START HERE - Pick the Right Kodi Box (updated October 2019)
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Exclamation 
October 2019 update

WARNING ! - the S922X chipset - Beelink GT-King has an ongoing, serious hardware Ethernet stability issue (click)

VERY important - Media Player Firmware Updates & Watchlist (click)

For those that do not want to get bogged down in the detail below...
..The Best Of - categorised - media players on the market (click)

The Kodi forum will NOT help you at all with device Firmware support. Nor Banned Kodi Addon support.

Links to individual Hardware threads for the devices discussed below >>> Click HERE



Questions and Answers - Recommended Kodi devices.

BIG TIP for Newbies - pick what Kodi media player features are most important to you first, make a list.

Eg. 24p, 1080p only or 4K HDR, broadcast TV deinterlacing, DD/AC3, DTS, 7.1 HD Audio & which specific Apps.
What TV and audio hardware do you plan on connecting to ?

Nearly all Kodi devices in this Q&A post will come with Kodi community, and proper seller and manufacturer after sales support.

$$$$ - Show me the Money !

Q. I'm a Newbie on a tight budget using a 1080p TV, I do not need HD Audio and have no audio/video receiver (AVR).
I just want to plug in and power up, and run Kodi with minimal fuss. I don't care about anything else ?

Q. Best 1080p/4K Bang for the Buck - Kodi only, HD Audio (bitstreaming) device ?
(All running CoreELEC Kodi Leia, unless noted. Easiest to hardest to setup, Wireless MINIX A2 lite remote purchase recommended)
Q. What are the recommended best Bang for the Buck microSDHC cards ?
Do not base you decision on sequential speeds, Its Random 4K Read / Write performance that is most important for Kodi everyday usage.
The Wirecutter - Best microSD Cards (click)

Q. Those AMLogic S9xx boxes look grossly underpowered for 4K HEVC(H265), should I be looking at Intel NUC's. ?
Only the very recent Intel Kaby/Gemini Lake and onwards series of NUCs will match the cheap AMLogic S9xx's for video playback (excluding 3D MVC).
The NUCs are more powerful for CPU software video decoding , but that's not really that relevant when an ARM Mali GPU is Hardware decoding all video content if running OSMC / CoreELEC Kodi Leia.

Q. I basically want a HD Audio capable (inc. Atmos & DTS:X) 4K HDR10 Kodi media player that just works with minimal hassles ?
(devices must have working auto refresh & auto 1080p / 4K resolution switching and correct SDR / HDR colorspace output after auto switching)
You also want Gigabit Ethernet (1000M) for trouble free High Bitrate 4K HDR home networked streaming.
  • New: ODROID N2 - CoreELEC Edition
  • Vero 4K+ running OSMC Kodi Leia
  • Greater detail - Split out into it's own dedicated thread - 4K HDR10 - State of Play thread - important media player limitations (click)
  • Users with 100M only Ethernet devices have reported a USB3 > Gigabit UGREEN adapter (click) works and enables higher data transfer rates for high bitrate 4K HDR video playback.
  • Yes these cheap GigaE LAN equipped, AMLogic devices, running OSMC / CoreELEC are better than both the more expensive Intel "Lake" NUC's and the NVIDIA Shield for auto, mixed 1080p / 4K HDR Kodi Leia video playback.
  • There is no need to continually fiddle with Operating System or Kodi settings for optimal 1080p / 4K HDR picture outputs once initial device setup is complete.
  • Just be aware, if you are a ex Intel user wanting to use a really demanding Skin like Aeon MadNox really only the new AML S922X / A311D devices with great ARM GPU's or a snappy Nvidia Shield will meet your needs.
  • This is a reality check warning !
    Wink



Speed - Red boxes run faster !

