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START HERE - Pick the Right Kodi Box (updated Dec 2020)
(2016-04-16, 18:55)mmesh Wrote:
(2016-04-16, 16:53)wrxtasy Wrote: Yes Price would be a good starting point ?
I would probably be willing to go up to 200EUR.

(2016-04-16, 16:53)wrxtasy Wrote: Otherwise I recommended 8-bit HEVC Hardware decoding on an AMLogic device such as the WeTek Core, which will also do 7.1 HD Audio passthrough. A pretty solid choice.

Also the 8/10-bit 4K HEVC ODROID C2 is coming along nicely now a whole bunch of features have been added to LibreELEC. (minimal fast Linux OS + Kodi). 5.1 Audio passthrough here. Pretty new device.

Further up the 8/10-bit 4K food chain you have the HEVC capable Android King the nVIDIA Shield.
Depends if you are are loaded with $$ or not.

All three will do HDMI-CEC control.
So, this Android devices have enough processing power to run HEVC video and maybe some more heavy Kodi UI without a hitch?
And... does nVidia Shield also pass through DTS-HD and dolby multichannel HD audio?

I had a Wetek play box for some time but I was not satisfied with UI reponsivness. Everything was kind of laggy. Full HD x264 played fine though...

Thanks.
None of these devices are underpowered when running Android or OpenELEC / LibreELEC like the WeTek Play was.
The nVIDIA Shield will be very nippy. Its a whole different ballgame when running Android Lollipop or Marshmallow too.

Read the First 2 Posts of this thread, all the specific Tech detail is in there for Hardware devices from Manufacturers that provide good support. Everything is Hyperlinked too for easy point and click to read yourself.

That way I will not have to repeat myself Wink

(2016-04-16, 20:14)wrxtasy Wrote: None of these devices are underpowered when running Android or OpenELEC / LibreELEC like the WeTek Play was.
The nVIDIA Shield will be very nippy. Its a whole different ballgame when running Android Lollipop or Marshmallow too.

Read the First 2 Posts of this thread, all the specific Tech detail is in there for Hardware devices from Manufacturers that provide good support. Everything is Hyperlinked too for easy point and click to read yourself.

That way I will not have to repeat myself Wink

Well, I decided to order Wetek Core and give Wetek one more go since it's half the price of nVidia Shield.
I hope I will be more satisfied with it than with Play machine. At least it should run x265 HEVC encoded files OK even if turns out that GUI is still sluggish Wink

Can Core be turned into only OpenELEC/LibreELEC machine without dual boot?
(2016-04-17, 15:57)mmesh Wrote: Can Core be turned into only OpenELEC/LibreELEC machine without dual boot?

AIUI you can install OE/LE to the internal NAND flash should you wish, but you would then have trashed your DRM keys for Netflix I think. (Which would alter the resale value)

If you run OE/LE from a uSD card, you only have to use the boot menu if you want to switch to Android (from OE/LE), otherwise there is just a short pause and it boots from the same source as previously.
Not sure about the HDCP Keys being trashed as I believe they are in a protected area of NAND, you would definitely need to ask WeTek first. As Noggin said Dual Boot is trivially easy, you just insert your micro SDHC card and switch using the Power button on the remote control at bootup.

You will loose 7.1 HD Audio Passthrough with OpenELEC, that is only available when running WeTek Jarvis mediaplayer in Android Lollipop.

(2016-04-17, 16:34)noggin Wrote:
(2016-04-17, 15:57)mmesh Wrote: Can Core be turned into only OpenELEC/LibreELEC machine without dual boot?

AIUI you can install OE/LE to the internal NAND flash should you wish, but you would then have trashed your DRM keys for Netflix I think. (Which would alter the resale value)

If you run OE/LE from a uSD card, you only have to use the boot menu if you want to switch to Android (from OE/LE), otherwise there is just a short pause and it boots from the same source as previously.

OK. I will then first try OE from uSD card.
Does dual boot saves last choosen option or will I need to choose OpenELEC every time?
(2016-04-17, 16:38)wrxtasy Wrote: Not sure about the HDCP Keys being trashed as I believe they are in a protected area of NAND, you would definitely need to ask WeTek first. As Noggin said Dual Boot is trivially easy, you just insert your micro SDHC card and switch using the Power button on the remote control at bootup.

You will loose 7.1 HD Audio Passthrough with OpenELEC, that is only available when running WeTek Jarvis mediaplayer in Android Lollipop.

Is there a way to run Kodi immediately after booting machine with default OS, then?
Yes there is an Option in the WeTek Launcher to Autorun Kodi, its all nicely done by the Android WeTek dev. Christian Troy.

The last OS used is remembered for future bootup with no user intervention needed.

(2016-04-17, 16:40)mmesh Wrote: Does dual boot saves last choosen option or will I need to choose OpenELEC every time?

Yes. Default action with no user input is to boot the same OS as the last time. You only need to hit Power on the remote if you want to switch OSs. So if you want to use OE/LE all the time, you only have to ask it to boot from uSD once, then it remembers.
Wink 
Okay, I'm a total newbie so pardon if you're answering an already asked question.
So, in the case of an a AMLogic type android device, the manufacturer is the only place I can get updates? Meaning if I buy a no-name brand the possibility of future updates is nill.
Thats what you're referring to when you say firmware. The OS. Android?
Is there a firmware hacking community?

