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START HERE - Pick the Right Kodi Box (updated March 2020)
1. Android support of NTFS support is not a Kodi issue. However a little googling reveals that (in general) android can read but not write NTFS drives. There are hacks to get write support on the web. YMMV.

2. I would never recommend any cheap ($50) android device for Kodi.

3. I would recommend any of the working s905/905X/912 boxes with LibreELEC flashed to it. Some of them can be had for about $40-50.
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I'm fine with not being able to write to the drives. My concern was because I have a friend with a box that cant handle drives bigger than 2TBs. Thanks for the info.
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After some thought I think I'm leaning more to Vero 4K. When compared to MINIX U9-H with LibreELEC it offers very similar top-notch build quality, performance and compatibility. Why Vero? I think it's a matter of OS. I think that 'just enough OS' well..is not enough for me Wink I have everything Debian has to offer under the hood of OSMC and since I'm looking for more versatile box (not trying to do all-in-one at the same time as was suggested), Vero 4K seems the obvious answer. Or I'm dumb and don't get something Smile
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(2018-01-26, 03:53)nickr Wrote: 1. Android support of NTFS support is not a Kodi issue. However a little googling reveals that (in general) android can read but not write NTFS drives. There are hacks to get write support on the web. YMMV.

2. I would never recommend any cheap ($50) android device for Kodi.

3. I would recommend any of the working s905/905X/912 boxes with LibreELEC flashed to it. Some of them can be had for about $40-50.
Are points 2. and 3. conflicting advice?
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(2018-01-27, 20:48)Jeffers24 Wrote:
(2018-01-26, 03:53)nickr Wrote: 1. Android support of NTFS support is not a Kodi issue. However a little googling reveals that (in general) android can read but not write NTFS drives. There are hacks to get write support on the web. YMMV.

2. I would never recommend any cheap ($50) android device for Kodi.

3. I would recommend any of the working s905/905X/912 boxes with LibreELEC flashed to it. Some of them can be had for about $40-50.
Are points 2. and 3. conflicting advice? 
For point 2, I think he is referring to running Kodi from Android.  Point 3, is to install LibreELEC as the OS instead of Android version of Kodi.
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Thank you wrxtasy, for the highly informative thread! 

I realise my query is slightly off-topic as you are listing boxes but I hope you can give me some advice nonetheless. I am not looking for a media box, but rather a stick format. This is because I want to have a semi-portable TV setup with minimal wires. Something like the Amazon Fire Stick seems ideal, except that I would rather have something that runs Kodi directly, as you describe for the OPMC or LibreELEC Kodi Krypton options. However, as far as I could find these options are mostly boxes that require additional wires and power supply, where I need something discrete that can be powered through the TV via usb.  

Do you know of any LibreELEC-compatible AMLogic or similar device that comes in a 'stick' format? I came across the H96 Pro Mini Amlogic S912 with 2GB RAM and 16GB ROM; do you think that would qualify - or do you have any other recommendations for me? 

Thanks & cheers
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Cheers.

That S912 would work I believe for LibreELEC.
However I have three concerns:

1) The S912's run the hottest of all AMLogic devices and without adequate heatsinks & thermal engineering you will very likely get performance throttled.
2) No IR for a remote control - you would have to use a Bluetooth remote - the $14 Xiaomi Mi Box after market one works nicely with LibreELEC Kodi Krypton.

Freaktab have further H96 Pro details (click)

If it were me I would ask if anyone is using one successfully over in the LE AML S912 thread particularly for WiFi and definitely Bluetooth support.

Personally I use LE Kodi Krypton, running on an ODROID C2 that is the size of two decks of playing cards - powered it via the TV and a HardKernel USB > barrel type power cord.
Then I use a cheap CSR v4.0 Bluetooth USB dongle and a aftermarket bluetooth $14 Xiaomi Mi Box remote, makes for one snappy setup.
This works nicely when travelling to read media content from USB sticks.

If you connect any sort of mechanical Hard Drive using that TV > USB > media player - power method the HDD will need it's own power supply to even work.
It may be possible to get a HDD / data power Y cable to power a 2.5" HDD from another USB TV port.

WiFi on the C2 very likely needs mains power to the C2 for reliability as well.

Wireless remote's do not need line of sight either - very handy when mounting small media player boxes behind the TV with Zip ties ! Wink

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Thanks for the quick reply and for the warning regarding heat of the S912. I had thought it would be better to have a more powerful processor but perhaps it is better to opt for a stick with an S905 instead? 

