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Android - HiMedia H8 Octa & Zidoo X6 Pro: Comparative Review (RK3368 / 3D / HD Audio)
#1
Updated March 2, 2016.
Note: Below needs updating in light of latest firmwares. Only the grades have been updated based on my last re-evaluation here. Hope to update this post shortly.

Overall grade:
  • HiMedia H8 Octa: B
    With firmware HMD-1.0.9 2016-01-07.10005411-10.142431 (download link)
  • Zidoo X6 Pro: C+
    With firmware v.1.0.33 (download link) (Have not yet tested this firmware; below based on v.1.0.30)
  • Verdict: Not quite ready for primetime at this point:
    - For 3D, nope; needs work (some macroblocking, playback freezing, audio synch issues)
    - For 2D, fairly reliable, but no 23.976 yet (24.00 only)
    - Good progress by both Zidoo & HiMedia (especially former), but hamstrung by Rockchip
  • Grades based on my impressions of video playback primarily, with audio just as important, any annoying issues/bugs present, and snappiness of boxes. Box design, UI, apps (besides Kodi), games, etc. all low priorities.

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Background:
  • Requested & received both players from manufacturers for review. Each wanted me to do a dedicated review obviously of their box, but decided on this combo/comparative review for Kodi and 3D enthusiasts instead (myself included). Also, both media players share the same chip: Rockchip's RK3368, custom Kodi (leveraging Zidoo's work) implementation, and have similar issues.
  • Equipment I'm using & testing with, in my home theater setting:
    - Epson 5025UB 3D projector with Da-Lite High Power 133" 16:9 screen
    - Denon AVR-X2100W A/V receiver (no ATMOS)
    - All media on Synology 1812+ NAS, CAT5E wired
  • My Epson 5025UB displays which framerate it's receiving (via its 'Info.' tab), but I've learned it isn't fully reliable. With 2D, I need to sometimes play/stop/play to get actual framerate to show. With 3D ISO's, all 23.976 movies show as 24.00, even though 23.976 is likely being displayed at its proper framerate.

Physical Player:
  • Both appear well-built, with Zidoo X6 about 60% the size of HiMedia H8. See photo above
  • X6 is lighter and seems a bit more slick
  • Neither overheats after 2-3 hours of use, but venting seems better on H8
  • HiMedia's remote is larger & easier to use than Zidoo's, but as H8's remote is idential to HiMedia's own Q5, one controls the other (so had to unplug my Q5 while testing H8). Range and IR sensitivity is mediocre with both, but as I use Harmony Ultimate with Hub, this is a non-issue.

User Interface (Android Launcher) & Navigation:
  • Zidoo's UI is slicker; HiMedia's is almost exactly like Q5's, so serviceable (yet nice & simple) (see screenshots below)
  • Both have working OTA updating capabilities, in addition to local (like via USB stick)
  • In the Android display settings, X6 has a 1920x1080p-24 setting; H8 lacks this. But I selected 'Auto' for both players
  • Both use Android 5 (Lollipop) OS

Positives:
  • Both Zidoo and HiMedia have complied with GPL rules and shared their custom Kodi codes on GitHub
  • Both are developing firmwares and trying to make improvements
  • Both have closed beta testing set-ups in place, but Zidoo now seems to be bypassing and releasing beta firmwares publically (too quickly IMHO)
  • Zidoo has consolidated storage, so most of the 16GB is available to users; HiMedia has partitioned storage

Video Test Clips:
  • Birds: H8 only up to 70Mbps smoothly (but better with latest firmware); X6 did 90Mbps smoothly (don't have higher bitrate Birds test clips)
  • Jellyfish: H8 only up to 70Mbps smoothly (but better with latest firmware); X6 did 120Mbps smoothly
  • DTS-HD MA 5.1 & & 7.1: Passthrough works in both; but, occasional nasty pops, crackles in HD audio with some videos
  • Dolby TrueHD 5.1 & 7.1: Same as above
  • Dolby ATMOS: Same as above, but I don't have an ATMOS system, so passed as TrueHD 7.1 fine
  • LPCM 5.1 & 7.1: Both output this as 2.0
  • 1080p/23.976: Both output this as 24.00
  • 1080p/24: Both output this at proper 24.00
  • 1080p/29.970: Plays, but test clip gets immediately frozen; my Epson shows 60.00
  • 1080p/59.940: Same as above
  • MVC MKV: H8 plays as full, frame-packed with HD audio; X6 plays as frame-packed, but w/o audio (only tested one MVC MKV rip)
  • 3D ISO: H8 plays as full, frame-packed with HD audio; X6 plays as frame-packed, but some w/o audio & w/artifacts (see below)
  • VC-1 23.976 BD rip to MKV: Both play at 24.00, but micro-stutters & lip-synch issues present, especially when you skip ahead
  • VC-1 29.970 BD rip to MKV: H8 plays at 60.00; X6 at 30.00. But, pixellated streaks, micro-stutters & lip-synch issues with X6; perfect with H8
  • Overall video PQ is very good in both players... that is (big caveat) when issues noted don't crop up to ruin the experience

