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START HERE - Pick the Right Kodi Box (updated Dec 2020)
(2016-04-30, 21:14)wh1stlebare Wrote: Hi all, fist time poster but used the forum for a few years to help me out in the past.

I seem to be going around in circles when choosing an upgrade to my trusty 6year old Acer Revo 3700 running Kodi, so I am throwing it out there for the guru's to help.

First of all I'll briefly list what I think I need based on my current equipment setup - I have a UHD 4k TV and an Onkyo 7.1 Atmos enabled amp (with the atmos speakers). I don't stream too much due to an average 10meg ADSL connection and with 3 kids with xbox's, ipods etc it gets used up pretty quick.
I mostly watch content from my Synology NAS box, which comprises of a mixture of 1080p & 720p 5.1 recordings, 3d, DTS and DTS-MA movies . I have noticed of late that a few HEVC H265 recording downloading onto my NAS which my old Revo just can't cope with.

Just when I think I have picked the right box, I have noticed that there is always something that it can't do, wether it is limited to HDMI1.4, not 7.1 passthrough, no Atmos, non DTS-MA or HEVC 24p 10bit playback...frankly it's doing my nut in!

I don't mind paying that little bit more to get what I (think I) want.
OpenElec is fine as is Windows 7/10 or Android

I was looking at the AMLogic S905, Asus Chromebox Celeron / intel, but like I said it's doing my nut in and I don't know what to go for, I just want something fast, with smooth playback, quality picture and no hassle running most things that I can throw at it.

Thanks in advance.

Hi,

The elimination list:

UHD 4K TV = HDMI 2.0 so you can play 2160p video @ 50/60Hz and not just be limited to 30Hz over HDMI 1.4 going forward.
10bit HEVC for 4K/2160p/1080p playback = nVIDIA Shield or an AMLogic S905

7.1 HD Audio Passthrough (inc Atmos) = nVIDIA Shield or a MINIX U1 or the soon to be released WeTek Hub (15th May)

Content Protected DRM Video streaming Apps, like Netflix etc (no Amazon Prime, you need to get a FireTV2):
1080p = WeTek Hub
1080p/2160p = nVIDIA Shield

VP9 for 4K YouTube = nVIDIA Shield

Money no object, plug N play, runs big remote friendly Android Apps designed for the TV screen = nVIDIA Shield !

The Chromebox will do most things well with smoothness and speed inc. 7.1 HD Audio. It will even software decode 1080p low bitrate 10-bit HEVC I'm told, but will choke once you start getting into the 2160p stuff as there is no HEVC Hardware decoding. It only has HDMI 1.4 as well. For a 1080p Kodi media player its fantastic.

Really the choice depends on the content you are likely to watch.

Thanks for the in-depth reply wrxtasy...So it looks like I need to make a decision between the nVidia and the WeTek hub then. I'll hold off for a few weeks and see what people say regarding the WeTek once it's been fully tested with Kodi.

Thanks again!
This is a very helpful thread, thanks to all who have provided info and esp wrxtasy.

Simple qn - between the Chromebox and Shield is there a speed difference, esp when dealing with large media libraries. I am considering these 2 as I need HD audio and these are the 2 solutions most recommended. As I see it, Shield offers a bit more - access to Android apps, Android Tv UI, Netflix etc, but Chromecast is a proven player and perhaps x86 has less issues with addons? I also don't have a 4K tv so 4K content is not an issue, but HEVC on Shield would be a plus.

But my main concern would be speed and future prospects since it seems Kodi on Android is in danger and Koying/SPMC is a one man effort.
(2016-05-02, 21:58)wh1stlebare Wrote: Thanks for the in-depth reply wrxtasy...So it looks like I need to make a decision between the nVidia and the WeTek hub then. I'll hold off for a few weeks and see what people say regarding the WeTek once it's been fully tested with Kodi.

Thanks again!
I'm doing WeTek Hub testing HERE already and its looking pretty polished. I've already fixed the Interlaced DVD ISO rip playback problem on a S905 ODROID C2 recently so that fix should shortly be incorporated as well.

The only video issues I see on all AML S905's at the moment is VC-1 playback problems (Kernel mods needed) and 1080p<--->2160p Kodi autoswitching. You have to switch manually at the moment for correct 2160p scaling. (Kodi AML problem). Then 2160p playback is fine and the video fills the entire screen.
The bonus workaround is you can run the Kodi GUI at 2160p60Hz anyway and leave it there permanently as the S905 has HDMI 2.0.

