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OSMC announced new Vero4k, opinions?
#1
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Edit: by @wrxtasy to post the Mini review.
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What is a Vero 4K ? (click)

  • AMLogic (S905X) Quad Core 1.6Ghz 64-bit processor
  • 2GB DDR3 RAM and 16GB eMMC storage
  • Built in 802.11 ac/b/g/n WiFi with Bluetooth 4.0
  • IR and RF receiver
  • 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • micro SD card slot
  • 3.5mm analogue audio output
  • Optical (SPDIF) audio output
  • HDMI 2.0 with CEC (control your Vero 4K with your TV remote)
  • Fast Ethernet
  • 4K, H265, 10-bit HDR ready
  • .
  • HDMI Cable
  • OSMC Wireless Remote
  • TV Mounting Kit
  • Country specific Power pack
  • Infra Red extender cable.



AVS Forums - OSMC Vero 4K Media Streamer Review (click)



Mini Review by @wrxtasy - Updated 10th March 2018

Disclaimer: I was sent a Vero 4K by @Sam.Nazarko a while ago but have waited until I received my Ugreen USB3 > Gigabit ethernet adapter before posting this Mini Review. More on that adapter in the review....

This review is going to mainly concentrate on the Plug n Play features of the Vero 4K as I believe that is it's target market.
Features that can be used by a mainstream non-tech users out of the box without reverting to sometimes difficult Linux terminal commands. Especially when trying to mount SMB or NFS networked file shares via Linux fstab for 4K HDR networked streaming - a nightmare for non-tech users.

The Good:
  • A quality, well engineered little device, there has been some thought put into how end users actually use their Kodi media players.
  • An example of this is the included TV mounting Kit. Simply peel off the backing tape and stick to the display then click attach the Vero 4K to it.
  • The Plug n Play, WiFi - Wireless remote is great. It actually has a sensible button layout AND shock horror - a Stop button !
  • Boots straight into Kodi Krypton in 17 seconds from power cord plug in.
  • There is no Vero 4K Power OFF, but Kernel support for Kodi - fast Suspend / Resume works well to cut a HDMI signal and reduce power consumption.
  • Highly configurable HDMI CEC support using Kodi and libCEC. This is of course very much dependant on AVR / TV manufacturer CEC implementations.
  • Support via Kodi - MyOSMC for 16 different IR remotes.
  • 7.1 Multichannel LPCM audio output & HD Audio passthrough inc. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X More LPCM details in THIS post (click)
  • Has reliable set and forget, auto - refresh, resolution and colorspace switching/conversion for SDR and 4K HDR playback.
  • OSMC Kodi additions include - Force RGB video output for problematic old Sony and Philips LCD TV's.
  • Also added to Kodi is an option for Including the Low Frequency Effects audio channel when downmixing to 2.0 Audio. Boosting the centre dialogue audio channel when downmixing is available as well for clearer speech.
  • Hardware decodes and plays nearly everything I throw at it smoothly inc. VC-1. 1080p 10bit H.264 aka Hi10P Anime will not playback. 1080p 3D not supported - yet.
  • Includes excellent high quality, motion adaptive - AMLogic hardware deinterlacing for OTA TV usage.
  • For those that want to tinker the Vero 4K is running a Linux Debian Stretch distribution (click) You can install a SAMBA file server easily, just be aware of the limited older v3.14 Linux Kernel used.
  • The Vero 4K is stable and does not feel particularly hot during day to day operation.