Annoying Issues:
  • Both have pretty severe lip-synch issues with 3D ISO's (H.264/MVC) & VC-1; also occasional crash if you try to skip ahead in VC-1 video (more so on X6)
  • Neither player can do 23.976, rather rendering at 24.00
  • Both players have some macroblocking & pixellation
  • Both have some random, but nasty crackles & pops in HD audio (my poor speakers)
  • Both have 3D ISO stutters (due to bandwidth or headroom likely) & microstutters (due to improper framerate)
  • Both have some ghosting with 3D, although worse in X6

Player Photos:

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UI/Settings Photos:

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[H]i-[d]eft [M]edia [K]een [V]ideosaurus
Kodi 3D MVC Hardware Options
Kodi A/V Samples wiki
3D: Zidoo X9S | Intel D34010WYK w/Kodi MVC build
4K: nVidia Shield TV (2nd gen)
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#2
You are a dedicated man hdmkv, I don't think anyones else is willing to put free review 3D Alpha Boxes such as these through a testing process such as yours and then publish a honest review. Warts and all.

I've seen some absolutely terrible reviews recently, where reviewers have been clearly Pumping up theses types of Alpha test Boxes and basically copying the Marketing material of the manufacturer. Boxes that should never have been put on sale in the first place they are so bad.
If you want proof never to trust Amazon reviews, just look here:
Zidoo X6 review

The one important question I have - is Rockchip getting involved at all in implementing a Linux Kernel and drivers that provides properly synced video at 23.976 and 29.97/59.94Hz video output ?

Seems to me 23.976fps video is being sped up to 24Hz and Audio processed as well to try and sync with the sped up video. This is causing all sorts of problems as you have found out.

Rockchip need to get involved, otherwise their Hardware is basically going nowhere, particularly for Kodi users.
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#3
Great comparative review.!!!
MY CURRENT MEDIA PLAYER
Beebox-S (INTEL KABY LAKE) 2D&3D WINDOWS | ZIDOO X8 HDR
LG 75UH8500 3D HDR Dolby Vision | Sony 43 Android TV HDR
XBOX ONE S UHD BLU-RAY | PS4 PRO 4K HDR GAMING
MARANTZ SR7011 DTS X | ATMOS 5.1.4 | Auro-3D 9.1
MY HOME THEATER


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#4
Many thanks for your review, great job!

I was thinking to buy a new TV box but after your review I realize that it is still time to wait, for the moment my Himedia Q5 II will keep the job
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#5
(2015-11-13, 02:30)hdmkv Wrote: In the Android display settings, X6 has a 1920x1080p-24 setting that must be selected (for 3D ISO's and supposedly 23.976 to work)

v1.0.22 will be forced to switch 1080p24hz when play 3D ISO,Don't need to setting
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#6
I agree with hdmkv in is review of the X6.

I also think theres a issue with rockchip codec that get the vídeo accelarated when we change chapter, disabling the rockchip codec fixit, but creates makrobloking from one chapter to another and doesnt recognized 3D.
Anthem MRX310 | XTZ 93.23 DIY 5.1 (Seas Jantzen Mundorf) | DXD808 | Oppo 103D | LG OLED 55EC930V | Nvidia Shield | ATV3





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#7
Nice job man !
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#8
Nice review HDMK

Sadly the review came only short after I made the order on the H8 with Futeko, what a mistake, sounds like theese two players are worth nothing and more and less useless, I know that they are in the early stage but putting products on the marked that are so full of errors just come close to fraud.

Cheers from Denmark
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#9
Hi:
At first, the source code of RK have upload into the github, and anyone can see we only porting the rockchip video codec for kodi if you have a little development experience. Maybe there have some problem, but it not only the codec problem, there have some of the base problem of kodi, if not so, the kodi is no need to update always.
Maybe there have some 3D contents have problem, but most of contents are no problem.we are very welcome anyone to provide the problem contents to us.
3D FP of kodi is a new project, need everyone to contribute their own strength, instead of hitting every new thing. We maybe on the Alpha step of 3D, and who have the 3D kodi player, and who can say the are the beta 3D MKV/ISO kodi player in android.
Reply
#10
Mirror i provided you a demo but i dont know how to provide it differently
Reply
#11
(2015-11-13, 13:22)mirror88 Wrote: Hi:
At first, the source code of RK have upload into the github, and anyone can see we only porting the rockchip video codec for kodi if you have a little development experience. Maybe there have some problem, but it not only the codec problem, there have some of the base problem of kodi, if not so, the kodi is no need to update always.
Maybe there have some 3D contents have problem, but most of contents are no problem.we are very welcome anyone to provide the problem contents to us.
3D FP of kodi is a new project, need everyone to contribute their own strength, instead of hitting every new thing. We maybe on the Alpha step of 3D, and who have the 3D kodi player, and who can say the are the beta 3D MKV/ISO kodi player in android.

