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WeTek Core (24p HD Netflix / HD Audio / Lollipop / OpenELEC / 4K / HEVC)
Having just received my Core and just given it about 2 hours of tinkering (no updating yet, no microsd), I've found this thread very helpful. Thanks WRXTASY. That said, some things have come up and I have a few comments and questions.

(2015-12-16, 05:50)wrxtasy Wrote: - Android Apps, can be selected from within Kodi and added as Favourites. Select the Android App like Netflix, watch some stuff. Exit Netflix and it auto-switches straight back into Kodi. Some Kodi Skins mount these Favourites on the main view screen too for easy selection.
Launching Android Apps from Kodi is really nifty. Are there any recommended skins that will allow for thumbnailed (or otherwise) links on the home screen besides Confluence?

(2015-12-16, 05:50)wrxtasy Wrote: - Android Lollipop OS has Android Apps that are not as remote control friendly as those running on the Android TV OS that you get on the nVIDIA Shield, Fire TV/Stick or Google Nexus. The Android TV OS - YouTube App works on the Core, there are probably more. For some functions you may have to use the Air mouse which can be a cause of frustration for some users that have never used one before.

- The tradeoff is you get full access to the entire catalogue of Apps from the Google Play Store, not the limited Android TV OS selection. These will Auto update as well.
Yes you can side load Apps on Android TV OS, but I've been told if you update the Android TV OS Firmware you have to repeat the process every time, over and over, these Side loaded Apps will not Auto Update either. Its not ideal.

The remote-friendliness feature (or lack thereof) of NON Android TV Apps is quite frustrating as others are increasingly pointing out. Is it possible that future iterations of Weteks firmware/software, there may be more accommodations for using the remote with traditional Android OS (touch UI) Apps?
(Sidenote: once you are in Kodi, there is no frustration whatsoever.)

Also, I used the alternative Appstore, Aptoide, that Wetek preloaded on the Core to search for the Amazon Video streaming app (which is blocked from GPS). The Amazon Video app was not available from the alternative store natively, but there is a function to search other stores on the web that are hosted by Aptoide. I found it there and downloaded. Is there any reason to not trust this app? I haven't checked, but it seems it may be possible to download Android TV OS apps directly from Aptoide in a similar manner.


(2015-12-16, 05:50)wrxtasy Wrote: - Christian Troy is adding features to the Android WeTek launcher on a regular basis, he even takes requests. You will be able to shortly boot straight into Kodi.
I am really starting to love this minimal Zen looking, slick WeTek launcher, CT has produced. There is a bunch of remote control shortcut button press combos under the hood which work well once you get to know them. Its well thought out. CT is a friendly, talented developer Smile
Image

I think the launcher is a great feature of the Core.
There are a couple things that I cannot figure out:
changing the temperature reading at the bottom of the home screen from Celsius to Fahrenheit.
What are the remote shortcuts?
Is there any way within the GUI to Sleep or Poweroff?
How can one add more shortcuts to the launcher?
NVidia Shield Pro
Firestick
Wetek Core
Panasonic P60ST30
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Regarding the PQ of the wetek core 4K it didnt perform better than the Nvidia shield in the spears & munsil test.

Its the same test Done in GeForce forums started by @wesk05

1- Missing white line (centered screen)
2- the RGB to YCbCr conversions need to improve the colors are fading
3- Red, white and blue are clipping
4- bands are BAD
5- chroma range check are BAD

Image
Anthem MRX310 | XTZ 93.23 DIY 5.1 (Seas Jantzen Mundorf) | DXD808 | Oppo 103D | LG OLED 55EC930V | Nvidia Shield | ATV3





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does the ps3 sixaxis controller work on this? i prefer using it over other controllers.

it must be rooted to use the controller right?
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Just wanted to order the Core, but I don't want to unless I have clarity on this issue: You guys mentioned the lacking remote support of some Android apps. Does this apply to streaming apps like Hulu, Netflix, HBO Now or CBS All Acess? I want to use those and I need my remote to work with those apps.
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Updated January 20, 2016

Here's my review of the WeTek Core... Still haven't gotten to 4K testing on Core (does [email protected]) as yet, and compare vs. nVidia Shield TV (does [email protected]).

Grades:
  • A- (under Android)
  • B+ (under OpenELEC)
Re-tested with WeTek OS v1.0.1 firmware for Android OS w/private HD audio-to-PCM audio test patch (will be made public shortly, via WeTek's next OTA update). Testing for OpenELEC was with build 7.0.0 (Kodi v16.0 beta5).



