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START HERE - Pick the Right Kodi Box (updated Nov. 2018)
Is it better getting Neo U9H (s912) or standard U1(s905)
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NEO U9 - if you want to use mainly Android Apps (excluding Kodi), it runs it little bit faster. Kodi Krypton has some problems on it as it uses Medicodec only Hardware video acceleration - which is not as good as Amcodec.

NEO U1 - if the main focus is Kodi - because it can run LibreELEC Kodi Krypton which is superior vs any Android Kodi version going.
I doubt you will use Android Kodi once you run LibreELEC Kodi Krypton.
Plus it still retains Amcodec Hardware video acceleration in Android - very important for TV deinterlacing if you ever use that down the track.

The U9 has no stable LibreELEC Kodi Krypton version available for it, due to no proper Linux GPU drivers available. I don't think this will get fixed either.

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Thanks wrxtasy NEO U1 it is. I would love to be able to pm you for some assistance when it arrives
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Better to just ask, so anyone with the issue can search and find the answer.
Denon X6500H 7.1.4 -> LG OLED65C6P
Main: Apple TV 4K with MrMC + Channels App w/ HDHomeRun Quatro
Other Kodi Devices: NVIDIA Shield Pro, NUC D54250WYK, Mi Box
MeCOOL M8S Pro, Raspberry Pi 3, Apple TV 4, SYNOLOGY DS1815+ | DX513
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(2017-05-10, 11:28)wrxtasy Wrote: Welcome to the Kodi forums....where you will get no nonsense (we hope) advice.

English all good ! Smile

Go the nVIDIA Shield if you want all that working properly.
For those reading - Be aware to get 5.1 DD+ Audio from Netflix (& Amazon I think) on the Android TV devices - Shield and Mi Box, you need to be connected to a DD+ capable AVR / TV. Otherwise expect 2.0 PCM Audio only.
Thanks.
I have the boxes (mede8er, cable tv box and blu-ray player) connected by HDMI to > AV receiver (yamaha RX-477) to > TV.
1080p picture quality in nvidia shield is good/equal to another boxes?
I can expand the internal storage by usb, (the new 2017 box has no sdcard)? Best pen usb to expand?
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(2017-04-25, 08:55)wrxtasy Wrote:
(2017-04-24, 14:08)fortunebogi Wrote: In general I just want to watch HD content (I guess 4k will be a good investment for the future since there is not much available now but will be in the future and I got the TV) with 5.1 audio. Any similar hardware that I can find in Amazon.uk is fine too.

Any advice would be very much appreciated.

You already have Hardware for Netflix and Amazon so avoid Android all together. Run Kodi without compromises, use LibreELEC.
Especially for Auto Resolution switching 1080p <<-->>2160p(4K)

Simply get a AML S905(x) box like everyone else and run LibreELEC Kodi Krypton on it. Some come with Wireless remotes.
Otherwise buy something like a MINIX A2 Lite Wireless remote.

Eg:
S905 MINIX U1
S905 WeTek Hub and Play2 then buy a Wireless remote.
S905(x) Vero 4K

4K Netflix and Amazon = FireTV2 or nVIDIA Shield. You need a Dolby Digital Plus Audio receiver (TV / Soundbar) to get Netflix and Amazon 5.1 Audio out of the Shield. Amazon FireTV2 has better Audio handling for these Apps due to having an actual Dolby Audio licence.

I believe the FireTV2 can do 5.1 Audio just fine with Kodi. HD Audio is decoded to Multichannel PCM.

I do not recommend cheap AMLogic boxes for Kodi usage. Those generic Android boxes are NOT Android TV devices.
Android TV = Shield and Mi Box + Sony/Philips TV's.

Touchscreen Android Apps usage is a PITA with an Air mouse remote on generic Android Boxes. Not recommended.

Use Android for Android Apps only.

Hi wrxtasy,

Thanks for your help so far.

Sorry but I am a bit lost with this advice. I read it a few times and still don't understand some parts due to lack of technical experience on this field.