You say its just 3D that is Alpha but 2D is not correct until 23.976 output is available. This should be a basis of any media player as most films are output in 23.976 I understand this will require Rockchip to do some work but you must make sure they know it is critical.
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#12
(2015-11-13, 13:22)mirror88 Wrote: Hi:
At first, the source code of RK have upload into the github, and anyone can see we only porting the rockchip video codec for kodi if you have a little development experience. Maybe there have some problem, but it not only the codec problem, there have some of the base problem of kodi, if not so, the kodi is no need to update always.
Maybe there have some 3D contents have problem, but most of contents are no problem.we are very welcome anyone to provide the problem contents to us.
3D FP of kodi is a new project, need everyone to contribute their own strength, instead of hitting every new thing. We maybe on the Alpha step of 3D, and who have the 3D kodi player, and who can say the are the beta 3D MKV/ISO kodi player in android.


Why should people stop hitting things, they buy a product out from the info that in this case Ziddo and Himedia inform the player can, there are no info in any ads or product info that say it´s Alpha or early Beta product, if the customers where informed before ordering they had a chance to choose if they want to be a part of getting players to be actually working players that can do what add say.

Sure Zidoo work on the firmware and listen to users in different forums, sure Kodi have some flakes and need to have some reworking but that don´t change that these products should not have a place in stores before the products where matured a lot more, the only result
Zidoo and Himedia get is a bad reputation (like most of the compagnies selling players) many wrongs don´t make it right..
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#13
Thanks guys. Two quick updates on HiMedia:
  1. They've just complied with GPL Smile: https://github.com/himedia-kodi/himedia-kodi-15.2
  2. They sent me a new firmware to test (still shows v.1.0.7, but they claim doing a fresh install will fix 3D ISO's playing framepacked in Kodi); will test later today

Edit: It looks like HiMedia indeed has a new firmware for H8: HMD-1.0.7 2015-11-10.142431 (vs. last month's HMD-1.0.7 2015-10-10.135101). Different build #; odd why they didn't simply bump to 1.0.8 to avoid confusion, or even 1.0.7.1.
[H]i-[d]eft [M]edia [K]een [V]ideosaurus
Kodi 3D MVC Hardware Options
Kodi A/V Samples wiki
3D: Zidoo X9S | Intel D34010WYK w/Kodi MVC build
4K: nVidia Shield TV (2nd gen)
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#14
Oh what a difference one firmware update seems to make!

HiMedia's latest HMD-1.0.7 2015-11-10.142431 (download link) has the following improvements over Zidoo's to surpass it (for now) by a small margin (but I hesitate to say B- level):
  • 2D overall playing quite well (tad better than Zidoo), but 23.976 at 24.00, with some microstutters noticeable
  • Both 3D MVC MKV's and 3D ISO's play via Kodi in full, frame-packed glory, with HD audio (yay!)
  • Excellent depth, and less ghosting than X6 (for example, 'Mickey Mouse: Get a Horse!' 3D MVC MKV had terrific depth & pop-outs) (yay!)
  • Improved wired network speed, but still not as good as Zidoo's
  • VC-1 1080i (29.970) now plays perfectly w/o lip-synch issues (unless you skip ahead, then slight lip-synch crops up)
  • Several 3D ISO's I tested ('Avatar', 'Avengers: Age of Ultron') all played with audio, but 'Avatar' playback froze at 0:02:41 (with audio continuing)
  • Macroblocking is present in many 3D ISO's, but less severe than X6
    - 'Avatar' 3D ISO did have pretty bad macroblocking
    - 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' 3D ISO played very well, with zero macroblocking. But, skipping ahead caused slight lip-synch to crop up
  • '3:10 to Yuma' full BD rip VC-1 (2D) MKV played excellent, and w/o lip-synch even after several skip-aheads. LPCM 7.1 is still passing as 2.0
  • 'Constantine' full BD rip VC-1 (2D) MKV also played well, but minor lip-synch cropped up after skip-aheads
Encouraged by this firmware that HiMedia (& Zidoo) may just (eventually) deliver with their RK3368-based players!
[H]i-[d]eft [M]edia [K]een [V]ideosaurus
Kodi 3D MVC Hardware Options
Kodi A/V Samples wiki
3D: Zidoo X9S | Intel D34010WYK w/Kodi MVC build
4K: nVidia Shield TV (2nd gen)
Reply
#15
So himedia should deliver code, so zidoo can profit
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HiMedia H8 Octa & Zidoo X6 Pro: Comparative Review (RK3368 / 3D / HD Audio)43