// Evaluation under Android w/PCM Test Patch //

Highlights:
  • Proper 23.976 playback
  • Excellent PQ
  • HD audio now supported! See details here. Booyah! Big Grin
  • Well built & packaged
  • Simple/clean UI & functions (Android 5.x Lollipop)
    → Google's official Android TV UI now made available as option (works great; get @ WeTek's forum)
  • Netflix for Android TV in HD (modified build; see wrxtasy's post #1)
  • YouTube up to 4K
  • Excellent support!
  • Quite reliable now (only minor issues left really)
  • Reasonably priced
Areas for Improvements:
  • With PCM patch, DD+ 7.1 is output as PCM 5.1. DD+ 7.1 isn't common, so not a big deal IMHO (except EU maybe, where oddly a few ATMOS discs are now getting DD+ 7.1 as secondary/core)
  • Koying's MVC hack for AMLogic Sxxx to provide 3D ISO and MVC MKV support is in the works! It's almost working properly via wrxtasy's MVC OpenELEC test build #3 here

Background:

I've wanted a WeTek Core ever since wrxtasy's review was first posted, so I asked (no, make that almost begged WeTek Wink) for a review unit. They kindly sent me one quickly. Just sounded like a terrific little box, and guess what?! It is (for the most part)! It's the best AMLogic S812-based media player to date, jumping ahead of all other AML boxes to date! Read on... I'll try not to cover what wrxtasy already did, but expand upon his excellent review.

My Home Theater (and Review) Set-Up: Please see here.

Physical Player & Remote:

Core is professionally put together, packaged. It has a nice build quality, and is quite lightweight without that cheap feeling many Chinese Android TV boxes have. It's really competitively priced for what you get. The player has a beautifully simple form factor. The remote is equally nice, very comfortable to hold, and with all the necessary buttons, except Play/Pause and Stop. However, 'Stop' function can be mapped to the 'Back' key; see wrxtasy's post #1. The remote works via Bluetooth so no line of sight necessary; works really well, and is responsive.

Additionally, the remote has air-mouse capability, which works fairly well (pointer seems a bit fast, but you get used to it). Really hoping WeTek adds Core to Logitech's database so I can program my Harmony One Ultimate to control the Core.

Few Photos:

watch gallery


User Interface (Android Launcher) & Navigation:

With Android 5.x underneath, Core shares a UI similar to nVidia's Shield TV, but it's more simplistic. Perhaps a bit too minimalistic. I wished for captions/labels below icons and such as some weren't quite intuitive. Apparently this is by design, thanks to WeTek developer ChristianTroy's zen-like approach Wink; it takes a little getting used to. Thankfully, WeTek has made Google's official Android TV launcher (same as in nVidia Shield & Nexus Player) available for those who want it. The Core is quite snappy to navigate around, use, thanks to the AMLogic S812 chip inside. In any case, Core is easily the best 'TV' implementation of S812 (or any AMLogic chip) so far.

Kodi 15.2 with fixed, proper 23.976 playback is preinstalled after latest OTA update. YouTube and Aptoide are also preinstalled, but not Netflix. See wrxtasy's post #1 to download the proper Android TV version of Netflix w/HD & 24p output.

Audio/Video Test Results:
  • 23.976 videos play in 23.976 (yay!); my Epson 5025UB shows "23.97". Kodi needs to be set to 'adjust refresh rate' and 24Hz should not be forced via refresh rate switcher app (only needed for Netflix, YouTube or any other video app that can't do 23.976 on its own). I've now watched several 23.976 movies (BD rips in MKV) all the way, and get perfect playback! No skips, speed ups, judders or other annoying artifacts.
  • Excellent picture quality!
  • Full 3D MVC MKV's and 3D ISO's play in 2D mode. WeTek and developers are working to apply uber Android/Kodi developer Koying's MVC hack for AML Sxxx to Core, which will allow full 3D MVC decoding and with half-resolution output (similar to Tronsmart S95 with renegade VidOn's XBMC app, which is a step ahead of others here).
  • HD audio is now supported, with the PCM patch (not yet available publically). See my test results here; be excited! Big Grin It isn't bitstreaming/passthrough, but almost as good decoding & lossless PCM multichannel output!
  • VC-1 23.976 rip plays perfectly (tested with 'Constantine' & '3:10 to Yuma' BD rips).
  • With VC-1 1080i 29.970, as wrxtasy noted in his review with my test clip here, it plays, but with issues. Slight stutters and strobing are noticeable, but thankfully no lip synch issues. It's almost there, and I hope WeTek can fix this, especially as it plays almost perfectly under OpenELEC (see below).
  • Bitrate test clips... very impressive!
    - Birds clip up to 90Mbps played perfectly (and I don't have any higher bitrates).
    - Jellyfish up to 200Mbps played perfectly (whoa!; plenty bandwidth for upcoming 4K Blu-rays); even 255Mbps (highest I have) almost played, but Core strugged with it (not surprising).
  • Android/OpenELEC toggle is awesome! Pop-in a microSD card with WeTek's OpenELEC and you're in that OS. Remove card, and you're back in Android OS. Like having 2x boxes in one.
  • OTA updates are a snap to do.



