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START HERE - Pick the Right Kodi Box (updated Dec 2020)
(2017-05-10, 11:28)wrxtasy Wrote:
(2017-05-10, 10:43)m.r.f. Wrote: Sorry, for my English.

Hello, I'm new here but for a long time I see the forum, I need some help if anyone can, thanks.

I need 1080p H265 (my tv is 1080p plasma panasonic 50ST60 and I do not intend to buy a 4k so early); HD audio passthrough (DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD and LPCM 5.1) in SPMC or KODI or in Plex and Netflix 1080p DD+ passthrough.
Auto refresh rate, no audio drop and audio sync.
Welcome to the Kodi forums....where you will get no nonsense (we hope) advice.

English all good ! Smile

Go the nVIDIA Shield if you want all that working properly.
For those reading - Be aware to get 5.1 DD+ Audio from Netflix (& Amazon I think) on the Android TV devices - Shield and Mi Box, you need to be connected to a DD+ capable AVR / TV. Otherwise expect 2.0 PCM Audio only.



(2017-05-10, 10:55)DaCrazyOne Wrote: I am thinking of buying a Minix Neo U1 can anyone give me some advice if good or not?
Will use it with Kodi and a few catch up. TV apps.
Thanks
Yes - you will not go wrong with the AMLogic S905 NEO U1, especially if you get one with the nice Wireless A2 Lite Keyboard remote. I use that A2 remote with a number of media players around the house.
What is really good is that you can Dual Boot it and run a Kick Ass version of LibreELEC Kodi Krypton on it as well. Its a pretty flexible quality device.

Cheap for Oz users would be to buy from an actual MINIX store - HERE (use DHL Express)

EDIT: Actually HERE is even cheaper and locally avail.

PS. I'm not sure if new Users with lowish post counts can PM others straight away.
Thanks.
I have the boxes (mede8er, cable tv box and blu-ray player) connected by HDMI to > AV receiver (yamaha RX-477) to > TV.
1080p picture quality in nvidia shield is good/equal to another boxes?
I can expand the internal storage by usb, (the new 2017 box has no sdcard)? Best pen usb to expand?

I have movies with DTS-HD Master Audio 24 bit, they play in nvidia shield?



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Yes you use Kodi (or SPMC) IEC Audio passthrough, it will work on the Shield - DTS-MA and all HD Audio formats will work fine.

1080p will be good as well. Not sure about comparisons to mede8er.
People are using USB3.0 SSD Sticks to expand internal storage, ask over in the Shield thread.

If you are a FLAC Audio freak however, Android will not give you bitperfect Audio playback, there was detailed testing done over HERE

(2017-05-12, 14:51)wrxtasy Wrote: If you are a FLAC Audio freak however, Android will not give you bitperfect Audio playback, there was detailed testing done over HERE
nVIDIA Shield has supported 24-bit 96/192kHz stereo PCM for sometime now. With 5.x update, it is supported in Kodi also. There is still no bit perfect playback for 44.1/88.2/176.4kHz.

http://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=...pid2511183

On Minix U9-H, the native music app supports 88.2/176.4/48/96/192kHz playback, but they are dithered to 16-bit. From Kodi the output is only 16-bit 48kHz.
(2017-05-11, 04:52)wrxtasy Wrote: AMLogic S905(x) - LibreELEC / OSMC - Kodi Krypton - 4K Options:
(order is easiest to hardest to get up and running)
  • a) Plug n Play - OSMC (Kodi Krypton) on a AMLogic S905(x) = Vero 4K - comes with a nice, integrated Wireless remote and AC WiFi.

    b) Buy a WeTek Hub (AC WiFi) / Play2 or ODROID C2 - proceed to © below...

    c) Download LibreELEC flashing software from HERE
    - Choose your AMLogic S905 weapon of choice from the menu - WeTek Hub / Play2, ODROID C2
    - Flash Software to a SD card (Samsung EVO or Sandisk - Class 10 U1) or eMMC, Plug in and Power up.
    - Purchase a Wireless remote like a MINIX A2 lite or OSMC remote and use that with these boxes. Close to Plug and Play.

