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START HERE - Pick the Right Kodi Box (updated Dec 2020)
(2016-11-27, 01:46)KickMeInTheJunk Wrote: I'm looking to finally upgrade from old Apple TV 1 (still kicking!) w/CrystalHD which has been running various flavours of Kodi over the years (ATV OS, OpenELEC, Crystalbuntu and currently OSMC). My biggest driver to upgrade is ability to play HEVC content as well as more consistent 1080p content.
Always willing to help on 'ol ATV1 users out.

Titbit of Info - I first started learning to compile XBMC using an ATV1, running Crystalbuntu, with very limited RAM and a Hard Drive Swap File - many moons ago. It took ages and the ATV1 aluminium heatsink case got so Hot you could barely touch it. But I never had a Hardware failure and the ATV1 still works to this day, its nearly 10 years old ! Smile


Quote:What'd I'd like to gain:
- HEVC as well as future proof support for 4K content when I upgrade my TV/AVR in a year or so
- Netflix
Normally I would recommend a cheap Android TV box like the Mi Box because it has very reliable 1080p/2160p(4K) Netflix streaming due to running Android Marshmallow. Netflix is reliable when using the regular touchscreen Google Play App on the Hub/Play2 with Android Lollipop.

But all AMLogic Marshmallow Firmware has 720/1080p 10bit HEVC playback issues with Kodi when amcodec Video decoding is not used. And there are other issues that may affect serious Kodi users.
This 10bit problem can be worked around using an external player like MX Player within Kodi, but then you can only playback 10bit HEVC from directly connected USB storage devices, not over a Home Network. Its pretty annoying.

Also be aware that all 1GB AMLogic boxes running LibreELEC Kodi suffer from a memory leak issue that will crash the device eventually unless you reboot them once a day. I've been told by WeTek this serious LibreELEC bug has been tracked down and will be fixed soon which is good news for the Hub. Android Kodi has no problems.

I've also been asking WeTek to sell the 2GB WeTek Play2 without a DVB Tuner for those that want a well supported 2GB AML S905 box with working Optical out. I might try hassling them again.

The Hub does have test Marshmallow Firmware with reliable 1080/2160p(4K) Netflix playback using the remote friendly Android TV OS Netflix App. A modded SPMC (Kodi Jarvis) for MM on the Hub now works pretty well. Including Hardware deinterlacing. Dual boot is missing in action at the moment.

If you want 4K Netflix with HDR support on a Android Kodi box its going to have to be either a nVIDIA Shield or a Xiaomi Mi Box. I believe HDR support on the Mi Box for Netflix has to come with an Android 7.0 Nougat OS update. Then there is the new HDR Chromecast Ultra.


Lots of options and maybe too much info !!!

So... really three (working) choices for your needs on a Budget:
  • WeTek Hub, dual boot with that HDMI > Optical Audio extractor setup
  • WeTek Play2, dual boot setup - Android is a bit faster on this 2GB device.
  • A HDMI Chromecast or 2016 FireTV stick for Netflix and Apps streaming duties & then hunt down a 2GB AML S905 box with working optical out and a DIY install of LibreELEC. Does your TV have Optical output ?
At least with the WeTek devices you can install Ricardo's unofficial Android TV OS ROM for a more remote friendly Android TV OS setup and still retain dual boot. This works pretty well. Smile

Ultimately the nVIDIA Shield does virtually everything. I believe a Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Micro II USB Analog & Digital Audio Adapter works with the Shield. A HDMI > Optical Audio extractor looks a lot cheaper and far more versatile tho.

