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Posts Tagged ‘set-top box’

VideoStrong Introduces Low Cost Version of KI Plus T2 S2 Hybrid Android TV Box with Amlogic S805X Processor

February 19th, 2018 3 comments

VideoStrong K1 Plus T2/S2 is an Android 5.1 set-top-box with DVB-S/S2 and DVB-T/T2 tuner that was launched roughly two years ago with Amlogic S905 quad core processor. Since then, the company has now launched variant of the model with Amlogic S912 (e.g. KIII Pro hybrid TV box)  or Amlogic S905D (e.g. KI Pro set-top box) processors.

But now, provided the information on Alibaba is correct, the company has launched a new version of KI Plus T2/S2 with Amlogic S805X which should be cheaper, run a more recent Android 7.1 operating system, at the cost of losing support for 4K decoding, since the processor only support Full HD (1080p60) decoding at most.

Since the company updated an existing product, some specific details are wrong on Alibaba, but KI Plus T2 S2 (2018) specifications should be as follows:

  • SoC –  Amlogic S805X quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.2 GHz with penta-core Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash (4G, 16GB or 32GB optional) + micro SD card slot up to 32GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0b up to 1080p @ 60Hz with with CEC & HDR support, and 3.5mm AV jack
  • Audio – HDMI, AV (stereo), optical S/PDIF
  • Video Codecs – 10-bit H.265, VP9, and H.264 up to 1080p60
  • Tuner – Combo DVB-T/T2/C and DVB-S/S2 with two antenna connectors
  • Connectivity – Fast Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (No Bluetooth)
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – Power button and LED, IR receiver
  • Power Supply –  DC 12V/1.5A
  • Dimensions – 130 x 120 x 32 mm

Click to Enlarge

Back in 2016, the firmware would only support DVB-T/T2 or DVB-S/S2, but AFAIK, the company has updated the firmware in all there models to also support DVB-C (cable TV).

The new K1 Plus S805X TV box appears to only be offered to distributors for now, and information about the retail price is not available. For reference, the FOB price listed on Alibaba is $28 to $40 per unit (depending on quantity).

Geniatech ATV598Max is a Certified Android TV Hybrid TV Box with ATSC, DVB-T2, DVB-C, or ISDB-T Digital TV Tuner

January 10th, 2018 7 comments

Geniatech ATV495 Max was the first model from the company to get official Android TV certifications. There now a bunch of those ATV OEM devices, but if you want one with a digital TV tuner, then the choice is much more limited, and so far, I only heard about ARRIS set top boxes.

Geniatech ATV598 Max can now be added to the list, as the company informed me the Amlogic quad core hybrid TV box with ATSC, DVB-T2, or DVB-C tuner had just received official Android TV certification from Google too.

ATV598Max specifications:

  • SoC  – Amlogic S905D quad core Arm Cortex-A53 processor up to 1.5 GHz with penta-core Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3 (optional 1GB)
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot up to 32GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0a;
  • Audio – Via HDMI, optical output, optional Dolby support
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi or 802.11 b/g/ac WiFi module, Bluetooth
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Tuner – Optional ATSC/DVB-T2/DVB-C/ISDB-T tuner, 75 Ohm antenna input (coaxial or F-connector)
  • Power Supply – 5.0V/2A
  • Dimensions – 132 x 126 x 27.5 mm
  • Weight – 250g

The box ships with a HDMI cable, a user manual, a power adapter, and a remote control

ATV598Max runs Android TV 7.1, and the certification also includes Google Mobile Service (GMS) with the Play Store and other Google apps, as well as support for features such as Google Cast and Google Voice Search. The tuner software supports EPG, schedule recording, timeshift and parental control functions.

More details can be found on the product page.

Mecool KII Pro Set-Top-Box Upgraded to Amlogic S905D Processor, Android 7.1.2

December 29th, 2017 10 comments

VideoStrong is making some of the most popular – at least on this website – Android set-box boxes with digital TV tuner on the market with products like Mecool KIII Pro, or KI Pro, mostly because of their affordability. Software may be hit or miss depending on your local requirement (e.g. AC3 on DVB-T2, language encoding issues, etc..), so there’s fairly large number of users and some community tools or firmware such as DVB Channel Editor or Vitmos OS that may make them better devices.