    d) Buy a MINIX U1 with it's Wireless A2 lite keyboard remote and it's excellent 2x2 MIMO AC WiFi.
    - Download LibreELEC Flashing Software from ©, download S905 LibreELEC image from HERE.
    - Use LibreELEC flashing Software to point at downloaded image and flash to SD card.
    - Follow instructions from LibreELEC AMLogic sub-forum for further DIY details.

    e) Buy any old cheap AML S905(x) Android Box, do your own research, roll the dice over what will actually be delivered and how hard it is to setup, particularly for LibreELEC WiFi support and HDMI CEC. You are not paying much anyway. Then follow Flashing instructions in section (d)

Do Not buy AMLogic S912 Hardware !



AMLogic LibreELEC Kodi Krypton will be better than any Android Kodi (excluding HDR) running on any Android box.

Only reason to buy a Amazon FireTV2 is really for Android specific Apps like Amazon Video and 5.1 DD+ Netflix / Amazon Video - Audio to a 5.1 AC3 only TV / Soundbar. It also does Android Apps - Auto Resolution switching which no other Android box can do. However runs inferior Kodi, that is not easy to install or update for a bunch of users.
Amazon have broken smooth Kodi video playback with a recent Firmware update too.

Hi wrxtasy,

Thanks again for the helpful info.

So from the above options I can't see a reason why not going with (a) Vero 4k which costs 119£ and is plug and play.

Options b,c will cost the same in total as the ODROID C2 (or similar) is 80£ not including remote, sd card and time needed for DIY.

What I don't understand is what is better in Vero 4k in comparison with a 4K Android box that costs around 50£ in regards to the picture/sound quality of Kodi playback. I am sorry for my lack of technical knowledge but from my view I have seen Kodi streaming video in 1080p without any problems with such boxes (or even on an Amazon stick 1st generation) so I am trying to understand what is it that makes it worth it to spend the extra money to buy the Vero 4k.

Thanks in advance.

--------------

Edit:

I found this box for 55£ in Amazon.uk
WISEWO Q-Box Android 6.0 Amlogic S905X Smart TV Box Quad Core Speed Bluetooth 4.0 Dual Band Wifi 5G/2.4G Mini PC 2GB/16GB/4K Media Player + Wireless Keyboard Mouse

Do you think that is a suitable box for me to perform option b?

If yes, what will be the advantage of using Kodi on LibreELEC (option b) than to install it straight on that Android box? I guess that is related to my other question as to what is the advantage of using a Vero 4k.
@wrxtasy and @wesk05 thanks.
I see, to get 24-bit/192kHz bit perfect playback is with AML S905 LibreELEC or Vero 4K running OSMC.
But they no have netflix.
To have everything, only intel HTPC (barebone, NUC) running windows 10.

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(2017-05-12, 18:01)fortunebogi Wrote: What I don't understand is what is better in Vero 4k in comparison with a 4K Android box that costs around 50£ in regards to the picture/sound quality of Kodi playback. I am sorry for my lack of technical knowledge but from my view I have seen Kodi streaming video in 1080p without any problems with such boxes (or even on an Amazon stick 1st generation) so I am trying to understand what is it that makes it worth it to spend the extra money to buy the Vero 4k.

(2017-05-11, 04:52)wrxtasy Wrote: e) Buy any old cheap AML S905(x) Android Box, do your own research, roll the dice over what will actually be delivered and how hard it is to setup, particularly for LibreELEC WiFi support and HDMI CEC. You are not paying much anyway.

