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START HERE - Pick the Right Kodi Box (updated May 2020)
UBox is yet another cheap Android TV box manufacturer. Tried out a sample AML S812-based box provided to me for review last year, and was underwhelmed. Didn't bother posting a review. Recall it struggling to play even 40-50Mbps Birds and Jellyfish bitrate clips via my NAS.
[H]i-[d]eft [M]edia [K]een [V]ideosaurus
My Family Room Theater
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Hi,

I am new in the KODI world! Right now, I am using a WD TV to stream my own library. I would like to move to KODI and buy a good box for it.

See below my criterias:

- Most of the time I will stream my own library with KODI
- I want a good and stable hardware
- A fast navigation and and fast playback
- A fast wifi 802.11ac 5GHz
- Audio passthrough

I selected 3 models and I would like to know the best pick for my criterias. If you know a better model let me know:

- Amazon Fire TV 2 (4K)
- WeTek Core
- ASUS Chromebox

I await your response as soon as possible and thanks a lot for your help!

Regards,
Willow
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(2016-03-29, 03:26)willowgate Wrote: See below my criterias:

- Most of the time I will stream my own library with KODI
- I want a good and stable hardware
- A fast navigation and and fast playback
- A fast wifi 802.11ac 5GHz
- Audio passthrough

I selected 3 models and I would like to know the best pick for my criterias. If you know a better model let me know:

- Amazon Fire TV 2 (4K)
- WeTek Core
- ASUS Chromebox

does audio passthrough mean HD audio bitstreaming? If so, the AFTV2 and Wetek are out, though the latter does decode HD streams to PCM, which to some is "good enough." The Haswell Asus Chromebox only has 802.11 abgn, not AC, though throughput isn't an issue. The Haswell Dell box has AC, as do all the Broadwell based Chromeboxes (of which I have an extra Acer dev/test box here, if you're interested).
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(2016-03-29, 03:48)Matt Devo Wrote:
(2016-03-29, 03:26)willowgate Wrote: See below my criterias:

- Most of the time I will stream my own library with KODI
- I want a good and stable hardware
- A fast navigation and and fast playback
- A fast wifi 802.11ac 5GHz
- Audio passthrough

I selected 3 models and I would like to know the best pick for my criterias. If you know a better model let me know:

- Amazon Fire TV 2 (4K)
- WeTek Core
- ASUS Chromebox

does audio passthrough mean HD audio bitstreaming? If so, the AFTV2 and Wetek are out, though the latter does decode HD streams to PCM, which to some is "good enough." The Haswell Asus Chromebox only has 802.11 abgn, not AC, though throughput isn't an issue. The Haswell Dell box has AC, as do all the Broadwell based Chromeboxes (of which I have an extra Acer dev/test box here, if you're interested).

What I mean for the passthrough, it is like my WDTV, the box does not decode the audio, the audio it just pass all to the AV receiver to decode it. I read a lot, but is not easy to pick the best one...
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(2016-03-29, 03:48)Matt Devo Wrote: does audio passthrough mean HD audio bitstreaming? If so, the AFTV2 and Wetek are out, though the latter does decode HD streams to PCM, which to some is "good enough."
Cough Cough, Ahem, the WeTek Core does very comprehensive 7.1 HD Audio Bitstreaming with Android Lollipop when using WeTek Jarvis mediaplayer (Kodi) as tested by hdmkv HERE

Even Dual Band 2.4/5GHz b/g/n WIFI will be sufficient to Stream Blurays over WiFi.

The Chromebox would be the fastest, pure Kodi 7.1 HD Audio device, unless you start needing to playback high bitrate 8-bit HEVC. For that you need the Hardware decoding in the WeTek Core. I believe the FireTV2 also does Hardware HEVC decoding too.

The Amazon FireTV2 would be the best for a comprehensive selection of remote friendly Android Apps, in a box that runs Kodi as well. You will get 5.1 Audio out of these Android video streaming Apps, that the DRM video Android Apps on the Core lack.

All devices will be able to Passthrough the standard 5.1 Dolby Digital/AC3 Audio over HDMI when using Kodi. They are not slow Kodi devices.

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(2016-03-29, 04:08)wrxtasy Wrote: Cough Cough, Ahem, the WeTek Core does very comprehensive 7.1 HD Audio Bitstreaming with Android Lollipop when using WeTek Jarvis mediaplayer (Kodi) as tested by hdmkv HERE

then someone needs to update the first post to indicate that Wink

BTW, I updated the Chromebox/Haswell-Broadwell Celeron section a tiny bit, feel free to proof any edits
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Ah yes I see what you mean, all the Audio detail is in post number #2, I will do an Edit as I do actually have 5.1 Audio written for the Core....Chromebox edits look fine.

