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Pick the Right Kodi Box (UPDATED FEB 2015)
Hi,

I've asked this in other threads erroneusly. @hdmkv told me to ask here ;-)

I would like to change my Raspberry Pi B+ setup for one of these options:

* WeTek Play (OpenElec Edition) DVB-C/T/T2 - I've purchased one but I'm thinking about changing it if there is a better option
* Raspberry Pi 2 B
* Odroid C1+

My amp is a soundbar (so only 7.1 "virtual" channels not real speakers) that can handle DTS-HD and True-HD (is the Yamaha one in my old signature).
My TV is not actually 3D and I don't have any 3D content right now. Is an old Philips 42pfl8404h FullHD.

In terms of video quality (smooth, etc.) which option is better?
In terms of audio (HD passthrough, etc.) which option is better?

I know that WeTek is something more "compact" and "wife compliant" that the RPi2 or Odroid cards in a case ;-)
Also it has power button, remote (I have a Logitech keyboard too) and DVB-T tuner

But anything else I need to know to help me decide to stay with the WeTek or change it?

Thanks.
None of those devices listed does HD Audio passthrough to give you 7.1 Virtual Audio channels for your soundbar setup.

The RPi2 will decode HD Audio to Multichannel PCM and output that but then you loose the 7.1 Virtual Channels feature I believe. No HD Audio to multichannel PCM decoding and output on the C1+ or WP (WeTek Play)

The ODROID C1+ and WeTek Play will give you high quality (AMLogic) Hardware deinterlacing for TV viewing. To get the equivalent on the RPi2 you need to run a development build of Kodi Jarvis and Overclock with a quality power supply to boot.

Popcornmix and the RPi development guys have done a great job of finally getting high quality deinterlacing out of the RPi2 but they really have found the RPi2's limits in doing so. I believe its doing Software deinterlacing, so consequently if you try and do anything else whilst watching TV on the RPi2 when using this quality deinterlacer - like viewing the TV guide or other parts of the Kodi GUI, it slows to a crawl. This slowdown does not happen on the AMLogic gear.

And now the "Wife Acceptance Factor" aka WAF.
  • Firstly you want an nice responsive remote control. If the one that comes with the WP / OpenELEC edition is anything like the Official WeTek Play one , it should be good.
  • Secondly is the DVB-C/T/T2 integration. If you want a nice clean look with a flush plug in tuner then the WP is the device to go for.
  • Thirdly Kodi speed. The quad core C1+ will be the quickest followed by the quad core RPi2 and then dual core WeTek Play, all running OpenELEC.
For Codec playback support, well its a toss up between the C1+ and the RPi2. The RPi2 will play mpeg2 in .ts and .vob containers (i.e. old DVD rips) that the C1+ has trouble with (unconfirmed but the WeTek Play would also have trouble with this). However you get 1080p/720p HEVC Hardware decoding with the C1+ that the RPi2 lacks. No HEVC Hardware decoding either on the WP.
Picture quality will be about equal on all three.

If it were me personally, and only feeding TV streams to 2 Kodi clients on a local home Network. I would repurpose the RPi B+ into a OpenELEC / TvHeadend Server and attaching a usb Dual Tuner and a external powered HDD. Ethernet connect it to a Home Router and hide the ugly cabled mess somewhere. The TvHeadend server does not need a speedy host machine to run.

Then feed the output from the TvHeadend server into a new WeTek Core 4K. (I use a C1+ as a TvHeadend server). The 23.976fps synced HD Netflix + other HD / 4K video Apps is worth the admission price alone. No other Kodi media device does 23.976fps sync with HD video Android streaming Apps, including the new NVIDIA Shield. Android Lollipop runs fast and Kodi works well on the WeTek Core. Picture quality, 23.976fps video sync and TV deinterlacing are fantastic.

The WAF will be high with this setup. Smile
See my Signature below for a review.
V

(2015-10-14, 23:16)serieofilo Wrote: Hi,

I've asked this in other threads erroneusly. @hdmkv told me to ask here ;-)

I would like to change my Raspberry Pi B+ setup for one of these options:

* WeTek Play (OpenElec Edition) DVB-C/T/T2 - I've purchased one but I'm thinking about changing it if there is a better option
* Raspberry Pi 2 B
* Odroid C1+

My amp is a soundbar (so only 7.1 "virtual" channels not real speakers) that can handle DTS-HD and True-HD (is the Yamaha one in my old signature).
My TV is not actually 3D and I don't have any 3D content right now. Is an old Philips 42pfl8404h FullHD.

