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Posts Tagged ‘rockchip’

Rockchip Has Setup an Official Open Source Website with Software & Hardware Documentation, Source Code

August 3rd, 2017 27 comments

As a young engineer, I first understood the importance of good documentation thanks to an incomplete Holtek MCU datasheet that made us waste weeks of development, and the value open source software thanks to Sigma Designs’ SDK that was full of binary blobs with our applications often crashing inside those, leading to software development delays, especially since we had access to limited support. More recently, if you ever worked with the most popular Chinese processors found in ARM Linux development board, usually made by Allwinner, Amlogic, or Rockchip, you must have gone through roadblocks due to a lack of documentation and software support. So far, Allwinner is purely relying on linux-sunxi community and “leaks” of their documentation and SDKs, while Amlogic has had their “open linux” microsite  for several years, but you won’t find complete documentation like technical reference manual, schematics, and part of the source code requires you to sign an SLA. I’ve heard people who signed the later, still have problem with accessing the source due to lacking username/password though. But that’s still better than nothing, and probably explains why Amlogic is the has been the preferred ARM target for Kodi in recent years.  The company also contracted Bay Libre to add support for Amlogic processors in mainline Linux.

Rockchip was very much like Allwinner at the beginning, but as the company worked with Google on Chromebooks, they started to push code to mainline linux and u-boot, and last year, they also created a Rockchip Github account and Wiki on Wikidot, where you could find some information about the processors. The company has now launched their own open source microsite on their own website: opensource.rock-chips.com. The new website will replace Wikidot Wiki for new processors, and for now they have hardware documentation for RK3288, RK3328 and RK3399, including the technical reference manual, datasheet, and a “guide” to design schematics and PCB layouts. The later mostly consists of PDF schematics of their reference platform. That’s progress, but I don’t understand why an SoC company would not release the full hardware design for their own board.

You’ll find links to source code for u-boot, Coreboot, ARM Trusted Firmware, and Linux on the website, as well as software development guides and tools, including a Linux porting guides, BSP module user  guides, graphics and multimedia user guides (GPU/VPU/ISP), and tools like Rockusb abd Rkdeveloptool.

They also have a dedicated email address opensource [at] rock-chips.com for people who want to provide feedback about the website. This kind of initiative with a public release of hardware and software documentation and source code, benefits both customers, especially smaller companies, and Rockchip themselves, since they may not need to deploy as many field application engineers (FAE) to sort out issues, and their customers have better chances of successfully completing their projects.

How to Install RKMC “Kodi for Rockchip” App in your TV Box

July 3rd, 2017 6 comments

I’ve started playing with Vorke Z3, an Android 6.0 TV box based on Rockchip RK3399 , and saying that Kodi 17.3 – installed from the Google Play Store – is not working so well is an understatement. The other Rockchip TV boxes I’ve recently reviewed with Android 6.0.1 such as Yundoo Y8 and A95X R2 are all using TVMC, a fork of Kodi 16.1 specifically designed for Rockchip devices. However, there’s no source code for that app, but a Rockchip engineer is maintaining his own fork of Kodi, with the code and some binaries libraries released on Github. The project is called RKMC.

Click for Original Size

I did install the app, but I misunderstood part of the instructions at first, and the device would not boot anymore. I lost many hours of work, as I had to reflash the firmware. So I’ll show how I installed it in Vorke Z3 TV box. You could compile it from source, but James also provides binary files for easy installation.

First we’ll need to download RKMC apk and a patched library available for RK3399, RK3368, RK3288, and RK322x processors.First go to RKMC-Build to either download rkmcapp-armeabi-v7a-debug.apk with some add-ons, or rkmcapp-armeabi-v7a-debug-tiny.apk without add-on. With hindsights, I’d recommend the later, as we can see in the screenshot at the top of this article, the first apk mostly includes piracy add-ons that are illegal in most places, and now not working anymore due to the recent crackdown on piracy services with those Kodi add-ons.

Then you’ll want to download librkmcplayer.so  for your processor and operating system, in my case RK3399 and Android 6.0. You’ll also see libmpp.so and libvpu.so in that directory, please ignore those as that’s how I bricked the TV box.