I'm amazed at the bang for the buck the Chomeboxes have been since the day of release for a pure Kodi media playback platform. Especially when you consider they can now Software decode low/medium bitrate 8/10-bit 1080p HEVC as well. Smile

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Hi,

My AV Receiver, Pioneer Elite SC 25, support some audio formats like, DD5.1,Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD MA, but it doesn't support ACC audio file. With my WDTV, my setting is HD Audio Passthrough (Bitstreaming), the AV Receiver decode the audio. But with the ACC file the output is like stereo.

I would like to know if I buy a KODI box like (Amazon Fire TV 2 4K, WeTek Core or ASUS Chromebox) if the sound will be outputted in Digital format with ACC file and not in stereo ?

PS: Also, I hesitate again between the 3 boxes, can you help me to pick the best one?

Thnaks a lot and I await your response.

Regards,
Willow
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Hi, wrxtasy.

I apologize if you've already mentioned this elsewhere, but in your original post, you reference a modified, remote-friendly Netflix app for the Wetek Core. Can you point me towards the .apk file for that? I just got my Core yesterday, and the regular Android Netflix isn't doing it for me. Thanks in advance.
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(2016-03-29, 17:08)willowgate Wrote: Hi,

My AV Receiver, Pioneer Elite SC 25, support some audio formats like, DD5.1,Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD MA, but it doesn't support ACC audio file. With my WDTV, my setting is HD Audio Passthrough (Bitstreaming), the AV Receiver decode the audio. But with the ACC file the output is like stereo.

I would like to know if I buy a KODI box like (Amazon Fire TV 2 4K, WeTek Core or ASUS Chromebox) if the sound will be outputted in Digital format with ACC file and not in stereo ?

PS: Also, I hesitate again between the 3 boxes, can you help me to pick the best one?

Thnaks a lot and I await your response.

Regards,
Willow

with most/any Kodi devices, AAC should be decoded to PCM and output as however many channels are contained in the stream, up to the maximum configured under the audio output settings. I just verified this on my Chromebox using the multichannel test files here: https://www2.iis.fraunhofer.de/AAC/multichannel.html -- the file is output as 7.1 PCM to my AVR over HDMI.
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Hey guys, another customer wanting a new player Smile
I have another approach to the matter of choosing between Wetek, Minix, Chromebox and Nvidia.
I live in Croatia and only one available locally (payment in installments and warranty) is Minix U1.
My daily requirements are watching movies and series from my NAS server and "other streaming...Qua....s....ar", no Netflix or similar.
I don't watch 3D or VOB DVD files, i have MKVs, MP4s and maybe some ISO remuxes. As i have HD capable AVR i would like to get HD audio.
Now, with all this said can i get Minix U1 without looking back or is Wetek that much better for my purposes?
Prices here for Minix U1 is some 140€ with VAT.
Wetec is 120€ online and Nvidia is 150 GBP on Amazon uk without remote (190 GBP with remote).

Thx
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Hi,

Can somebody please recommend a box for me? I already have a Tronsmart MXIII Plus which is doing the job for me in the living room but im looking for another device for a different room.

I have the following requirements:

- box will be situated behind the TV out of line of sight so an air remote is a must
- i will generally be using it for Kodi, watching sports and movies
- i would also like apps such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 etc. For catchup TV
- ideally i would like to spend less than $100 if possible

Thanks

*EDIT* I think i may have inadvertently suggested the Fire TV 2 that matches all the above. Currently available for £65 ($93) in the UK. Is there anything out there better value for similar money?
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Since sound is has much important has Image, it would be nice to add what type of media players support 1080p & 4K + dolby digital (Plus) & DTS with following APPS.

Netflix
Amazon Instant video
Hulu plus
Vudu
HBO Now
Sling TV
Google Play Movies
CinemaNow
Showtime
ultraflix 4k

Theres some media players in the Thread that are limited to stereo only with does APPS, but I've rarely seen mention anywhere.
Anyone that is paying a video-on-demand subscription might want to analyze the pros & cons with is future purchase.
Anthem MRX310 | XTZ 93.23 DIY 5.1 (Seas Jantzen Mundorf) | DXD808 | Oppo 103D | LG OLED 55EC930V | Nvidia Shield | ATV3





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(2016-03-29, 17:08)willowgate Wrote: Hi,

My AV Receiver, Pioneer Elite SC 25, support some audio formats like, DD5.1,Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD MA, but it doesn't support ACC audio file. With my WDTV, my setting is HD Audio Passthrough (Bitstreaming), the AV Receiver decode the audio. But with the ACC file the output is like stereo.