Most models are based on Amlogic S905 or S912, but Amlogic launched S905D processor some time ago with better tuner support (multiple demodulator support) which for example allowing me to watch terrestrial TV (DVB-T2) while recording satellite TV (DVB-S2) on Sen5 TV box. VideoStrong decided to upgrade their KII Pro Android set-top box  with S905 processor, DVB-T2/T/C and DVB-S2/S tuners to the new Amlogic S905D processor, and the new version of the device also get some interesting firmware and software upgrade with support for Android 7.1.2, YouTube 4K, Widevine L1 DRM, Netflix HD, and MAC25X (IPTV) Stalker TV box compatibility.

Mecool KII Pro (2017/2018) specifications:

  • SoC –  Amlogic S905D quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5 GHz with penta-core Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot up to 32GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60Hz with HDR10/HLG HDR and HDCP 1.4, and 3.5mm AV (composite video) jack
  • Audio – HDMI, AV (stereo audio), optical S/PDIF
  • Video Codecs – 10-bit H.265 up to 4K60, VP9 Profile 2 up to 4K30, MPEG/VC-1/AVS+/H.265 up to 4K30
  • Tuner – Combo DVB-T/T2/C and DVB-S/S2 with two connectors (coaxial and F-type)
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – Power button and LED, IR receiver
  • Power Supply –  DC 12V/1A
  • Dimensions – 130 x 120 x 32 mm
  • Weight – 187.50 grams

Going to Amlogic S905D from S905 also has the advantage of adding support for HDR, and 4K VP9 video codec. The company paid for a HDCP 1.4 license as well, but not HDCP 2.2 if the table below is to be believed.

You’ll still be able to watch and record free-to-air TV, get access to EPG (Electronic Program Guide), and other features described in previous reviews. VideoStrong/Mecool usually have hidden features such as CCCAM/NEWCAMD support, and I’d expect the new model to be able to record one channel via  cable/terrestrial antenna, and watch another via satellite dish.

The new Mecool KII Pro set-top box is sold on GeekBuying for $66.99 including shipping, but you’ll also find it on Aliexpress, or GearBest. From time to time, I receive email asking “why can’t I receive free-to-air channel, I live in the US”. So please, if you live in the US, or another country where DVB-T/T2 standard is not in use, do not buy this box, unless you are interested in satellite or/and cable reception. In the US, people need to check for boxes with an ATSC tuners, in some other countries for ones with ISDB-T tuner.

Thanks to Natsu for the tip.

Geniatech ATV495 Max TV Box Gets Google’s Android TV Approval

December 1st, 2017 9 comments

Last year, I wrote about Geniatech working on getting official Android TV support for ATV495 Max and ATV598 Max set-top boxes with Google Play GMS certification. The certification for the Amlogic S912 model with tuner (AT598 Max) is still being worked on, but the good news is that Amlogic S905X based ATV495 Max has now received Google’s Android TV approval.

The case design has changed a little since this first announcement with a more rounded and large design, but other Geniatech ATV495Max specifications have not changed:

  • SoC – Amlogic S905X-B quad core ARM Cortex-A53 processor up to 1.5 GHz with Mali 450MP GPU @ up to 750MHz
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + micro SD Slot up to 32GB
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz with CEC, HDCP, HDR; 3.5mm AV port (CVBS + stereo audio); Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus multichannel HD audio
  • Video Codecs – VP9 Profile-2 up to 4K @ 60 fps, H.265 MP-10 @ L5.1 up to 4K @ 60 fps, H.264 AVC HP @ L5.1 up to 4K @ 30 fps, other codecs up to 1080p60.
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi or 802.11 b/g/ac WiFi module, optional Bluetooth
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Power Supply – 5.0V/2A
  • Dimensions – 100 x 98 x 22 mm (or 82 x 82 x 19 mm?)
  • Weight – 159g

The box runs Android TV 7.1, and ships with a user manual, a HDMI cable, a power adapter, and an IR remote control with voice function by default.

That means the device will now support features such as Google voice search, Google Cast, and TV versions of apps such as YouTube, Hulu, Sling, and more. The product page also links to a specification sheet that shows Leanback launcher or other custom launcher can be implemented into Android TV. There’s no mention about DRM or apps like Netflix however.

I asked Geniatech if they had any documentation or link from Google showing certifications, but yesterday, they told me they only got a email from Google, and asked if they had any document, but no feedback so far. ATV495 Max is however listed with other OEM devices on the unofficial list of Android TV devices.