Now that we have our two files, we can run the following commands in a terminal in Ubuntu, but it should work in Windows for Linux Sub-system, or in a Windows command prompt by replacing adb by adb.exe in the commands.

The last command takes around 30 seconds, so be patient. Replace TVBOX-IPADDRESS with the actual IP address, or you can skip this step if you are using a USB type C to USB cable connected between your computer and the device.

We’re done, and you should see RKMC app in the list of apps.

Click to Enlarge

After a few quick tests, I have to say I also have mixed results with this app, but your mileage may vary. I’ll provide a more detailed report in Vorke Z3 review.

 

MQMaker MiQi & ASUS Tinker Boards Get Linux 4.11 with 3D Graphics Acceleration

May 2nd, 2017 8 comments

One day after the release of Linux 4.11, developer Miouyouyou” has released Linux 4.11 for Rockchip RK3288 platforms such as MQMaker MiQi and ASUS Tinker boards with some patchsets for ARM Mali r16p0 kernel drivers, ARM fbdev, and to improve performance.

The kernel has been tested with the Mali User-space r12p0 drivers for fbdev and wayland written for Firefly-RK3288, and some OpenGL ES 3.1/3.2 samples could successfully run on the board. 3D graphics acceleration does not work in X11 however.

Miouyouyou also plans to add support for Rockchip VPU code, as well as ARM gator, and document how to use ARM DS-5 Streamline for OpenGL ES 2.x/3.x debugging.

If you have a MiQi or Tinker board running Debian, you can try the kernel by adding beta.armbian.com Debian repository to your apt source file, and installing the following packages:

Via linux-rockchip G+ community.

Rockchip Introduces Three Tablet SoCs: RK3126C, RK3326, RK3366, and RK3368H Processor for 2-in-1 Laptops

April 19th, 2017 5 comments

Rockchip has launched four more processors at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair 2017, with three SoCs specifically targeting tablets namely RK3126C, RK3326 and RK3366, and one SoC, RK3368H modified from RK3368, designed to provide a lower cost alternative to RK3288 and RK3399 for 2-in-1 hybrid laptops and tablets.

The company only provided limited information with regards to the tablet SoCs specifications:

  • RK3126C quad core processor supporting 1080p video decoding and HD (720p?) displays for entry-level tablets
  • RK3326 quad core ARM Cortex A35 processor with a quad core Mali GPU, DDR3/LPDDR memory interface, 1080p60 H.264, MPEG-4/-2 video decoding, and 1080p30 H.264 video encoding
  • RK3366 quad core ARM Cortex A53 processor with a quad core Mali GPU, DDR3/LPDDR memory interface, USB 3.0 interface, and 4K H.265 video decoding

All three processors will be running Android 7.1. I could not find any tablets based on the processor yet, so we may have to wait a few more month.

We have more details about RK3368H processor since it’s an update of RK3368 processor, and a tablet was showcased at the event.

Rockchip RK3368H key specifications:

  • CPU – Octa-core ARM Cortex A53 processor @ 1.5 Ghz
  • GPU – Imagination PowerVR SDX6110 GPU @ 600 MHz
  • Memory I/F – 32-bit DDR/LPDDR
  • Display I/F  – Full HD Display supported
  • Video – 4K H.265 and H.264 video decoding
  • Ethernet and HDMI port “reduced” (likely meaning removed) for lower costs
  • 28nm process

The processor can run Android 7.1 operating systems, including desktop optimized version such as Remix OS, Phoenix OS, or Light Biz OS. The company claims the tablet shown above gets around 48,000 points in Antutu benchmark. Netbook Italia also posted a video of the tablet (in Italian) showing it’s made by Chiptrip, but they have not updated their MID page with the new tablet just yet.