I would like to know if I buy a KODI box like (Amazon Fire TV 2 4K, WeTek Core or ASUS Chromebox) if the sound will be outputted in Digital format with ACC file and not in stereo ?

PS: Also, I hesitate again between the 3 boxes, can you help me to pick the best one?

Thnaks a lot and I await your response.

Regards,
Willow

I think you mean AAC? If so there are no amplifiers that I know of that will accept AAC over HDMI - so you can't send AAC over an HDMI cable as a bitstream like you can DD/DTS/True HD/DTS-HD MA etc.. Like FLAC and other multichannel audio formats that can't be bitstreamed you have two options to hear them in multichannel :

1. Decode to PCM 5.1/7.1 and output as multichannel PCM over HDMI. This will not lose you any audio quality (all you have done is decode it before the amp not in the amp) and is a good solution.
2. Transcode to Dolby Digital. This is only a good idea if your hardware doesn't support 1. as you will be introducing another lossy process, however if you are using Toslink or your Kodi box only supports PCM 2.0 output, then it's the only other option for 5.1 output. (You won't get 7.1 via Dolby transcoding)

5.1 AAC is used in the UK on our HD terrestrial service. When I watch Freeview HD shows with 5.1 AAC audio Kodi decodes the audio to 5.1 PCM and outputs that over HDMI for me. Works fine on a Chromebox and Raspberry Pi 2/3 as both support 5.1/7.1PCM. This is much less well supported on Android - though the Wetek Core will do multichannel PCM output. I don't think the Fire TV Stick will do PCM multichannel, so you'd probably have to transcode if the Kodi Android build on th Fire TV supports it.
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(2016-03-30, 02:45)noggin Wrote:
(2016-03-29, 17:08)willowgate Wrote: Hi,

My AV Receiver, Pioneer Elite SC 25, support some audio formats like, DD5.1,Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD MA, but it doesn't support ACC audio file. With my WDTV, my setting is HD Audio Passthrough (Bitstreaming), the AV Receiver decode the audio. But with the ACC file the output is like stereo.

I would like to know if I buy a KODI box like (Amazon Fire TV 2 4K, WeTek Core or ASUS Chromebox) if the sound will be outputted in Digital format with ACC file and not in stereo ?

PS: Also, I hesitate again between the 3 boxes, can you help me to pick the best one?

Thnaks a lot and I await your response.

Regards,
Willow

I think you mean AAC? If so there are no amplifiers that I know of that will accept AAC over HDMI - so you can't send AAC over an HDMI cable as a bitstream like you can DD/DTS/True HD/DTS-HD MA etc.. Like FLAC and other multichannel audio formats that can't be bitstreamed you have two options to hear them in multichannel :

1. Decode to PCM 5.1/7.1 and output as multichannel PCM over HDMI. This will not lose you any audio quality (all you have done is decode it before the amp not in the amp) and is a good solution.
2. Transcode to Dolby Digital. This is only a good idea if your hardware doesn't support 1. as you will be introducing another lossy process, however if you are using Toslink or your Kodi box only supports PCM 2.0 output, then it's the only other option for 5.1 output. (You won't get 7.1 via Dolby transcoding)

5.1 AAC is used in the UK on our HD terrestrial service. When I watch Freeview HD shows with 5.1 AAC audio Kodi decodes the audio to 5.1 PCM and outputs that over HDMI for me. Works fine on a Chromebox and Raspberry Pi 2/3 as both support 5.1/7.1PCM. This is much less well supported on Android - though the Wetek Core will do multichannel PCM output. I don't think the Fire TV Stick will do PCM multichannel, so you'd probably have to transcode if the Kodi Android build on th Fire TV supports it.

Thanks alot for your help! The Amazon Fire TV 2 (4K) has the following audio specifications:

- Audio Supported: Dolby Audio, 5.1 surround sound, 2ch stereo, and HDMI audio pass through up to 7.1

- Format Supported: AAC-LC, AC3, eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), FLAC, MP3, PCM/Wave, Vorbis, Dolby Atmos (EC3_JOC)

So do you think I will be able to use your first option with this box or I have to go with the Chromebox?

Thanks again for your help!

Regards,
Jonathan
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