Beelink GT1 TV Box Review – Part 2: Android Marshmallow Firmware

I’ve previously reviewed other Amlogic S912 TV boxes such as M12N MXQ Plus or Qintaix Q912, but Beelink GT1 has the advantage of being quite cheaper at $56 and up, but still come with many of the same features as more expensive devices. I’ve already posted pictures, and checked out the hardware design in the first part of Beelink GT1 review, so in the second part I’ll report my experience with Android, including video and audio capabilities, hardware features testing, and some benchmarks. First Boot, OTA Firmware Update, Settings, and First Impressions The device comes with two USB ports only, so I connected a USB hard drive to one of the port, and a USB hub to the other with the RF dongles for MINIX NEO A2 Lite air mouse and Tronsmart Mars G01 gamepad, as well as a USB keyboard to take screenshots. I completed the setup by adding […]

Meet NXP i.MX8 Processor Families: i.MX 8 for High performance, i.MX 8M for Audio/Video & i.MX 8X for Low Power

Freescale and then NXP have been talking about i.MX8 processors for several years, and this spring unveiled i.MX 8 Multisensory Enablement Kit without giving much details about the processor except it would include both Cortex A72 & A53 cores. But NXP put out a press release yesterday about “Multisensory Automotive eCockpit Platform to Advance Multimedia Experiences in Future Cars” which appears to be the same news but with different words, except the content of the PR has more interesting bits such as: The new family, which is based on up to six 64-bit ARMv8-A technology processor cores and includes a HiFi 4 DSP, LPDDR4 and DDR4 memory support as well as dual Gigabit Ethernet with audio video bridging (AVB) capability, is designed to advance automotive dashboard graphics such as instrument clusters, infotainment visuals, heads-up displays, rear-seat screens and more. Capable of driving four HD screens with independent content or a […]

Review of R-Box Pro OTT TV Box with 3GB RAM – Part 1: Unboxing and Teardown

R-Box Pro is just another Amlogic S912 TV box, except it comes with up to 3GB RAM, against 2GB for most other models on the market. Kingnovel sent me a sample with 3GB RAM to check it out, and today I’ll start by taking photos of the devices, and perform a teardown mostly to find out how the 3GB memory design is implemented. R-Box Pro Unboxing The retail package is minimal black box with “OTT TV Box Amlogic S912” and “R-Box Pro” markings and Kodi logo. A sticker on the side will also indicate whether you have received to 2GB or 3GB RAM version. The device ships with an IR remote control with learning function, a 5V/2.5A power supply, an HDMI cable, and a user’s manual in English. The day I received the sample the top cover looked to have many scratches, but after removing the plastic film on the […]

4K Video Playback and HDMI Audio Passthrough in Realtek RTD1295 based Zidoo X9S TV Box

Zidoo X9S is a high-end 4K TV box and HDMI recorder based on Realtek RTD1295 processor. I’ve already checked its hardware, and run some benchmarks, so after a successful OTA firmware update, I decided to test 4K videos and HDMI audio pass-through capabilities of the device with ZDMC, Zidoo’s fork of Kodi 16.1, and “Media Center” internal player. Before starting playing 4K videos and testing HDMI audio pass-through, you’ll want to make sure to configure video output to a 4K UHD resolution and framerate such as 3840×2160 @ 60 Hz, as well as change HDMI output audio in Sound & notification settings. The options are a little different from the other boxes as beside RAW and 2-channel LPCM, Zidoo X9S also supports multi-channel LPCM. In order to test HDMI audio pass-through, it must be set to RAW. You may also want to check Playback options to switch to 24 Hz […]

Amlogic S905L Processor Drops VP9 Codec, TS Inputs for Tuners, and the Camera Interface

[Update: I’ve received updated documentation for Amlogic S905X too, and the main differences are only the lack of VP9 codec, and HDMI 2.0b interface] Amlogic has apparently decided to launch yet another quad core Cortex A53 processor with Amlogic S905L, which appears to be based on  Amlogic S905X with built-in stereo audio codec and 10/100M Ethernet PHY & MAC, HDR support, but without VP9 codec, camera interface, nor TS inputs, so it looks like a cost-down version purely designed for OTT/IP TV boxes. The document I have is dated June 2016, before the 1.5 GHz “limit” was discovered on Amlogic processors, and the maximum frequency is rated @ 2.0 GHz in the document. Amlogic S905L specifications (based on S905L Quick Referent Manual): CPU – Quad core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU up to 2GHz (DVFS) with Neon and Crypto extensions, unified L2 cache 3D GPU – Penta-core ARM Mali-450 GPU up to […]

Qintaix Q912 Android Box Review – Part 2: Android 6.0, Kodi 17, Benchmarks, etc…

Qintaix Q912 is one of the many octa-core Android boxes based on Amlogic S912 processor. I’ve already shown photos of the device and its internal design in the first part of Qintaix Q912 review, so today I’ll report the results of my testing with Android firmware, video & audio capabilities in Kodi 17 Alpha 3 (pre-installed), features supports, benchmarks, and other comment. I will also be interesting to find out how it compares to M12N TV box, also based on Amlogic S912 processor. First Boot, Settings, and First Impressions I’ve connected all necessary cables including HDMI and Ethernet, added some USB devices including two 2.4 GHZ USB dongles for my air moues and wireless gamepad, a USB keyboard to take screenshots, and a USB 3.0 hard drive to the USB 2.0 ports of the device. Once you apply power, the LED is turn red, and you need to press the […]

Kodi 17 Setup and Audio/Video Support in Amlogic S912 TV Boxes (as of September 2016)

Most people installing Kodi are going to select Kodi 16.1 as of today, since it is the latest stable release. But I’m currently reviewing Qintaix Q912 TV box based on Amlogic S912 octa-core processor, whose Android 6.0 firmware includes Kodi 17 Alpha 3, so since that’s the first time I run Kodi 17 “Krypton”. I’ve decided to report my experience about the interface, and the current status about audio and video support by testing some 4K videos, and audio files. I used the latest available firmware for the test. Kodi 17 can be found on the main launcher, and for the first launch, we’ll see the default skin has been replaced from Confluence to the new Estuary skin. It’s a little confusing a first. We can access the setup menu by going to the icon on the bottom left, just on the right on the power button, and then select […]

Dune HD SOLO Lite is a Cheaper Sigma Designs SMP8758 based 4K Media Box

Launched at the very end of  last year, Dune HD SOLO 4K media player and NAS with Sigma Designs SMP8758 processor, a 2.5″ SATA bay, and a DVB-T2 tuner has high end specifications, but the price is also steep at 349 Euros inc. VAT. So the company has come up with a newer and cheaper version, Dune HD Solo Lite without the SATA bay, Z-wave support, nor the tuner card, but that keeps many of the same features, and sells for 199 Euros inc. VAT (MSRP). Dune HD Solo Lite specifications: SoC – Sigma Designs SMP8758 dual core Cortex A9 processor @ 1.2 GHz with an ARM Mali-400 GPU and VXP image processing engine System Memory – 1GB Storage – 4GB flash for firmware, SD card reader Video Output – HDMI 1.4b up to 1080p60 / 4K30 (including 23.976, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94Hz refresh rates), and composite video Audio Output […]

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