As for ATV598 Max, certification is still ongoing since more testing is required due to the included TV Tuner. [Update Jan 10, 2018: Geniatech ATV598Max is now certified for Android TV]

Magicsee C300 is a $70 DVB-T2/C & DVB-S2 Android Set-Top Box Powered by Amlogic S905D SoC

November 14th, 2017 11 comments

Amlogic S905D processor is an evolution of Amlogic S905X with Gigabit Ethernet support, and TS interfaces for digital TV tuners. That explains why most devices launched with the processor come with tuners. So far, we’ve covered or reviewed a few including Sen5 STB (2x DVB-T2/C), Mecool KI Pro (T2/S2), and TX95D TV box with a single DVB-T2 tuner.

Magicsee C300 is another Amlogic S905D Android STB that comes with DVB-T2/C (Terrestrial & Cable), and DVB-S2 (Satellite) tuners, and sells for just under $70 on Aliexpress, and can be found on other shops such as GearBest.

Magicsee C300 specifications are quite similar to the ones for Mecool KI Pro:

  • SoC –  Amlogic S905D quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5 GHz with penta core Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot up to 32GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60Hz with support for HDR10 and HLG, and 3.5mm AV (composite video) jack
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV (stereo audio), optical S/PDIF
  • Video Codecs – 10-bit H.265, and VP9 Profile 2 up to 4K60, H.264 up to 4K30, AVS+ and other codecs up to 1080p60
  • Tuners
    • DVB-T/T2/C tuner with coaxial antenna input connector
    • DVB-S/S2 tuner with F antenna input connector
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.1 LE
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – Power button and LED, IR receiver
  • Power Supply –  DC 12V/1.5A
  • Dimensions – 14.80 x 12.00 x 3.30 cm
  • Weight – 195 grams

The only differences are that they used DDR3 memory instead of DDR4, Fast Ethernet instead on Gigabit Ethernet, and a slightly more powerful power supply (18W vs 12W). The ports layout is exactly the same, so I suspect Magicsee is using Videostrong KI Pro board with DDR3 memory, and no Gigabit Ethernet placed into a different case.

The set-top box is said to run Android 6.0.1 according to Aliexpress/GearBest, and ships with a power adapter, a HDMI cable, an IR remote control, and a user manual.

Shenzhen Intek Technology may be the manufacturer of the device as they list Magicsee C300 on Alibaba. There’s one key difference however, as they claim the device runs Android 7.1.2 support instead of Android 6.0.1. Android Nougat would make more sense, as KI Pro is running the more recent operating system.

Via AndroidPC.es

RedRat-X IR, Bluetooth & RF4CE Box Can Control Multiple TVs and Set-top Boxes

October 26th, 2017 1 comment

IR blasters can be used to control multiple IR devices through infrared, or other interfaces, for example DVR can use such device to change the channel of a set-top box just before recording.

RedRat-X is one of those devices for automating control of TVs, STBs and other infrared equipment, but it’s quite more versatile, as beside its built-in IR blaster, it adds 3 IR outputs were you can connect your own IR transmitters, as well as USB and Ethernet for remote controls. Furthermore, it can also take add-on modules to emulate  Bluetooth and RF4CE remote controls.

RedRat-X specifications:

  • IR blaster via the front of the unit. 0 mA to 250 mA in 100 steps.
  • 3x plug-in IR jack sockets which can be used in two modes:
    • Current mode (default): For use with plug-in IR flashers – 0mA to 100mA in 100 steps.
    • Voltage mode: To interface to IR distributions systems, such as Xantech, Buffalo etc.
  • Optional add-on modules – Bluetooth or RF4CE functionality
  • Control Interfaces – USB or Ethernet
  • Misc – Multicolor indicator LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V via USB
  • Power Consumption – <= 2W in normal operation.
  • Dimensions – 11.5cm x 7.5cm x 2.5cm

The company (RedRat) also offers a range of software solutions to control and manage their IR blasters including RedRat Device Manager for initial setup, configuration and firmware updates, IR Signal Database Utility to record your existing remote control codes, and RedRat’s Scheduler application to automate your setup.

Click to Enlarge

In order to get even more control, TestManager application provides script based control of STBs, and an NET SDK working on Windows (using .NET), as well as Mac OS and Linux machines (using Mono). The company also mentioned RedRatHub application, which provides a socket based mechanism to send instructions to RedRat hardware with sample client code written in Python, C#, Perl, or PHP. The company only advertises the solution for audio-visual applications, but it might be possible to integrate it into home automation system to control air conditioners, door bells, light bulbs, etc…

RedRat-X is specialized hardware with the box selling for £250 ex VAT ($331 US). You’ll find more details about hardware, software, and documentation on the product page. You might be possible to reproduce something similar with a Raspberry Pi 3 + infrared HAT, and optional Bluetooth and RF4CE USB dongles, but then all the software part would be on you.

