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WeTek Hub - 24p HD Netflix - HD Kodi Audio - 10bit HEVC - Lollipop - 4K
#1
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NOTE: Review below out of date - Android Marshmallow WeOS3.1 has been released allowing such things a 4K Netlifx

A new review is incoming regarding this release.



Updated - 11 December 2016

The Mini setup guide for WeTek Hub / Play2 - Android Lollipop - WePlayer / SPMC (Kodi) devices.

***
Infra Red remote control response with the Hub's remote is greatly improved if you use the included IR extender cable. The IR receiver in the actual Hub itself has issues it seems.
LibreELEC Kodi has been found to have a bad unresolved memory leak bug that shows up sooner rather than later on 1GB AMLogic devices like the Hub. Kodi on Android is unaffected. Update: Fixed !

LibreELEC 7.0.2 - Kodi Jarvis 16.1 found HERE

New OTA WeTek Android Firmware updated to v1.02, see WeTek Android Forums HERE
Various Android TV OS (leanback) Apps will now work better on the Hub with the new Firmware, these are found over HERE

WeTek Hub:
WeTek Hub Website HERE
Price: 89 EUR Including VAT when sold inside the EU, free delivery (info from droidELEC). Export pricing (excluding VAT) a bit cheaper.
Expected release: July 2016

CNX-Software Hub Teardown

watch gallery


Description:
AMLogic S905-H Revision C, fast 10bit (decode only) - 4K / 1080p / H264 / HEVC / HD DRM Video Streamer / Kodi / IPTV media player, running Android Lollipop 5.1.1 or a dual boot Android / OpenELEC combo.
This is WeTek's entry level AMLogic S905 media player, that provides HD Audio passthrough and 10bit HEVC video decoding at 2160p (4K) Video output at up to 50/60Hz over HDMI 2.0.

Features:
  • HD Audio Passthrough of True-HD, DTS-MA, ATMOS, AC3, DTS, see hdmkv's review below.
  • However Multichannel PCM (>2.0) audio support is questionable. I still believe it is not working at all in LibreELEC.
  • Excellent Motion Adaptive video de-interlacing for broadcast TV viewing.
  • IR Remote control, that includes a very basic DPad Air Mouse Function
  • Standby Mode, activated using IR on the remote control.
  • OTA (Over the Air) Android Firmware updating
  • Properly synced 23.976/24/25/29.97/50/59.94/60Hz video output for smooth video playback
  • Includes dynamic refresh rate switching when using Kodi, based on source video's fps.
  • Netflix and Google Widevine Level 1 DRM + Microsoft Playready certified + HDCP - for full 1080p HD DRM video streaming. All other AMLogic and Rockchip Android media players are limited to 480p Max resolution for DRM Netflix and other Apps....
  • Dolby and DTS licensed device.
First Impressions:
The Hub is a really tiny (actually cute), solid, quality device. Nicely packaged with quite a number of cords, plugs and attachments.
WeTek have listened to concerns from the previous product the Core and lengthened the power cable to ~1.2m (4 feet) and also now included an AUS/NZ power adapter for those of us living down under. Excellent stuff Smile
There is also now a 2m (6.5 feet) Infra Red extender cable, so the Hub can be attached behind a TV or hidden in a cabinet with only the IR receiver visible. Why you would want to do this to the cool, funky little Hub is anyones guess. Wink
WiFi is Dual Band 2.4/5GHz AC, and I've had no problems with it. A RS232 Serial cable is also included for those hackers and tinkerers to directly access U-boot and the Linux Kernel using a PC and Putty or similar programs.

The Very Bad:
  • However, due to cost constraints the IR Remote Control is inferior to the superb IR / RF Wireless one used with the WeTek Core.
  • The usual remote buttons work just fine over IR, but when it comes to using the Air Mouse function on this Hub's remote, frankly it sucks. Big Time !
  • This is a standard D-Pad IR Air Mouse remote function, you would find on any regular Android Lollipop box. Its very slow, only goes Up/Down Left/Right and is confusing as hell, and I'm a pretty experienced operator.