What would be interesting is Noggin's thoughts on a Chromebox vs a S905 ODROID C2, particularly in a bang for your bucks($) shootout now a bunch of issues have been fixed on the C2, as detailed over HERE

(2016-05-03, 05:51)wrxtasy Wrote: What would be interesting is Noggin's thoughts on a Chromebox vs a S905 ODROID C2, particularly in a bang for your bucks($) shootout now a bunch of issues have been fixed on the C2, as detailed over HERE

OK. Chromebox feels a bit snappier to navigate, and a bit more 'robust'. C2 is very much a work-in-progress, whereas the Chromebox is based on Intel stuff which is a lot more established, and appears to be a more established platform. The C2 still does 'random' stuff quite regularly (freezing, rebooting etc. more regularly than the Chromebox.) You may not see this much in day-to-day use - I probably see more of it as I push things a bit.

In terms of picture quality - both are great for the content they play. I haven't had time to properly compare the deinterlacing performance - but both are good for real-world content.

The C2 has a big advantage in supporting HEVC and HDMI 2.0.

The Chromebox is really a good solution for Live/Recorded TV, DVD and Blu-ray un-recompressed rips (VC-1 interlaced content excepted), and will play UHD H264 content at up to 30p output. This covers all my main viewing requirements (but not my 'experimental' stuff) It also - and this is important to a lot of people - has both HD Audio bit streaming and PCM 5.1/7.1 (for lossless output of FLAC and PCM multichannel content, as well as the highest quality output of AAC 5.1 stuff avoiding transcoding to Dolby Digital)

The C2 adds HEVC decode up to at least 2160/60p and UHD 50/60Hz output. (Which is my 'experimental' stuff!) However the C2 has only support for Dolby True HD bit streaming at the moment, with no DTS-HD MA/HRA, E-AC3 or PCM 5.1/7.1. This means that you get a lossy core stream for DTS-HD MA/HRA (good enough for many) and have to transcode lossless PCM and FLAC multichannel to lossy Dolby (not quite so good for many) and transcode lossy AAC 5.1 to lossy Dolby (not ideal). The C2's biggest limitations (apart from robustness) are currently in Audio handling IMO.

The Chromebox comes with built in WiFi and Bluetooth (a PS3 Blu-ray remote is an ideal controller), the C2 comes with CEC (which the Chromebox doesn't have) so you get remote control via your TV remote, and the C2 will remotely control your TV and AVR inputs and volume.

Personally my Chromebox is still currently my main go-to box for Kodi viewing of SD and HD content in my main location, with my Pi 3s in secondary locations, but the C2 sits next to the Chromebox and I am happy to use it, until I'm not.

In terms of Bang for Buck - it depends how much you have to spend for each platform, and whether things like the Full HD Audio and PCM 5.1/7.1 WiFi and Bluetooth or CEC, HEVC and UHD, that are unique to one or other box have value for you. (The C2 should, in theory, support DTS-HD MA/HRA and PCM 5.1/7.1 - as the hardware is capable. There currently seem to be driver/kernel issues that prevent the hardware being fully exploited?)
Any help appreciated. I am new to all this and trying to figure out what my options are if I only need the following: HBO Go, Netflix, and ability to run a VPN client. I currently use a VPN that supports Android/Windows but not Linux. That being said, would be open to switching if necessary. Price isn't an issue but would prefer cheapest. Thanks
If you want Netflix in HD then your options are limited to :

nVidia Shield (also offers Netflix in 4K)
Wetek Core in Android but not LibreElec (or hopefully forthcoming Wetek Hub and Play2/Play2S) - though the Core is limited to PCM 2.0 Stereo audio in Netflix
Apple TV 4 (running MrMC or Sideloaded Kodi) Last time I checked this didn't have refresh rate switching so wasn't a great Kodi solution for many.
Amazon Fire TV/Fire TV Stick (Not sure if these offer refresh rate switching, and the Fire TV stick is pretty low powered for Kodi)
Windows device (if you run the Windows Netflix App on suitable hardware you will get 5.1 audio. In the browser you are limited to 2.0)

No idea about HBO Go - don't think it is offered in my region.

None of these solutions will integrate Netflix into Kodi. The nVidia Shield and Apple TV 4 have the better remote control integration for Netflix, while the others really need a remote trackpad/mouse solution. (The Wetek does have a hacked Android TV app for Netflix, but it's a bit patchy).
Thanks for the quick reply, Noggin. No need for anything fancy like 4k, hdmi 2.0, etc. as this will just be used on a 24" monitor.
Reading earlier from this thread it says HBO Go requires the Microsoft PlayReady license and that the WeTek Core doesn't support that. Any idea if the Wetek Hub will?
(2016-05-06, 13:23)PatUK Wrote: Thanks for the quick reply, Noggin. No need for anything fancy like 4k, hdmi 2.0, etc. as this will just be used on a 24" monitor.
Reading earlier from this thread it says HBO Go requires the Microsoft PlayReady license and that the WeTek Core doesn't support that. Any idea if the Wetek Hub will?