Via AndroidPC.es

LibreELEC is Now Running on Ugoos UT3+ (Rockchip RK3288) TV Box

February 23rd, 2017 6 comments

Rockchip RK3288 may have launched over two years ago, but the quad core 32-bit processor is still much more powerful than many 64-bit platforms on the market, and ASUS selected the processor for their upcoming – and not officially launched – Tinker Board. The processor was found in several Android TV boxes, but people also installed Linux on the devices, and ported Kodi 14.2 Linux to RK3288 with hardware video decoding back in 2015. The news here is that Omegamoon has recently started working on LibreELEC 8.0 port for RK3288 with a Linux 4.4 kernel, and tested it on Ugoos UT3+ TV box.

Click to Enlarge

Full HD movie playback is said to be smooth, Ethernet, and sound work, but WiFi still needs to be worked on.

Omegamoon has released an update.img firmware which can be flashed with upgrade_tool in Linux, or AndroidTool in Windows, replaces whatever operating system you have on the eMMC flash, and works only on Ugoos UT3+ at this time.  If you own another Rockchip RK3288 device, it’s a bit more complicated. First, you need a computer running Linux, make sure you get a working kernel with the right device tree file, and download this tarball with system and kernel images, and somehow manage to boot it up on your device as explained here.

If you want to contribute to the development of LibreELEC on Rockchip RK3288 processor, you can retrieve the code from github, and run the script build_rk3288_ugoos-ut3s.sh to build LibreELEC from source, and generate a flashable firmware image. If you happen to own PopMetal development board, build_rk3288_popmetal.sh script might work, but has not been tested.

Separately, Marc Rissewijck, who worked on the initial Kodi port for RK3288, has also published a Kodi debian package (kodi_v0.2.deb) very recently, so if you have a RK3288 hardware platforms running running Ubuntu or Debian, this might be worth a try. I could find a reference in #linux-rockchip IRC logo, explaining the changes:

<mac-l1> hi guys. just made a first kodi .deb package for vpu/mpp including zerocopy/eglimage to test. can somebody check if it works?
<mac-l1> just download http://www.mac-l1.com/kodi/kodi_v0.2.deb and dpkg -i the deb package and then apt-get install -f

If you are like me, and have no clue about MPP, it stands for Media Process Platform, and appears to be a new method to handle video decoding on Rockchip SoCs.

$140 R-TV BOX K99 Android 6.0 mini PC Comes with Rockchip RK3399 SoC, 4GB RAM, 32GB Storage

February 16th, 2017 8 comments

We will the first hardware platforms shipping with a Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor later this month and in March, with Firefly-RK3399 development board, and various TV boxes / mini PCs such as Vorke Z3, Yundoo Y8, and Remix IO+. Another option is “R-TV BOX K99” with 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.1ac WiFi… that’s currently up for pre-order on GeekBuying for $139.99, and scheduled to ship in 3 days.

R-TV BOX K99 specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3399 hexa core processor with 2x ARM Cortex A72 cores @ up to 2.0 GHz, 4x ARM Cortex A53 cores, Mali-T860MP4 GPU @ 800 MHz with support for OpenGL ES1.1/2.0/3.0/3.1, OpenVG1.1, OpenCL, DX11, AFBC (frame buffer compression)
  • System Memory – 4GB DDR3
  • Storage – 32 GB eMMC 5.1 flash + micro SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60 Hz
  • Video Codecs – 4K 10-bit H.265, H.264 & VP9 decoding up to 60 fps
  • Audio Output – HDMI, optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi (867 Mbps) + Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB type C port with OTG mode, and DisplayPort 1.2 video/audio support
  • Misc – Power button, recovery port
  • Power Supply – 5V/2.5A
  • Dimensions & Weight – N/A

K99 runs Android 6.0 operating system, and ship with a power adapter, an IR remote control, a HDMI cable, and a user’s manual.

Please note that Rockchip RK3399 is not a TV box SoC, and lacks the latests features like HDR, and HD audio (TrueHD / DTS HD) pass-through is not guaranteed to work. However, you’ll still be able to watch most videos, and performance will be much better than previous generations leading to smoother games, and faster web browsing and general user experience. From that point of view, Rockchip RK3388 boxes might be seen as Android mini PCs, rather than TV boxes focusing on the best AV experience. We’ll have to see what the first reviews reveal to find out.