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Possibly interesting info here from the CNX website:

How to Play Netflix HD on any Android Device with Widevine Level 1 DRM
http://www.cnx-software.com/2016/11/28/h...vel-1-drm/

Smile
If I have helped you or increased your knowledge please click the 'Thumb Up - Like' button to show me your appreciation :)
For YouTube questions see the official thread here.
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Since both M8S and Pro are too short to search this forum (even when I use "M8S Pro" in the search box, I figured I would ask here....

any opinions on this box? Will it run Kodi smoothly and have little to no buffering
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There is a M8S Pro powered by a RK3368 where Kodi performance is unknown due to Rockchip hacks being dropped from Kodi a while back.
Even Koying's SPMC dropped Rockchip support too. The Freaktab Website will have more info on Firmware.

and there is a T95N Mini M8S Pro powered by a 2GB AMLogic S905 which may be OK if the T95N is running Android 5.1.1 as that Firmware is more mature on AMLogic devices.
You can also run LibreELEC Kodi Jarvis on the T95N in a dual boot config with some simple DIY and that will work really well and is recommended.
Bang for you Buck is excellent with LibreELEC on 2GB S905's.

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Hi can somebody help me i just got my zidoo x9s and i cant set it up because the language is set on chinese anyone know how i can change the language?

MOD EDIT: Please use the dedicated Zidoo X9S thread for device support questions, found over HERE
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I know the Topic Starter for some reason hates HiMedia, so this brand is not on his list!
But the truth must be said that HiMedia still had really perfect Kodi players like the HiMedia Q10 Pro!
Kodi Mediaplayer; Sony KD-55A89 4K Android TV
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(2016-12-02, 22:22)HereIsTom Wrote: I know the Topic Starter for some reason hates HiMedia, so this brand is not on his list!
Absolute rubbish and you know it !

I'm going to start calling you Pinocchio if you keep that up.

HiMedia is listed 3 times in Post#1 - if I hated it so much it would not even make the list at all.
There is also a more detailed rundown of Q5/10 in Post #2.

Quote:But the truth must be said that HiMedia still had really perfect Kodi players like the HiMedia Q10 Pro!
There is no such thing as a "Perfect Kodi Player" - that is La La Land stuff right there. As all platforms have bugs.
For example - out of the box - is there even a simple Stop button on the HiMedia Q10 physical remote to make it "Perfect" ?

Users may find a hardware / software solution that is right or near "Perfect" for them but others will always disagree.

With the Q5/10 and Zidoo X9S, using a Kodi Graphic User Interface (GUI) to then call upon External Software is not an ideal solution either as there will always be usability compromises made.
You only need to take one look in the Zidoo X9S thread to see issues with Subtitles, Resume points and with more undiscovered surprises, to see the problems that can popup using this Kodi Hybrid > External Software solution.

And think about this for a minute and then re-read it...

If every manufacturer started using an External Software solution and just used Kodi as a pretty fronted GUI - the Kodi project will go no where.
When was the last time you saw HiMedia contribute any code to the Kodi master codebase, to help everyone ?

I'm happy to be shown any meaningful code contributions. This quick and dirty Hybrid method means they don't have to put a lot of hard work in to properly integrate their SoC into using just a regular Android Kodi.apk release only. No code needs to be shared with this Hybrid method either.

No Android Kodi developers want to support any Hardware platform that is not using standard Android Application Programming Interfaces. (API's)
These Kodi Hybrid > External Software solutions will receive no help whatsoever due to Kodi code maintenance problems moving forward.

Kodi is after all a Volunteer project. Without free time given from skilled developers the project would cease to exist.

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(2016-12-02, 22:22)HereIsTom Wrote: I know the Topic Starter for some reason hates HiMedia, so this brand is not on his list!
Does HiMedia still require a Kodi wrapper to function? If so what the hell is a Kodi wrapper? Do you see where I am going with this. I am quite happy with my Shield TV with no requirement for whatever that wrapper is.
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(2016-11-27, 07:40)wrxtasy Wrote: So... really three (working) choices for your needs on a Budget:
  • WeTek Hub, dual boot with that HDMI > Optical Audio extractor setup
  • WeTek Play2, dual boot setup - Android is a bit faster on this 2GB device.
  • A HDMI Chromecast or 2016 FireTV stick for Netflix and Apps streaming duties & then hunt down a 2GB AML S905 box with working optical out and a DIY install of LibreELEC. Does your TV have Optical output ?
At least with the WeTek devices you can install Ricardo's unofficial Android TV OS ROM for a more remote friendly Android TV OS setup and still retain dual boot. This works pretty well. Smile

Ultimately the nVIDIA Shield does virtually everything. I believe a Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Micro II USB Analog & Digital Audio Adapter works with the Shield. A HDMI > Optical Audio extractor looks a lot cheaper and far more versatile tho.

