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START HERE - Pick the Right Kodi Box (updated Dec 2020)
Hi,

im looking for an upgrade to my rPi3 as a media player, My tv is just HD so 1080p is just required. 

my main requirements are:

Kodi - just up to 1080p, DD & DTS passthrough (my amp is just 7.1 DD and DTS), auto refresh switching
Netflix - 1080p, DD&DTS
Sideload apks
ideally not rooted


remote - something compatible with my logitech harmony (IR).

At the moment it looks like the NVidia Shield is the best option? but seeing if there is anything else out there that will be a bit more affordable. 

Thanks,
Reply
I will repeat this again, you will not get 5.1 DD+ audio out of the Android TV Netflix App unless you have a HDMI connected DD+ capable audio receiver. The audio receiver has to support DD+ not DD only. Expect 2.0 audio only with DD only audio equipment.

If 5.1 DD Netflix audio is important get a Dolby Audio Licensed, Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV, those can do 5.1 DD+ > DD audio downmixing.

Have a look at the Infra Red capable, reasonable cheap MECOOL Pro L if you want 1080p Netflix and Kodi at a cheaper price.
You would have to get the one with the Infra Red remote for the Harmony to learn its IR commands.
However that device will not do Android Kodi auto refresh switching, you would have to dual boot and use LibreELEC Kodi for that.

The 2017 Shield will need a FLIRC programmable IR - USB dongle for IR Harmony remote usage.

The Apple TV 4/4K has a built in, easily user programmable IR receiver for use with any IR remote.

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OK,

So I only need Dolby Digital and not DD+, are you saying that only the ATV or Amazon fire can down mix to output DD only?

How about the nvidia shield? Can this provide DD from Netflix?

So if I go with an Amazon firestick, what are the main things I'd be missing out on?

Cheers
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(2018-08-28, 07:45)lctham Wrote: OK,

So I only need Dolby Digital and not DD+, are you saying that only the ATV or Amazon fire can down mix to output DD only?
Yes

Quote:How about the nvidia shield? Can this provide DD from Netflix?
No DD+ only, you need a DD+ audio receiver for 5.1 DD+ Android TV Netflix audio.

Quote:So if I go with an Amazon firestick, what are the main things I'd be missing out on?
I would not use a FireTV stick for demanding Kodi usage.
It is the last device you should be looking at for Kodi usage.

Auto refresh switching will not work and Kodi DTS audio support will likely be spotty or not work at all. I doubt 7.1 passthrough audio would work at all, the FireOS Firmware simply does not support such Kodi audio bitstreaming I believe.

You are going to have to compromise or buy an Apple TV 4K that has much better legacy AVR DD only and 5.1 / 7.1 LPCM audio support.
Then you would use the MrMC App, but it has Addon and Skin limitations, you cannot self install extra ones to what already come packaged with that App.

Your DD only AVR is what limits your hardware choices.

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ok - i just checked my amp manual, and it actually can decode DD+

so what would you recommend now??
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In that case...

If you can afford it the NVIDIA Shield.

If not the MECOOL M8S Pro L.
The Pro L will Not give you Android Kodi refresh rate switching, but dual booting to LibreELEC Kodi enables everything and more you would get with the RPi3 Smile

Reply
thanks for the quick reply!

how does the xiaomi box stack up?
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(2018-08-28, 13:31)lctham Wrote: thanks for the quick reply!

how does the xiaomi box stack up?
It runs buggy Android Oreo Firmware which means ALL passthrough audio no matter which App inc. DD+ Netflix has audio dropouts.
No idea when and if that will be fixed.

WiFi still has bugs too which is not good for a device that heavily relies on WiFi. Xiaomi are trying to fix that one at the moment.
See Post #1 of the Mi Box thread for the list of current issues.

And before I forget Android Kodi deinterlacing for OTA TV and Kodi PVR's is broken on all AMLogic devices no matter which version of Android Krypton or Leia you use. You have to use LibreELEC Kodi on such devices for reliable high quality deinterlacing.

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OK. Looks like time to save up for the shield then!
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I have been doing a lot of reading and I think I finally want to upgrade to a quality box.

It looks like the vero 4K+ has it all.

I am not familiar with osmc since I have been using Kodi all along.

Will all Kodi apps run on the OSMC box as well or is it 2 separate things?

Thanks for the help.
Reply
OSMC is the OS for Vero 4K+/4K/Pi/Apple TV 1st-gen, etc. It is based on Debian stretch but is configured and optimized for running Kodi 17.6; you can think of it as Unix with Kodi as its GUI.

