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Zidoo H6 Pro (Allwinner H6) TV Box Review – Part 1: Unboxing & Teardown

October 12th, 2017 6 comments

Allwinner H6 is a quad core Cortex A53 processor designed for 4K HDR set-top boxes and TV boxes that also comes with high speed interfaces like USB 3.0 and PCIe. While at least one other company is working on an Allwinner H6 development board, Zidoo is the only company that I can find whose made a TV box based on the processor: Zidoo H6 Pro.

They’ve just send me a sample from their local supplier for review, and as usual, I’ll start by checking out the hardware inside out, before testing the firmware and multimedia capabilities in the second part of the review in a few weeks.

Zidoo H6 Pro Unboxing

The company has slightly changed the design of their retail package. It also shows some icons with the main features like 4K, 3D,Β  H.265, 2GB DDR4, Android 7.0 with ZIUI, etc…

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The box ships with a HDMI cable, a 5V/2A power supply, a Bluetooth + Infrared remote control taking two AAA batteries, a user guide in English, a guarantee card, and a “qualified certificate”.

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The main body of the case is made of metal, but the top is glass. We’ll find a window on the front panel that looks to be for an LCD display, but as we’ll see below it’s only for an IR receiver, and a small hole is used for the power LED.

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The two sides includes two USB 2.0 ports, including one OTG port, one USB 3.0 port, and a micro SD card slot. The rear panel features an AV (composite + stereo audio) jack, an HDMI 2.0a port, Gigabit Ethernet, optical S/PDIF, and the power jack.

Zidoo H6 Pro Teardown

We can peak inside the device after loosening four screws on the bottom of the case.

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Not much to see here, except a metal shield placed on the bottom side of the processor and RAM chips. A sticker makes sure I got a board with 2GB RAM, and 16GB flash. I wonder what the orange rectangle with a hole in the middle is for. Any idea?

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If we take out for more screws we can completely remove the board from the case. We’ll find the WiFi antenna attached to a sticky surface (if you look closely, an ant also got captured, not sure a Chinese or Thai ant though :)), and cooling is achieving with a small heatsink placed on top of Allwinner H6 SoC.

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Two 8Gb (512MB x 16) SKHynix H5AN8G6NAFR-UHC DDR4-2400 brings us 2GB RAM, while a 16GB Samsung KLMAG2GEND-B031 eMMC 5.0 flash is used for storage. Its theoretical performance is: 230/50 MB/s for sequential R/W, and 6.5K/6K R/W IOPS, which should allow for a responsive system, free of “app not responding” issues. Ampak AP6255 module enables 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2, while Realtek RTL8211E transceiver and SG24002 transformer are used for Gigabit Ethernet. X-Powers AXP805 should be Allwinner H6 companion chip to handle power management.Β  Other potentially details include the recovery button hidden behind the AV port, and the 3-pin connector close to the processor should be the serial console.

 

I normally leave the remote control alone in my reviews. But since Zidoo decided to include a Bluetooth remote, it went through the “operation table” too.

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We can see both the IR transmitter, and the Bluetooth antenna inside the remote control. The brain of the input device is Realtek RTL8762AG Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy chip, part of RTL8762A family, based on an ARM Cortex-M0 MCU with 256KB eFlash, and 80KB RAM.

I can see the chip supports an “OTA (Over-the-Air) programming mechanism for firmware upgrade”, so in theory Zidoo could send OTA firmware updates to the remote control, but I doubt this will happen πŸ™‚

I’d like to thank Zidoo for sending a review sample. Distributors and resellers may inquire the company via the product page, and individuals can purchase the TV box for around $90 on various websites including GearBest, GeekBuying, ChinaVasion, Banggood, and others.

Zidoo X7 Review – Part 2: Android 7.1 Firmware, ZDMC, WiFi, and More

August 29th, 2017 9 comments

Zidoo X7 is an Android TV box powered by Rockchip RK3328 processor similar to Bqeel MVR9 with 2GB RAM, but instead of provide Gigabit Ethernet, and 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, it comes with Fast Ethernet, and 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi, so is better suited to people using WiFi instead of Ethernet for media streaming. You’ll find plenty of photos in the first part of the review entitled “Zidoo X7 TV Box Review – Part 1: Unboxing & Teardown“, and I’ll report my experience with Android 7.1.2 firmware in this second part.