A belated thanks for this info! It's been a great help! Decided to grab the Hub with their Cyber Monday sale, just arrived and about to delve into LibreELEC (wasn't super jazzed about Kodi on Android). My TV does have optical out (though it's apparently temperamental on my model) so gonna try that first, then default to an audio extractor if that fails.

Cheers!
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Hello to all.

Just registered to say thank you to wrxtasy for the greatly helpful guide and tell you my story, to which I would appreciate your informed comments.

I started 5 years ago with a BRIX running OpenElec. Quite a few hiccups.Then got foolish and tried a cheap Chinese android box. One big hiccup. Then I realised my mistake, so I went straight to a Shield TV 16GB running SPMC. Hiccups again.

Compared to the previous devices, the Shield was definitely a lot snappier. Problem is, it still had its issues. The device would get stuck after finishing one movie and before opening the next one (SPMC and source videos from NAS), or the image would go dark after fast forwarding but the audio would still keep playing, even after exiting SPMC and going back to the Shield's main menu. Up until yesterday, when I tried to turn it on as usual, and it wouldn't turn on. Tried whatever I could find online but nothing. Contacted NVIDIA support and they agreed to offer a replacement as the device is only 2 months old and unrooted. They seemed aware of the problem and only asked me very basic troubleshooting questions, such as "did you try a different wall socket?"

Strangely enough, I can't say I've ever been completely happy with any box I've had running XBMC/KODI/OpenElec/SPMC. There was always something not running properly. The remote wouldn't work or would only work half the time, even with keymapping plugins (tried I don't know how many different types of connections/remotes, Flirc, Amazon, Bluetooth, IR, cheap Chinese, expensive Chinese, Logitech, whatever). Or the movie would suddenly stop and the machine would reboot (that's the Chinese box for you). Or it would get stuck when I was adjusting the subtitles delay. Or it would forget all settings. Or it would get stuck at the boot screen (Brix with OpenElec). Or it would show double subtitles and no developer could find any possible solution (Brix with OpenElec). Or... or... or...

The online community has always been extremely helpful to me any time I asked. Nevertheless, I never got any device to work as it should.
I've tried all suggestions, spent countless hours reading, asking, redoing everything from scratch, reinstalling OSs, changing settings, changing them again, trying, testing, failing and all over again.
I know nothing about Linux, but I'm very capable of following logical instructions and I have a background in IT, if that means something.

So I'm getting tired of all this.

Maybe my needs are extremely demanding:

I need to play my 1080p or 720p or 480p movies and tv series on my tv.
I need to play my 3D Side by Side or Over Under 1080p movies on my tv.
All content comes from a NAS or a USB 3 drive.
Sound to come from the tv's stereo speakers. Only.
No amps, no preamps, no Dolbys, no DTSs, no HD Audios, no 7.1s, no 4Ks, no complicated connections, no demanding x265 formats, no full BR rips, no strange demands for 24, 25, 26, 27, 157 frames or what have you.
No Netflix, no YouTube, no Google or Amazon apps, no games, no HULU, no piracy plugins. Just locally stored content.
One box with a remote control (not a mouse, it's a media player), to be connected to a power supply, a LAN cable and a TV, that simply works.
I don't care about the cost, but it needs to work.

One would think that after all this effort put by so many kind people in programming, free or paid, it would be doable.
It seems that I've either been extremely unlucky (a factor which technology should be there to eliminate, I reckon), or KODI and all its forks simply can't offer that, or I still haven't found the device that does it.
I know lots of people have devices that are working perfectly.
Or maybe they (the devices) don't, but they (the people) compromise with what they have.
My needs are so low, that if I compromise with anything less, I could just as well watch stuff from my PC connected via HDMI to my tv. Cheaper, easier, happier.