Rockchip RK3328 Quad Core 64-bit ARM SoC is Designed for 4K HDR Android 7.1 & Linux TV Boxes

January 11th, 2017 21 comments

Beside RV1108 visual platform for applications, Rockchip also unveiled another processor at CES 2017 with RK3328 quad core Cortex A53 processor for 4K TV Box with H.265, H.264 and VP9 codecs support, HDR, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet and more.

rk3328-tv-boxRockchip RK3328 STB SoC specifications:

  • Processor – Quad core Cortex A53 @ up to 1.5 GHz
  • GPU – ARM Mali-450MP2
  • Memory I/F – DDR3/DDR3L/DDR4 with “large memory” support (4GB?)
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0a with HDCP 2.x/1.4 up to 4K @ 60 Hz with HDR10/HLG support, CVBS output
  • Video Processor
    • 4K UHD H.264, 10-bit H.265 and VP9 video decoder
    • 1080p H.265/H.264 video encoder
  • Audio – Embedded audio DAC
  • Peripherals
    • embedded USB 3.0 interface
    • Dual Ethernet interface: RGMII (reduced gigabit media-independent interface) + Fast Ethernet PHY
    • 8 channel I2S interface supporting PDM/TDM
    • TS and smart card interface, with support for CSA 2.0
  • Security – TrustZone, Secure Video Path, Secure Boot, OTP

The new processor with support Android 7.1 and Linux, as well as OP-TEE secure OS and DRM support for Widewine L1 and Microsoft PlayReady. The TS interface will allow for tuner (DVB, ATSC…) support.

The processor is quite similar to Amlogic S905X. However the GPU is a bit weaker, which is not really that important for video applications, but not so good for games, and RK3328 also offer some extra interfaces with USB 3.0, dual Ethernet including one Gigabit Ethernet MAC, and tuner support.

The company did not provide any information about pricing or availability in their press release, and has yet to add RK3328 product page to their website.

Rockchip RV1108 Visual Processor is Designed for 1080p & 2K Camera Applications

January 9th, 2017 2 comments

Rockchip has joined other companies in developing camera SoCs with their RV1108 Visual Platform based on a single Cortex A7 core, a CEVA XM4 visual processing DSP, and capable of H.264 video encoding up to 1440p30 / 1080p60.

360 Camera Demo at CES 2017

360° Camera Demo at CES 2017 – Click to Enlarge

Rockchip RV1108 main features and specifications:

  • CPU – ARM Cortex A7 @ up to 1.0 GHz
  • DSP – embedded CEVA XM4 vision processor up to 600MHz
  • Video Encoder – 2K/H.264, high definition & low bit rate
  • Camera – MIPI CSI and DVP interfaces
  • Image processing – Low-light-level night vision imaging: 8MP professional image processing unit
  • Audio Processing – Audio Codec supporting up to 8-way MIC array, 3A? phonetic algorithms, such as echo cancellation, noise suppression;
  • Video Out/Input – HDMI OUT, CVBS OUT, MIPI DSI, CVBS IN
  • Networking – 10/100 Ethernet PHY

The processor is expected to be used in drones, IP cameras, car dashcams, sports/action cameras, as well as other applications such as panoramic cameras, computer vision applications, or real-time WiFi video transmitter. The company also released some comparison pictures and videos against a competitor camera showing the wider dynamic range of its solution. The competitor is likely based on either Allwinner V-series SoC or Novatek SoC.

rockchip-rv1108-vs-allwinner-v3

The text is much clearer with RV1108 in the top picture, the building has much better details with RV1108 in the second picture. I’m not sure how much of that is related to the sensor used however, as the company did not mention anything about that, and instead explained that their ” advanced graph and image processing technology, WDR(Wide Dynamic Range)technology directly influences the video shooting effect”.

RV1108 runs Linux OS with an optional MiniGUI, drivers for WiFi, Bluetooth, or GPS, and support for Android/iOS apps.

Rockchip was also at CES 2017 demonstrating RV1108 capabilities with a 360° camera demo pictures in the top picture, a streaming media rearview mirror, and a 2K VR camera. There’s no product page for RV1108 on Rockchip website yet.