First Boot, Setup, and First Impressions

I connected two RF dongles forΒ  MINIX NEO A2 Lite air mouse and Tronsmart Mars G01 gamepad via a USB hub, a USB keyboard to take screenshot, and a Seagate USB 3.0 hard drive to the single USB 3.0 port on the box. I perform tests with Ethernet in most reviews, but with Zidoo X7, I’ve decided to use 802.11ac WiFi instead, so I only connected the Ethernet cable when required for some tests. I completed the hardware setup with HDMI, and power cables with the box starting automatically when connecting power.

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The boot normally takes around 19 seconds to the new version of the company’s ZIUI launcher, largely inspired from Android Leanback launcher, but I find Zidoo design more pleasing to the eyes.

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The notification and status bars will show automatically when you move the mouse pointer to the top of bottom of the screen, and hides automatically when you move away. That’s my favorite way of handling those.

Pre-installed apps include the Play Store, ZDMC (Kodi fork), some settings apps. YouTube, Vimeo, Hulu… apps shown in the main launcher are not installed by default but you can download them if you click on the icons.

The setting app have four main sections, starting with Network to configure WiFi, Ethernet, or Bluetooth…

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Display to adjust the screen resolution from 720x480p-60 up to 4096x2160p-60, adjust overscan, and set your own wall paper…

Sound to configure audio output to PCM, or S/PDIF / HDMI audio pass-through, and disable/enable system sounds…

Other to set language, reset to factory settings, switch to “advanced settings” (i.e. Android Nougat settings), or learn more about the system info.

The About section of the advanced settings shows ZIDOO_X7 model runs Android 7.1.2 on top of Linux 3.10.104 with the security patch level dated April 5, 2017.

The device has a 7.28GB internal storage partition with 2.91GB used at the beginning of the review. The system also detected and mounted exFAT, EXT-4 and NTFS partitions on my USB hard drive, but could not handle BTRFS.

I went to the Update app but no new firmware was available ,so I tested Zidoo X7 with firmware v1.2.5.

Google Play worked fine, and I could install most apps I needed for the review, but I did notice Smart Movement app for a Bluetooth LE smartwatch could not be installed via the store, so maybe BLE is not supported. I could also install Riptide GP2 with Amazon Underground, but the first time I launched the latter is crashed. (Riptide GP2 only). I had a funny issues with apps installed from Google Play, not but Amazon Underground,Β  as they would show twice in the list of apps.

The included IR remote control worked well up to 10 meters, and I could use the IR learning function to record some of my TV remote control buttons like power and volume. I did not use it very long though, as I used a more convenient air mouse most of the time.

A short press on the remote control power button will bring a menu to select between Power off, Standby, or Reboot.


But a long press will allow you to select between showing this menu (Ask me) go to power off and standby mode directly.

So while power handling is nicely implemented, I found power consumption to be rather high in power off mode:

  • Power off – 2.3 to 2.4 Watts (although once I somehow managed 1.0 Watt)
  • Standby – 3.3 Watts
  • Idle – 3.2 Watts
  • Power off + USB HDD – 5.0 to 6.2 Watts (even after 3 hours). The Ethernet port can establish a link if I connect the cable…
  • Standby – 5.0 to 6.4 Watts
  • Idle + USB HDD – 6.4 to 7.0 Watts

So it looks like something is wrong with power off mode.

Zidoo X7 gets a little less hot than MVR9, but I still measured up to 45 and 52ΒΊC max measured on the top and bottom covers after playing a 2-hour 1080p video in ZDMC (Kodi fork), and 47 and 55ΒΊC after playing Riptide GP2 for about 15 minutes. CPU-Z reported respectively 74.6Β°C and 83.9Β°C after the tests. The ambient temperature was around 28Β°C, and I did not experience any noticeable slowdowns during the review.

Zidoo X7 works pretty well, and I’m especially pleased with the new ZIUI launcher that’s both beautiful and convenient to use, and attention to details like option for power handling. But not everything is prefect, as power consumption in power off mode is rather high, and apps installed with Google Play show twice in the list of apps.

Video & Audio Playback – ZDMC, MediaCenter, DRM, and YouTube

Zidoo X7 comes with the compan’y own Kodi fork named ZDMC (ZiDoo MediaCenter) based on Kodi 16.1.

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For some reasons, “Accelerate VP9” and “Enable fractional HDMI (23.976, 59.67)” were disabled in Settings->Videos->RKMC, so I enabled them, as well as automatic frame rate switching before starting to test videos.