Q. Fastest - Appliance like - pure - Kodi only boxes booting straight into LibreELEC or CoreELEC Kodi or OSMC Kodi
  • Intel / AMD x86-64
  • New: ODROID N2 (using eMMC flash storage)
  • New: AMLogic chipset devices with a S922X / A311D chipset like the Khadas VIM3 or Ugoos AM6 - avoid the Beelink GT-King.
  • ODROID C2 (using eMMC flash storage)
  • Vero 4K+ running OSMC Kodi - Plug n Play.
  • New: DIY CoreELEC Kodi Leia on a AMLogic S905X2 chipset devices equipped with GigaE (1000M) LAN.

Q. Fastest, most powerful Android TV OS - Kodi streaming box ?
  • NVIDIA Shield
  • New: Runner up is the Mecool KM3

Q. Fastest, most powerful regular Android tablet OS - Kodi streaming box ?
Q. Fastest, most powerful, media player on the market - running the Kodi fork - MrMC ?
  • Apple TV 4K

Q. I want a device that does auto Frame Rate Matching for silky smooth 24p video playback ?
Why is Frame Rate Matching a wanted feature anyway ? (click)
  • All devices running OSMC / LibreELEC / CoreELEC / Windows Kodi
  • Android devices >>> NVIDIA Shield, Ugoos AM6, MINIX U9, WeTek Hub and Play2
  • Apple TV 4K using various Apps - the big one being Netflix - that can Frame Rate Match (click), the only media player platform that can do so with that App !
  • Amazon FireTV hardware (click)
  • New: Rooted AMLogic Android devices using this following DIY 2891405 (post)

Q. What simply upgrade can I do to increase Kodi media player responsiveness ?
  • Avoid the Nvidia Shield's low powered 2.4GHz Bluetooth remotes due to 2.4GHz Radio Freq. / USB3 interference issues.
  • Buy a USB mini dongle - Wireless remote, like the highly compatible MINIX A2 Lite or Wireless Harmony Remotes.
  • Even better is a Wireless remote that can also learn Infra Red commands from the original remote for device Power OFF / ON.
  • There is also a OSMC Wireless remote available that works out of the box with LibreELEC / CoreELEC and Android TV.
  • Both the MINIX A2 and the OSMC remotes include a Plug n Play USB Wireless Mini receiver dongles.
  • LibreELEC / CoELEC Kodi Leia now has support for the excellent, simple, $10, ultra responsive, bluetooth - Xiaomi Mi Box aftermarket remote.
  • This HERE (click) $10 USB dongle WiFi Voice remote would work as a Plug N Play with a bunch of Android / LibreELEC / CoreELEC devices
  • New: Nvidia Shield users recommend the WeChip G20 wireless Air Mouse Voice remote these days.



What about DIY ?

Q. I like to do a bit of DIY and don't mind getting my hands a little bit dirty and learning something in the process ?
(all devices running LibreELEC Kodi, unless noted)
  • Raspberry Pi's (LibreELEC or OSMC)
  • New: ODROID N2 & C2 (CoreELEC)
  • Mecool KM3 / KM9 Pro Deluxe running Android TV Pie / CoreELEC Kodi.
  • Intel / AMD x86-64 computers
  • ASUS Chromebox
  • Various cheap AMLogic S9xx devices, lots of community support for these on the Freaktab Forums(click)

Q. I just want a stable, well supported, 1080p Kodi use only,  box ?
  • Vero 4K+
  • ODROID N2 - CoreELEC Edition
  • Rpi 3's, Chromeboxes and Intel / AMD running LibreELEC Kodi.

Q. Most versatile Kodi boxes, that very easily dual boot Android / unofficial Android TV to CoreELEC Kodi:
(AMLogic S905D Devices include a single MUX - TV Tuner + SPDIF(Optical)
  • MECOOL S905D devices (working L1 DRM + HDCP 1.x)
  • WeTek Play2



AAA - Android TV, Apple and Amazon ?