Please see details & pics here for both OpenELEC tests below...


// Evaluation under WeTek OpenELEC 7.0.0 (Kodi v16.0 beta5) //
  • Previous local network connection (SMB/NFS) issues have been fixed! Able to play videos from shares perfectly.
  • Standard Dolby Digital & DTS 5.1 passthrough fine.
  • Dolby TrueHD 5.1 & 7.1 pass as PCM 2.0.
  • DTS-HD MA 5.1 down-mixes to DTS5.1 fine, and MA7.1 down-mixes (matrixs) to 8-channel output well.
  • LPCM 7.1 & 5.1 is output as 2.0 (under Android, it was a little better as you get all channels except center & sub).
  • PQ is also excellent as under Android OS, and 23.976 is also supported.
  • Birds 90Mbps bitrate sample plays effortlessly; in fact, Jellyfish up to 200Mbps played without stutters (amazing!).
  • With VC-1 1080i 29.970, which played with minor issue under Android (see above), plays better here (wasn't expecting this). Very close to smooth playback (hopefully will be tweaked further here & for Android OS).

// Evaluation under wrxtasy's MVC OpenELEC Test Build #3 //
  • Link to build here.
  • 3D MVC MKV's & 3D ISO's are decoded in full MVC, but as expected rendered (with Koying's MVC hack & AML devices) in half-resolution top/bottom (but the two halves don't combine into a proper 3D picture, so the necessary trigger for the display is missing). Tronsmart's S95 with VidOn app works in similar fashion, but does output in proper 3D.
  • Remaining playback is similar to above OpenELEC with the exception of fixed SMB/NFS (which is missing in this build), so had to resort to sometimes using an attached USB drive for video tests.



Useful Tips & Tricks:
Very impressed with WeTek Core at this point. Core is basically a nVidia Shield for le$$, and it will likely play 3D MVC MKV's & 3D ISO's 3D at some point w/proper 3D output (even if rendered half-rez). This would give Core an edge over Shield, especially as HD audio is now working! Also throw in easy OpenELEC boot option, it's like having 2x Kodi experience options in one box! Pretty darn cool!
[H]i-[d]eft [M]edia [K]een [V]ideosaurus
My Family Room Theater
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(2015-12-17, 03:52)hdmkv Wrote: Using the Remote:
Nice remote with nice form factor as I mentioned, but buttons feel a bit hard to press; not soft/light presses. Also, a press sometimes doesn't take, and you must press again. It's almost like doing a hard click for it to take. This is a Bluetooth remote, already paired during initial set-up, so no line-of-sight necessary (which is terrific). Additionally, the remote has air-mouse capability, which is great, but pointer seems a bit fast. One issue is I couldn't get it out of air-mouse mode; had to take the batteries out and put them back in.
Nice detailed review there hdmv
Yes some care and actual thought has gone into the Core.

You will find Christian Troy will not be swayed about cluttering and redesigning the Core's minimalistic Android GUI interface. He is a big fan of Japanese Minimalism - less is more. You too in time will appreciate this viewpoint. I have. Smile

Some remote control tips that will make your life a lot easier:
- Go into Android settings and decrease the Speed / Sensitivity of the Air Mouse. This is the very first thing everyone should do. You will find it very accurate and easier to use then.
- The buttons are designed for short travel button pressing, it all a matter of getting used to it. Makes for very fast GUI navigation.
- To disable the Air Mouse you press the Microphone button or lay it down somewhere for 10 or so seconds.
- Disable the Mouse and Touchscreen function in Kodi to prevent GUI confusion.
- Keymap Editor Addon is your friend to reprogram a Stop button during full screen video playback only in Kodi. Takes 4 minutes. (I use the Back button)

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Well, you saved me a bunch of effort with your review and this thread! Smile
[H]i-[d]eft [M]edia [K]een [V]ideosaurus
My Family Room Theater
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(2015-12-17, 00:12)Pillendreher Wrote: Just wanted to order the Core, but I don't want to unless I have clarity on this issue: You guys mentioned the lacking remote support of some Android apps. Does this apply to streaming apps like Hulu, Netflix, HBO Now or CBS All Acess? I want to use those and I need my remote to work with those apps.
No that is not what we said. What we are saying is these apps are not as remote control friendly to use as the ones designed specifically for remote control use on the Android TV OS Hardware such as the Shield and Fire TV.
They are still fully usable, it is just for some functions that do not get used that often you need to use the Air Mouse, and some users find that hard as they do not setup the Speed and Sensitivity control options of the Air Mouse properly first.

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BTW, for proper Netflix, just download it from Play store via WeTek Play UI? I may subscribe back on, especially as I'm starving for 4K (on my Shield) Big Grin!
[H]i-[d]eft [M]edia [K]een [V]ideosaurus
My Family Room Theater
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No 4K Netflix as you need HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 which the Core does not have.
Yep just download from the Play Store.