As mentioned in the introduction, I used 802.11ac WiFi for testing with my router about 4 meters away and behind a wall, but since I came across buffering issues in some videos, I tested with three methods in case of problems, stopping at the first successful attempt:

  1. ZDMC + 802.11ac WiFI (WiFi)
  2. ZDMC + 10/100M Ethernet (Ethernet)
  3. ZDMC + USB NTFS partition (HDD)

Those are the results for 4K videos:

  • HD.Club-4K-Chimei-inn-60mbps.mp4 (H.264, 30 fps)

    • WiFi – Some buffering, then video OK, but no audio
    • Ethernet – Video OK, but no audio
    • HDD – OK
  • sintel-2010-4k.mkv (H.264, 24 fps, 4096Γ—1744)
    • WiFi – Frequent buffering
    • Ethernet – OK (24 Hz video output)
  • Beauty_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) –  OK
  • Bosphorus_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) – OK
  • Jockey_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_TS.ts (H.265) – OK
  • MHD_2013_2160p_ShowReel_R_9000f_24fps_RMN_QP23_10b.mkv (10-bit HEVC) – OK (24 Hz video output)
  • phfx_4KHD_VP9TestFootage.webm (VP9) – OK
  • BT.2020.20140602.ts (Rec.2020 compliant video; 36 Mbps; 59.97 Hz)
    • WiFi – Not smooth, no audio
    • Ethernet – Video + Audio OK for a while, then lost audio
    • HDD – OK
  • big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_30fps.mp4 – OK
  • big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_60fps.mp4 – Tested with WiFi only: Not smooth, audio delay (Note: H.264 @ 4K60fps is not supported by RK3328 VPU)
  • Fifa_WorldCup2014_Uruguay-Colombia_4K-x265.mp4 (4K, H.265, 60 fps)
    • WiFi – Long buffering after 2 seconds, then some infrequent audio cuts, infrequent short image freezes
    • Ethernet – Mostly OK, but one short audio cut during the first 3 minutes
    • HDD – OK
  • Samsung_UHD_Dubai_10-bit_HEVC_51.4Mbps.ts (10-bit HEVC / MPEG-4 AAC)
    • WiFi – Not smooth at all, no audio (buffer = 0%)
    • Ethernet – Not smooth at all, no audio (buffer = 0%)
    • HDD – OK
  • Astra-11479_V_22000-Canal+ UHD Demo 42.6 Mbps bitrate.ts (10-bit H.265 from DVB-S2 stream)
    • WiFi – Not smooth at all, no audio (buffer = 0%)
    • Ethernet – Not smooth at all, no audio (buffer = 0%)
    • HDD – OK
  • ζš—ζ΅ζΆŒεŠ¨-4K.mp4 (10-bit H.264; 120 Mbps)
    • WiFi – Constant buffering (as should be expected)
    • Ethernet – Constant buffering (as should be expected)
    • HDD – OK
  • Ducks Take Off [2160p a 243 Mbps].mkv (4K H.264 @ 29.97 fps; 243 Mbps; no audio) – HDD: Not smooth
  • tara-no9-vp9.webm (4K VP9 YouTube video @ 60 fps, Vorbis audio)
    • WiFi – Frequent buffering, then artifacts starts to show on the whole screen after 10 seconds, and audio lost
    • Ethernet – Some buffering, artifacts after a while, and some apparently AV sync issues
    • HDD – OK
  • The.Curvature.of.Earth.4K.60FPS-YT-UceRgEyfSsc.VP9.3840Γ—2160.OPUS.160K.webm (4K VP9 @ 60 fps + opus audio)
    • WiFi – Frequent buffering, artifacts on the whole screen for 1 or 2 seconds from time to time
    • Ethernet – Plays OK most of the time, but artifacts on the whole screen appears from time to time (e.g. at 00:50, then 1:20, etc..)
    • HDD – Played OK at the beginning, but then massive artifacts between 1:06 to 1:36, before resuming normally

So finally, I could play most videos with automatic frame rate switching from the hard drive, but 802.11ac WiFi is just not fast enough to play many 4K videos from a SAMBA share. Some of it may be improved by using a UPnP/DLNA server instead of SAMBA. However, I was still it surprised by the number of videos not playing fine over Fast Ethernet, so there may still be some issues here, notably with videos where the buffer suddenly dropped to 0% as reported by Kodi log overlay as shown in the screenshot below.

