Review of Allo Vana Player Linux HiFi Audio System with Max2Play, SqueezeBox and Kodi

Last month I showcased what I called “Allo Sparky Audio Kit” with a DAC board (Piano), an amplifier board (Volt), and usually hard to find  reclocker and capacitance multiplier boards (Kali & CM), all connected to Allo Sparky ARM Linux development board powered by Actions Semi S500 quad core Cortex A9 processor, and running Ubuntu 12.04. In the first post, I just described the boards, and showed how to assemble the kit, but now that I have received the user’s manual, it turns out the kit is actually called “Vana Player” and the provided Ubuntu firmware image runs Max2Play Browser based system that’s also available for Raspberry Pi and ODROID boards. Before starting the kit, you’ll need to connect speakers to Piano DAC board and/or Kali board, as well as a 19.5V power source such as a laptop power supply to connect to the CM board. I connected some USB […]

How-to Setup a DLNA/UPnP Server in Linux for Smoother Video Streaming with Kodi and Other Media Players

I’m normally playing videos from a SAMBA share installed in a Ubuntu PC to play files from Kodi in Android TV box reviews, but sometimes when I use 10/100 Ethernet, or worse WiFi local “streaming” may not be as smooth as possible. SAMBA is convenient because of access control and read write operations, but if you want to get a bit more performance, you may switch to NFS instead, or like I’ve going to show you here to a DLNA / UPnP server to stream videos locally from Kodi 16.1. There are several options, but MiniDLNA is lightweight compared to MediaTomb, so it will also run on lower end hardware like cheap ARM Linux development boards like Raspberry Pi, Orange Pi, or NanoPi NEO without taking too many resources. Installation is very easy in Debian / Ubuntu distributions, and I supposed this should also work with Windows Subsystem for Linux […]

Kodi 14.0 Helix Release

XBMC (name) is definitely dead, as developers of the popular open source “entertainment center” project have announced the first stable Kodi release – the new name of XBMC – with XBMC 14.0 Helix. Key changes and new features include: Update to FFmpeg 2.4.4 – Adds H.265 / HEVC and VP9 video codecs support. Software decode only. Library Improvements – Scanning speed greatly improved, better UPnP support including with PlanOn and MediaBrowser servers. New Configuration features – Add-on update controls, choice of virtual keyboard layouts for tablets and remote control users in order to support multiple languages. Android, iOS and Embedded – 4K support for Amlogic S802, more ARM SoCs are now supported in Android, fast forward/rewind improvements. Airplay support fixed, except for Android. Freescale i.MX6 support for Kodi Linux. Windows, OSX, and Linux – Audio playback improvements. DXVA video playback has been improved for Windows too. A critical Kodi Linux […]

XBMC 13 “Gotham” Released

After month of development, alpha releases, beta releases, RC releases, XBMC 13 “Gotham” is finally out. This is the first official release that supports hardware video decoding for ARM and x86 based Android 4.0+ devices. Support is not available for 100% of devices, as for instance, AllWinner A1X/A20 and Amlogic SoCs do not support the standard Android StrageFright or MediaCodec APIs, but most others should. There’s one XBMC Android version for ARM, one for x86. Android hardware video decoding is obviously not the only feature or improvement brought about by XBMC 13. Here are the key ones: Raspberry Pi and Android speed improvements – Overall system performance improvements, but optimizations are said to be particularly noticeable when opening and browsing libraries, loading images and starting videos. Stereoscopic 3D Rendering – SBS, TAB, anaglyph, and interlaced are supported. XBMC cannot yet support 3D blurays and cannot provide hardware acceleration for FullSBS/TAB […]

$32 iPush Wi-Fi DLNA / Miracast Adapter for Android

Last time I wrote about Miracast / DLNA dongles, the price was about $55, but today I’ve found a new device closer to my target price ($25) with IPUSH Miracast adapter that sells for $31.90 on DealExtreme. [Update: Several users report it’s only a DLNA dongle, and it does not support Miracast yet] Here are the specifications according to DealExtreme: SoC – Allwinner A10s Cortex A8 + Mali-400 GPU Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n USB – 1x micro USB port for power Video Output – HDMI 1.4 Supports DLNA and Miracast mode Power – 5V / 0.5A The device comes with an HDMI cable and a micro USB cable used to connect the device to your TV HDMI and USB ports, or if your TV lacks USB, a USB power adapter. However, I’ve done a little more research, and it turns out iPush is also a product designed by Action Semi, that just […]

DLNA/UPnP Linux Server with Coherence

Coherence is a DLNA/UPnP Media Server written in Python which exports local files or online media to UPnP clients. Coherence fetch the media files from several sources such as: Local applications media collections, like those from Rythmbox or Banschee, Audio-CD or DVB Online services like Flickr, last.fm, YouTube, Picasa Web Albums and other. Other sources can also be added thanks to Coherence plug-in architecture. The media server supports transcoding (currently experimental) that is to convert media files in another format. Coherence toolkit also contains other packages such as: Coherence-Config: a cross-platform GUI frontend for ‘Coherence’. Cadre: a picture DLNA/UPnP MediaRenderer which can display pictures from the local filesystem or from a MediaServer. Mirabeau: An application level proxy for UPnP devices which allows to share your UPnP content between two or more local networks over the Internet. It uses XMPP as a transport (work in progress). UPnP-Inspector:  a graphical UPnP Device […]