  • I hated this Hub IR Air Mouse Remote so much I actually dismantled my WeTek Core to remove its RF Wireless receiver and used its excellent Air Mouse remote control to be able to use Android Apps on the Hub easily and quickly.
  • WeTek you have shot yourself in the foot here with this IR Air mouse remote control functionality Sad
The Very Good: Smile
  • A user adjustable on the fly, dynamic, Global Android OS refresh rate switching and video sync function for all Android Apps. Apps can be individually selected too for exclusion.
  • This results in very smooth HD Netflix playback as well as nice video sync with other Android Apps. Excellent flexibility provided here.
  • Note: Netflix Audio is still 2.0 only.
  • A new WeTek Netmounter App to mount NFS, SMB Network shares directly in Android.
  • The usual slick, customisable WeTek Android Launcher. I really love the elegance and hidden power of this launcher. Thanks again CT
  • This WeTek launcher now includes a Android TV leanback Apps drawer, so compatible leanback Apps can be launched and used properly.
  • Kodi HD Audio support that includes ATMOS, AAC, DD+, See hdmkv's testing in Post #2
  • However Multichannel PCM (>2.0) audio support is questionable. I still believe it is not working at all in LibreELEC.
  • WiFi Spoofing when using Ethernet connection only, to fool those badly coded WiFi only Apps into working.

Still to come + Bug Fixes Needed:
  • Dual boot LibreELEC functionality. Added 21 June, working well with LibreELEC.
  • I expect to be able to add 7.1 HD Audio passthrough to LibreELEC pretty easily as well. Wink Now Added to LibreELEC
  • Fixing of Interlaced DVD playback in WeTek Jarvis 16.1 mediaplayer (I've supplied a YADIFx2 fix) Fixed in LibreELEC and WMP
  • 1080p <<<-->>> 2160p Auto switch and Video display sizing problem (I also have a fix for this) Fixed in LibreELEC

Conclusion:
I'm a really torn reviewer here, being a big WeTek fan. I know the contribution this company is currently making to Kodi code for AMLogic Krypton behind the scenes. I respect and admire the professionalism and direction the company is taking BUT....

Fast, Accurate Air Mouse remote functionality is an absolutely Essential function to use any regular Android Lollipop Apps properly.
I rate this Hub's IR remote control Air Mouse an E meaning a near failure for proper Apps usability. Sad
Note here: Usability is perfectly fine when using Kodi or Wetek Jarvis mediaplayer as no Air Mouse functionality is needed, the same goes for included YouTube and any compatible Android TV (leanback) Apps

WeTek know about my strong concerns regarding the abysmal D-Pad Air Mouse function and they have told me they intend to offer alternative Bluetooth or RF Wireless Remote Control and Keyboard options for availability to customers, that will be paid for extras. They cannot come soon enough IMHO.

Once you get past the Air mouse usability problems, this is an excellent slick, fast media player device. Firmware is stable and there will be regular OS updates with proper after sales support provided by WeTek. There are a bunch of nice custom Apps now provided by WeTek. WeTek (Jarvis) mediaplayer and LibreELEC Kodi HD Audio output is virtually faultless combined with excellent Video Sync options and Hub picture quality and for that I rate it an A Smile

Tech Specs:
  • AMLogic S905-H Revision C
  • Mali-450MP Penta Core GPU/VPU
  • 8GB eMMC 5.0 Flash memory - Samsung
  • 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Gigabit Ethernet and Dual Band B/G/N/AC WiFi, external antenna.
  • BT 4.0
  • HDMI 2.0
  • Micro SD + 1 x USB2.0
    .
  • Dual boot Android Lollipop 5.1.1 / OpenELEC, LibreELEC, Ubuntu optional
  • Google Widevine Level 1, Microsoft Playready + HDCP
  • 1080p DRM video streaming Apps such as Netflix.
  • Dolby and DTS Licences
  • 10-bit [email protected] HEVC decode only
  • HD Audio passthrough
  • IR Remote control.
  • External IR adapter to attach the HUB behind a TV

Review Criteria - applies to any Kodi media player device.

1) What is the seller / manufacturer actually claiming they support in regard to Audio and Video playback on their own Website ?
2) Can I actually use the advertised features properly with the include hardware, remote control etc. ?
3) Are they being truthful or just spinning customers with a load of marketing B.S. ?
4) Any GPL infringing versions of Kodi or Piracy links, advertising, screen captures etc will not be tolerated !
5) Is there an active Seller support forum for end users to help with device troubleshooting ?
6) And finally does the seller have a proven track record of providing after sales support to customers with regular OS updates ?

