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START HERE - Pick the Right Kodi Box (updated Dec 2020)
(2017-02-02, 04:12)wrxtasy Wrote: @viz55,

Some general points....


- Android Marshmallow is at least 2X faster than Android Lollipop on AMLogic Android devices.


- Android TV OS (Mi Box, Shield, Ricardo's ROMS on WeTek) or Amazon's Fire OS is far easier to use for the general public than generic touchscreen Android, which needs an Air Mouse / Touchpad Keyboard to use touchscreen Android Apps properly. Even then some people find manipulating Air Mouse cursors on a TV screen painful and a right royal PITA.


- The AMLogic S905X - Xiaomi Mi Box is a superior AMLogic Android only device (not Android Kodi box) in the budget marketspace. Once Kodi refresh switching is fixed on the Mi Box, it will be a pretty decent Android Kodi device as well.


Hi

I've been following for a while but this is my 1st post...I'm looking to buy a box to run Kodi primarly. BTW Thanks for all the great posts on this site, lots of knowledge!

You say above that Marshmallow is faster than lollipop but on the front page you warn to stay away from S905x with Marshmallow as they are buggy. DO you think these bugs will get resolved or should I try to stick to the S905 with Lollipop instead? Could I eventually flash to Android 6 when it's debugged? The advantage I see today is that I can't find many S905x with Giga LAN...

DO you believe the Mi Box will be able to fix the refresh switching issue via software/firmware revision or will it require a hardware change? Doesn't the lack of ethernet port make this box difficult to use if 4K is the goal?

If you had to buy a new box today to run Kodi & Netflix for a 4K TV (getting as as close to resolution as possible) for under $80 would it be a Mi Box, Fire TV2, genereic S905 box or something else?

Tx!
Reply
Budget Android Marshmallow Firmware on a random generic Android China clone box can be a complete lottery due to there being so many variations out there in the Market place. Most devices do not receive bug fixing Firmware updates either. The sellers are usually "Ship and Forget". These are strictly DIY devices.

AML S905 devices can however run very nice versions of LibreELEC Kodi, seamlessly supporting 4K and HD Audio.

At least with the Marshmallow Xiaomi Mi Box users will know exactly what they are getting in regards to Kodi Audio and Video compatibility and performance and I've seen 4 bug fixing Firmware updates so far. The surprising one was implementing Google's IEC Audio passthrough code for Kodi Krypton compatibility.

Kodi or App refresh switching is perfectly do-able on the S905 Mi Box. Its a matter of Xiaomi and/or AMLogic implementing it.

There is no 720/1080/2160p(4K) Netflix playback possible on cheap generic S905 Android boxes. It cannot be added via a Firmware update either.



So that leaves the Mi Box vs the Fire TV2:

FireTV2:
- has Gigabit Ethernet. Mi Box needs a $9 ASIX Chipset USB to Ethernet adapter.
- has Kodi dynamic refresh switching (and resolution switching I believe) when using recent versions of SPMC and MrMC.
- Kodi/SPMC has to be Sideloaded into the FireTV2, Mi Box has a simple Google Play Store download

Mi Box:
- has HDMI 2.0 so can do [email protected]/60Hz, FireTV2 limited to HDMI 1.4 - [email protected] - good enough for 4K Netflix & Amazon movies..
- has the possibility of adding HDR Netflix when Android Nougat drops for it sometime this year. No HDR on the FireTV2
- can display 4K HDR10 content either in Kodi or via some media player software @wesk05 tested this a while back.
- No Auto refresh switching or Resolution switching on the Mi Box. Has to be done manually.
- Voice searching of a SPMC media library is possible, I believe that is not possible on the FireTV2

Deinterlacing on both devices using Kodi is not the best for TV viewing. I can watch Live TV on the Mi Box with high quality Hardware deinterlacing using the Live Channels App however.

4K streaming really needs Ethernet for reliability unless you have really good Dual Band N or AC WiFi. 4K Netflix HEVC compression helps lower the data streaming WiFi needs.

