WeTek Play2 Website HERE
Price: €109.90 excluding Taxes and delivery fees.
Released: September 2016
- DVB-S2, DVB-C/T/T2 and ATSC Single Tuners available
- AMLogic S905-H Revision C.
- Mali-450MP Penta Core GPU/VPU (Penta=5)
- 8GB eMMC 5.0 Flash memory - Samsung
- 2GB DDR3 RAM
- Gigabit Ethernet and Dual Band B/G/N WiFi (AP6330), Internal Antenna
- BT 4.0
- HDMI 2.0 + S/PDIF Optical
- Micro SD + USB2.0 (2 Internal + 3 External)
- Dual boot Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 or unofficial Android TV / LibreELEC, Ubuntu optional
- Google Widevine Level 1 , Microsoft Playready + HDCP 2.2
- 1080p/4K DRM video streaming Apps such as Netflix (Netflix audio DD/DD+ 5.1)
- Dolby and DTS Licences
- 10-bit [email protected] HEVC decoding.
- HD Audio Passthrough & Multichannel PCM (>2.0)
27 June 2017
Time to do another Mini Review since WeTek released a pretty decent Android Marshmallow Firmware upgrade for the Play2.
This time I'm Not going to use the unfriendly, buggy WeTV Mini PVR App (see previous review) for TV viewing use but the easily patched WeOS 3.1 Firmware by @Ricardo that Nuke's buggy WeTV and replaces it with a much better TvHeadend server and includes some nice bug fixes as part of the package.
What I really like:
- Snappier Android Marshmallow Firmware than previous Lollipop
- The Play2 has actual Netflix hardware approval and comes with all the required protected video streaming DRM's and HDCP 2.2, which allows...
- Up to 4K Android TV Netflix streaming with DD+ 5.1 Audio - direct install from the included Aptoide App store.
- Netflix DD 5.1 Audio works even if you only have an old DD only TV / Soundbar. (nVIDIA Shield and Mi Box cannot do this)
- No need for a seperate launcher Folder for direct install of Android TV Apps.
- Flawless Kodi / SPMC Refresh Rate Switching once @ricardo's firmware patch is flashed.
- Silky smooth 23.976 / 24 / 25 / 29.97 / 30 / 50 / 59.94 / 60fps video playback in SPMC or Kodi Krypton.
- Telnet root access re-added with @ricardo's patch
- Firmware easily Rooted with SuperSU
- The WeTek Net Mounter App for mounting external home networked SMB and NFS file servers on bootup.
- IEC Audio Passthrough support for Kodi Krypton
- Amcodec hardware acceleration retained in Firmware for high quality TV - Advanced Motion Adaptive Edge Enhancing hardware deinterlacing in SPMC.
- 5.1 Audio passthrough works in TvH using SPMC (Jarvis) PVR Client.
- Included alternate Aptoide Apps store.
- The easy to use Multitasker Apps switcher/killer available by just long pressing the Home button.
- Android Marshmallow brings with it Adoptable and expendable internal storage. (untested)
- Easy boot into standard Android Recovery for flashing patches and new Firmware.
What a TvHeadend (PVR) server brings to the party:
- Easy to use - initial setup Wizard using a networked PC / Mac and a Web browser
- Far easier to custom setup the TV server for Channel Logos and Channel editing etc. using the Web interface
- TvH also pulls in an auto - 7 day EPG via OTA EPG grabber modules > EIT for DVB-T/T2(tested) and PSIP for ATSC(untested)
- A LOT easier to use TvH PVR interface when used with Kodi/SPMC (Jarvis). EPG Auto updates.
- Timeshifting and recording works when a USB HDD is attached and setup in TvH server config.
- A TVH Server can be used to stream Live and recorded TV to other networked Kodi boxes in the house.
- Recording to a networked NAS is possible as well when used with the WeTek Net Mounter App.
What I still do not like:
- WeTek's new desktop launcher that seems cluttered and overly confusing for Newbies
- WeTek insisting they know better by hiding the Google Playstore and Android Settings Icons. What were they thinking ?
- The overly confusing Infra red only remote with too many buttons, spaced too closely together for my fat fingers !
- An aftermarket (extra purchase) Air Mouse is required to be able to use touchscreen Apps properly.
- No Voice searching remotes available for purchase from WeTek.
- No integrated Wireless Air mouse remote - Mini Keyboard - available from WeTek as a seperate purchase.