I can do a certain amount of tinkering around to get it to work, but at the end of the day, I want it to just work so I can watch my stuff.

Again I apologize if I've wasted anyone's time.
You have three camps basically with cheap Android devices:

1) those that just want to ship a cheap as chips device out of the door with common Firmware and a common Android GUI and leave end users to fend for themselves over on the Freaktab Website finding some half decent Firmware that works semi-properly. Often you end up with a junk box, that you loose patience with in the end, when it becomes all to hard. Some may be OK.

2) development AML boards like the ODROID C1/C2 S805/S905 series, that are a jack of all trades for Mini Linux PC's, servers and Android / OpenELEC / LibreELEC Kodi media players as well. ODROID has a pretty active development community if you like to tinker. There are a bunch of LibreELEC devs. now with a C2's BTW. Wink

3) Reputable Kodi sponsor companies like MINIX and WeTek that actually care about Firmware quality and Kodi compatibility. Run active user forums, provide regular updates and actually speak to end users in English.
WeTek provide a bunch of after market Android Apps and really go that extra mile to help out customers, they are in a different league altogether compared to the cheap Asian sellers. They have a lot of AMLogic experience.
WeTek are also an OpenELEC sponsor so you end up with dual boot Android / OpenELEC devices with a lot of flexibility to play around and tinker with.

(2016-04-19, 20:55)Leeler Wrote: Okay, I'm a total newbie so pardon if you're answering an already asked question.
So, in the case of an a AMLogic type android device, the manufacturer is the only place I can get updates? Meaning if I buy a no-name brand the possibility of future updates is nill.
Thats what you're referring to when you say firmware. The OS. Android?
Is there a firmware hacking community?

I can do a certain amount of tinkering around to get it to work, but at the end of the day, I want it to just work so I can watch my stuff.

Again I apologize if I've wasted anyone's time.

There are multiple camps :

1. No-name vendors selling cheap boxes with very basic Android builds (usually Android 4.x at the moment). You get what they come with and that's that. You are unlikely to get updates from these manufacturers, so bug fixes, security updates, improved functionality are not going to happen. By the time they've started shipping the box, they've finished development and are working not the next box. If you are very lucky some enthusiasts may pick up the platform and develop the odd ROM for them - but that could brick the device, and if the developer gets bored or stops using that box, you're stuffed. They're cheap, and worth every penny...

2. Reputable vendors, who have a track record of releasing updates, even for older devices when they are now selling new models. These will usually cost a bit more, but will have updates, may well get functionality improvements (the Wetek Core now has PCM 5.1/7.1 and HD Audio bitstreaming, improved dual boot etc.) They are also likely to have decent support forums and contribute to the Kodi forums here too in a meaningful manner. They cost more, but deliver more.

As wrxtasy has also said there are a couple of solutions that don't fit into either camp. The Raspberry Pi and the ODroid C1/C2 are not sold as full products, but because of their popularity they have multiple developers working on them, and get frequent updates and improvements. The Pi has an amazing level of developer support - but the hardware functionality is not ideal if you need guaranteed HEVC 1080p playback. The C2 is still rough-around-the-edges and has significant audio functionality missing - but is looking very good. If people can crack PCM multichannel and/or HD Audio bit streaming in Linux it will do almost everything other than 3D (It already does 2160/60p HEVC with HDMI 2.0 output - and will play back 10 bit HEVC, albeit output at 8 bit)
Speaking of 10-bit output as 8-bit on AMLogic, I'm not so sure now.
If you look at the Kodi log when Video is playing on Amlogic, you will see "GL: Using BYPASS render method" ie 8-bit Kodi has nothing to do with the video output on a 10-bit capable AML S905.

All we need is some equipment to see if 10-bit is actually being output or the Kernel is still outputting 8-bit video over HDMI 2.0.

(2016-04-20, 15:48)wrxtasy Wrote: All we need is some equipment to see if 10-bit is actually being output or the Kernel is still outputting 8-bit video over HDMI 2.0.
I have mentioned this several times, what comes out of Amlogic S905 from a video with 10-bit color is only 8-bit even with the native 4K movie player. What happens inside the kernel, I don't know. The HDMI transmitter is probably limiting the output.
(2016-04-20, 15:48)wrxtasy Wrote: Speaking of 10-bit output as 8-bit on AMLogic, I'm not so sure now.
If you look at the Kodi log when Video is playing on Amlogic, you will see "GL: Using BYPASS render method" ie 8-bit Kodi has nothing to do with the video output on a 10-bit capable AML S905.

All we need is some equipment to see if 10-bit is actually being output or the Kernel is still outputting 8-bit video over HDMI 2.0.

My TV reports 1080p 12 bit when it is fed from a 12 bit source (like my Blu-ray player). It reports 1080p when fed 8 bit. I've not got a potential 10-bit source other than my C2 - but that reports 1080p (with no bit depth)
1080p 12 bit source bluray? Aren't all non-hdr bluray compatible to rec.709, which is 8 bit (even sony xv color is 8 bit)?
I may be wrong but 10/12bit 1080p can be only in RGB for smart/online apps, not movie content.
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