Please read the LibreELEC AMLogic sub-forum. Be aware these problems have been reported every now and again with Chinese AML devices:

a) Fake RAM reported due to a doctored Linux Kernel device tree's in Firmware - boxes sold as 2GB when they are only 1GB
b) Poor Infra Red only remotes - highly directional.
c) Lack of Linux WiFi drivers on newer boxes - WiFi does not work at all in LibreELEC on some - no help from the Manufacturer either.
d) U-boot can produce strange HDMI CEC results at times - same with putting the box into standby.
e) No reset button on some boxes, to initiate the very first LibreELEC bootup.
f) Chipset Heat Sinks are usually not well engineered at all.
g) All AMLogic S912's have no Linux GPU video drivers - the hacked together Android ones used for LibreELEC have serious problems.

Even if I gave you a Named Chinese Box, the chances are different batches of boxes will contain slightly different Hardware - depending on how cheap internal components were that week in the factory. Its really pointless naming anything cheap.

I'm not exaggerating by telling you how bad and highly directional Infra Red remotes can be on the majority of these Chinese Android boxes. This can be very frustrating when using Kodi and button presses are continually missed - if you don't line up the remote with the box exactly. Sad

With the more expensive Brand name AMlogic devices you are paying for higher quality hardware, better WiFi, better Wireless remotes. Hardware componentry that is all the same and LibreELEC works exactly the same on every box from the manufacturer.

As I said you buy something cheap and roll the dice - that always comes with the bargain basement marketplace.
Some people are willing to do just that to grab a bargain and put up with whatever issues they may or may not encounter.
They want to get their hand's dirty's with some DIY and are happy doing it.

Others just want something that works reliably and is Plug n Play - especially with a fully Integrated and compatible Wireless remote that you get with some of the more expensive boxes. The MINIX U1 for example has the best 2x2 MIMO AC WiFi of any S905 AMLogic box.
MINIX actually have quite decent, large chipset heatsinks - ODROID as well.
This is all properly engineered - and you have to pay for it. You pay extra for Gigabit Ethernet controller chips as well.

The more expensive Android boxes will have superior Android Firmware too. Boxes like the WeTek Hub / Play2 will even give you up to 1080p/4K Android TV - Netflix and proper DRM for other paid for streaming Apps - all in an easy Dual boot - Android / LibreELEC setup. All these extra features are not found on dirt cheap AMLogic Hardware.



As you move into mainstream Hardware from the large Multinational Media companies - Apple, Amazon, nVIDIA, Intel etc, with numbers sold in the Millions - you actually get properly engineered devices, that have been through a vigorous testing process for safety and reliability.

Hardware like the Amazon Sticks and FireTV can even be sold at cost or a slight loss - all designed to make consumers spend money with their own companies online services. But this will give you Kodi incompatibilities as those types of boxes are a pretty closed system due to Amazon wanting to protect their Ecosystem territory.

(2017-05-12, 19:26)m.r.f. Wrote: I see, to get 24-bit/192kHz bit perfect playback is with AML S905 LibreELEC or Vero 4K running OSMC.
But they no have Netflix.
To have everything, only intel HTPC (barebone, NUC) running windows 10.

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Not quite - the S905 WeTek Hub with Android Marshmallow Firmware can do reliable 1080p/4K Netflix using the stock standard - Android TV - Netflix App, and then easily Dual Boot into LibreELEC.

There is also a pretty nice unofficial Android TV ROM about to be released for it. Add a Wireless MINIX remote and you have a flexible little device for casual Android use. I'm even getting 5.1 DD Android TV Netflix Audio on a connected DD only Audio system - something the Xiaomi Mi Box or nVIDIA Shield cannot even do.

LibreELEC happily runs at speed on less than 1GB of RAM - even for High Bitrate 4K streaming. Smile

TIP: AMLogic LibreELEC runs faster from Samsung EVO or Sandisk Class 10 U1 microSDHC cards vs other brands.

(2017-05-12, 20:31)wrxtasy Wrote: Others just want something that works reliably and is Plug n Play - especially with a fully Integrated and compatible Wireless remote that you get with some of the more expensive boxes. The MINIX U1 for example has the best 2x2 MIMO AC WiFi of any S905 AMLogic box.
MINIX actually have quite decent, large chipset heatsinks - ODROID as well.
This is all properly engineered - and you have to pay for it. You pay extra for Gigabit Ethernet controller chips as well.