- The blinding, bright Blue LED power light
- No Independent Dual - ATSC / DVB Tuner option available so you end up being limited with same time recordings and viewing different TV channels simultaneously.
What is broken:
- Android Kodi Krypton, TvH PVR viewing client - TV channel changing and unreliable deinterlacing. This is the same for ALL Android Kodi Krypton platforms. It is why SPMC 16.7 (Kodi Jarvis) is used with the Play2 for TV/PVR usage with the TvHeadend server.
And now for the really Cool Stuff:
- Easily dual boot, using the IR remote - to a Kick Ass version of LibreELEC Kodi Krypton running from a microSDHC card.
- All the TvHeadend server features as listed above available, this time using the working, reliable Kodi Krypton PVR TvH viewing client.
- LibreELEC Kodi Krypton can Autoupdate due to the Play2 being reference LE developer hardware.
- And last but certainly not least a very well done - (unofficial) Marshmallow Android TV ROM available to easily flash. The same TvHeadend server features work there too - this time you can even use Android TV Live Channels & TvH for viewing.
- No Wireless Air mouse required when using Android TV Apps.
A bunch of users will likely not even need to use anything but Android TV - it is that good.
This ATV ROM for the Play2 would put officially Google licensed - Android TV devices like the Mi Box to the sword as it does so much more and also has better connectivity. The ATV ROM / Play2 is not locked down tight and secured with SELinux like the Mi Box either. It is a lot more DIY - Tinkerer friendly.
This Play2 now has gone from being the most unloved media player in my house to being virtually the best all in one device I have. There is a LOT of flexibility available for end users now to pick and choose what OS platform they want to use. Android tablet OS, Android TV or LibreELEC Kodi Krypton. And all work really well once you remove WeTV with bug fixed Firmware. I can even pair a very nice Bluetooth Xiaomi Mi Box remote and use that with Android TV, it even sleeps and wakes the Play2.
The one area of weakness with the WeTek Play2 that STILL remains is their poor included IR only remotes. Android tablet and Android TV has Voice searching capabilities. The (WeOS) Android tablet OS needs a Wireless Air mouse remote to be able to use various touchscreen/tablet based Apps properly.
WeTek's argument is you can go out and buy an Aftermarket Wireless Air Mouse remote. Such as the nice Wireless MINIX A2 Lite that even includes a Mini Keyboard, and works pretty well. BUT you cannot get such aftermarket remotes with integrated Play2 - Voice searching and Power / Sleep / Wake functionality.
The closest remote WeTek already have with such Voice searching and Air Mouse capabilities that works on the Play2 is the older WeTek Core Wireless remote - BUT WeTek still do not offer than as an aftermarket purchase to customers. This still baffles me.
So here is my Wake Up WeTek! shout (again - like a broken record), to provide customers with some decent, integrated Wireless Voice search / Air Mouse remote control options which are now way way overdue IMHO.
Please let the Play2 reach its full potential, particularly for Android TV.
Can you tell I like properly integrate, simple wireless remotes ?
The Marshmallow Play2 with @ricardo's easily flashed TvHeadend server has gone from a B- to a Solid A+
It's now a nicely polished, flexible device when some minor DIY is applied.
Draghmar's Play2 Review found HERE - Updated 15 Sep 2016.
Old Android Lollipop 5.1.1 Review:
I'm not going to regurgitate a review of the quality Android Lollipop 5.1.1 OS implementation WeTek uses, nor the Dual boot Android / LibreELEC system as basically its the same as its little brother the S905 WeTek Hub, found HERE
Play2 differences vs the Hub:
- + 2GB RAM
- + 3 external USB2 ports
- + Single DVB-S2, DVB-C/T/T2 and ATSC Tuners available, includes RF passthrough.
- + S/PDIF optical out
- - Dual Band 2.4/5GHz B/G/N WiFi with an Internal Antenna
- + A nicer, better IR sensitive, remote control with more buttons, for TV use.
What I am going to concentrate on with the Play2 is the WeTek custom Android WeTV App to use with the tuner as a possible PVR.
WeTV App - what I like:
- + Quick Scan and Tune of my DVB-T channels
- + Fast channel zapping/changing even if there is a mini video playback slow down whilst the OSD is briefly visible
- + A decent remote control with numerical buttons for quick channel selection
- + Positive Haptic, click feedback when you press a button on the remote control.