Vero 4K+ with OSMC will likely be my next Kodi box too. It's a great little system with a well supported and vibrant community.
Reply
(2018-09-02, 19:00)JamesGrey Wrote: I have been doing a lot of reading and I think I finally want to upgrade to a quality box.

It looks like the vero 4K+ has it all.

I am not familiar with osmc since I have been using Kodi all along.

Will all Kodi apps run on the OSMC box as well or is it 2 separate things?

Thanks for the help.
 OSMC is really just a way of describing the Linux OS that Sam has engineered, and that Kodi runs on.  OSMC is like an equivalent of LibreElec - but with different pluses and minuses.

OSMC stable releases currently run Kodi Krypton (i.e. 17.x) so should be OK with any add-ons that are compatible with that and supported by the underlying OS.
Reply
(2018-08-28, 13:17)wrxtasy Wrote: In that case...

If you can afford it the NVIDIA Shield.

If not the MECOOL M8S Pro L.
The Pro L will Not give you Android Kodi refresh rate switching, but dual booting to LibreELEC Kodi enables everything and more you would get with the RPi3 Smile
 Hello,

I'm also interested in a cheap ATV + LibreELEC dual boot setup with S912 SoC. So Mecool M8S Pro L looks good to me.
However it seems that they have several sub-models (LQ, LB, BP, LS, etc) and it's impossible to know which one you'll be getting before you actually get it.
https://androidpctv.com/review-mecool-m8s-pro-l/

If I need the box to be fully compatible with LibreELEC, including Wi-Fi, BT and hopefully remote (optional), is it safe to get a Mecool Pro L without knowing which sub-model I'll be getting?

My requirements:

1) running ATV, either comes with Android TV OS or has 3rd party ATV rom (preferably Nougat)
2) fully supported by LibreELEC (Wi-Fi, BT) for a dual-boot setup
3) S912 SoC
4) below $70 (love to have a Minix U9 but it's a bit pricy)
5) optional: a popular box, with half-decent community support.

Any thoughts will be much appreciated.
Reply
(2018-09-06, 08:49)gotiuser01 Wrote: If I need the box to be fully compatible with LibreELEC, including Wi-Fi, BT and hopefully remote (optional), is it safe to get a Mecool Pro L without knowing which sub-model I'll be getting?

My requirements:

1) running ATV, either comes with Android TV OS or has 3rd party ATV rom (preferably Nougat)
2) fully supported by LibreELEC (Wi-Fi, BT) for a dual-boot setup
3) S912 SoC
4) below $70 (love to have a Minix U9 but it's a bit pricy)
5) optional: a popular box, with half-decent community support.

Any thoughts will be much appreciated.

Basically you want the original Pro L (or M8S Pro with faster DDR4 RAM) with the Infra Red remote, because there is no need to pay extra $$$ for the Bluetooth Voice remote that will not work in LibreELEC anyway. Plus if you read on Freaktab the ATV ROM's being distributed have issues with the latter Bluetooth Voice remote boxes.

Aliexpress and other Websites seem to have 'em around $60 or less.
The IR remote's on these cheap AML device are rubbish so you need something Wireless.

This is a pic of the one I'm talking about:

Image

Then you need a USB Mini WiFi receiver dongle Wireless remote, because they emulate a connected Keyboard and work both with the Android TV OS and LibreELEC. The Bluetooth ones will not work in LibreELEC.

This would work:


There is great support for Android TV ROM's for the Pro L over on the Freaktab website (click)

AMLogic Nougat 7.1.2 Firmware is a LOT better than the buggy AMLogic Oreo 8.0 devices (original Mi Box 3 & MECOOL KM8) that are out in the market at the moment.
1080p Netflix with DD+ audio passthrough works well with Nougat 7.1.2 on the MECOOL's.

For those on a really tight budget, the little bit slower S905W - Nexbox A95X Pro (click) would also work for Android TV 1080p Netflix and dual boot LE.
It already has the Mini USB dongle remote, but no Bluetooth and weaker 2.4GHz only WiFi

W.

Reply
Thanks a lot for the advice!! So I suppose that's the original LQ model I'm looking for.

I already have a wireless voice remote, Rii MX6, which is overpriced IMO but should be serviceable. Battery dies pretty quick though (2 cheapest AAA batteries will last for about 3 months) Not sure if I need to buy a USB fan as well if I don't game on the device but it looks like everyone is modding these cheap S912 boxes for better cooling. Guess I'll get one anyway since it still requires minimum skills to add passive cooling. Sad
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