Q. Kodi capable boxes that are the most family friendly, with Apps specifically designed for use on TV's, virtually Plug n Play ?
(Easiest to use Wireless remote found on FireTV 4K and most Google Certified Android TV devices (click) - Shield's remote is the worst)
  • Xiaomi Mi Box (pretty stable Oreo firmware these days)
  • Ematic Jetstream 4K Ultra HD
  • NVIDIA Shield
  • Amazon devices, using MrMC (Kodi fork) or Sideloaded Kodi
  • Apple TV 4(K) running MrMC (Click)
  • Mecool KM3 / KM9 Pro Deluxe (no HD Netflix on these)

Q. What about buying one of those 4K - Android TV's from Sony or Sharp/Philips for Kodi use ?
  • May be OK so long as you are not a demanding Kodi user expecting everything to just "work"
  • The one advantage is all non 4K content will be picture upscaled to 4K by high quality 4K TV hardware upscalers.
  • Firmware is generally poor for Kodi Audio compatibility. Forget about HD Audio and even basic 5.1 DTS Audio will cause issues.
  • A very informative Review from @CiNcH is worth reading - The Sony Android TV Experience (2017)

Q. Best devices that have an option to purchase a Top quality wireless remote control with a Integrated Mini Keyboard
  • Various MINIX AMLogic Boxes, using the A2/A3 Lite Remote (Note: the A3 lite remote has wake from sleep issues)
  • The Wireless MINIX A2 Lite Air Mouse remote is a quality remote that works with a LOT of media players using a USB dongle - Plug n Play



What exactly is Android TV (click) ?
  • Android TV has a different Google Playstore vs the regular tablet Google Playstore. Android TV specific Apps cannot be installed from the regular tablet Google Playstore and there is a more limited Android TV Apps selection.  But those ATV Apps are much easier to use, especially when used with included Wireless Voice remotes.
  • Regular tablet Playstore Android Apps usually do not work properly on Android TV devices.
  • Amazon devices have no Google Playstore, but instead have there own FireOS Apps store - with more Apps vs Android TV.
  • Apple TV 4/4K devices have no Google Playstore, but instead have there own tvOS Apps store - with more Apps vs Android TV.
  • Android TV boxes (think Shield, Mi Box, Jetstream 4k Ultra HD) use a simple remote and simple Apps designed for use on the TV screen.
  • Amazon FireTV and Apple TV hardware uses a simple Interface and Wireless remotes as well.
  • All devices can use Voice searching with a compatible Wireless remote.
  • All other regular tablet/touchscreen based - Android OS boxes need a Wireless Air Mouse or touchpad Keyboard to use touchscreen Apps.  
  • Those Apps are much harder to use on a TV screen. A lot of people hate using tablet Apps on a TV screen with any sort of mouse.
  • Included Infra Red only remotes will not work properly with touchscreen/tablet Android Apps.
  • All versions of Kodi do Not need an Air Mouse remote or touchpad Keyboard to use properly.



4K HEVC & HDR devices

Q. What about devices for SDR 4K HEVC (H265) video playback over HDMI 2.0 to a SDR only capable 4K TV ?
  • Basically any modern device sold as 4K capable will be able to decode 8/10bit HEVC.

Q. I have a new, expensive 4K TV, which devices give me the best upscaled picture quality ?
  • Basically you are trying to get a 4K TV to use it's superior, high quality , hardware picture upscalers when displaying all non 4K content.
  • Intel hardware has always been known for high quality picture upscaling. NVIDIA Hardware (inc. GPU cards) not so much...
  • Unless media player hardware can already do decent hardware picture upscaling (like the Apple TV 4K), you want a device that can do auto 720/1080p <<-->> 4K resolution switching those are....
  • Intel / AMD x86-64 computers.
  • All AMLogic S9xx devices running OSMC or LibreELEC / CoreELEC Kodi
  • Zidoo X9S and (and possibly HiMedia Q5/10 ?)
  • NVIDIA Shield running Kodi Leia, however virtually all other Apps and all non 4K user interfaces and elements will still have to deal with Poor picture upscaling (click)
  • The new 2018 - FireTV Stick 4K I believe also does auto resolution switching.



Scare the pants off me in 1080p 3D !