Even though there are Kodi support features listed for the FireTV, I'm unsure of how well they are working as I've never seen anyone review the new SPMC or MrMC versions. Unsure of FireTV2 - Kodi Krypton Audio support either. Until that is done, detailed questions need to be asked in the Amazon FireTV2 thread itself.

Reply
Great tx! Sounds like you lean towards the Mi Box. I was also but the LAN performance on external USB scares me a little. Have you seen actual speedtest results on this? I saw some in the mi box thread but just wondering if any speeds surfaced with the Ugreen usb 3 dongle post firmware fixes. I have a 100mb/s connection, will it cap out at some speed much lower than that?
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What are the key factors to consider for Kodi?
RAM - Is 3 GB better than 2 GB for playing HD Live sports (without buffering)?
SOC - Amlogic 912 better than 905X?

Replacing a Nexus player (1 gb ram/8gb storage) which buffers a lot for HD live sports.

Any other pointers are appreciated too.
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Hey guys, I've been running "KODI" since the good old days of XBMP on the original xbox. I'm currently running an Intel NUC, but it's starting to play up a bit, so I'm looking into a new piece of hardware.

The info on the first page is fantastic for an overview, but I have some specific requirements, most importantly the ability for dual audio output. I need output to my soundbar (HDMI or spdif) and to my DAC (currently via USB) for headphones. I currently achieve this via a modified alsa config on LibreElec. Other requirements:

* IR Remote (so I can use my Logitech Harmony)
* Ethernet - no need for wireless
* 1080p Netflix

I'm technically proficient, and don't mind tinkering, but I don't have much time for doing that these days.

Any suggestions? I think that the dual audio output may be hard to achieve on an Android box, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong. If it turns out that my only option to achieve dual audio output is via another NUC or a similarly expensive option, then I may look at mapping a custom script to a remote button to switch between headphones and soundbar output, but I'd really like to have dual audio again if I can.
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(2017-02-06, 01:33)quizzer25 Wrote: What are the key factors to consider for Kodi?
RAM - Is 3 GB better than 2 GB for playing HD Live sports (without buffering)?
SOC - Amlogic 912 better than 905X?

Replacing a Nexus player (1 gb ram/8gb storage) which buffers a lot for HD live sports.

Any other pointers are appreciated too.
We cannot help with situations that involve Live Sports streaming across the internet. There are too many variables in play when that happens. Especially when using WiFi and external, dodgy, Internet File servers using banned Kodi Add-Ons are involved.

I can suggest if using Kodi Jarvis:

a) Try Increase the Video Cache Buffer:
http://kodi.wiki/view/HOW-TO%3AModify_the_video_cache

Also you have fallen into the trap already of looking only at Tech Specs, particularly for cheap Android Hardware. That road leads to disaster.
You need to Read Post #1 of this thread

You would not be asking questions about a S912 Hardware if you had read Post #1.
Any dirt cheap Android device will be not be as easy to use at all as Android TV you have on the Google Nexus Player. The next logical, faster hardware upgrade from the Nexus is the US$69 Xiaomi Mi Box - also running Android TV.

Reply
(2017-02-06, 01:44)snoxbox Wrote: The info on the first page is fantastic for an overview, but I have some specific requirements, most importantly the ability for dual audio output. I need output to my soundbar (HDMI or spdif) and to my DAC (currently via USB) for headphones. I currently achieve this via a modified alsa config on LibreElec. Other requirements:

Any suggestions? I think that the dual audio output may be hard to achieve on an Android box, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong. If it turns out that my only option to achieve dual audio output is via another NUC or a similarly expensive option, then I may look at mapping a custom script to a remote button to switch between headphones and soundbar output, but I'd really like to have dual audio again if I can.
The problem you will find is Kernel driver support for your USB DAC with Android devices (and cheap AML LibreELEC). I think you will find most of them are running around v3.14 of the Linux Kernel which is ancient vs Intel or even RPi hardware.