BIG TIP: Use the Air Mouse button to click and select some Google Login buttons that at first will appear not to function when just hitting the OK middle remote control button. It will all make sense when you reach the troublesome Login screen.

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No, I know Core won't do 4K Netflix, but HD Netflix. I'm mulling signing back up with Netflix for 4K plan for 4K on Shield and HD on Core and Fire TV.
[H]i-[d]eft [M]edia [K]een [V]ideosaurus
My Family Room Theater
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Ahh I see now. Just try a what is it 30 day trial.
You must have a fast download Pipe then.

Now what are you doing to control that Android Army you have been assembling. ?
Keep em in line or they will take over the house, or is it too late for that ? Wink

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(2015-12-17, 03:52)hdmkv Wrote: Positives:
  • 23.976 videos play in 23.976; my Epson 5025UB shows 23.97 and I noticed no microstutters... terrific!
  • Full 3D MVC MKV's and 3D ISO's play in 2D mode. I didn't expect 3D, but droidelec PM'd me to say "I think You can test 3D MVC stuff, should be working as I tested it by myself". Maybe it's under OpenELEC, which I haven't tested yet
  • HD audio passthrough surprisingly kinda works! Wasn't expecting this. Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 7.1 (including ATMOS and DTS:X) are output as multichannel PCM, but unfortunately the rears & sides channels are swapped, and there's no center and no LFE. Hopefully, WeTek can fix this, either decoded to PCM properly like Raspberry Pi2 or even ideally bitstreamed to proper 5.1 to 7.1
  • [b]PCM 5.1 & 7.1 are thankfully output as multichannel PCH (tested with '3:10 to Yuma' Blu-ray rip), but surround channels are wrong & center is missing here as well.[/b] Also, this is a VC-1 23.976 rip, which plays perfectly (the video)
  • With VC-1 1080i 29.970, as wrxtasy noted in his review with my test clip, it plays, but with issues. Slight stutters and strobing is noticeable, but thankfully no lip synch issues. It's almost there, and I hope WeTek can fix this
  • Bitrate test clips... very impressive!
    - Birds clip up to 90Mbps played perfectly (and I don't have any higher bitrates)
    - Jellyfish up to 137Mbps played perfectly (enough for upcoming 4K Blu-rays); even 255Mbps almost played, but Core strugged with it and stuttered (not surprising)
  • Android/OpenELEC toggle is awesome; pop-in a microSD card with WeTek's OpenELEC and you're in that OS. Remove card, and you're back in Android OS. I'll be testing WeTek's OE16 next and reporting back
  • OTA update actually works & it's easy to do

Were these audio test performed on both OS?

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(2015-12-16, 21:21)couto27 Wrote: Regarding the PQ of the wetek core 4K it didnt perform better than the Nvidia shield in the spears & munsil test.
Its the same test Done in GeForce forums started by @wesk05
1- Missing white line (centered screen)
2- the RGB to YCbCr conversions need to improve the colors are fading
3- Red, white and blue are clipping
4- bands are BAD
5- chroma range check are BAD
It is the same as what I have seen on Minix X8-H Plus (except for the horizontal shift). If you detect clipping, then chroma range check becomes meaningless.
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(2015-12-17, 03:52)hdmkv Wrote: HD audio passthrough surprisingly kinda works! Wasn't expecting this. Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 7.1 (including ATMOS and DTS:X) are output as multichannel PCM, but unfortunately the rears & sides channels are swapped, and there's no center and no LFE. Hopefully, WeTek can fix this, either decoded to PCM properly like Raspberry Pi2 or even ideally bitstreamed to proper 5.1 to 7.1
PCM 5.1 & 7.1 are thankfully output as multichannel PCH (tested with '3:10 to Yuma' Blu-ray rip), but surround channels are wrong & center is missing here as well.
Bitrate test clips... very impressive!
- Birds clip up to 90Mbps played perfectly (and I don't have any higher bitrates)
- Jellyfish up to 137Mbps played perfectly (enough for upcoming 4K Blu-rays); even 255Mbps almost played, but Core strugged with it and stuttered (not surprising)
First of all, nice detailed review for the A/V enthusiasts on Kodi forum!

So, is HD audio passthrough working or not? You mention that HD audio is decoded to LPCM, but with channel mapping errors. This is actually interesting because neither HD audio passthrough or LPCM works on the Minix X8-H Plus. That said, I am not sure whether this will be present in future firmware. CT mentioned that they had to remove Dolby/DTS decoder libraries in this release, but it will be added again later. Licensing restrictions will come into play then.

Ultra HD Blu-ray is encoded using HEVC main/main10 profiles. These Jellyfish clips are H.264.
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