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#2
Mini-Review by hdmkv - 30 June

================================================
Review of WeTek Hub (AML S905-H Rev C) Android Kodi Media Player
================================================

Overview:

This will be an evolving review based on users' and developers' feedback, and upcoming firmware updates. Huge thanks to WeTek for sending me a review unit Big Grin.

When I posted my initial impressions, I had issues with DTS-HD MA and Dolby ATMOS not working properly, or just not working (no audio). I also had issues with Hub's UI (launcher) blanking out after playing 4K videos, either forcing me to physically un-plug/re-plug the HDMI cable or the power supply. WeTek developer @ChristianTroy reached out and suggested I do a full factory data reset, and use 'Level 2' for the automatic refresh rate setting.

I've also upgraded to the newer 2016-06-24 build/firmware WeTek shared with me.

Did all of the above, sideloaded the latest WeTek Media Player, and re-did all tests below... with much better results this time. The 1080p <> 2160p (4K) switching, while improved, is still slow to synch/re-synch, and I also still get occasional lock-ups forcing un-plug/re-plug of power. When wired, network sometimes comes up as disconnected when it is connected, with reboot resolving the issue. I expect Hub to get more stable, reliable with firmware updates over the coming weeks by WeTek.

Using @wrxtasy's LibreELEC build, performance is even (mostly) better; read below.


Overall verdict: A-

This is my combined score for Hub for Android and LibreELEC performance. Pretty damn neat even at this pre-release stage! Based on WeTek Media Player Kodi fork under Android, and @wrxtasy's LibreELEC build under Linux.


Photos and screenshots gallery:

watch gallery



The player and remote:

@wrxtasy already covered this well in post #1 of this thread, so I'll only mention a couple of things. Had seen photos of the Hub, but holding it in the palm of your hand, you realize how tiny it is (see photo in gallery above). The build quality is better than I'd expected, with what appears to be a mix of brushed aluminum and hard plastic. It feels really solid, and heavier than you initially expect. As usual with WeTek, they've taken great care in packaging and contents, with inclusion of worldwide compatible plug adapters, IR extension cable, and RS232 cable, none of which you normally expect from other manufacturers. With WeTek, with Hub being the 3rd generation player I've evlauated, you mostly just feel a sense of overall professionalism with h/w, s/w and reliable support. A HDMI cable is also included, but it's one of the thinnest I've seen. Maybe still okay for [email protected], but I opted to use my own 'premium' 26AWG HDMI cable.

I did notice that the top metallic surface of the Hub gets rather hot after about 45 minutes or so of use. But, temperature remained steady (not any hotter) after that. I didn't notice any ill-effects on usability or performance.

The IR remote is as @wrxtasy described, and its range is also kind of poor. It needs a direct line of sight. But, when you're close and pointing directly at the Hub, the remote is responsive and works well. But, I don't bother with manufacturer remotes anyway as I rely on my Harmony Ultimate with Hub, which takes care of 99% of almost all remote functions well. Also, having IR made it easier to teach my Harmony all of Hub's remote functions. With the Core and its RF remote, I ended up having to a FLIRC attached in order to use with my Harmony.


User experience:

The Hub boots up quickly (haven't timed it yet), and WeTek's Android launcher (home screen UI, settings) are simple and intuitive (once you get used to it; unless you've used Core, then it's the same). The Hub is snappy, and I haven't noticed any lags. This includes usage in WeTek Media Player (WMP) and SPMC, including navigating large movie/TV libraries, like mine with 2K+ titles.

The OTA update feature is handy, easy for updating the Hub. There is no new firmware as of this writing. The useful refresh rate switcher introduced with the Core is also carried over to Hub. Make sure you have Kodi and Kodi forks (like WMP and SPMC) selected (highlighted in blue), as you want Kodi itself to manage refresh rate switching. The refresh rate switcher app should be used instead for YouTube, Netflix and, in my case, sideloaded Amazon Instant/Prime Video app.