Also see the dedicated 3D post below

Q. I need to playback my 1080p 3D ISO Bluray Rips in Full HD ?
(extra research before purchase needs to be done for Android 3D ISO media players)
  • Raspberry Pi's
  • Various Intel Machines running Windows, and a special Fork of Kodi.
  • The DIY Intel - with Windows 10 and GeForce GTX 960 or later Nvidia graphics card solution, preferably GeForce GT 1030 or better.
  • HiMedia Q5/10 Pro - using an external (non Kodi) software solution.
  • Zidoo X9S - using an external (non Kodi) software solution. Has full Bluray Menu support.



Gimme the best Audio !

Q. I need full HD Audio passthrough support including Multichannel (>2.0) PCM output of 16/24bit/192kHz FLAC ?
NOTE: all devices using an Android OS have 16bit Multichannel 48/96kHz PCM Audio output limitations (click)
Read NVIDIA Shield - Multichannel Hi-Res audio limitations for extra information.
** Be aware HDMI only supports 24bit audio NOT 32bit **
  • Zidoo X9S (possibly does 24bit Multichannel audio - confirmation needed)
  • HiMedia Q5/10 Pro (confirmation needed)
  • WeTek Hub / Play2 (CoreELEC)
  • ODROID N2 / C2 (CoreELEC)
  • Vero 4K (OSMC- 24bit/192kHz)
  • Various cheap AMLogic S9xx devices running CoreELEC Kodi Leia
  • Chromeboxes (24bit/192kHz)
  • Intel / AMD x86-64 computers, inc. Macs running Windows.(24bit/192kHz except Sky/Apollo/Kaby Lake onwards)
  • Apple TV 4K audio capabilities are found in THIS review (click)

Q. I need Android 5.1 / 7.1 Audio passthrough (inc. Dolby Atmos/TrueHD, DTS:X/HD-Master) when using Kodi Leia ?
NOTE: Android devices must meet the Google IEC61937 standard, more details in Welcome to Android MediaCodec standards
(make sure "Expert" mode is enabled in Kodi Leia settings - bottom left)
  • WeTek Hub / Play2
  • MINIX U9
  • NVIDIA Shield
  • 2016 Xiaomi Mi Box - NOT the 2018 Mi Box S
  • AMLogic S9xx devices running Android Nougat 7.x - ONLY - Firmware
  • Zidoo X9S / HiMedia Q5/10 Pro (uses their own media player software and a Kodi front end interface)



Live Broadcast TV & High Quality deinterlacing

Q. I need a device with proper video deinterlacing for Over the Air (OTA) TV streaming from my HD Homerun or PVR server ?
Ordered from best deinterlacing picture output quality to the worst. In reality the Intel / AMD, AMLogic, Apple TV 4K and RPi's will be the most reliable.
  • Intel / AMD x86-64 computers
  • ODROID N2
  • Apple TV 4K using the superb Channels App or running MrMC (highly modded Kodi Jarvis) ... equal with the following two...
  • All AMLogic chipset based boxes, eg the WeTek, MINIX, ODROID, Vero 4K devices plus others.
    (You have to use Android - Kodi/SPMC Jarvis or CoreELEC / OSMC Kodi)
  • Raspberry Pi's.
  • NVIDIA Shield
  • The previously mention Channels App (click) now has Android TV support.
  • The Plex DVR is an unknown quantity, careful self research should be done.
  • Avoid Amazon FireTV (inc. Stick 4K) & Xiaomi Mi Box hardware for anything to do with high quality - Kodi deinterlacing.
  • AMLogic Android devices running Kodi Leia only output half motion deinterlacing, it's OK, but no good for fast sports action ball sports viewing.