Reply
(2017-02-05, 15:08)Franktoni Wrote: Great tx! Sounds like you lean towards the Mi Box. I was also but the LAN performance on external USB scares me a little. Have you seen actual speedtest results on this? I saw some in the mi box thread but just wondering if any speeds surfaced with the Ugreen usb 3 dongle post firmware fixes. I have a 100mb/s connection, will it cap out at some speed much lower than that?
Honestly we have no idea, but can say that AC WiFi, combined with a good Dual Band N / AC router or ASIX Chipset USB adapters are good enough for 45Mb/s Bluray Streaming. Most 4K short test clips also play fine. If you want to be a power user and utilise 100 Mb/s streaming I would not be buying a Mi Box with no Gigabit Ethernet port. This is not the device for you.

Netflix works around these sort of WiFi only limitations by streaming 4K using HEVC compression anywhere between 15 to 24Mb/s as a Maximum.

The Mi Box is currently having trouble with some 4K .ts These 4K test clips come from HEVC test TV/Sat. broadcasts. The Mi Box is not as good as say a ODROID C2 running LibreELEC Kodi that can play all (non HDR) 4K content I can throw at it properly.

Reply
(2017-02-05, 12:54)wrxtasy Wrote: Budget Android Marshmallow Firmware on a random generic Android China clone box can be a complete lottery due to there being so many variations out there in the Market place. Most devices do not receive bug fixing Firmware updates either. The sellers are usually "Ship and Forget". These are strictly DIY devices.

AML S905 devices can however run very nice versions of LibreELEC Kodi, seamlessly supporting 4K and HD Audio.

At least with the Marshmallow Xiaomi Mi Box users will know exactly what they are getting in regards to Kodi Audio and Video compatibility and performance and I've seen 4 bug fixing Firmware updates so far. The surprising one was implementing Google's IEC Audio passthrough code for Kodi Krypton compatibility.

Kodi or App refresh switching is perfectly do-able on the S905 Mi Box. Its a matter of Xiaomi and/or AMLogic implementing it.

There is no 720/1080/2160p(4K) Netflix playback possible on cheap generic S905 Android boxes. It cannot be added via a Firmware update either.



So that leaves the Mi Box vs the Fire TV2:

FireTV2:
- has Gigabit Ethernet. Mi Box needs a $9 ASIX Chipset USB to Ethernet adapter.
- has Kodi dynamic refresh switching (and resolution switching I believe) when using recent versions of SPMC and MrMC.
- Kodi/SPMC has to be Sideloaded into the FireTV2, Mi Box has a simple Google Play Store download

Mi Box:
- has HDMI 2.0 so can do [email protected]/60Hz, FireTV2 limited to HDMI 1.4 - [email protected] - good enough for 4K Netflix & Amazon movies..
- has the possibility of adding HDR Netflix when Android Nougat drops for it sometime this year. No HDR on the FireTV2
- can display 4K HDR10 content either in Kodi or via some media player software @wesk05 tested this a while back.
- No Auto refresh switching or Resolution switching on the Mi Box. Has to be done manually.
- Voice searching of a SPMC media library is possible, I believe that is not possible on the FireTV2

Deinterlacing on both devices using Kodi is not the best for TV viewing. I can watch Live TV on the Mi Box with high quality Hardware deinterlacing using the Live Channels App however.

4K streaming really needs Ethernet for reliability unless you have really good Dual Band N or AC WiFi. 4K Netflix HEVC compression helps lower the data streaming WiFi needs.

Even though there are Kodi support features listed for the FireTV, I'm unsure of how well they are working as I've never seen anyone review the new SPMC or MrMC versions. Unsure of FireTV2 - Kodi Krypton Audio support either. Until that is done, detailed questions need to be asked in the Amazon FireTV2 thread itself.


The Mi Box you have linked above, does it work with Amazon Prime (I have a Prime membership) and so can be used to stream their stuff...? On page 1 it now lists.....

nVIDIA Shield (4K HDR Amazon video as well)
Amazon Fire TV2
Xiaomi Mi Box (Amazon Video App does not work)

......as being useful for the Amazon service. Or is that not the same as you note for "Amazon Movies" when mentioning that the Mi Box supports it...?

Thanks Smile
Reply
Anything Amazon Video with any reliability then buy the FireTV2 or nVIDIA Shield. Or even just a supplemental FireTV Stick would do.
FireTV2 first choice as may have better 5.1 Audio passthrough support I believe.