@wrxtasy had mentioned a 1080p to/from 2160p auto-switch and video display sizing problem, which I also noticed. On my 4K display, the picture blanks out, forcing me to un-plug the HDMI cable and plug it back occasionally between video playback/stop and being in the UI. Bit of a pain, until this issue is fully resolved. For now, using 'level 2' setting in the automatic refresh rate setting helps. In addition, as I mentioned, another annoying issue, Hub craps outs (for lack of a better description) every once in a while, with no picture on screen, forcing physical un-plug/re-plug of power supply.


Using LibreELEC:

With @wrxtasy's LibreELEC 7.0.2 build, the 1080p <> 2160p (4K) switching synch issues are no more, and even DolbyVision videos surprisingly play! Not to mention AAC and FLAC 5.1 and LPCM 5.1/7.1 multichannel capabilities also working (as under Android, see chart below). This is apparently a first on any AMLogic platform. I haven't kept up, but good to know Hub breaks new ground for AML audio performance.

Only thing is the supplied WeTek remote does not function with LibreELEC. Had to use my Logitech K400 keyboard.

3D MVC MKV didn't play well. Initially, my projector switched to 3D mode, sensing a proper 3D signal, but then it went out of 3D mode and the picture was blank. When I pressed the 'Enter' key on my K400, I could see it was in SBS mode. 3D ISO just played in 2D mode. Honestly, I'd stop worrying about 3D MVC for AML S905... looks like S905X/S912 may finally support it properly, if Xiaomi's Mi Box specs are to be believed.

Didn't notice any real performance bump in LibreELEC, maybe except for 200Mbps Jellyfish bitrate clip now playing fine (vs. 180Mbps max w/Android), after initial pre-buffering. VC-1 29.970 for example played about the same, with slight judder as w/Android. @wrxtasy mentioned loading LE to the internal NAND would yield that performance bump.

Once you have the mSD card loaded with LibreELEC on it, on subsequent reboots and power-on's, Hub now asks you if you want to load from internal NAND. If you do nothing, it boots into LE. With Core, I recall having to press 'power' to boot from OE upon each boot. This behavior seems different, but I think better. Basically, just pop the mSD card out if you want Android, or leave it in if you want to continue using LE.


A/V Tests:

A/V test suite results...




4K choices round-up: WeTek Core vs. nVidia Shield vs. HiMedia Q5/Q10 Pro:
  • PQ: About all equal
  • AQ: Q5/Q10 Pro > Shield = Hub
    Why? Slight edge to Q5/Q10 Pro, which bitstream HD audio very reliably overall, and support 192kHz multichannel fully
  • Usability performance: Shield > Q5/Q10 Pro > Hub
    Shield is the most powerful, fastest. Q5/Q10 Pro is perhaps a couple notches below, and Hub a couple of more notches below that
  • Versatility: About all equal, for different reasons
    - [The bang-for-the-buck option!] Hub only costs about $100, supports Netflix HD, allows easy Android/OpenELEC switching, and there's excellent support by WeTek
    - [The powerful and almost all-in-one option] Shield cost almost twice Hub, but does Netflix 4K, and is much more powerful for gaming to running a Plex server. Just lacks MVC 3D, which doesn't appear will ever come
    - [Top choice for your own 4K and 3D videos] Q10 Pro costs about as much as Shield or more (with Q5 Pro about $160), lack 4K or even HD online streaming apps, but support all types of 4K formats, have HDR, and play 3D ISO's. But, refresh rate switching and 23.976 still need work, unlike Shield and Hub, which already do this well. Also, Q5/Q10 Pro use a wrapper via Kodi to play videos (external player solution); not a native solution

Basically, the best option all depends on your needs and priorities.


Wrap-Up:

The WeTek Hub is a very exciting and relatively cheap (at just about $100) AMLogic S905-H Revision C media player. It has improved h/w over all those Chinese-manufacturer S905-based players we've seen to date, and even Minix U1 (at $130). It gets most things already right at this pre-release stage, but there are some stability/reliability improvements for WeTek devs to work on. As with the Core, I expect WeTek to mature with firmware updates, and be one of the best S905-class media players on the market (if not the best). Just need to be a little patient as users get their hands on their Hubs and as WeTek continues to tweak performance and reliability.