I would be happy simply using my phone as a kodi remote over wifi. I briefly tested the app using Kodi on my macbook and it seems to work very well. The H96 Pro Stick actually does have two USB ports in addition to the microUSB power connection: 1XUSB host + 1XUSB OTG. But I generally use kodi for streaming only anyway. So apart from the potential thermal issues it seems a good candidate for me. 

The Odroid C2 seems really nice but I would rather have native USB power and less hassle with cables and zip ties. 

In any case I will follow yur advice and post some queries at the LE AML S912 thread .

Thanks again for your advice!
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(2018-01-28, 19:16)clarkss12 Wrote:
(2018-01-27, 20:48)Jeffers24 Wrote:
(2018-01-26, 03:53)nickr Wrote: 1. Android support of NTFS support is not a Kodi issue. However a little googling reveals that (in general) android can read but not write NTFS drives. There are hacks to get write support on the web. YMMV.

2. I would never recommend any cheap ($50) android device for Kodi.

3. I would recommend any of the working s905/905X/912 boxes with LibreELEC flashed to it. Some of them can be had for about $40-50.
Are points 2. and 3. conflicting advice?       
For point 2, I think he is referring to running Kodi from Android.  Point 3, is to install LibreELEC as the OS instead of Android version of Kodi.      
That's what I understood. If I successfully install LibreELEC in an s905 box, it should be able to read multi-TB NTFS drives, correct? They're USB drives with their own AC adapters.

And an additional question. How compatible is LibreELEC with USB hubs? Am I likely to run into problems if I do that? Thanks.
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(2018-01-30, 00:11)ByTheBay Wrote: That's what I understood. If I successfully install LibreELEC in an s905 box, it should be able to read multi-TB NTFS drives, correct? They're USB drives with their own AC adapters.
Yes

Quote:And an additional question. How compatible is LibreELEC with USB hubs? Am I likely to run into problems if I do that? Thanks.
Buy a powered USB Hub if you are connecting more than one 2.5" HDD.
Any sort of unpowered USB hub will work if connected USB HDD's have their own power supplies.

Ugreen USB3 > Gigabit (1000M) ethernet network adapters hubs (Ugreen 20265) seem to be the most compatible for those that want to increase LAN thruput performance for Boxes with 100Mbps only Ethernet ports.
Gigabit LAN provides more data thruput headroom for high bitrate 4K video streaming.

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(2018-01-30, 07:25)wrxtasy Wrote:
(2018-01-30, 00:11)ByTheBay Wrote: That's what I understood. If I successfully install LibreELEC in an s905 box, it should be able to read multi-TB NTFS drives, correct? They're USB drives with their own AC adapters.
Yes
Quote:And an additional question. How compatible is LibreELEC with USB hubs? Am I likely to run into problems if I do that? Thanks.
Buy a powered USB Hub if you are connecting more than one 2.5" HDD.
Any sort of unpowered USB hub will work if connected USB HDD's have their own power supplies.

Ugreen USB3 > Gigabit (1000M) ethernet network adapters hubs (Ugreen 20265) seem to be the most compatible for those that want to increase LAN thruput performance for Boxes with 100Mbps only Ethernet ports.
Gigabit LAN provides more data thruput headroom for high bitrate 4K video streaming. 

Thanks for all the info. Have a great day.
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(2018-01-28, 19:16)clarkss12 Wrote:
(2018-01-27, 20:48)Jeffers24 Wrote:
(2018-01-26, 03:53)nickr Wrote: 1. Android support of NTFS support is not a Kodi issue. However a little googling reveals that (in general) android can read but not write NTFS drives. There are hacks to get write support on the web. YMMV.

2. I would never recommend any cheap ($50) android device for Kodi.

3. I would recommend any of the working s905/905X/912 boxes with LibreELEC flashed to it. Some of them can be had for about $40-50.
Are points 2. and 3. conflicting advice?  
For point 2, I think he is referring to running Kodi from Android.  Point 3, is to install LibreELEC as the OS instead of Android version of Kodi. 
 Indeed, don't bother with android. DO run LibreELEC on a box that originally had android on it. Sorry if that wasn't clear.
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Thought I will post my experience as I am currently using:
- RPi3 with LibreELEC 8.2.3 and LibreELEC 9.X
- Alfawise H96pro plus 3/32 with LibreELEC 8.2.2

So what can I say, we have already almost 200 pages of a thread. I bought the Rpi3 just recently and after tweaking and fine tuning (not w/o the hassle) now I can say that I have ditched my H96pro plus box in the corner and would probably use it for Android apps and for 10-bitHVEC. I do not own a 4k TV so RPi3 fulfill all my needs.