Microsoft PlayReady is quoted as a feature on at least some Wetek products - but I don't know if they have tested HBO Go.
(2016-04-30, 21:14)wh1stlebare Wrote: ...a mixture of 1080p & 720p 5.1 recordings, 3d, DTS and DTS-MA movies . I have noticed of late that a few HEVC H265 recording downloading onto my NAS which my old Revo just can't cope with.

Just when I think I have picked the right box, I have noticed that there is always something that it can't do, wether it is limited to HDMI1.4, not 7.1 passthrough, no Atmos, non DTS-MA or HEVC 24p 10bit playback...frankly it's doing my nut in!

...I just want something fast, with smooth playback, quality picture and no hassle running most things that I can throw at it.
One more box to consider is HiMedia Q10 Pro. Does all you mention... 3D (full MVC/frame-packing), HD audio bitstreaming (ATMOS/X included), 4K 10-bit, HDR, VP9 and Dolby Vision. However, no 4K or even HD Netflix, Amazon VOD, etc.
[H]i-[d]eft [M]edia [K]een [V]ideosaurus
My Family Room Theater
I decided to go though Shiled. My unit is planned to arrive next week.
(2016-05-06, 15:20)hdmkv Wrote:
(2016-04-30, 21:14)wh1stlebare Wrote: ...a mixture of 1080p & 720p 5.1 recordings, 3d, DTS and DTS-MA movies . I have noticed of late that a few HEVC H265 recording downloading onto my NAS which my old Revo just can't cope with.

Just when I think I have picked the right box, I have noticed that there is always something that it can't do, wether it is limited to HDMI1.4, not 7.1 passthrough, no Atmos, non DTS-MA or HEVC 24p 10bit playback...frankly it's doing my nut in!

...I just want something fast, with smooth playback, quality picture and no hassle running most things that I can throw at it.
One more box to consider is HiMedia Q10 Pro. Does all you mention... 3D (full MVC/frame-packing), HD audio bitstreaming (ATMOS/X included), 4K 10-bit, HDR, VP9 and Dolby Vision. However, no 4K or even HD Netflix, Amazon VOD, etc.

Thanks matey, i'll add that to my list of possibles...
Settled on the Intel compute stick cherry trail model. Will do me fine for 1080p and below H264 and HEVC. No it doesn't appear to currently do bitstreaming of fancy audio and 4K might be iffy (hardware decode of the chip is 8 bit only) but looks like the perfect basic offline playback solution without fiddling with Android. Including a tiny keyboard and mouse comes to just under $250 local, compared to $360 for importing a shield. Decided to avoid the flood of sub $100 Android boxes as they seem like nightmares in disguise. Its amazing that no one has made the equivalent of an updated WD Media player 2016 edition (which is what I originally wanted). $100 more than I wanted to spend but eh. More info:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/9939/the-i...l-review/4
(2016-05-08, 08:35)winterfell44 Wrote: Settled on the Intel compute stick cherry trail model. Will do me fine for 1080p and below H264 and HEVC. No it doesn't appear to currently do bitstreaming of fancy audio and 4K might be iffy (hardware decode of the chip is 8 bit only) but looks like the perfect basic offline playback solution without fiddling with Android. Including a tiny keyboard and mouse comes to just under $250 local, compared to $360 for importing a shield. Decided to avoid the flood of sub $100 Android boxes as they seem like nightmares in disguise. Its amazing that no one has made the equivalent of an updated WD Media player 2016 edition (which is what I originally wanted). $100 more than I wanted to spend but eh. More info:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/9939/the-i...l-review/4

The Wetek Core and the ODroid C2 both do what you want for less money and neither require you to use Android. (LibreElec builds are running great on them) There are a couple of other S905 boxes that come with cases and WiFi/Bluetooth (MiniMX is one) that also run OpenElec builds and are looking like good solutions. (The C2 and MiniMX handle 10 bit HEVC and UHD too - though this isn't an issue for you)

The Core will also do Netflix in HD if you reboot into Android.
hi all, I'm following you and other threads since I would to buy the right box for me :-)
I would buy something that can I use for some years (I don't want to change it after a year)

I need:
2 GB RAM minimum
16 GB ROM
USB ports for external HDD to download on it and to play from it
a good optimization for kodi and his addons.....
good video quality and audio: I'm not a maniac :-)
Netflix (Full HD at this moment)
4K is a "plus" since I don't know when I'll buy a 4K TV

I'm following:
-Wetek hub: has the right price, but 1GB RAM...mmm...I don't like it
-Wetek Play 2S: it could be the winner but it seems it will costs about 199euros, I think it's too much
-Nvidia Shield TV: it was my first choice, but it has too much for my needs (game is not interesting for me)
- Himedia Q10 pro: it seems a good object but for now it have different problems (as I understand), for now it is for testers I think :-)

I hope you'll help me to understand what I need :-)
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