Android TV Box Survey Results – Kodi, YouTube, Netflix, Brands, Support, and Prices

I’ve launched a survey on behalf of a TV box manufacturer two weeks ago, and the results are now in with over 400 respondents. As promised, the company provided the results so let’s have a look. First, most of respondents use a TV box without tuner, while some have both, and a few others haven’t purchased one yet. Survey participants where then asked about the most important apps in an Android TV box with a 1 (not important) to 6 (very important) scale. The results are not really surprising with Kodi and YouTube being the most sought after apps. Netflix came a distant third, and a fair amount of respondents want their TV box to support HD resolutions. Most people could not care less about Hulu and Sling TV. The third question was about the price people were ready to pay for a TV box with the same specs, but […]

Improve YouTube Video Playback on Low Power Intel mini PCs by Disabling VP9 Support in Chrome or Firefox

I’ve been reviewing several Intel Bay Trail, Cherry Trail, and Braswell mini PCs in the last year or so, and I always end up recommending Microsoft Edge browser over Firefox or Chrome for people wanting to watch YouTube videos, as the last two browsers always drop many frames with the video stuttering regularly. However I noticed that while Edge is playing  MP4/AVC (H.264) video, the other two browser would normally stream WebM/VP9 videos, and it could be the cause of the problem as H.264 can be hardware accelerated, but VP9 not, and the low power processor might not quite powerful enough to handle 1080p VP9 video decoding smoothly. So I investigated the issues with Vorke V1 mini PC powered by an Intel Celeron J3160 processor (6W TDP) with the three browsers by first checking enabled codecs in YouTube HTML5 page. Microsoft Edge has both VP8 and VP9 disabled When I […]

Star Cloud PCG02U Ubuntu 14.04 TV Stick Review

Star Cloud PCG02U is the first Ubuntu product from MeLE. After taking a few pictures of the TV stick and the board, I’ve tested the performance and functionality of the device. First Boot and Setup You can either connected the stick directly into an HDMI port, or using the provided female to female adapter via an HDMI cable. I’ve opted to insert the device directly into the AUX port of my Onkyo A/V receiver itself connected to my TV. Since there’s only one USB host port, USB keyboard and mouse are not convenient since it would add a USB hub, so I went with Logitech MK270r wireless mouse & keyboard combo instead. You can either used Ethernet or WiFi for Internet connectivity, and I opted for the latter for most of the review, but WiFi is also working fine. The final step is to connect the power supply into the […]

Voyo V3 Intel Atom x7-Z8700 mini PC Review with Windows 10

Voyo V3 is one of the first Cherry Trail mini PCs based on Intel Atom x7-Z8700 quad processor that promises both higher CPU and GPU performance, and more I/O connectivity compared to Intel Atom x5 platforms.  I’ve already posted pictures of the device and its guts in the first part of the review,  so today in part 2 of the review, I’ll focus on testing how the device perform with its pre-installed operating system: Windows 10 Home. Setup and System Information There’s no much to say about setup for this device, since all you have to do is to connect the cable, and press the button to access Windows 10 desktop. There are however two interesting aspect of the boot process: As you connect the power supply, you’ll see the power button blue LED lit, but it does not mean it has started. I could see the power consumption was […]

MINIX NGC-1 Review and Benchmarks with Windows 10 Home

MINIX NGC-1 mini PC is powered by an Intel Celeron N3150 quad core “Braswell” processor with 4GB RAM and a 128GB M.2SSD, and pre-loaded with Windows 10 Home. While the product aims to provide a convenient alternative to Intel NUC kits, as everything is pre-assembled and pre-installed, I’ll also compare the experience to Bay Trail and Cherry Trail mini PCs such as MeLE PCG03 or Tronsmart Ara X5. I’ve already provided NGC-1 specifications and some pictures, so today, I’ll test the capabilities of the device, and run some benchmarks in the review. MINIX NGC-1 Setup Once you’ve connected a USB keyboard and mouse, and the power supply, you are ready to start. Press the power button, the blue power will lit on the front of the device, and you’ll hear a beep and the very first time system will boot to Windows 10 setup screen where you’ll be asked to […]

Review of Light Biz OS Operating System for Desktop Use (Writing a Blog Post)

This is take 2 of using an Android mini PC as a desktop PC, as I’m currently writing this post from GeekBox TV box with Rockchip’s Light Biz OS, an operating systems based on Android 5.1 with some optimizations for desktop use. I’ve already installed various productivity apps such as Gimp and Microsoft Excel, and at first this was a problem sinc Light Biz OS “internal storage” partition was too small to install some programs, so I had to resize the “userdata” partition to 6GB to make it usable. I normally blog with Firefox in Ubuntu 14.04, so right now, I’m writing with Firefox for Android, and not WordPress Android app, which would have been another option. One of the first challenge was to create links, and I could copy links with a long click providing access to copy tools in Firefox, and copy the links with Ctrl+V in Firefox. […]

Roku 4 Media Player Supports H.265 and VP9 4K Videos, 7.1 Channel Audio Pass-through

Roku has announced the latest version of their video streaming player. Roku 4 comes with a faster quad core processor, supports H.265 & VP9 video playback up to respectively 2160p60 and 2160p30, and includes a new version of Roku operating systems. Roku 4 specifications: SoC – Unnamed Quad core ARM processor with OpenGL ES 2.0 capable GPU System Memory – 1.5GB RAM Storage – TBD internal storage – micro SD slot Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 3840×2160 @ 60Hz with HDCP 2.2 support Audio Output – HDMI or optical S/PDIF with support for Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround pass-through Video Codecs – 4K UHD 60 fps HEVC Playback, 4K UHD 30 fps VP9 Playback (YouTube) Connectivity – 802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless, 10/100 Base-T Ethernet USB – USB host port Power supply – 12V/1A Power consumption – 12.4W (typ.) when streaming 4K UHD video Dimensions – About 16.5 x […]

Study Shows Octa Core Processors Bring Little Over Quad Core Processors in Mobile Devices

Silicon vendor are now launching 8-core and even 12-core processors for mobile devices, and I can see some advantages in terms of power consumption in processors leveraging big.LITTLE processing with low power ‘LITTLE’ cores running light tasks such as audio or video playback, while performance ‘big’ cores running much demanding tasks. However, some processors, such as RK3368, feature the same eight cores, and in real-use don’t bring that extra bit of performance or lower power consumption, except in very specific cases. So the only “advantage” of this type of processor is a marketing one, with keyword like “Octa-core”, “64-bit”, etc… Last year, I found out, that more powerful cores may be more important than many cores, when I tested Allwinner A80 processor with PVRMonitor to check CPU usage per core in real-time, and in Antutu, while Browsing the web or playing games, only a few cores were used most of […]

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