I can find the following options:

-----

The "S905 MINIX U1" running Android in Amazon.uk for 100£, not sure how I can run LibreELEC Kodi on it.

The Amazon fire TV costs 80£ on Amazon.uk.

I can also find a 2GB ABOX A1 Plus for 40£.

The only thing I can find that runs LibreELEC is a DroidBOX iMXQpro V2 for 50£.

-----

As I said I only want the box for Kodi (as I watch Netflix and Amazon video directly through the smart tv) and I am interested in having the best possible resolution (got a 4k TV) and 5.1 sound (got a 5.1 soundbar).

Could you please try and explain to me in non-technical terms what are the best options? Shall I go with the 80£ Amazon Fire TV or another box?

I am ok to install custom software but will need a detailed guide for me to understand what I'm doing.

Thanks in advance.
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AMLogic S905(x) -  LibreELEC / OSMC - Kodi Krypton - 4K Options:
Includes full 5.1 / 7.1 HD Audio passthrough support inc Dolby Atmos and DTS:X and 16bit Multichannel PCM audio output.
Order is easiest to hardest to get up and running - (a) thru (d) pretty easy - (e) sometimes can be a challenge. Wink



a) Plug n Play - OSMC (Kodi Krypton) on a AMLogic S905x = Vero 4K
  • comes with a nice, integrated Wireless remote and AC WiFi.
  • OSMC Kodi Krypton runs from Internal eMMC Flash storage out of the box.
  • Just be aware this device is designed to stay on 24/7. It uses little power anyway.
  • Kodi Suspend and instant Resume works nicely if you want to save power.
    avsforums - OSMC Vero 4K Media Streamer Review




b) S905's = WeTek Hub (AC WiFi) or Play2 (SPDIF) or ODROID C2 - proceed to © below... LibreELEC Kodi will autoupdate in these three devices.
  • ODROID C2 will be fastest due to ability to Overclock. Best HDMI-CEC support as well. No Dual Boot on C2.
  • WeTek's can dual boot to Android very easily AND use alternate LibreELEC Kodi Skins 
  • They are the only AML box that can do this using only the remote control to Flip Flop between Android / LibreELEC during bootup.
  • WeTek's also have a really nice, unofficial Android TV ROM available, for casual use




© Download LibreELEC flashing software from HERE
  • Choose your AMLogic S905 weapon of choice from the menu
  • WeTek Hub / Play2, ODROID C2 - Flash Software to a SD card (see recommended TIP below) or faster eMMC flash storage (C2), Plug in and Power up.
  • For really good Kodi responsiveness, purchase a Wireless remote like a MINIX A2 Lite or OSMC remote (both come with a USB receiver dongles) and use those with any LE box. A Xiaomi Bluetooth Aftermarket remote can now also be used. The C2 will need a $4 CSR v4.0 BT USB dongle.
    Close to Plug n Play.




d) MINIX U1(S905) with it's Wireless A2 Lite keyboard remote and it's excellent Class leading..
  • 2x2 MIMO (Dual antennas) AC WiFi.
  • Can boot into internal Android after you first boot into LibreELEC that is running entirely from a SD card.
  • However you cannot do this easily if using an alternate LibreELEC Kodi Krypton Skin, you have to physically eject the SD card for internal Android in that scenario or do some further DIY mods for each Skin
  • To Install LE - download LibreELEC Flashing Software from ©, download S905 LibreELEC 8.x image.gz from HERE
  • Use LibreELEC flashing Software,  point it in step (2) at previous local downloaded image.gz and flash to SD card. 
  • Copy U1 device tree file from HERE. Rename to dtb.img and save to SD card.
  • Plug in SD card & Power cord, hold in U1 box's Power button for at least 6 seconds and U1 will boot to LibreELEC Logo. (only required very first time)
  • Follow instructions from LibreELEC AMLogic sub-forum for further DIY details.




e) Grab a DIY bargain and buy any old cheap AML S9xx Android Box, do your own research, roll the dice over what will actually be delivered and how hard it is to setup, particularly for LibreELEC WiFi / BT support, IR remote control compatibility and HDMI CEC. You are not paying much anyway.