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Another oddity is that when I take screenshots on other platform, it will only capture the OSD / user interface, since the video is rendered on a separate 4K video buffer. Could that mean the video is downscaled? Before answering this question, I played the 4K video samples with MediaCenter app from the USB drive:

  • HD.Club-4K-Chimei-inn-60mbps.mp4 (H.264, 30 fps) – OK
  • sintel-2010-4k.mkv (H.264, 24 fps, 4096Γ—1744) –  OK with 24 Hz video output, but I could not select the subtitles like I normally do in this video
  • Beauty_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) –  OK
  • Bosphorus_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) – OK
  • Jockey_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_TS.ts (H.265) – OK
  • MHD_2013_2160p_ShowReel_R_9000f_24fps_RMN_QP23_10b.mkv (10-bit HEVC) – OK, but 1080p @ 24 Hz video output, instead of 4K @ 24Hz
  • phfx_4KHD_VP9TestFootage.webm (VP9) – OK
  • BT.2020.20140602.ts (Rec.2020 compliant video; 36 Mbps; 59.97 Hz) – OK.
  • big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_30fps.mp4 – OK
  • big_buck_bunny_4k_H264_60fps.mp4 – Almost smooth, but audio delay (H.264 @ 4K60fps is not supported by RK3328 VPU)
  • Fifa_WorldCup2014_Uruguay-Colombia_4K-x265.mp4 (4K, H.265, 60 fps) – OK
  • Samsung_UHD_Dubai_10-bit_HEVC_51.4Mbps.ts (10-bit HEVC / MPEG-4 AAC) – OK
  • Astra-11479_V_22000-Canal+ UHD Demo 42.6 Mbps bitrate.ts (10-bit H.265 from DVB-S2 stream) –  OK
  • ζš—ζ΅ζΆŒεŠ¨-4K.mp4 (10-bit H.264; 120 Mbps) – OK
  • Ducks Take Off [2160p a 243 Mbps].mkv (4K H.264 @ 29.97 fps; 243 Mbps; no audio) – Not 100% smooth
  • tara-no9-vp9.webm (4K VP9 YouTube video @ 60 fps, Vorbis audio) – OK
  • The.Curvature.of.Earth.4K.60FPS-YT-UceRgEyfSsc.VP9.3840Γ—2160.OPUS.160K.webm (4K VP9 @ 60 fps + opus audio) – OK, expect for some specific scenes (source issue?).

The results with MediaCenter are very good, except for a few problem for subtitles, automatic frame rate switching for one video using 1080p24 output, and a very high bitrate video not as smooth as it could be.

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Coming back to the screenshot concern in ZDMC, I did a screenshot again with MediaCenter, and the video was again included. So it could either be the video is rendered to a 1920×1080 surface, or the system does something clever during the screenshot by copying the video hardware buffer to the framebuffer to include both. let’s find with a 4K resolution test sample, which I used previously on other 4K TV boxes. The sample would not play in MediaCenter, so I played in in ZDMC, and took a picture with my camera, and zoomed in closely on a part of the movie to find out if there was any issues.

Ignore the green line, as it’s a problem with my TV.

The samples is comprised of a grid of black and white dots, and if the video is scaled to a lower resolution we would only see white/greay or black dots, but here we can see black and white dots as expected, so Zidoo X7 indeed supports 4K properly…

So I carried on the review with audio test for both PCM 2.0 (stereo audio) for people who connected the box directly to their TV or other stereo speakers, and HDMI audio pass-through for those with A/V receivers. For the latter test, I enabled pass-through settings in ZDMC and Android, and tested both configuration with ZDMC and MediaCenter using my TV and Onkyo TX-NR636 A/V receiver.

Audio Codec in Video PCM 2.0 Output
(ZDMC 16.1)
PCM 2.0 Output
(MediaCenter)
HDMI Pass-through
(ZDMC 16.1)
HDMI Pass-through
(MediaCenter)
AC3 / Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio OK,
Video 1:1 aspect ratio
Audio OK,
Video 1:1 aspect ratio
Audio OK,
Video 1:1 aspect ratio
Audio OK,
Video 1:1 aspect ratio
E-AC-3 / Dolby Digital+ 5.1 OK OK OK OK
Dolby Digital+ 7.1 OK OK OK OK
TrueHD 5.1 OK OK OK OK
TrueHD 7.1 OK OK OK OK
Dolby Atmos 7.1 OK No audio TrueHD 7.1* TrueHD 7.1*
DTS HD Master OK No audio DTS-HD MSTR 7.1 DTS-HD MSTR 7.1
DTS HD High Resolution OK OK DTS 5.1 DTS 5.1
DTS:X OK 2x No audio, 1x OK DTS-HD MSTR 7.1* DTS-HD MSTR 7.1*

* My A/V receiver does not support DTS:X nor Dolby Atmos, so it correctly falls to be best option in this case.
Zidoo X7 handles audio much better than Bqeel MVR9 in my case, with the only real issues because the lack of reliable DTS HD MA downsampling support, and DTS-HD HR pass-through is not supported.