The Bad:
  • The Vero 4K has Fast Ethernet = 100M only Ethernet which leads to some problems such as....
  • Stuttering video playback of high bitrate 4K HDR REMUX's when using Fast Ethernet and SMB networking. Switching to using NFS Networking over my home Gigabit LAN is much better but there is still some annoying resume - playback issues when skipping about video.
  • Plugging in a ASIX AX88179 Chipset - Ugreen USB3 > Gigabit Ethernet adapter (click) fixes all high bitrate 4K HDR REMUX playback and skipping/resume problems. I'm having no issues with this adapter when I Suspend / Resume the Vero 4K.
  • Directly connecting a USB HDD containing 4K HDR content also solves Networking issues.
  • There is a whole Vero 4K thread about such Gigabit adapters HERE (click)
  • My old WD 2.5" Hard Drive did not sleep when I suspended the Vero 4K, however more testing needs to be done.
  • For a Plug n Play - SDR / 4K HDR capable device it would be nice to see Kodi user selectable via settings - Chroma and bit depth options added.
    These can be set, reasonably easily at the moment via a single Terminal command after you login to the Vero 4K.
  • IMHO the Wireless Vero remote RWD and FFWD buttons should be remapped out of the box to volume Down / Up.
    Kodi users Skip thru video anyway using the D-Pad. RWD & FFWD functionality belongs in the media player dark ages !

The Downright Ugly:
  • Messy developer nerd only info displayed during Vero 4K bootup. A 'cleaner' look would be more welcome for mainstream users.
    It seems the expected Kodi splash screen has gone on holiday as well - surely acknowledging Open Sourced Kodi media player software is important ?
  • Green screen video playback issues when setting a Chroma and bit depth of '422,10bit'. Beware if your Projector only supports 4:2:2 Chroma.

Important Info:
  • Ex Intel users need to be aware these ARM based AMLogic S9xx chipset devices have a relatively weak (vs Intel) CPU and GPU package, but strong VPU for hardware decoding. So consequently, those expecting class leading - Intel Kodi - SSD equipped, ultra snappy performance when using a demanding, heavy Skin like Aeon Madnox with any AMLogic device like the Vero 4K have completely unrealistic expectations.
  • Like all small, mobile chipset ARM based devices. If you plug in more than one, old power hungry 2.5" Hard drive expect issues. You will need to use an externally powered USB Hub for reliability with multiple 2.5" HDD's.
  • 24bit FLAC audio untested. It's very likely resampled 16bit output like all other AMLogic Linux based media players.

Summary:

The Vero 4K is a polished product, steadily improving with each almost monthly Firmware update. It benefit's from what is now a critical mass Open Sourced - AMLogic Linux Kodi eco-system. It's the fastest AMLogic S905X box I've used.
AC WiFi for 1080p video playback works well and it's really nice to see an integrated Wireless remote included. Infra Red only control belongs in the media player dinosaur age.

Some will question the price paid, but you are getting and all in one package here and excellent ongoing after sales support from the Vero 4K team. Often personalised from the developer(s) themselves. There have even been whispers of possible 1080p 3D Frame packed support.
The Vero 4K target market is Not the cheap DIY AMLogic user base.

Mainstream quibbles include the - hard for a first time Newbie - terminal commands like initially setting - 4:4:4, 10bit Chroma and bit depth for 4K HDR video playback. Those SDR or HDR settings options really need to be incorporated into the Kodi user interface settings ASAP.

Does the Vero 4K hit it's Plug n Play SDR / 4K HDR target market objective, I would say definitely Yes. Smile

Thanks to Sam for the Vero 4K review hardware.

W.
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#2
Wonder which SoC. Their product page doesn't say.
[H]i-[d]eft [M]edia [K]een [V]ideosaurus
My Family Room Theater
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#3
It's most likely a Amlogic S905.
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#4
AMLogic S905X I've been told, even then this was not 100% certified info.

All S905X's do not come with Gigabit Ethernet. Notice how "Fast Ethernet" only is in the specs. Wink

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#5
Main reason to buy is 5 year support and controlled/tested hardware but still seems pricey in the cheap android boxes world? I'd buy if the remote had a keyboard on the back like most air mouses.
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#6
Fast Ethernet stands for 100 Mbit/s
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#7
We know that.
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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#8
If thats a S905X device it is very expensive. at 119 GBP .. I own a Mini M8S II with almost identical specs (S905X , 2GB RAM, 16GB Flash) which i purchased for 25 GBP while it was on promotion . Other than the superior WiFi spec of the Vero (AC WiFi) and software support... I don't see anything that indicates such a high price 119 GBP. Five year software support means very little when this hardware will be antique by that time the rate at which Amlogic throws out SOCS.

