Review of MINIX NEO U1 Media Hub

We’ve already seen that MINIX NEO U1 has some impressive hardware to offer with a good thermal solution, and high-end chips for storage and WiFi, as well as some neats additions like RTC support. But obviously the most important is to find out how the box performs, so I’ve put it through it spaces with video playback and features testing, as well as some benchmarks. First Boot, OTA Firmware, Settings and First Impressions The device has three full-sized USB 2.0 ports, which become four once we had the provided USB OTG adapter to the remaining micro USB port. So I’ve connected a USB 3.0 hard drive, the RF dongle for NEO A2 Lite air mouse, a USB hub with a USB webcam, a USB keyboard, and the RF dongle for Tronsmart Mars G01 gamepad, as well as USB powered speakers to the micro USB port. After inserting HDMI, optical audio and Ethernet cables, as well as the speakers cable into …

Giveaway Week – RipplTV Quad Core Android Media Player

Today, I’d like to give away RipplTV, an Android TV box based on M8 hardware with Amlogic S802, 2GB RAM, and 8GB eMMC, but putting XBMC front and center, as the popular media center is used as the default launcher in this media player. When I tried RipplTV,  the device had a much better firmware than M8/TM8 from the same company (Shenzhen Tomato), although it was not always trouble free, as 3D gaming could be problematic (Riptide GP2), and I had to clear data for XBMC once to have it run correctly, but overall a pretty decent device. It probably never became very popular through due to the rather large difference in price with M8 TV box. You can get full specs and more pictures in the unboxing post. Please note that the 5V/2A power adapter is not included, since I cut the cable for some other purpose, so you’d need to find a 5V/2A (or greater) power supply with …

Giveaway Week – VidOn Box XBMC Android Media Player

Vidon Box is the second item for the Giveaway Week organized on CNX Software. This nice looking media player is powered by Allwinner A31s with 1GB DDR3 and 8GB internal storage, and runs Android 4.4 with VidOn’s own XBMC version. VidOn Box is certainly not the fatest device around but in my review I found out that it mostly did the job with excellent Wi-Fi performance, and good XBMC support, but for some reasons transfer from USB hard drive was particularly slow, at least with the firmware version I used during testing. Some features that you may take for granted like Blu-ray playback and audio pass-through require a $15 one year membership, but one free year is included. I’m not sure if the one-year free card is transferable, so the giveaway winner may not be able to enjoy the remaining membership options without paying extra. Basic functionalities will work fine. You can check VidOn Box unboxing post to find the …

Raspberry Pi 2 / ODROID C1+ Development Boards Comparison

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B board has just been released, and although it’s not a direct answer to ODROID-C1, as Broadcom started the design for BCM2836 SoC for RPI2 a long time ago, both low cost development boards have similar specifications, with a quad core processor, 1GB RAM, Ethernet, and four USB ports, as well as the exact same price: $35. So I’ve decided to compare both in details to find out the actual differences, and which one may be more suitable to a particular application. Let’s get straight to the comparison table. [Updated on November 24 to use ODROID C1+ instead of ODROID C1] Hardkernel ODROID C1+ Raspberry Pi 2 Model B Comment Processor Amlogic S805 quad core Cortex A5 @ 1.5 GHz (Overclockable to 1.7 GHz or more) Broadcom BCM2836 quad core Cortex A7 @ 900 MHz (Overclockable to 1.1GHz or more) Despite the architecture advantage for Cortex A7 (1.9 DMIPS/MHz)  against Cortex A5 (1.57 DMIPS/MHz), the frequency …

Linux based Vu+ DVB Set-top Boxes Now Support XBMC/Kodi

Vu+ Duo2, Solo2 and Solo SE are high-end Linux based DVB receivers powered by Broadcom processors made by Ceru, and with a relatively active community of users and developers. All three models have recently received support for XBMC in their “Black Hole” firmware. Solo SE is the most recent model having been released in 2014, against Duo2 and Solo2 that have been selling since 2012 according to Wikipedia. Since I’ve never heard about these, I’ll check out Duo2, as it comes with the most features out of the three. Vu+ Duo2 specifications: SoC – Broadcom BCM7424 dual core MIPS processor @ 1.3 GHz with VideoCore IV GPU System Memory – 2GB RAM Storage – 1 GB NAND flash + SATA III interface for 2.5″ and 3.5″ HDD (internal) + eSATA + Video Output – HDMI, SCART, Composite, and Component (YPbPr) Audio Output – HDMI, stereo audio, and optical S/PDIF Tuners – 2x S2/C/T2 (Up to 4 tuners supported) Front Panel Displays …

Mini Review of VidOn Box Android Media Player

Vidon Box is an Allwinner A31s based TV box made by Vidon.me, a Diamond sponsor for Kodi entertainment center. I’ve already listed specs, subscriber services, and uploaded pictures in the unboxing post, so it’s time for a review. Since Allwinner A31s has been around for a while, I’ve decided to write a shorter review. First Boot, Setup, and First Impressions Since the box provides some services with a subscription, with a free 1-year top-up card included, you’ll probably want to register an account on Vidon.me first, as it’s needed to activate all services in the box as shown on the back of the top-up card. After the optional Subscription is $14.99 per year, and it’s only needed if you need features like Blu-ray navigation, or audio pass-through. The simple remote included does the job if you only use the box for settings and XBMC, but otherwise you’ll need an air mouse, or wireless keyboard. Just make sure you remove the …

Review of BFS 4KH Media Player Powered by HiSilicon Hi3798M Processor

Buyforsure (BFS) 4KH is a low cost Android TV box powered by HiSilicon Hi3978M quad core Cortex A7 processor supporting 4K video output and decoding, HEVC/H.265 video decoding, and featuring a USB 3.0 port. I’ve already taken a few pictures of the device and board, so today I’ll reports about my findings after testing features and performance of this media player. First Boot, Settings and First Impressions The remote control included in the package does the job as long as you use the box user interface and play videos with the included player or XBMC, but I also switched to Mele F10 Deluxe air mouse when I need a pointer or to input text. I’ve connected an Ethernet cable, an HDMI cable, a USB 3.0 hard drive to the USB 3.0 port, and a USB hub to the USB 2.0 port including a USB webcam, two RF dongles for the air mouse and wireless gamepad, and a USB flash drive. …

Xunity Aurora is an XBMC Linux TV Box Powered by Amlogic S802 Processor

There are plenty of Android media players on the market, and Linux only TV boxes with recent processors have become a rarity. One of them is Armada Mach 8 Pure Linux based on Shenzhen Tomato / Eny M8 hardware, and a new device called Xunity Aurora,  also powered by Amlogic S802 quad core processor, will run Linux based on an hardware platform that looks very much like Zoomtak T8. Xunity Aurora specifications: SoC – Amlogic S802 quad core cortex A9r4 @ 2 GHz with Mali-450MP6 GPU @ 700 MHz System Memory – 2GB DDR3 Storage – 8GB NAND flash + SD card slot Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi with external antenna, Bluetooth 4.0 Video Output – HDMI 1.4a up to 4K30, composite output (RCA) Audio Output – HDMI, stereo RCA, and optical S/PDIF Video Containers – DAT, MPEG, MPE, MPG, TS/TP, VOB, ISO, AVI, MP4, MOV, 3GP, FLV, MKV, M2TS, MTS, M4V, WMV, ASF, RM/RMVB, etc… …