I played a 2-hour 1080p movie in ZDMC using WiFi and SAMBA, and I had no problem, however, there was no option to adjust the zoom level, only 3D options.

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There’s no support for Widevine or PlayReady DRM, but CENC ClearKey is supported, and actually appears to be supported in all Android TV boxes (TBC).

YouTube is working fine up to 1080p, but you can’t select 2160p.

Networking & Storage Performance

I tested 802.11ac WiFi with SAMBA by copying a 278MB file between the server and the internal flash, and vice versa, with ES File Explorer. The download results are excellent, but for some reasons the upload much weaker:

  1. Server to flash (average): 1 minutes 7 seconds, or around 4.15 MB/s
  2. Flash to server (average): 3 minutes 13 seconds, or around 1.44 MB/s

So if I used the download + upload total average of around 2.14 MB/s, Zidoo X7’s WiFi performance is somewhat disappointing.

WiFi Throughput in MB/s – Click to Enlarge

But luckily the upload issue seems to be related to SAMBA, as there’s no such issues with iperf:

  • 802.11ac WiFi Upload:

  • 802.11ac WiFi Download:

Zidoo X7 has a performance similar to some other WiFi AC capable devices I’ve reviewed recently.

iperf throughput in Mbps

Switching to storage performance, A1 SDbench app shows good write speed for the internal memory (as expected), but as is often the case the read speed is cached with an invalid result. However, I had no trouble with slow I/O during testing, the box boots rapidly (< 20 seconds), apps are loading fine, and I did not get any “app is not responding” pop-ups.

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USB 3.0 performance is acceptable for EXT-4 and NTFS file systems, but exFAT is basically unusable, which may explain why some competitors disabled it.

Gaming

I could play both Beach Buggy Racing (BBR) and Riptide GP2 on the device using Mars G01 game controller. BBR was usable even with max settings, but just like in Bqeel MVR9, Riptide GP2 was only really enjoyable with default settings, while if you set the graphics settings to “max resolution” the frame rate feels like 10 to 25 fps. I played the game for around 15 minutes, and the performance was constant throughout, so there was no apparent throttling due to overheating.

So if you use such RK3328 TV box for gaming, you’ll either have to accept default settings, or decrease quality for better performance, or get a model with 1280×720 user interface, instead of 1920×1080. Ideally, this should be an option in the settings.

Bluetooth

I had no troubles at all with Bluetooth, as I could pair myΒ  Android smartphone, and transfer some photos over Bluetooth, and X1T Bluetooth earbuds to watch and listen to YouTube videos. I did not try Sixaxis since the firmware is not rooted.

Zidoo X7 CPU-Z System Info and Antutu Benchmark

CPU-Z still shows “Rockchip RK3066” for most Rockchip device, but apart from that it properly detected a quad core ARM Cortex A53 r0p4 processor clocked @ 408 MHz to 1.51 GHz with a Mali-450MP, as well as 1998 MB total RAM, and 5.27 GB internal storage

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The Antutu 6.x score of 33,264 points is comparable to Bqeel MVR9 and A95X R2 scores of respectively 35,994 and 33,117 points. The former slightly higher score may be due to the DDR4 used, as Zidoo X7 relies on DDR3 SDRAM instead.

Conclusion

Overall I find that Zidoo X7 offers a better experience than the other Rockchip RK3328 devices I have tested so far, especially if you rely on WiFi, and HDMI audio pass-through is important to you, and 4K video playback is working decently well as long as you play from a hard drive. I also really like the new ZIUI launcher that’s quite eye pleasing, and similar to Leanback launcher with the “Suggested videos” section replaced by icon for the main apps. Attention to details, like flexibility for power options, and automatic handling of notifications and status bar. But there are also issues with some troubles playing some video over SAMBA due to unusual buffering issues, high power off consumption, lack of DRM, and so on.