In terms of video quality (smooth, etc.) which option is better?
In terms of audio (HD passthrough, etc.) which option is better?
Audio functionality :

Raspberry Pi 2 is PCM 5.1/7.1 / DD/DTS - with dev builds supporting lossless DTS-HD/True HD decoding to PCM 5.1/7.1 for 48/96kHz tracks (but downsampling for the vanishingly rare 192kHz 5.1/7.1 formats)
ODroid C1/C1+ is PCM 2.0 / DD / DTS only - no 5.1/7.1 PCM or HD Audio bitstreaming.
I don't have a Wetek but AIUI it is also PCM 2.0/DD/DTS only (no HD Audio bitstreaming or PCM 5.1/7.1 output)

The C1/C1+ is a bit snappier than the Pi 2 in the Kodi GUI, in video quality terms there isn't much in it (deinterlacing on the Pi 2 is now, with a little overclocking and a dev build, as good, if not better, than the ODroid C1). Audio wise the Pi 2 is the best of the three. The C1/C1+ supports HEVC video (8 bit only I think) which may be relevant to you (it isn't currently to me as I have no HEVC 720p or 1080p content)

If your soundbar accepts PCM 5.1/7.1 - which it should - then you should be fine. (PCM 5.1/7.1 is how many games consoles output surround audio)

However I suspect that if you are using a Soundbar for virtual surround, then HD Audio may not be a huge issue for you, so DD/DTS lossy audio (as the C1/C1+ and Wetek box support) may be OK.
(2015-10-15, 05:31)wrxtasy Wrote: None of those devices listed does HD Audio passthrough to give you 7.1 Virtual Audio channels for your soundbar setup.

The RPi2 will decode HD Audio to Multichannel PCM and output that but then you loose the 7.1 Virtual Channels feature I believe. No HD Audio to multichannel PCM decoding and output on the C1+ or WP (WeTek Play)

I think Virtual Channels in this case is how a surround sound effect is implemented by a non 5.1/7.1 speaker set-up (i.e. rear sound is simulated without rear and surround speakers). Assuming the sound bar accepts 5.1/7.1 PCM the Pi 2 should do OK. (Games Consoles and the first gen PS3 output PCM 5.1/7.1 rather than HD Audio bitstreamed ISTR)
(2015-10-15, 05:31)wrxtasy Wrote: None of those devices listed does HD Audio passthrough to give you 7.1 Virtual Audio channels for your soundbar setup.

The RPi2 will decode HD Audio to Multichannel PCM and output that but then you loose the 7.1 Virtual Channels feature I believe. No HD Audio to multichannel PCM decoding and output on the C1+ or WP (WeTek Play)

The ODROID C1+ and WeTek Play will give you high quality (AMLogic) Hardware deinterlacing for TV viewing. To get the equivalent on the RPi2 you need to run a development build of Kodi Jarvis and Overclock with a quality power supply to boot.

Popcornmix and the RPi development guys have done a great job of finally getting high quality deinterlacing out of the RPi2 but they really have found the RPi2's limits in doing so. I believe its doing Software deinterlacing, so consequently if you try and do anything else whilst watching TV on the RPi2 when using this quality deinterlacer - like viewing the TV guide or other parts of the Kodi GUI, it slows to a crawl. This slowdown does not happen on the AMLogic gear.

And now the "Wife Acceptance Factor" aka WAF.
  • Firstly you want an nice responsive remote control. If the one that comes with the WP / OpenELEC edition is anything like the Official WeTek Play one , it should be good.
  • Secondly is the DVB-C/T/T2 integration. If you want a nice clean look with a flush plug in tuner then the WP is the device to go for.
  • Thirdly Kodi speed. The quad core C1+ will be the quickest followed by the quad core RPi2 and then dual core WeTek Play, all running OpenELEC.
For Codec playback support, well its a toss up between the C1+ and the RPi2. The RPi2 will play mpeg2 in .ts and .vob containers (i.e. old DVD rips) that the C1+ has trouble with (unconfirmed but the WeTek Play would also have trouble with this). However you get 1080p/720p HEVC Hardware decoding with the C1+ that the RPi2 lacks. No HEVC Hardware decoding either on the WP.
Picture quality will be about equal on all three.

If it were me personally, and only feeding TV streams to 2 Kodi clients on a local home Network. I would repurpose the RPi B+ into a OpenELEC / TvHeadend Server and attaching a usb Dual Tuner and a external powered HDD. Ethernet connect it to a Home Router and hide the ugly cabled mess somewhere. The TvHeadend server does not need a speedy host machine to run.

Then feed the output from the TvHeadend server into a new WeTek Core 4K. (I use a C1+ as a TvHeadend server). The 23.976fps synced HD Netflix + other HD / 4K video Apps is worth the admission price alone. No other Kodi media device does 23.976fps sync with HD video Android streaming Apps, including the new NVIDIA Shield. Android Lollipop runs fast and Kodi works well on the WeTek Core. Picture quality, 23.976fps video sync and TV deinterlacing are fantastic.