The more expensive Android boxes will have superior Android Firmware too. Boxes like the WeTek Hub / Play2 will even give you up to 1080p/4K Android TV - Netflix and proper DRM for other paid for streaming Apps - all in an easy Dual boot - Android / LibreELEC setup. All these extra features are not found on dirt cheap AMLogic Hardware.

Great, now I finally understand why I should be looking into a branded S905 AMLogic box rather than a cheap one. The reason I was confused was that I thought that all the S905 AMLogic boxes are the same device. Now I understand.



What is not clear to me is the difference in running Kodi on Android, LibreELEC or on an Amazon device. Can you please explain this as well? Will it have an effect on the video/audio quality?

So for example what would be the difference streaming video on Kodi on the MINIX U1 device as it comes out of the box (Android) and after I flash LibreELEC on it.

Additionally I understand how Amazon stick/tv is a closed system and I have installed Kodi on my old Amazon stick which stoped working (restarts at random times) with my new tv (maybe it is the extension usb cable?).

What I am trying to decide now is:

a) Spend 120£ to get the Vero 4k box.
b) Spend 80£ to get Amazon FireTV2.
c) Spend 100£ to get MINIX U1 and then keep it as Android or flash LibreELEC.

Just to remind you that I have a new smart tv so using the native apps for Netflix and Amazon video, therefore only need this box for Kodi.

Looking forward to your thoughts.
As per my previous posts, Amazon have recently put out a Firmware update that has broken what supposed smooth video playback the FireTV's had. I believe @wesk05 found it did not even output 23.976fps video properly anyway.

Kodi Krypton:

Plus Android Kodi Krypton PVR usage is broken.
Unless it's been fixed the FireTV's always had problems with deinterlacing.

The FireTV's cannot do HD Audio Passthrough. I think there are also problem with stock standard 5.1 DTS Passthrough as well.
Amazon Primary focus is on making sure DD / DD+ / EAC3 Audio works from paid for Streaming Apps.

FireTV's are HDMI 1.4 platforms too so do not fully support all 4K resolutions.
You cannot for example plug in a TV tuner and turn a Amazon box into a cheap OTA TV server for the house.

Android has issues for those plugging in Multiple HDD's as well.
Then there are Android Kodi Networking issues, Android external HDD access problems...and more I've forgotten...

Android just gets in the way of running Kodi - and bug fixing updates can take quite a while to get pushed out.

Add to that are the issues for newbies having trouble updating Kodi Krypton, or even installing it on the FireOS. This has actually backfired on Amazon badly and led to an explosion of Kodi "Fully Loaded" FireTV sticks.

Amazon really does not care about Kodi one bit.



You have literally none of these problems with OSMC or LibreELEC. It all just works at speed with minimal fuss.
You would never see LibreELEC put out an official update that broke ultra smooth Kodi video playback for example, because their primary focus is actually Kodi, not selling Amazon online services.

BTW: the MINIX U1 can be setup as Dual Boot as well. It's just not as smoothly implemented as the WeTeK devices. It's Mini Keyboard remote comes in real handy for LibreELEC Kodi Keyboard Shortcuts too.
It also comes with an optimised XBMC for MINIX (Kodi Jarvis) App, that will work better than any Kodi Android implementation on that box because it still uses Amcodec Hardware video acceleration.

The U1 has Gigabit Ethernet, the Vero 4K 100M - still fine for Bluray .ISO streaming, not sure about 4K - I'm asking the OSMC guys...

HDR is not working properly on LibreELEC AMLogic S905X boxes - I seriously doubt it works properly on the OSMC Vero4K (S905X) either. The problem is you cannot put Linux Kodi based boxes into Deep Color Mode automatically - needed for HDR. Android Boxes have this option.