- + Excellent deinterlacing of TV streams
WeTV App - what I'm having issues with:
- ~ Easy Editing of scanned TV Channels lists (bouquets)
- ~ The ability to list in numerical order or custom sort the channel lists.
- ~ Audio pops and crackling with Android Digital Audio settings set to HDMI
I'm even having occasional Audio popping sounds with PCM Audio selected
There is widely reported Audio Sync - drift over time with live TV streams with HDMI Audio selected in Android settings
WeTV App - what is missing or simply does not work:
- - A single page presentation, 7 day, comprehensive EPG. In the Linux TvHeadend software I simply select EIT EPG for a full, Auto, Over the Air, dynamically updated EPG.
- - Not all remote control buttons are sensibly mapped, Eg. Red should pull up Recordings, Green for the EPG
- - No easy ability to Add Channel Logos (PicIcons). I still cannot work it out, nor find an easy to follow guide.
- - No Dual Tuner capabilities, that limits TV channel selection whilst Recording
WeTV App - what is a real PITA:
- - 4 or 5 remote button presses just to pull up a Whats On - Now and Next programme listing for each individual channel.
- - No 7 day Grid Style EPG, for easy setting of Timers and more as implemented in TvHeadend.
- - A slow Infra-red Air Mouse implementation that really is virtually un-usable with regular Playstore Android Apps.
- - Nerd speak un-neccessary abbreviations used, like LCN and others that make no sense to Joe average consumer.
To be tested yet:
- - Timeshifting PVR features and USB / HDD Recording use
So do I like the WeTek Play2, well yes mostly. Its a decent quality product that is fast and responsive with well sorted Android Firmware and a decent IR remote control that does not need to be pointed directly at the box. There are improvements to the custom WeTek Media ( Kodi Jarvis) Player App and A/V sync and playback of virtually all codecs is good with this version of Kodi.
You can also use a bunch of tweaked Android TV OS Apps that work on the Play2 too, like 1080p Netflix and 1080p YouTube. Which means you don't have to use the PITA, slow IR Air mouse function of the remote control at all. There is auto 24p video sync available when using Netflix as well on WeTek devices. In fact its a Global - Android, auto, video sync setting that can be used with any App.
Nicely sorted LibreELEC Kodi Jarvis images are available for DualBoot LE / Android Lollipop use too. LE TvHeadend PVR server/client usability is much better than the WeTV App. TV Streams coming from the TvHeadend server can be sent to other Kodi boxes connected to a local Home network setup. There is also Multichannel PCM (>2.0) audio output and comprehensive HD Audio passthrough support added to LE 7.1 too. 5.1/7.1 FLAC ( > 48kHz) & AAC content consumers, will be satisfied with LE Audio support.
The current PVR focused, Play2 custom Android WeTV App I would consider Beta Software at the moment due to numerous problems already listed and missing features. The most important one I consider is the missing 7 day comprehensive Over The Air - Grid Style EPG. Day to Day usability is pretty poor as well, 4 or 5 remote button presses to pull up a What's On individual Channel programme list is not very well thought out.
I would like WeTek to sit down and think about the end user actually using this WeTV App with the remote control in Hand.
Users want minimal button pressing for quick activation of features, Eg. Green Button for EPG, Red button for Recording listings and so on.
Also please map ALL the remote buttons when used with the WeTV App, some on the round outer dial do nothing at the moment.
Until improvements to the WeTV App are forthcoming I'm going to rate the PVR, DVB centric - WeTek Play2 a B- with room for improvement, even though the rest of the device works reasonably well.
WeTek Play2: A/V Performance & TV/DVR (ATSC) Review
(Updated October 17, 2016)
(Updated October 17, 2016)
Overall Verdict: B
(WeTek's TV app needs serious functionality & UX improvements, but for live TV viewing & A/V playback, Play2 is mostly good)
(Based on firmware WeOS v1.3)
- A/V performance: B+ (occasional stability issues w/HD audio, and occasional lip synch error w/live TV)
- TV/DVR app: C+ (clunky; needs work)
- User experience (UX) overall: B- (Only somewhat intuitive. Reading up, researching on Kodi & WeTek forums really a must)
- Value for money: B ($124 approx)
- Support: B+
My focus for this review is primarily A/V playback performance, followed by usability of the WeTV app for over-the-air (OTA) (USA ATSC) TV viewing and recording. I won't be testing OpenELEC or LibreELEC as the real appeal of Play2 is under Android, with the combined WeTek Media Player (Kodi fork) coupled with its plug-and-play live TV/DVR solution w/o need for backend PVR w/any kind (nor a complicated set-up). In the U.S., Android TV boxes with DVR's are few and far between. I can only think of Aura Live (now defunct), SkyStream ONE and Geniatech boxes. Haven't tried any of them due to poor ratings or lack of decent reviews.