PROS

  • Recent, responsive and stable Android 7.1.2 operating system
  • Nicely designed new ZIUI launcher / user interface
  • Good support for 4K videos played from hard drive in both ZDMC 16.1 (Kodi fork) and MediaCenter with automatic frame rate switching support
  • HDMI pass-through for Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master working in ZDMC and MediaCenter
  • Fast eMMC flash storage allowing for fast boot, short app loading times, and good overall performance (e.g. no “aspp not responding” issues)
  • USB 3.0 performance is good with EXT-4 and NTFS file systems
  • Good 802.11ac WiFi performance (except for SAMBA uploads)
  • Built-in Bluetooth working as expected
  • Small details like notifications & status bars automatically shown/hidden, power options,

CONS (and bugs)

  • ZDMC – Some unusual buffering issues while playing from network/samba (either with WiFi and Ethernet); no zoom option while playing video (only 3D options); artifacts with some VP9 videos, even when played from HDD; No DTS HD High Resolution HR pass-through support (uses DTS 5.1 instead)
  • MediaCenter – Selecting embedded subtitles not working in one video; 1080p24 output selected while playing on 4K24 video; No DTS HD High Resolution HR pass-through support (uses DTS 5.1 instead); DTS HD audio down-mixing not working reliably.
  • High power consumption in power off mode, especially when HDD connected (5.0 to 6.4 Watts).
  • Poor SAMBA upload performance when using WiFi
  • Lack of DRM support
  • Google Play – Apps relying on Bluetooth LE cannot be installed; apps show twice is list of apps after installation
  • 3D gaming frame rate may not be very high on some apps, due to the 1920×1080 resolution (instead of 1280×720 on some other RK3328 models)

I’d like to thank Zidoo for sending a review sample. Resellers and distributors can contact the company via Zidoo X7’s product page, and individuals will find the box for sale online for $65 and up on e-retailers such as GearBest, GeekBuying, Amazon US, or Aliexpress.

Zidoo X7 TV Box Review – Part 1: Unboxing & Teardown

August 9th, 2017 6 comments

Zidoo X7 is another Rockchip RK3328 based TV box that has the advantage of coming with 2GB RAM, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1, as well as Zidoo firmware support, compared to its cheaper competitors such as A95X R2 TV box. The company sent me a review sample to check out it. As a side note, it was quite a challenge to get the box, as my country of residence enacted a new law requiring a “broadcasting license” to import TV boxes and HDMI dongles, even if you get just one unit, so the first attempt failed to got through customs, but eventually I managed to get the box through a local reseller. Back to the review… As usual I’ll write a first part showcasing the hardware design today, before testing the firmware, and publishing my results next month.

Zidoo X7 Unboxing

The package shows some of the key features of the box like 4K, 3D, H.265/HEVC video support, Android 7.0 OS, 2GB RAM, and so on.

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The box ships with an infrared remote control with IR learning function for 4 keys, a HDMI cable, a 5V/2A power adapter – which hopefully will be enough to power my hard drive -, Zidoo X7 user guide, a guarantee card, and a “qualified certificate”.

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The box itself comes with a small windows on the front panel for the power LED and IR receiver, two USB 2.0 port and micro SD slot on one side, a USB 3.0 port on the side, and the remaining of the ports on the rear panel: 5V DC jack, AV port (composite + stereo audio), Fast Ethernet port, HDMI 2.0a output, optical S/PDIF, and the recovery pinhole.

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Zidoo X7 Teardown

I had to take out the four rubber pads, and loosen four screws to open the box.

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There’s not much to see on the bottom side, except a metal shield soldered to the board.

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The board can be easily taken out of the plastic case. We can see a fairly large heatsink on the processor that makes contact to a thermal pad glued on a thick thermal pad. So cooling appears to be better than on the cheaper models. The WiFi antenna is also glued to one of the side of the case.

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On the top side of Z3328_V1.0 board, the processor is connected to two SKHynix H5TQ4G63CFR DDR3 SDRAM chip (2x 512MB) – with the two other chips likely placed under the metal shield -, and Samsung KLM8G1GEME-B041 eMMC 5.1 flash chip with 185/40 MB/s sequential R/W speeds, and 5.2K/2.5K R/W IOPS, which will be the best you’ll get from an 8GB Samsung flash chip, and should help to offer a smooth user experience.

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Network connectivity is implemented with an Ampak AP6255 SDIO module with 802.11 b/g/b/ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1, as well as PPT PSF-162111 transformer for Fast Ethernet. Others ICs include Rockchip RK805-1 PMIC, and 3PEAK TPF632 audio line driver. There also appears to be a footprint for a CR2032 battery for an RTC, and the 3-pin header close to the IR receiver is likely for serial console access.

I’d like to thank Zidoo for arranging shipping for the review sample. Zidoo X7 can be purchased on several sites for $65 and up, including GearBest, GeekBuying, Amazon US, and Aliexpress.

Zidoo H6 Pro 4K HDR TV Box with Allwinner H6 SoC Launched for $99

August 7th, 2017 6 comments

When I first wrote about Zidoo H6 Pro TV box powered by Amlogic H6 “6K” media processor last week, I expected the launch to take place in several weeks or months, as no other company listed their Allwinner H6 TV box(es) on Alibaba. So today, I was surprised to find out GearBest and GeekBuying are both taking pre-orders for $99, with shipping expected around August 11 – 15 according to the page on GearBest, and in around 3 days according to GeekBuying.

