Review of Ubuntu 18.04 on ODROID-XU4Q Development Board

ODROID-XU4Q

Hardkernel released their first Samsung Exynos 5422 octa-core board in July 2014 with ODROID-XU3, which at the time was really a powerful board, but also pricey at $179. Later that year, the company released a cheaper version ($99) called ODROID-XU3 Lite, which I had the chance to review with Ubuntu 14.04 and Android 4.4. The company’s adventure with Exynos 5422 processor did not stop there, as in 2015 they released the smaller and even cheaper ($74) ODROID-XU4 board, and last year launched a fanless version of the board with ODROID-XU4Q featuring a large heatsink. More recently, the company also introduced ODROID-HC1 and ODROID-MC1 solutions for respectively network storage and clusters applications. That’s the short history of Hardkernel Exynos 5422 boards as I remember it, and that means that since 2014, or nearly 4 years so far, the company has kept updating Ubuntu and Android firmware for their board, including the just released Ubuntu 18.04 (MATE) operating system, which I’m going …

Bootlin Wants to Bring Allwinner VPU Support to Mainline Linux (Crowdfunding)

I wrote about Free Electrons several times in the past due to their work on porting Arm SoCs to mainline Linux. Free Electrons is no more. But don’t be sad, as it’s not because they closed shop, but instead they changed their name to Bootlin due to trademark trolls. Free Electrons Bootlin intensively worked on Allwinner processors, for example working with Next Things Co. to add CHIP board to mainline Linux, or more recently adding support for OpenGL ES in mainline Linux, albeit with closed-source user space binary blobs. The company normally work with partners for their work, but for their latest initiative aiming to bring Allwinner VPU (Video Processing Unit) to the official Linux kernel there’s asking funding from the community through a Kickstarter campaign. For those who do not know, the VPU is the IP block within the SoC used for hardware video decoding of codecs such as MPEG2, MPEG4 or H264.Bootlin already showcased a demo with Cedrus open …

BBen MN10 TV Stick Review – Windows 10, Ubuntu 17.04, Benchmarks, and Kodi

The BBEN MN10 is the second Apollo Lake device to be released in the stick form-factor and on paper looks to have a lot to offer: It features an Apollo Lake N3350 SoC, an unusual 3GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and is cooled by a ‘mute’ fan. The devices comes in a plain box with a power adapter, and a leaflet style manual. It also included a three-pin UK power adapter, as this was advertised as the ‘BBen MN10 Mini PC  –  UK PLUG  BLACK’. Looking at the detail specifications: We can immediately see discrepancies as the device does not have a ‘RJ45 Port Speed: 1000M LAN’ port, and was not supplied with ‘1 x HDMI Cable’ nor ‘1 x Remote Control’. Powering on the device and the ‘mute’ fan is also a miss-representation as it starts immediately and is noticeably noisy. It also runs at full speed regardless of workload so the noise is a constant reminder that …

$69.99 Amazon Fire TV 2017 TV Box Supports 4K HDR-10 Video Playback

Amazon has just announced a new Fire TV TV box with support for 4K Ultra HD and HDR (High Dynamic Range), and a cheaper price, as it is selling for $69.99 on Amazon US with delivery scheduled to start on October 25, 2017. Amazon Fire TV 2017 specifications: SoC – Amlogic S905Z quad core ARM Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.5 GHz with penta-core Mali-450MP3 GPU System Memory – 2GB RAM Storage – 8GB flash Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K 60 Hz with HDCP 2.2, Doby Atmos support Video – HDR-10. H.265, H.264 Connectivity – Dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi + Bluetooth 4.1 LE USB – 1x micro USB port for power (and optional USB Ethernet adapter) Dimensions – 65 x 65 x 15 mm Weight – 87 grams Amazon just mentions “Amlogic Quad-core 1.5GHz | ARM 4xCA53” for Fire TV processor, so it first assumed it could either be S905X, S905D or S905L since all support 4K60, …