I don't mind setting a device up.
I don't mind reading and following pages after pages of instructions to set it up.
I don't mind not updating, my needs have been the same for the past 5 years.
I don't even mind to pay for KODI or SPMC or whatever.
But after all the above is over and done, given that there's no technical faults, the device needs to work if I don't update it, I don't alter it, I don't touch it.

(2015-12-21, 03:43)wrxtasy Wrote: [*]nVIDIA Shield (the fastest Android box of them all) (1080p AIV)

I thought buying the fastest device of all (Shield) would solve the problems. It didn't.
Have a look at NVIDIA's forums and you'll see.
The first time I turned it on, it didn't even want to connect to NVIDIA's own controller! What a nice out-of-the-box experience!
Sure it's a powerful device. But does it actually work without problems?

I see in the OP this question:

(2015-12-21, 03:43)wrxtasy Wrote: Q. I need the most stable, proven, bullet proof, 1080p Kodi use only, box going around ?
  • ASUS Chromebox running LibreELEC - Kodi Jarvis

This will be my last resort. I'll try it with a LibreELEC only install (no dual boot).
I'm almost convinced that even this will have issues as all other devices did.
Hopefully that'll be the end of my search, either by finding the device that works, or by removing KODI from the equation for ever.
I'd appreciate it if the OP (or anyone else) could suggest a specific model, along with a specific remote that definitely works when running LibreELEC as the only OS in the device.
I have read that Chromeboxes work with Amazon Fire TV remotes, and I already have that as I was using it for the Shield, so if someone could confirm that it works it would be great.

I never thought that after so much time and money spent, I would still be out here looking for a device that simply works.
I thought a media player is used to help you spend most of your time watching stuff, instead of fixing stuff.

Please accept my kind apologies for the long post and rant.
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(2016-12-03, 23:22)aian Wrote: I need to play my 1080p or 720p or 480p movies and tv series on my tv.
I need to play my 3D Side by Side or Over Under 1080p movies on my tv.
All content comes from a NAS or a USB 3 drive.
Sound to come from the tv's stereo speakers. Only.
No amps, no preamps, no Dolbys, no DTSs, no HD Audios, no 7.1s, no 4Ks, no complicated connections, no demanding x265 formats, no full BR rips, no strange demands for 24, 25, 26, 27, 157 frames or what have you.
No Netflix, no YouTube, no Google or Amazon apps, no games, no HULU, no piracy plugins. Just locally stored content.
One box with a remote control (not a mouse, it's a media player), to be connected to a power supply, a LAN cable and a TV, that simply works.
I don't care about the cost, but it needs to work.

Get mede8er MED800X3D....It does all that.

(2016-12-03, 23:22)aian Wrote: Compared to the previous devices, the Shield was definitely a lot snappier. Problem is, it still had its issues. The device would get stuck after finishing one movie and before opening the next one (SPMC and source videos from NAS), or the image would go dark after fast forwarding but the audio would still keep playing, even after exiting SPMC and going back to the Shield's main menu. Up until yesterday, when I tried to turn it on as usual, and it wouldn't turn on. Tried whatever I could find online but nothing. Contacted NVIDIA support and they agreed to offer a replacement as the device is only 2 months old and unrooted. They seemed aware of the problem and only asked me very basic troubleshooting questions, such as "did you try a different wall socket?"

Let me say i never heard of that problems in the Shield, maybe you got a lemon, maybe the issue is your files....try to upload a file with problems in some dropbox and we can try it...
The alternatives to SPMC are Kodi and PLEX built-in ...does they have this issue too ?
Anthem MRX310 | XTZ 93.23 DIY 5.1 (Seas Jantzen Mundorf) | DXD808 | Oppo 103D | LG OLED 55EC930V | Nvidia Shield | ATV3





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Thank you for your reply couto27.