Big thanks to WeTek for sending me a Play2 unit (ATSC version) for review.
I relied on WeTek's latest firmware WeOS v1.3 for this review, with WeTek Media Player (WMP) 16.1-Jarvis-WeTekMediaPlayer-v5 for a/v tests. WMP is WeTek's own customized fork of Kodi 16.1 for optimal performance out of its AMLogic S905-based boxes (Play2 and Hub).
For tests below, please note that not all types are claimed as being officially supported by WeTek. But, as Kodi A/V enthusiasts, we expect (or at least wish) any media player would support everything. These are the recommeded video settings I used.
WeTek's TV/DVR App:
The app's wizard, upon first use, was straightforward for scanning for ATSC over-the-air channels in my area using default settings. But, using the TV app itself is clunky, and takes getting used to. Still, being in the U.S. and having such limited choices for Android boxes with OTA TV/DVR capabilities, a box like Play2 is a welcome solution.
I say the WeTV app is clunky for a couple of reasons:
- It crases randomly (occasionally)
- The functionality options shown and settings are cryptic, hard to decipher. The manual posted online helps however
- The remote (which I'll cover in a bit) is unintuitive with the TV app. It's easy to press a button on the inner D-pad ring when you actually want to press something on the outer ring, and vice versa
- Some menu options in the TV app knock you out to the main UI (a crash), and you have to re-launch it. This is especially the case when trying to record an upcoming show via a channel's EPG (more on this in a bit)
The nice part is that TV quality looks great, with proper deinterlacing. Channels broadcasting in 480i, 720p and 1080i all look very good. Audio, both 2.0 and 5.1 source, both sound great. The only issue is that channels broadcasting in 1080i have a slight lip synch issue (audio behind video). But, quitting out and re-launching the TV app fixes lip synch. Or, channel up and back down also fixes it. Actual recordings are fine, with no lip synch issues.
Clicking on an upcoming show in a channel's EPG does nothing, and in fact freezes and eventually crashes the TV app (see my video above). (WeTek has asked me to send them a dubug log on this, which I'll need to do.) Scheduling recordings manually is a pain as you have to go to the TV app's settings, choose the schedule function and input the necessary values (like channel, time start/end, etc.) to create the timer. You can change the recording location from the default internal flash storage (which has only around 4GB or less available) to an attached USB hard drive or (if mounted) your NAS. I chose USB as I couldn't figure out WeTek's Net Mounter app (it's difficult to use).
Finally, you can create a "boutique" of channels, basically your list of favoite channels. But, the EPG is a real shortcoming for now. You can only bring up the EPG on the highlighted channel while in the default or boutique channel list. You can't get to the EPG with a quick single-button press while you're watching that channel, and overall it's very limited as just a flat list of upcoming shows.
Hopefully, WeTek will put some real effort into the TV app. Don't think any of us are expecting TiVo quality, but making it easier to use, more intuitive, with improved fuctionality to address the gaps I've noted, would make Play2 a real value-added Android box for the U.S. market. Especially for cord cutters who've gone (or are going) OTA in big numbers.
The Remote Control:
The remote is more full functional type than the one included with the Hub. Its range, responsiveness are noticeably better as well. What I want more out of WeTek's remote and even media boxes' UI overall are better labeled buttons or icons, and detailed manuals (like that for WeTV, and easier to find on WeTek's site). I can appreciate WeTek's stance on simplicity, but when I'm (and I bet most users are) looking at buttons or icons, if we can't figure out what does what fairly quickly or easily, it's a little frustrating. Minimalism can be nice, but has to be balanced with intuitive.
I love WeTek the company, but for a serious A/V enthusiast wanting a solid media box w/DVR, Play2 (at least the ATSC version, w/OTA use) isn't quite ready for primetime yet. I mean this w/DVR use, as for just live TV viewing and on-the-spot recording, it's fine. But, if you didn't need the integrated TV/DVR part, you'd be better off w/the Hub. Play2 is a really promising combo box for sure, and I hope (and expect) WeTek will get it to where it needs to be for mass appeal.