Via Electronics Weekly

ARRIS Showcases Android TV Set-Top Boxes at IBC 2017

September 22nd, 2017 4 comments

Just last week, we found out there was a fair amount of TV boxes running Android TV with certification from Google, with most of them from PayTV providers or OEMs. Today, I’ve come to better understand what that means thanks to ARMDevices.net interview of ARRIS at IBC2017.

I used to think getting a device with official Android TV support would mean getting Google’s Leanback launcher, but there’s more to it, as Google also offers “operator tier” Android TV certifications, which allow manufacturer to use Android TV operating system with their own launcher/user interface, and official support for Google services like Google Play Store, Google Play Music and so on.

ARRIS International has a whole family of certified Android TV devices with 4K UHD set-top boxes and DVR systems as shown in the table below, all likely based on Broadcom SoCs.

Wi-Fi Set-Tops
Wi-Fi Processor DMIPS Type Size
Zx4430 2×2 802.11ac Dual core (7000 DMIPS) DVB-C, DVB-T, DVB-S 120mm W x 120mm D x 40mm H
Zx4515 2×2 802.11ac Quad core (15000 DMIPS) DVB-C, DVB-T, DVB-S 120mm W x 120mm D x 40mm H
Zx4517 4×4 802.11ac Quad core (15000 DMIPS) DVB-C, DVB-T, DVB-S 120mm W x 120mm D x 40mm H
VIP5202W 2×2 802.11ac Dual core (7000 DMIPS) IP 120mm W x 120mm D x 20mm H
VIP5402W 2×2 802.11ac Quad core (15000 DMIPS) IP 120mm W x 120mm D x 20mm H
VIP6102W 4×4 802.11ac Quad core (15000 DMIPS) IP 156mm W x 137mm D x 21mm H
Wi-Fi DVRs
Wi-Fi Processor DMIPS Type Size
Px5517 4×4 802.11ac Quad core (15000 DMIPS) DVB-C, DVB-T, DVB-S 120mm W x 120mm D x 45mm H
VIP6162W/WM 4×4 802.11ac
MoCA2.0 (VIP6162WM)
Quad core (15000 DMIPS) IP 270mm W x 137mm D x 25mm H

The company then use those platforms to customize the launcher, DVR and DVB functions for their customers, and potentially integrate it with the customers’ IPTV system, and/or DRM solution.

As mentioned in previous posts, more and more OEMs are getting Android TV certification, with Geniatech working on it, since this morning SDMC Tech also contacted me claiming they had obtained Google’s certification for Android TV.

TX95D Android Set-Top Box with Amlogic S905D SoC, DVB-T2 Tuner is Selling for $52

June 10th, 2017 8 comments

We know have a decent choice of affordable Android TV boxes with tuners, but TX95D model powered by Amlogic S905D processor, and a single DVB-T/T2 tuner, appears to be a few dollars cheaper than the competition, as it sells for $51.99 shipped on Acemax’ Aliexpress store.

TX95D Android STB specifications:

  • SoC –  Amlogic S905D quad core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5 GHz with Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 1 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8 GB flash + micro SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60Hz with HDR support, and 3.5mm AV (composite video) jack
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV (stereo audio), optical S/PDIF
  • Video Codecs – 10-bit H.265, and VP9 Profile 2 up to 4K60, H.264 up to 4K30, AVS+ and other codecs up to 1080p60
  • Tuner – DVB-T/T2 tuner with one coaxial RF input
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – Front panel display, power LED, IR receiver
  • Power Supply –  DC 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 130 x 102 x 30 mm

The box runs Android 6.0 with Kodi 17, and supports timeshifting and PVR functions likely using the usual – for AMlogic STBs – DVB app. The packages include TX95D hybrid TV BOX, one HDMI Cable, a power adapter, a remote control, and a user manual.

While searching for the product name, I found an FCC filing indicating the manufacturer should be Shenzhen Oranth Technology. They have not updated their website for a while, since the listed products are only based on Amlogic S805, and without tuner.  The Chinese version of the website lists only TV box boards without cases, as well as power adapter testing board.

Via AndroidPC.es