OSMC itself is a great implementation of Kodi, I run it on my RPI 2 which stays on 24/7 and I have no issues with it, regular updates, no issues when upgrading directly from jarvis to krypton using auto update..etc.
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#9
Just ordered one to replace my RPi3. Looking forward to see how it performs.
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#10
The previous 2 Vero's were almost identical to much cheaper devices. You only got the OSMC software and the promise of support. I bought the first Vero but it was a real disappointment, Very buggy, not well thought out. When the second Vero came I was tempted to buy it but the price was just way too high compared to similar hardware. I have spent a lot of time on the OSMC forum, and many people have many problems with the Vero. I won't buy one anymore from Sam. I have enjoyed is CrystalBuntu software for many years on my Apple TV 1st Gen, rocksolid performance. But now there are better options, LibreElec for example.
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#11
(2017-02-25, 12:11)pameijer Wrote: You only got the OSMC software and the promise of support

Remember, the Software is one of the most important things in such a device. You can have a great device with crappy software and the whole experience is ruined.
In my opinion OSMC is a great implementation of kodi. I have been running OSMC on several different devices over the years and it has been very stable.

(2017-02-25, 12:11)pameijer Wrote: I bought the first Vero but it was a real disappointment
I agree about the first Vero, it was not the best, I had to modify it with an external antenna to get the Wifi working. I actually still use it in the bedroom.

(2017-02-25, 12:11)pameijer Wrote: I have spent a lot of time on the OSMC forum, and many people have many problems with the Vero
In my opinion you can not tell if there is a problem with the Vero from the forum alone, the forum is for support and people usually only post there if there is a problem. You don't know how many items is sold and how many is satisfied with it and simply not posting because they are happy with the product.

What i know is AMLogic S905X is a great SoC for running Kodi, so lets see how well the OSMC team does with the new Vero 4K. I am looking forward to receive my Vero 4K.
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#12
I also couldn't resist and ordered the Vero 3. Big Grin Over on the OSMC forum Sam mentioned

Atmos and DTS:X work. We know people have been after this for a while. No Dolby Vision.

HDR is supported, but may not always look good on your TV


I guess that the 905X processor is powering the Vero 3 as it can't do Dolby Vision? Undecided

http://www.cnx-software.com/2015/12/17/a...-and-more/

Personally, I don't worry about the lack of 1Gb ethernet as Sam wrote that this isn't very useful and can cause problems:

We played up to 600Mbps clips for demoing and testing the hardware. I don't consider this typical however and don't believe it will be the norm for a long, long time.

Gigabit Ethernet would be nice, as we could've ticked that box, but having gone down this path before, we have seen issues that we would have never expected (flow control).
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#13
(2017-02-25, 13:47)Peekstra Wrote: HDR is supported, but may not always look good on your TV[/i]

I wonder what 'supported' means. I can play back HDR10 HEVC 2160/59.94p stuff on my S905 boxes (which don't technically have HDR support). It looks horrid presumably as it is being replayed and displayed as if it is 709 (not Rec 2020) and isn't being displayed with PQ and the EOTF that HDR10 uses.

The question is whether this is what 'may not always look good on your TV' means...

I think for HDR10 to be replayed properly - you need to ensure that metadata is passed through too, and that you have a transparent 10-bit path from source to display? Not sure AMLogic Kodi boxes running Linux (Ldo either of these - even if the SoC supports insertion of the correct metadata into an HDMI 2.0a output? (Android may be a different matter)
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#14
What about this on Linux?

(2017-02-21, 19:34)fritsch Wrote: You won't get HDR, no matter what display. We have 8 bit visuals.
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#15
The (supposedly) Amlogic hardware is capable of 10bit decoding
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