The WAF will be high with this setup. Smile
See my Signature below for a review.
V

I have the MK808B Plus, the same hardware as your C1+ and been running OpenELEC with tvheadend server for my PVR for several months now, and it has been working great. Since I have too many Android boxes, and now a intel Windows 10 micro PC, my MK808B Plus just sits on my network, not connected to any TV, and provides my DVR backend.

I have been watching for the WeTek Core, but don't see it any where to purchase it. Is is for sale already, and where?

thanks
Yes AMLogic hit the sweet spot with the S805 like we see in the C1+ and MK808B Plus, especially once you get sorted out Firmware and run OpenELEC on them. They make cheap as chips low powered backend servers too, especially the C1+ with its GigaE connection.

The WeTek Core is not on sale yet, mine is a pre release bug busting sample test box.
I believe on sale around the end of the month. I will bump the WeTek Core thread when I know more.

@wrxtasy and @noggin: Thanks for you answers! I have more light in my head right now! ;-)

I don't want watch Live TV using the DVB-T tuner in the WeTek OE Edition (as I know is the same that the Play but without Android and OpenElec flashed to the NAND instead of running off a microSD card) nor in RPi 2 using an external USB.

We watch DVB-T in all TVs in our house directly using the tuner in the TV. The tuner will be used (if available) for recording purposes for the kids and some interesting programs for the adults (in Spain the TV is not interesting and has a lot of commercials).

As per the manual my amp can receive LPCM 2.0 (2c, 32-192khz, 16/20/24bits), LPCM multichannel (8c, 32-192khz, 16/20/24 bits) and bitstream (DTS-HD MA, DTS-HD HRA, DTS, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital) through the HDMI inputs.

I don't have any "modern" audio format movies in my library (basically Dolby AC3 48000Hz 6ch or DTS 48000Hz 6ch) but probably during the next year I'll be ripping again using HD formats). In terms of video is the same, most of them are 720p but I'm changing to 1080p. Is the same process I've done several years before when changing from 480p all my movies ;-)

Now I'm doubting about WeTek OE vs RPi 2 B :-(

If the "only advantage" is the decoding of HD audio to multichannel PCM and at thome "we're happy" with the actual sound probably is better to stay with the WT for its remote control, DVB-T for recording, etc. But if smooth is something compromised then I'll got for the RPi 2, purchase a new case, power, etc.

If I play using OE a file that has HD audio inside what will the WeTek do? What my amp will receive?

Thanks.
(2015-10-16, 18:00)serieofilo Wrote: If I play using OE a file that has HD audio inside what will the WeTek do? What my amp will receive?
You will get a Dolby Digital or DTS loss core (or secondary) stream if you enable bitstreaming, or a PCM 2.0 down mixed stereo feed (but potentially decoded from the lossless HD stream) depending on your pass through settings.

I don't have experience of the Wetek model you are looking at. The AMLogic chipset has good support, but I don't know how the UI responsiveness is compared to the Pi 2.
@noggin: Thanks again!

I'll try to find an small file sample file with HD audio (any good place for finding one?) and play with the different passthrough settings in OpenElec.

I'm right now using OE 5.95.5 in the WeTek and I've found that (after upgrading from 5.0.8) some settings have changed in Kodi (no audio channels settings for example, some HD audio passhtrough options are missing, etc.).

Thanks!
Wetek Play's HDMI audio out is a SPDIF driver wise. It cannot do multi channel pcm at all. If you want multi channel audio it needs to be transcoded to AC3 or it is DTS /AC3 already.
First decide what functions / features you expect from a system. Then decide for the hardware. Don't waste your money on crap.
@fritsch: Thanks for the answer!

Yes, I've found that is something called "AML-DUMMY-Codec SPDIF". Is this a hardware limitation or a software/driver one? (i.e. can be changed in the future?).

So, if I compare my actual RPi 1 B+ with the WeTek OE/Play, it seems that I'm loosing in some aspects like the audio, isn't it?
Yeah, it looses for the Audio. No idea if it's hw or software. As the SPDIF out is making noise in parallel to the hdmi port I think it's some hw wired ... but that's just speculating I don't know.
First decide what functions / features you expect from a system. Then decide for the hardware. Don't waste your money on crap.
Software / Driver limitation I believe on AMLogic S8XX/S9XX devices over HDMI. Not sure about SPDIF.
The S812-H like you find in the WeTek Core and MINIX NEO X8H Plus is hardware capable I've been told.

VidON have HD passthrough partially working on the MINIX NEO X8H Plus, you have to pay for it yearly tho.
And a little birdy told me AMLogic and WeTek are working on HD Audio Passthrough as well.
When that surfaces is anyones guess.

I would put far more trust in companies like nVIDIA and WeTek to get HD Audio passthrough working properly and nicely integrated into Kodi running on Android than anyone else.