Compared to how much effort I have invested into my H96pro plus, the Rpi3 and LibreELEC experience is like riding a luxurious car as to the road with H96 is mostly running barefoot on a rocky path Smile

But! At the end now with 7.1.2 Android`s rom from Superceleron (Freaktab) things are more even out, even some of the S912 boxes are making it to be named 4k Krypton devices without a hassle...

But I would say - if you are like me - use up to FULL HD, then RPi3 definitely is the better and smoother experience, a lot of support around as it`s reference Kodi hardware, LibreELEC 9.X beta roms almost daily, in general a more consistent Kodi experience.

p.s. Update: Thought to give the S912 box another go, what can I say, it really rips the lammas ass, as it was fashionable to say in a music player a (not so) long time ago Smile Overall playing all kind of video content, jump right in to Kodi`s menu, no tearing at all, very smooth compared to RPi3 where by jumping to main menu while playing results in tearing (at least for me). Both boxes wired to 1GB network, but RPi3 hits the 100mb limit as to the H96pro plus box runs at 1gb.

I am booting LibreELEC from a not so fast 4gb micro SD card but then using the Android box eMMC (internal nand/flash memory) which is quite fast and handles all library updates quite OK.

So I am a little puzzled now, with "just" a Full HD TV (no 4k), when I have to weigh out Rpi3 vs H96pro plus - there seems to be more advantages for the S912 box. Given also the fact that S912 LibreELEC development is quite good (final  8.2.2.3 build and a lot 9.x Kodi 18 builds already in place)...

Probably the "biggest" problem (if you are into streaming netflix) is that you can not get it done right on H96pro plus, no proper certification and etc, but same is applies for RPi3. There is also the famous u-boot problem where by powering off the H96 box from it`s own remote, you can not power it on, you have plug out/in the power cable to boot it. Well, Rpi3 is kind of the same, once is powered off there are no easy way to power it on. Saw some people handle the power on via HDMI CEC, by wiring some pins from the GPIO but it`s not a quick and dirty solution.

So best thing is leave both devices on and don`t care. Rpi2 was supposed to burn ~1-2$ of electricity per month, the Rpi3 power supply is a little bit more powerful but it will not make a huge difference. Also I am running a not modded H96 pro plus meaning that in Android while using Kodi (using actually FMTC) box can get up to 90 celsius. With LibreELEC it runs 60-80 which is okayish. On my RPi3 I got just heatsinks but it runs around the same temp like the H96 pro.

Now the goodies - the H96pro plus has 3 GB of RAM and I am using it with 600MB of cache via advancedsettings.xml - cause I always have like 2 - 2.5GB free of memory. The H96 pro plus can do HD audio, meaning you can butter your ears withDolby TrueHD and DTS HD-Master audio, while the Rpi3 can not do those. Well that seems to be "partially true", you can read more details here. So let`s say you wont be losing to much in the sound area, especially if you equip your Rpi3 with a nice external audio interface (like hifiberry or others).

So probably the bigger advantage besides performance and speed is that S912 can do 8/10bit 1080p H265 decoding where to Rpi3 can not do 10 bit hvec 1080, but will cope with 8 bit 720/1080 - or so I ve seen on my box. And of course the 4k thing - no chance with RPi3, but a go with AML S912(H96).

Probably the worst thing with AML is that there are so many boxes, so many variations on the same SoC, so if you wanna go with S912, better choose a box that is approved or semi-approved for doing what you need it to do in the first post of the thread.
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Bought an Apple TV 4K today and media playback is just fabulous. Output was set to 2160p. No matter whether I threw 576i25, 1080i25, 720p50, 1080p24 or 1080p60 at it, playback was pretty perfect. Deinterlacing and scaling are great, pretty much on the same level as my Sony 4K TV. Refresh rate switching led to perfect motion witout any interpolation. Wouldn't have expected that really.
Software decoding MPEG-2 SD and VC-1 HD does not seem to be a problem for the strong Apple chip. VP9 at 2160p60 wasn't 100% smooth though.

The sad part is that Siri and the TV app both do not seem to be available in Austria. So no finding content across installed apps/services. Still night and day compared to the shitty Sony Android TV. Amazon Video finally works flawlessly and you can actually get 4K HDR content on iTunes at the same price as HD. In Austria you don't get any 4K or HDR content on the Google Play Store. And in Germany it is double the price of HD.
Sony BRAVIA KD-65XF9005 (FW V6.6545 / Android TV Oreo 8.0)
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(2018-01-25, 10:19)wrxtasy Wrote: Basically you need a device on the Amazon Video Apps streaming "Whitelist" ie. NVIDIA Shield, Apple TV's or naturally Amazon FireTV hardware.

Do you get 1080p if you use Amazon Prime Video in Windows ?
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