TIP: AMLogic LibreELEC runs faster from Samsung EVO(+), Sandisk or Lexar 300x - Class 10 U1 microSDHC cards vs other brands.

TIP2: Internal eMMC flash storage will be faster still - LibreELEC can be flashed to internal storage on AMLogic boxes after it is first running from a SD card. Naturally this overwrites the internally stored Android OS which most care little for anyway.

TIP3: Wireless remotes make a hell of a difference to the responsiveness of any Kodi box. No more missed remote button presses or Infra Red line of sight issues. Current favourites are the MINIX A2 Lite Mini Keyboard remote or the OSMC Wireless remote. These are Plug n Play compatible with everything by using a mini USB dongle.
The aftermarket ~$13 Xiaomi Bluetooth remotes will shortly have proper LibreELEC support as well. These are superb for such a simple remote. Smile  

Important Notes:

AML S905 = Some devices have Gigabit Ethernet (still check carefully). No HDR10 or VP9 support.

AML S905X = Slower 100M Ethernet only, but can handle HDR for those all important HDR test clips !
Can decode 4K VP9 profile 2 as well. 4K Youtube uses VP9 video compression.


AMLogic S912 hardware works with LibreELEC but you will have to put up with noticable Kodi user interface display tearing due to poor GPU video drivers. This does not look like it will be fixed anytime soon - See HERE for details.
There is also picture tearing during Software decoded video playback.
 Fixed ! with @kszaq's LE 8.1.8 update.
For Audio output and when using Hardware video decoding, playback is the same as the S905X chipset devices with no picture tearing.

AMLogic LibreELEC (or OSMC) Kodi Krypton will be better than any 4K Android Kodi running on any Android box.
4K/1080p HDR video playback is hands off - there is no need to manually fiddle with settings to get a optimal picture output on a 4K TV.

Only reason to buy a Amazon FireTV2 is really for Android specific Apps like Amazon Video and 5.1 DD+ Netflix / Amazon Video - Audio to a 5.1 AC3 only TV / Soundbar.  It also does Android Apps - Auto Resolution switching which no other Android box can do.  However runs inferior Kodi compatible Firmware. Kodi is not easy to install or update for a bunch of users.
Amazon have broken smooth Kodi video playback with a recent Firmware update too, there is no proper 24p video output.
Fixed apparently with a September Firmware update

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Am I right in assuming a Windows based box would be best if my main source of content is usb attached hard drive enclosures?
The last attempt I made at an Android box last year (yes using one of those cheap s905 boxes...never again) had issues whenever it was rebooted, the drives were either unmoutning or remapping, thus rendering the kodi library paths invalid.
HD audio and hi bitrate content for the most part but most stored via usb hdd enclosures.
Thanks
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No not really.

Properly engineered Android Boxes like you get from Amazon, nVIDIA, Xiaomi, WeTek and MINIX, Himedia etc come with decent power supplies - enough to power a single 2.5" HDD with reliability. Even the RPi's have proper official power supplies have no issues.

Otherwise you need to use externally powered 3.5" drives or 2.5" ones connected to a powered USB Hub for reliability.
This is common with all low powered, mobile ARM chipset based boxes - RPi's - AMLogic etc.

The Android OS itself has other problems of Multiple drive mounting issues, as detailed HERE

These are some of the reasons why Android should be avoided if you want a relatively fuss free Kodi media player device. Try and demand too much and you will encounter issues. LibreELEC / OSMC, being Linux based has no issues with Multiple directly attached HDD's.

I call these multiple HDD mounting problems - Android annoyingly getting in the way of Kodi.

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Your s905 box should be repurposed with LibreELEC.
If I have helped you or increased your knowledge, click the 'thumbs up' button to give thanks :) (People with less than 20 posts won't see the "thumbs up" button.)
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(2017-05-11, 05:34)wrxtasy Wrote: No not really.

Properly engineered Android Boxes like you get from Amazon, nVIDIA, Xiaomi, WeTek and MINIX, Himedia etc come with decent power supplies - enough to power a single 2.5" HDD with reliability. Even the RPi's have proper official power supplies have no issues.