Voyo (V1) VMac Mini Apollo Lake Mini PC Review – Part 2: Windows 10

Voyo VMac Mini, also sometimes referred to just Voyo V1, is an actively cooled mini PC powered by Intel Celeron N3450 or Pentium N4200 Apollo Lake processor. I’ve received samples for both, and already taken pictures of the device and motherboard. So in the second part I’ll review the mini PC checking out system info, running some benchmarks on both, and see how it performs as an entry-level desktop PC. Voyo VMac Mini Setup and System Information Setup is pretty straightforward, as you just need to connect mouse and keyboard, Ethernet, the mini HDMI to HDMI cable, optionally the included USB WiFi dongle, the power supply, and finally press the power button to get to Windows 10 desktop logged in as “admin” user in about 30 seconds. Some Apollo Lake mini PCs support HDMI 2.0 video output, but this requires a DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 bridge chip, which not included in Voyo VMac Mini’s board, so the system supports 1080p …

$28 MK809V 4K Android TV Stick is Powered by Rockchip RK3229 Processor

Rockchip RK3229 is found is some ultra-cheap 4K Android TV boxes such as SCISHION V88 are selling for as low as $20. If you prefer HDMI TV stick form factor, there’s now MK809V 4K TV stick based on the processor, which I’ve first noticed on DealExtreme for $30.71, but it can also be found on other sites such as GeekBuying for $27.99, or eBay for $33. MK809V-4K HDMI TV dongle specifications: SoC – Rockchip RK3229 quad core ARM Cortex A7 processor @ 1.5 GHz with ARM Mali-400MP2 System Memory – 1GB DDR3 Storage – 8GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot up to 32GB Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K2K @ 60 fps with CEC support Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi up to 150 Mbps + Bluetooth 4.0 LE (Realtek RTL8723) USB – 1x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port, 1x micro USB port for power only Power Supply – 5V/2A Dimensions …

MUSES-α & MUSES-β DVB-T/C, ISDB-T, DTMB & ATSC Modulator Boards Review – Part 1: The Hardware

V-Bridge Muses digital TV modulator boards launched on Kickstarter earlier this month, with the cheaper $200 MUSES-α board modulating video from a PC, and $600 MUSES-β turnkey solution capable of broadcasting HDMI or AV + stereo input to various digital TV standards including DVB-T/C, ATSC/QAM, DTMB, and ISDB-T/TB without the help of a computer. The company sent me the two hardware kits for evaluation and review on CNX Software, and today I’ll start by showing off the hardware I received. I got 3 packages and a F-female to F-female cable, which means you can connect the board directly to your TV tuner without having to rely on actual RF signals, and potential legal issues that goes with it. The first package I open if for the PC modulator kit that include MUSES-α board, an “RF” board, as a USB cable to connect to your computer. MUSES-α board features Vatek A1 chip, a USB port, an Ethernet port, a power jack, …

V-Bridge Muses Digital TV Modulator Boards Let You Broadcast Your Own TV Channel for $199 and Up (Crowdfunding)

I wrote about VATek VMB8202D Enmoder SoC handling both DVB, ATSC, DTMB and ISDB modulation and H.264 hardware encoding earlier this summer, and at the time, the company also planned to launch a crowdfunding campaign for two open source hardware DTV modulation boards in a couple of weeks. Weeks turned into months, but finally V-Bridge Muses boards and video input & RF daughterboards have now launched on Kickstarter where you can get your own live video broadcasting board for $199 and up. MUSES-α board MUSES-α board is the cheapest of the two boards, and features a header for the RF daughter board, and a USB port to connect to a computer. MUSES-α board specifications: SoC – VATek A1 32-bit RISC modulator chip Storage – SPI flash (unclear whether it can be accessed/modified by user) Modulation – DVB-T/C, ATSC/QAM, DTMB; RF header Video Encoding – N/A (handled by PC via USB or another board via TS header) USB – 1x USB …