I've had the same files for all these 5 years.
It is only rarely that I update my content, it must be something really important (for me) to want to add to my collection.
A DVD rip in avi 480p format of a 1972 movie shouldn't be a problem for any media player in 2016.
Besides, it wasn't the same movies/tv series that displayed a problem in each machine, it was always a random occurrence.
Sometimes the problem would appear in one movie, and after an hour it wouldn't appear again (for the same movie).
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@aian, It really does sound like you got a bad batch of Shield Hardware with all those problems you have outlined. Lightning has actually struck twice on your occasion unfortunately it seems. Lemons do happen with any Hardware product.

The Shield may just need a minor tweak of its Kodi/SPMC deinterlacing settings for DVDRips to playback correctly.
I would Start tweaking here and play with the Deinterlace method and then "Set as default" if it all works properly. YADIF 2x would be fine for DVDRips.

So for 1080p and something that Simply Works with minimal Setup hassle:
  • ASUS Chromebox, the standard 2GB one.
  • or if you need 10bit 1080/2160p Hardware HEVC decoding support the ODROID C2 with 8GB eMMC Flash
Both running LibreELEC Kodi.

Any USB Hard Drive attached to the C2 would need its own power supply for reliability. I've only tested an old 2.5" USB one that did not work when directly plugged in.
A more modern power efficient USB3 one may work as it will draw less power.
The Chromebox would be fine out of the gate for USB power.

And then for a Plug & Play - responsive Wireless remote controller - a MINIX A2 Lite, Mini Keyboard combo. This is a quality remote, built for Big Blokey hands. Wink

If those solutions do not work I would definitely say it's the encoding of your video files that needs to be investigated. Or there is some unknown external glitch like supplied power causing multiple problems.

If that Chinese Android device you have there already is of the AMLogic S8xx or S9xx family. Flashing LibreELEC Kodi to it (or to a Samsung/Sandisk Class 10 SD card) would very likely sort out all your problems as well. Details of DIY LibreELEC are over here:
https://forum.libreelec.tv/forum-38.html

Best bit of advice. Unless you really need the Android OS for something - ditch it completely and run LibreELEC Kodi Jarvis.

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(2016-12-04, 00:44)aian Wrote: Thank you for your reply couto27.

I've had the same files for all these 5 years.
It is only rarely that I update my content, it must be something really important (for me) to want to add to my collection.
A DVD rip in avi 480p format of a 1972 movie shouldn't be a problem for any media player in 2016.
Besides, it wasn't the same movies/tv series that displayed a problem in each machine, it was always a random occurrence.
Sometimes the problem would appear in one movie, and after an hour it wouldn't appear again (for the same movie).

Does the problem happened when you using external Hard drive or is only in the NAS...

what Nas do you have ?
what streaming protocol do you use, Samba, NFS etc
Had you try to copy to new external Hard drive and re-test ?
Do you use any powerline ?
Anthem MRX310 | XTZ 93.23 DIY 5.1 (Seas Jantzen Mundorf) | DXD808 | Oppo 103D | LG OLED 55EC930V | Nvidia Shield | ATV3





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@wrxtasy

Thank you for all the info.
Unfortunately it wasn't just the Shield as you read.
I'll try your suggestion. And, in any way, an external USB3 disk is not even necessary, I'll just use the NAS.

I'll also give the S905 Chinese box a go as per your instructions.


@couto27
- The problems occur with any possible storage device: USB external drives, flash drives and NAS. And not just with the Shield, various problems with any and all devices. And not just with network access to the drives, but with direct USB connection too. And with powered drives. And with unpowered drives. With large drives (above 1 TB) and with as small as 250GB. There's no pattern to be found, I've searched so many times. It is possible that one drive was faulty. Two drives were faulty. Three drives were faulty. But it's not possible that all drives were faulty.

- Synology DS216J + 2 x WD Red 3TB SATA 6 Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5 Inch
- NFS
- Countless times
- No. 2m cat5e shielded LAN cable, directly to the Fibre router.
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