchip, Amlogic, AllWinner…) are represented. Android (for smartphone) currently support video playback but you may experience dropped frame from time to time, where in the STB market requirements are not stringent. For example, NTT is said to only allow one frame dropped per month! So Android TV aims to improve video […]