Oh and one more thing..... AMLogic S905 LibreELEC Kodi Leia v18 (agile) test releases can currently stream 720p Netflix and Amazon Video DRM streams with proper 24p video sync and 5.1 EAC3 Audio. I believe Intel LibreELEC (agile) may be better still and give 1080p.

Kodi-and-DRM

(2017-05-13, 03:48)wrxtasy Wrote: Oh and one more thing..... AMLogic S905 LibreELEC Kodi Leia v18 (agile) test releases can currently stream 720p Netflix and Amazon Video DRM streams with proper 24p video sync and 5.1 EAC3 Audio.

Anyone of these boxes can do that?
... or do you feel to have not mentioned a little thing and want to restrict that to certain WideVine / PlayReady levels? Big Grin
It should be ALL LibreELEC capable Hardware, AMLogic S8xx, S905(x), RPi's, Intel - everything Smile except the AMLogic S912 boxes. Sad

The freely available Widevine binary blob is (user) pulled in from 32bit Chromium webbrowser code to be used in LibreELEC. The Addons required are also kept external to Kodi.
You still need to use a paid for Netflix account.

The AMLogic S912's running an experimental version of LibreELEC Kodi-agile using hacked together Android GPU video drivers cause various graphical glitches in LibreELEC Kodi.
I've been testing 720p Netflix / LibreELEC experimental on a S912 MINIX U9 and it produces stuttering video playback when ffmpeg H264 Software decoding during Netflix streaming - due to these slow video drivers.

This is another reason to avoid AMLogic S912's. These LibreELEC S912 hacked together GPU video drivers are not good.

By comparison you get excellent smooth 720p (24p) Netflix video playback on AMLogic S905 devices like the - ODROID C2 & Play2 with Kodi dynamic refresh switching.

BTW - Android devices that have proper DRM like the Mi Box and WeTek's Hub / Play2 have also been tested playing back 1080p Amazon Video using experimental versions of Kodi-agile.

So i'll get 720p Amazon Prime Video on my cheap (slightly shitty - for example the power plug)
S905 box without any WideVine Level (even not L3) with LibreELEC 9.0 (agile)?!
Of course with paid credentials... that was something I implied when saying that these boxes can do that.

Can't wait for it to be out for my box Big Grin
Until this happens I'll have to use my Shield :-)
(Hopefully someone at nVDIA is listening and building a OTA with enabled USB tuner support in the near future Big Grin)

Thank you!
I couldn't find the specific answer for my case on the main post. Sorry if I missed it.
But I would like to replace a Win7 desktop (miniATX) taking a lot of room in my tv center. I currently use it for Kodi mainly. It works perfectly. Size is the main problem and the HW is now beginning to present some weird issues (it's an Athlon II on a lot of old HW...I think about 8 years old).
I tried a Chinese android box and all the issues with sound were present. As far as I can understand, that is not a good option because I need OPTICAL sound output for my home theater. My ASUS MB in the desktop has an optical out in it!! =)
So, which Intel box would be an option? I checked two reviews here and both boxes didn't have an optical out...
Thank you.
(2017-05-13, 11:18)wrxtasy Wrote: By comparison you get excellent smooth 720p (24p) Netflix video playback on AMLogic S905 devices like the - ODROID C2 & Play2 with Kodi dynamic refresh switching.
BTW - Android devices that have proper DRM like the Mi Box and WeTek's Hub / Play2 have also been tested playing back 1080p Amazon Video using experimental versions of Kodi-agile.
I can get 1080p Netflix/Amazon on Odroid C2. Amazon 1080p struggles on the C2 frequently crashing the box. While this is all good, I am not sure how this will fly with Netflix/Amazon and other paid streaming providers. HDCP is part and parcel of DRM and it doesn't seem to be enforced (not sure of the status of HDCP on Linux). Is HDCP enforced on WeTek devices when you stream these in Android Kodi 18?

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