The specifications have not changed since last week…:

  • SoC – AllWinner H6 quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor up to 1.8GHz with Mali-T720MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR4
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash, micro SD card reader up to 32 GB
  • Video Output – 1x HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60hz with HDR support, AV port (composite)
  • Video Playback Support
    • H.265/HEVC Main/Main10 profile @ level 5.2 high-tier up to 4K @ 60fps / 6K @ 30 fps
    • VP9 Profile 0/2, up to 4K @ 30fps
    • H264/AVC BP/MP/[email protected], MVC, up to 4Kx2K @ 30fps
    • MKV, MP4, Blu-ray ISO, 3D MVC…
    • SmartColor 3.0 image optimization engine
  • Audio I/F – HDMI, AV port (stereo audio), optical S/PDIF; DTS and Dolby supported
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1 (AP6255)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports including on OTG port, 1x USB3.0 port on other side. An external power needed if USB connects to over 1TB mobile HDD.
  • Misc – IR receiver, reset/recovery button behind AV port, front panel display (TBC)
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 105.6mm x 105.6 mm x 17.5 mm

The box runs Android 7.0 with a revamped ZIUI user interfaces, and ships with a Bluetooth remote control, a HDMI cable, a power adapter, and a user manual.

I’m starting to wonder whether Allwinner signs exclusivity deals with some partners. For example, if you want an Allwinner R40 or V40 board, you can only do so through SinoVoIP (Banana Pi), and in the case of Allwinner H6, I can only see Zidoo using the processor in their product. Either that, or all other companies are running away from Allwinner πŸ˜‰

Zidoo H6 PRO Android TV Box is Powered by Allwinner H6 Processor

August 1st, 2017 23 comments

Earlier this year, Allwinner H6 was introduced as a 4K set-top box SoC with a quad core Cortex A53 processor, a Mali-T720MP GPU, support for “6K” video decoding, and several high speeds interfaces like USB 3.0 and PCIe. Zidoo just unveiled H6 PRO TV box based on the processor.

Zidoo H6 PRO TV box specifications:

  • SoC –Β AllWinner H6 quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor up to 1.8GHz with Mali-T720MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR4
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash, micro SD card reader up to 32 GB
  • Video Output – 1x HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60hz with HDR support, AV port (composite)
  • Video Playback Support
    • H.265/HEVC Main/Main10 profile @ level 5.2 high-tier up to 4K @ 60fps / 6K @ 30 fps
    • VP9 Profile 0/2, up to 4K @ 30fps
    • H264/AVC BP/MP/HP @ level5.1, MVC, up to 4Kx2K @ 30fps
    • MKV, MP4, Blu-ray ISO, 3D MVC…
    • SmartColor 3.0 image optimization engine
  • Audio I/F – HDMI, AV port (stereo audio), optical S/PDIF; DTS and Dolby supported
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports including on OTG port, 1x USB3.0 port on other side. An external power needed if USB connects to over 1TB mobile HDD.
  • Misc – IR receiver, reset/recovery button behind AV port, front panel display (TBC)
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 105.6mm x 105.6 mm x 17.5 mm

The box will run Android 7.0, and ship with a Bluetooth remote control, HDMI cable, a power adapter, and a user manual. I hope they will consider upgrading the design to support USB drives without external storage, and beef up the power supply too. This would avoid potential troubles for people who want to use USB drives. Zidoo has also revamped their ZIUI user interface / launcher for this model by making it simpler and more colorful.

I can’t find any other Allwinner H6 TV boxes on Alibaba, so it’s probably safe to assume Zidoo H6 Pro and other H6 devices are still a few months away. You may find a few more details on the product page.

Zidoo X7 RK3328 TV Box to Sell for $69 with Android 7.1

June 16th, 2017 12 comments

Rockchip RK3328 processor has been getting some attention recently with low cost RK3328 TV boxes, Pine64’s ROCK64 development board, and now Zidoo has announced they are working on their X7 TV box with slightly better specifications and a product that should get better support than the cheaper models.