Q. I need a Android device with a built in TV Tuner that has basic PVR functionality ?


1080p/4K Netflix and Amazon Video streaming

Q. I need a Kodi box that can play 1080p or 4K DRM copy protected video streams such as Netflix, Amazon Video etc. ?
(lots of traps lie ahead)

Audio Limitations:
  • Important NOTE: Unless you have a HDMI connected Dolby Digital Plus Audio receiver, expect 2.0 Audio only from DD+ copy protected streaming Apps running on ALL externally connected Android TV platforms - like the Shield, Mi Box and Jetstream 4k Ultra HD.
  • If you have older Dolby Digital 5.1 only capable audio receiver hardware, only properly Dolby Audio licensed specific hardware platforms such as the Apple TV's, and Amazon Fire TV's can do Netflix / Amazon / VUDU / iTunes - DD+ 5.1 to DD/AC3 5.1 audio downmixing.
  • This 5.1 DD audio can then be passed thru various model TV's and out via Optical/ARC to older audio equiptment.
  • The Apple TV's also do DD+ > multichannel LPCM decoding to support older HDMI connected AVR's.
  • Only the XBOX ONE and Apple TV HD/4K is approved to stream Netflix Atmos Audio

The Apple TV 4/4K can also do Netflix App - auto Frame Rate Matching (click) - the only media player that can do so. Results are superb !

Amazon Prime App can be sideloaded on to various devices that cannot download it from the Google Playstore.

Viewing Paid for movies on numerous hardware platforms is now possible with Movies Anywhere (click)

1080p/4K Android Netflix / Amazon (Prime) Video is only possible on media players boxes that include Widevine L1 & HDCP 1.x/2.2 support in device Firmware. Prime Video also needs Microsoft Playready DRM.
Android TV devices also have to be Google Certified Android TV Certified (click) - and also to be Netflix Approved.

  • PLUG n Play:
  • Ematic Jetstream 4K Ultra HD (4K HDR Netflix)
  • NVIDIA Shield (4K HDR Netflix / 4K HDR Amazon Prime Video / 4K VUDU)
  • Apple TV 4K (4K HDR & DolbyVision Netflix / 4K HDR Amazon Prime Video / 4K HDR DV VUDU / 4K DolbyVision iTunes)
  • Xiaomi Mi Box (4K HDR Netflix / 4K HDR Amazon Prime Video)
  • Amazon Fire TV devices, the Gen3 pendant (HDR), NEW FireTV Stick 4K / 2019 Cube (HDR / DolbyVision).
  • Intel / AMD x86-64 computers with GeForce GT 1030 or later Nvidia graphics card solution running Win10, using either dedicated Apps or a Web Browser. See HERE (click) for details.

  • 1080p SDR Netflix:
    (Can only get Android 1080p Netflix with a special, difficult to use - tablet / mouse version of Netflix OR use the Kodi Leia Netflix Addon)
  • WeTek Hub & Play2
  • MINIX U9-H
  • Intel / AMD x86-64 that can CPU Software 1080p H264 video when running LibreELEC - using the Kodi Leia Netflix Addon
  • Rockchip RK3399 Hardware running LibreELEC Kodi.
  • New: Mecool KM3 / KM9 - these Apps (click) may re-add Netflix ATV support
  • New: ODROID N2 ( 1080p Netflix - CoreELEC OS)
  • New: Possibly AML S905X2 hardware running CoreELEC Kodi.




Moral of the story with this whole post. It pays to buy something popular -  that gets (a) Kodi & device seller forum support and (b) seller and Chipset Manufacturer support for Firmware (especially Android) bug busting updates and upgrades. The LibreELEC / CoreELEC / OSMC guys provide excellent Kodi Linux support.

W. Smile

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Messages In This Thread
START HERE - Pick the Right Kodi Box (updated October 2019) - by wrxtasy - 2015-12-21, 03:43
The right box for me - by tyem - 2016-01-13, 15:29
Jesus Box - by kellyvb - 2016-03-04, 20:18
Thanks for the Help! - by jmc15john - 2016-11-09, 16:44
Jarvis crashes and wipes - by gotthis2000 - 2017-01-10, 22:14
RE: Jarvis crashes and wipes - by nickr - 2017-01-10, 22:58
T95Z Plus Android TV Box - by gooner1971 - 2017-03-17, 13:04