From what I've gathered:
Quote:Audio Output > AMLogic-HDMI/SPDIF with:
==============================
Passthrough Enabled:
DTS HD MA/HRA > lossy 5.1 DTS (or 6.1 DTS-ES)

Dolby True HD > lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital
Lossy 5.1 Audio is Lossless Audio (HD Passthrough) that is compressed, basically filtering out the audio frequencies that are beyond a Human Ears Hearing range. Your dog might like lossless Audio ! Wink
Now the debate is would you be able to tell the difference between Lossless and Lossy Audio anyway in a blindfolded controlled test ?

You will also need pretty decent speakers to even hear the full audio frequency range contained in Lossless Audio, otherwise you are just admiring those loverly bling blinken DTS HD and True HD lights on your AVR. I suspect thats what a lot of people want anyway, and the Audio Marketers know this and ramp up the HD Audio Hype.

That's not the discussion at all, especially if it means that the hw can only output 2(!) pcm channels, which means: no multi channel audio at all - when not transcoding to AC3.

For DTS, AC3, as we know all now since a long time, 2 (!) pcm channels are enough - as DTS and AC3, as we all know for a long time, is a 5.1 / 6.1 surround format transmitted via 2 pcm channels only.
First decide what functions / features you expect from a system. Then decide for the hardware. Don't waste your money on crap.
(2015-10-17, 04:21)wrxtasy Wrote: From what I've gathered:
Quote:Audio Output > AMLogic-HDMI/SPDIF with:
==============================
Passthrough Enabled:
DTS HD MA/HRA > lossy 5.1 DTS (or 6.1 DTS-ES)

Dolby True HD > lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital
Lossy 5.1 Audio is Lossless Audio (HD Passthrough) that is compressed, basically filtering out the audio frequencies that are beyond a Human Ears Hearing range. Your dog might like lossless Audio ! Wink

Not quite. The DTS-HD MA/HRA standard used for Blu-ray (and HD-DVD - remember that) is based on a two-tier encode. The audio is made up from two streams, a DTS core stream, which is what will be output over SPDIF on Blu-ray players, and will be output as passthrough on non-DTS-HD friendly players (*). There is then a secondary "helper" stream which contains a compressed "difference between lossy and lossless" signal which along with the DTS core stream allows a lossless stream to be created.

Dolby True HD works differently I believe. There are two separate and independent audio streams. The Dolby True HD stream - which is entirely standalone, and a 'hidden' lossy Dolby stream. There isn't a core per se.

The lossy compression level is decided by those mastering the discs.

However this bit : basically filtering out the audio frequencies that are beyond a Human Ears Hearing range. Your dog might like lossless Audio is definitely a misconception. It isn't HF content that is filtered out for lossy compression, it's a lot more complex than that.

Lossy compression - like MP3, AAC, Dolby Digital, DTS etc. use techniques like psycho-acoustic modelling, that take advantage of the way the ear and brain interact. Things like a quiet sound at one frequency being masked by a loud sound at a different frequency. (You might be able to hear one person whispering quietly in a room on their own, but if someone else then starts shouting the whisper will disappear to you) If most people can't register the quiet sound, then don't waste data sending it. However the processing involved to do this compression can have quite an effect on subtle aspects of the audio like phase coherence (which is important for stereo imaging if content has been captured with cross-pair or similar stereo mics rather than just being panned mono sources across a sound field) If you hear over compression on Dolby (I have a poorly mastered 5.1 disc that sounds like AM radio...) you can definitely hear it. Broadcast AC3 is often at low bitrates like 348k - and you can definitely hear artefacts without being a dog...

Some compression for stereo will also take advantage of the similarities between left and right channels - which can deliver good bit rate reductions but can also hammer some aspects of the audio. (For instance killing Dolby analogue surround that would be decoded via ProLogic)
Quote:Now the debate is would you be able to tell the difference between Lossless and Lossy Audio anyway in a blindfolded controlled test ?

Yes - and I suspect high bitrate Dolby (640k or higher) / DTS (1.5Mbs) is very difficult to hear the difference from HD Audio. I'm not sure I can in every situation - but on the other hand, why listen to a compressed version if you can listen to the original.

Quote:You will also need pretty decent speakers to even hear the full audio frequency range contained in Lossless Audio, otherwise you are just admiring those loverly bling blinken DTS HD and True HD lights on your AVR. I suspect thats what a lot of people want anyway, and the Audio Marketers know this and ramp up the HD Audio Hype.

I think you are confusing high-sampling rate (96/192kHz) and HD Audio. You can have lossy compressed 96/192kHz tracks. And most HD Audio tracks are 48kHz sampling, as most DD/DTS is, so it isn't a case of capturing higher frequencies, it is a case of not altering the recorded sound.

In most cases the frequency range of DD/DTS and DTS-HD/True HD are the same...

(*) Assuming you aren't transcoding to Dolby OR outputting PCM 2.0 decoded.
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