And, as I've mentioned @wrxtasy several times in above review, his inputs for the Hub, obviously with @CT's and others at WeTek doing the heavy lifting, have really all contributed to making Hub that versatile bang-for-the-buck 4K media box it is.

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#3
Reserved again

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#4
(2016-06-21, 09:28)wrxtasy Wrote: Properly synced 23.976/29.97/59.94Hz video output for smooth video playback

Presumably 50Hz (and 25Hz 2160p) also supported?

Also - if you are using the modified Android TV apps, the lack of Airmouse support is moot, as you only need D-pad navigation? Personally I find the Core's Airmouse close to unusable - so would always add an RF keyboard+trackpad combo if I used Android on a player. In fact I'd prefer a D-Pad implementation as I find the accelerometer system totally unintuitive. As the basic remotes usually are lacking transport controls, numbers for channel changing (I use TV a lot on Kodi) I always factor in adding a Bluetooth or USB remote (PS3 Blu-ray, Tivo Slide or MCE RC6) to any Kodi set-up.
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#5
Two quick questions, Netflix 2.0 audio only? Any reasons for this? Also how about audio from other services such as Google Play Movies, Hulu or Amazon. Its kind of essential to be able to get the proper DD5.1 audio output from these services where appropriate, otherwise its kinda pointless, may as well stick to the ps3 (for streaming services) and RPi (for Kodi)
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#6
I reserved one the other day, but your review of the IR remote puts me off a bit.

Thanks for the write up and review regardless.
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#7
(2016-06-21, 10:02)noggin Wrote:
(2016-06-21, 09:28)wrxtasy Wrote: Properly synced 23.976/29.97/59.94Hz video output for smooth video playback
Presumably 50Hz (and 25Hz 2160p) also supported?
Yes that's a given on AML S905, but i will add all the rest to be comprehensive.

Quote:Also - if you are using the modified Android TV apps, the lack of Airmouse support is moot, as you only need D-pad navigation?
Quote:Note here: Usability is perfectly fine when using Kodi or Wetek Jarvis mediaplayer as no Air Mouse functionality is needed, the same goes for included YouTube and any compatible Android TV (leanback) Apps
The review is based on what is included for the Hub "out of the box".

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#8
Maybe this is obvious for someone but...If i would choose OpenELEC is there any reason to use also Android?
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#9
If you don't need Android Apps at all then OpenELEC or LibreELEC will eventually run Nicely indeed on the Hub and there will be no problems with the remote control Air Mouse.
Have a look over at Post #2 of the S905 ODROID C2 thread for what OE or LibreELEC will give you as well on the Hub once I get stuck into it and get access to WeTek's Hub - U-boot and Kernel sources to pump out a image distro. Smile

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#10
Nice to know! I was a bit worried about the remote, but seems nice otherwise.

Have you tried it with the WeControl app?
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#11
(2016-06-21, 10:47)Draghmar Wrote: Maybe this is obvious for someone but...If i would choose OpenELEC is there any reason to use also Android?

Main reason for using Android - and in particular on Wetek boxes which have proper authorisation and DRM support - is Netflix (and other DRM-ed streaming services). The Wetek boxes are the only non-big-name boxes with 1080p Netflix support (all the no-name boxes are limited to 480p at best) Only caveat for the Wetek Core (and now Hub) is that the audio is 2.0 only - which is a real shame, and why I still use other solutions for Netflix and don't bother with Android for media player duties.
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#12
Oh, ok. Thanks. So there's almost no reason for me as I won't use apps and here the Netflix here doesn't have to much to offer for the price...
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#13
Sweet thanks for the review. I've been waiting for this player to replace my aging ac-ryan playon mini 2.. It will be a big upgrade for me Big Grin
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#14
Im partial to the fire TV remote, small in the hand and feels good. Wonder how well it would work with this, should work as its bluetooth
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#15
I cannot stress enough you need a remote control with universal Air Mouse functionality to use regular Android Apps efficiently and navigate the mouse pointer about the TV screen in 360 degrees of movement and not just Up/Down Left/Right.
Its why I made such a big deal of it in the review.

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WeTek Hub - 24p HD Netflix - HD Kodi Audio - 10bit HEVC - Lollipop - 4K4.673