Otherwise you need to use externally powered 3.5" drives or 2.5" ones connected to a powered USB Hub for reliability.
This is common with all low powered, mobile ARM chipset based boxes - RPi's - AMLogic etc.

The Android OS itself has other problems of Multiple drive mounting issues, as detailed HERE

These are some of the reasons why Android should be avoided if you want a relatively fuss free Kodi media player device. Try and demand too much and you will encounter issues. LibreELEC / OSMC, being Linux based has no issues with Multiple directly attached HDD's.

I call these multiple HDD mounting problems - Android annoyingly getting in the way of Kodi.
Thanks a lot, yeah that's what I was afraid of that, as the nVidia Shield or the other well supported Android boxes seem like the boxes for me to get except for my requirement of multiple hdds
Appreciate the response!
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I currently have an Nvidia shield. What are my hardware options if I'm looking for the following:

Autoswitch between 1080p and 2160p depending on material played (I want my TV to upscale 1080p)
Auto refresh rate change to 24hz (with GUI at 60)
Bitstream audio including Dolby Atmos
Picture quality is important
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I want a device which can play AVC DTS-HD MA .iso bluray via USB HD with no problems at all
I don't need any other features.
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(2017-05-11, 21:46)Nellgrove Wrote: I currently have an Nvidia shield. What are my hardware options if I'm looking for the following:

Autoswitch between 1080p and 2160p depending on material played (I want my TV to upscale 1080p)
Auto refresh rate change to 24hz (with GUI at 60)
Bitstream audio including Dolby Atmos
Picture quality is important
Android users really are stuck between a rock and are hard place....

If you want Kodi HDR then the easiest option is Android HDR Hardware using Kodi / SPMC - Mediacodec (Surface) acceleration.
But if you want decent quality upscaling using a 4K Resolution, SPMC & Lancos3-optimised on a nVIDIA Shield then you have to ditch both HDR and deinterlacing.

Read - SPMC 4K & HDR setup

And what happens to all the other 1080p Android Apps that are unable to use Lancos3-optimised upscaling at all ?
I can actually start seeing the attraction of 1080p Android Apps already included in a TV's OS in this use case - 4K TV upscaling scenario.

Manual selection of Android - Mediacodec / Surface & Android Resolution settings becomes a right royal PITA over time if you want optimal picture output on a 4K HDR TV. Especially when you mix in requirements for deinterlacing.

This lack of Android OS - App - Auto Resolution switching and 4K TV use is a problem for fussy video purists.

The bigger a TV gets the easier it is to see poor, soft 720/1080p > 2160p external media player upscaling picture output vs what a 4K TV can do. This is not only on the Shield but also on 4K AMLogic Android platforms & very likely other Android hardware as well.

Even Amazon with their 4K FireTV, that does some Auto App Resolution switching. Recently have stuffed up ultra smooth Kodi video playback with a recent Firmware update.

The solution to all this mess is to move (non HDR) Kodi away from Android completely for 4K TV users and use Windows / Linux / LibreELEC - Kodi platforms that do proper Auto Resolution switching.

Some of the 4K Intel Hardware will give you what you want when using Windows, but proper research has to be done on any of the new Intel "Lake" hardware to get the status of the mess that is DVI > HDMI 2.0 and HD Audio Passthrough when using Linux or LibreELEC. It looks like a minefield to be honest at the moment.

@Nellgrove & @rick19011,

Post #1597 above will give you guys what you want - some of the Hardware is pretty much Plug n Play.

Do Not buy AMLogic S912 Hardware !

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(2017-05-12, 05:11)wrxtasy Wrote: @Nellgrove & @rick19011,

Post #1597 above will give you guys what you want - some of the Hardware is pretty much Plug n Play.

Thanks for the comprehensive replies, is there any real world difference in picture quality between these different boxes (and say versus the significant extra cost of a NUC)

I was all set to try the Vero 4k, but it doesn't appear to have gigabit ethernet? i've had problems streaming from my NAS in the past without it so looking for the best option with that.
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