Zidoo X7 specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3328 quad core Cortex A53processor @ 1.5 GHz (actual max. frequency might be a little lower in practise – TBC) with Mali-450MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0a port up to 4K @ 60 Hz with HDR support + 3.5mm AV port (composite video)
  • Audio Output – HDMI, AV (stereo audio), and optical S/PDIF
  • Video Codecs – H.264/AVC Base/Main/High/High10 profile @ level 5.1; up to 4Kx2K @ 60fps H.265/HEVE Main/Main10 profile @ level 5.1 High-tier; up to 4Kx2K @60fps VP9, up to 4Kx2K @ 60fps
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, dual band 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 109 x 109Β  x 20.3 mm (ABS Plastic case)

The TV box will ship with an IR remote control, a HDMI cable, a power adapter and a user manual.

GearBest is already taking pre-orders for $69 with shipping scheduled for “after July 2nd”. However, Zidoo told me that their “technicians are still working on the firmware, and no idea when it is gonna release out”, so while it may indeed ship after July 2nd, this could mean August or later. ZIUI user interface has apparently also gone through a facelift as shown in the rendering below. A few more details may be found in the product page.

Zidoo X10 Android & OpenWrt TV Box with 3.5″ SATA Bay Sells for $229

April 11th, 2017 9 comments

Zidoo has sold two TV boxes based on Realtek RTD1295 so far with Zidoo X9S and Zidoo X8, and the company has done a pretty good job based on my review of Zidoo X9S. Both models run Android 6.0 with HDMI input recording and broadcasting functions, as well as OpenWrt for NAS functions, with X8 model relying on USB 3.0 storage, and X9S adding an external SATA port. It would be nice to have a model with an internal SATA bay, and it’s exactly what Zidoo X10 brings to the table.

Zidoo X10 specifications with highlights in bold showing differences with Zidoo X9S:

  • SoC – Realtek RTD1295 quad core Cortex A53 processor with ARM Mali-T820 MP3 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot up to 32GB + SATA 3.0 bay for 3.5″ hard drives
  • Video I/O – HDMI 2.0a output up to 4K @ 60 Hz (23.976 and 29.94 Hz supports) with HDCP 2.2, AV output, and HDMI 2.0 input with HDCP 2.2 input (recording and streaming up to 1080p @ 60 Hz)
  • Audio I/O – HDMI in and out, 1x S/PDIF output, AV port
  • Video Playback – HDR, 10-bit HEVC/H.265 up to 4K @ 60fps, VP9 up to 4K @ 60 fps (rather 30 fps based on my tests), H.264 up to 4K @ 24 fps, automatic frame rate switching
  • Audio Features – 7.1 channel audio pass-through
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 (Realtek RTL8821 module) with two external high-gain antennas
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Misc – IR receiver, VFD display, cooling fan
  • Power Supply – 12V/3A (more power for the 3.5″ drive)
  • Dimensions – 197 x 197 x 65 mm (aluminum alloy enclosure)

All differences are related to the SATA bay which requires a larger & heavier device, a beefier power supply, and a cooling fan. Firmware-wise I’d expect all the features I documented in Zidoo X9S review, plus new features launched since then such as Blu-ray menu navigation and a new external subtitles system with rich settings and ASS/SSA support.

Zidoo Subtitle Designer

Zidoo X10 has been officially launched, and you can purchase it on Amazon or GeekBuying for $229.00. You may find a few more details on Zidoo X10 product page.

Instreamer App Streams Zidoo X8/X9S/X10 HDMI Video Input to YouTube Live / RTMP Servers with FFmpeg

March 25th, 2017 6 comments

Zidoo X8, X9S and the upcoming X10, are TV boxes powered by Realtek RTD1295 processor with an HDMI input. The stock firmware already supports UDP broadcasting, but robbi5 decided he needed more, and designed Instreamer “HDMI IN Streamer” app leveraging work from Danman’s ZidoStream app for Mstar TV boxes and Zidoo’s own VideoAndHdmiIN app.

Instreamer app supports the following:

  • Streaming as MPEG-TS to network (unicast/multicast)
  • Streaming in FLV format to RTMP server (e.g. Youtube)
  • No need for intermediate recording file – thus no length limit
  • Streaming runs in background
  • HDMI out is usable as pass-through

That looks good. Installation is easy.

  1. Download and install the latest Instreamer APK release
  2. Download and extract FFmpeg Android binaries to /mnt/sdcard

You’ll be able to adjust a few video and audio settings after launching the appΒ  (not tested as I don’t have X9S anymore).

Click to Enlarge

You can now start a terminal, and stream HDMI input using MPEG-TS + UDP:

or to RTMP servers such as YouTube:

You’ll find the “Stream name/key” on YouTube Live Dashboard by clicking on Reveal button.

Since the source code is open source, you could also adapt to app to your need, and build it with Android Studio.