What’s the Best Android TV Box?

[Update December 26, 2017: I’ve posted a new version of this post entitled “What’s the Best Android TV Box (2017/2018 Edition)?“. I’ll leave the post below to have an historical perspective] I often get asked which TV box to buy, or what the best Android TV box is, and the answer is the TV box that fits your needs for the lowest price point possible. Considering there are around 2 millions apps for Android, they are multitudes of use cases, and you can’t provide a single answer for everybody. So I’ll provide a list of things to look for beside the processor, and three TV boxes that I think are worth considering, before providing alternatives for people who want cheaper devices. Things to Look for There are still a few things you may want to specifically look for before purchasing an Android TV box: History of regular firmware updates – […]

SPMC 16.1.1 (Kodi 16.1 Android’s Fork) Adds Bluray 3D ISO Playback, HD Audio Pass-through, and Other Improvements

You may remember SPMC (Semper Media Center), a fork of Kodi/XBMC, was released a few years ago to fix some issues with Rockchip processors that would not make it to Kodi mainline code. Koying, the project’s developer, has now forked Kodi 16.1 to add some bug fixes and experimental features, and released SPMC 16.1.1. Changelog compared to Kodi 16.1: Based on Kodi 16.1 HD Audio pass-through (Nvidia Shield AndroidTV + some Amlogic devices such as Minix U1 & Wetek Core at least) Autostart at boot (xbmc.autostart=true in xbmc_env.properties) GUI size setting (Allows 4K GUI on Nvidia Shield) Only give codec priority to Mediacodec (Surface) for 4K Only stop video on minimize for Mediacodec (Surface) “System” screensaver to enable daydream; all other screensavers disable daydream Get removable storage names from system Basic Bluray 3D iso playback (experimental; amlogic) Android TV recommendations and voice search (experimental) SSL enabled MySql Stop video playback […]

WeTek Hub Android & OpenELEC TV Box Features Amlogic S905-H Revision C Processor

WeTek has been working not on one, but two four new devices recently. I’ve already covered WeTek Play 2S (previously known as WeTek Play+) based on Amlogic S905 Rev. C , running Android 5.1 or OpenELEC, and featuring digital TV tuners (ATSC, DVB-S2, DVB-T2/C), which should become available in Q2 2016. The company has unveiled another model called WeTek Hub with features closer to the ones found in other Amlogic S905 TV boxes I’ve reviewed so far, except it is based on Amlogic S905-H revision C,  comes with Widewine and Microsoft PlayReady DRM, and supports both Android 5.1.1 and OpenELEC. WeTek Hub specifications: SoC –  Amlogic S905-H revision C quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 2.0GHz with penta-core Mali-450MP GPU @ 750 MHz System Memory – 1 GB DDR3 Storage – 8 GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0 up to […]

Kodi 16 “Jarvis” Release

This morning, I saw Kodi installed from Google Play get an update in one of my Android device, and that means that Kodi 16.0 “Jarvis” has now been released. As usual it’s available for Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Android, and iOS, with specific Linux ports for Raspberry Pi boards, and several Freescale/NXP i.MX6 boards such as Wandboard or EzeeCube. You can get the full Changelog in the Wiki, but some of the main changes against Kodi 15 include: Various new features for Live TV and PVR (Personal Video Recorder) Added RDS Radio, FM radio, scheduling recordings of TV shows… Various improvements such as speeding up EPG database access. Added, updated, and improved PVR backend clients addons for all popular third-party external PVR backend platforms: FilmOn, HDHomeRun, Enigma 2, Tvheadend HTSP Client, and so on. Add-ons Framework, API, and Manager improvements Platform Independent Playback improvements : software DTS-HD decode with libdcadec, […]

WeTek Play Now Supports OpenPLi Open Source Linux Distribution for DVB Receivers

WeTek Play satellite receiver was initially launched with Android and OpenELEC support, but the community started to provide other operating systems such as Ubuntu, Elementary OS, Lakka and Enigma 2, and the hardware is even used to receive educational materials or emergency info via satellite thanks to Outernet project. The device now support OpenPLi Linux based distributions for DVB receivers. If you want to try, you can download one of the latest images of OpenPLi for WeTek Play by loading the firmware onto an SD card. Bear in mind that official has just started so some features may not be implemented, and OpenPLi documentation specific to WeTek Play is basically inexistent. Support is available on the forums. If you want to get an idea about what OpenPLi is capable, you may however check out th list of  specific features in the wiki, including PLi Movieplayer to allow you to playback […]

WeTek Play+ Amlogic S905 Android Set-Top Box Features a Tuner with a SmartCard Reader and an mSATA SSD Bay

When WeTek announced the WeTek Core, some people were disappointed that they did not include a tuner like in the original WeTek Play, but the company has been working on a successor called Wetek Play+ that is based on Amlogic S905-H quad core processor and supports DVB-S/S2, DVB-C/T/T2, ISDB-T and ATSC tuners with a smartcard reader, as well as an extra store with an half-size SSD slot. WeTek Play+ specifications: SoC –  Amlogic S905-H (Revision C) quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 2.0GHz with  penta-core Mali-450MP GPU @ 750 MHz System Memory – 2 GB DDR3 Storage – 16 GB eMMC 5.0 flash + micro SD card slot + mSATA SSD socket (implemented via USB to SATA) Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60Hz with HDCP 2.2 support, and AV port Audio – HDMI, AV (stereo), optical S/PDIF Tuners – Support for DVB-S2, DVB-C/T/T2, ISDB-T and […]

Review of WeTek Core Android Lollipop Media Player

EThe first devices based on Amlogic S812 processors started shipping by the end of 2014, but in the third quarter of 2015, there’s been a few new device released as some companies ported Android 5.x Lollipop to the platform. I reviewed two of these. Mygica ATV1900AC had potential but the number of bugs was disappointing, while Tronfy MXIV Telos was almost a disaster. Today, I’m going to report my test results with WeTek Core Android 5.1 TV box, also powered by Amlogic S812, more exactly S812-H, which includes DTS and Dolby licenses. I’ve already listed the specs, and torn down WeTek Core in two previous posts, so I’ll focus on the firmware in this review. Initial Setup and OTA Firmware Update First of all, I’d like to mention that I got an early WeTek Core sample, and while the hardware is frozen, the firmware is still being developed before the […]

WeTek Core 4K Media Player Unboxing and Teardown

WeTek Core is the latest media player from WeTek Electronics, based on Amlogic S812-H processor with 2GB RAM, and 8GB flash. By default, it will ship with Android 5.1 using DRM libraries enabling Netflix HD, but you’ll also be able to install OpenELEC, and later on Lubuntu once/if the community gets involved like for WeTek Play. The company sent me one sample, and I’ll start by checking out the device and internal hardware. WeTek Core Unboxing That’s the package which lists the specifications and provides links to WeTek Facebook page and forums. The box ships with a 12V/1A power adapter with clippable US, EU and UK plugs, an HDMI cable, WeTek’s IR and RF 6-axis remote control with voice search function, a small (and cool) tool for firmware updates, and a blue document showing the device’s ports. The power button and LED are located on one of the corners at […]

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