There is a AML Kodi18 Leia hack for the Mi Box for a 1080p Amazon VOD Kodi Addon (used a Prime trial membership), whether it still works or is reliable or will continue working is unknown. The Addon looks pretty similar to the actual Amazon Video App itself.

This Leia version cannot be used along side regular Kodi Krypton. Its one or the other. Plus there are features disabled in Kodi Leia itself.
http://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=...pid2499949

I have no Prime Membership to continue testing. Amazon Video / Movie are all written as the same thing. I find all Amazon Video streaming Choices and Terms and restrictions they use for the service confusing as hell to be honest.

Reply
Thanks for the clarification.

I do have a first gen AFTV and I didn't neglect to say that as it is used in another room and can be used there for Prime content.

We do use our Pi 3 in our main room for Kodi (via LibreELEC) and after using that for a good while I'm kinda spoilt with its immense support and works exactly as it should, within its hardware limitations. Optical out is catered for by a USB sound stick, I even tried a HDMI audio extractor which worked well. It can be a tad slow at times with the latest Kodi release (might try Confluence) and it does take some time to jump through a film when using the skip forward control, it has to buffer to then carry on - from a wired Ethernet connection.I was hoping that the faster horse power of the M ibox would have the side benefit of providing a boost for our Pi3, then again an Odroid C2 could also do that but I would not be that sure of its adequate USB support due to its rather venerable kernel.

I was looking for a more single box solution to provide our Kodi and Amazon Prime needs and from what you have confirmed to do that reliably would need another AFTV, the second version this time, or a more expensive Shield. As we are using 1080p, and will continue to do so until OLED 4k becomes mainstream and cheaper, then much of what the Shield could offer would be wasted for our needs.

I wouldn't have minded throwing "beer money" at a Mi box if Amazon Prime would have worked officially but to throw a heck of a lot more at a Shield is not worth it for us.
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I have been reading that the regular Google Play Amazon touchscreen Android App works on the Mi Box and plays Amazon content but only at max. 720p and that old App is a PITA to use too, needs an Air Mouse.

Over on the HardKernel ODROID C2 forum, guys have been testing DRM Amazon and SkyGo Video as well when using LibreELEC Kodi Krypton 32bit and Kodi plugins inputstream.mpd for mpeg dash in Amazon and inputstream.smoothstream for SkyGo.

http://forum.odroid.com/viewtopic.php?f=144&t=24753

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^^^^Again many thanks and I'll read through the information.

Most appreciated.

I can understand a little why Amazon do it but from what I have picked up they often change their DRM policy and finding a device which isn't officially supported can be a little hit and miss.

For simplistic ease I am tempted to grab a simple Amazon Stick just for Prime on our main TV and keep my Kodi needs for a separate box.

At least then it allows me to look at the very functional and well supported Odroid C2, just need to hunt around to see if my wireless keyboard (Logitech K400) and USB sound stick and MCE controller would work via USB.

Liymo it seems sells the C2 in the UK Smile
Reply
(2017-02-06, 11:28)Vimes Wrote: *snip*.. and MCE controller would work via USB.
*snip

MCE controller works with IR receiver on C2. No need for USB adapters or the like. I suspect the K400 will work also but have no hands-on experience. The USB soundstick is very much depending on which driver it uses.

HTH

Greetz,

[email protected]_
oDroid C2 - 8GB eMMC -Running LibreELEC (latest stable)
Synology DS215+ - 8+6 TB | Synology DS211 - 4+4 TB - No RAID | Homebrew server OpenMediaVault - 10 TB - LVM | Ubuntu Server 18.04.01 -10 TB - RAID5
Philips 50PFK5300 | Sony HT-XT100 Soundplate
Scanning my media with MediaElch
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Thanks for that. I had managed to read about those devices, with the question mark over the keyboard. I have used the PM system to try and contact another user who queried the Turtle Beach USB sound stick.

Still it is early days for me and just to throw a wild card in for the cost of the C2, case and eMMC for faster access I can build a HTPC which might be more versatile for my needs. Completely different to the C2 of course, but still an option - a GIGABYTE N3050M mATX motherboard, with built in CPU, can be had for around £35.
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