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Android -  MINIX NEO U9-H (64-bit Octa Core Amlogic S912-H/ 4K UHD HEVC, HDR, Dolby Audio)
#46
Thanks for the review.
I was looking around for tv boxes as a friend is coming from China where mi box and Minix products are much cheaper than UK.
Overall I think Minix is better choice than Mi Box 3S.
Minix Neo U1 is about 80 pounds with A2 mouse controller
Minix Neo U9H is about 98 pounds with A2, or 105 with A3 voice enabled controller

Should I just go for the U9H or I should look at any other options? Shield TV is still quite expensive there as they are bought from US then sold in China.

Thanks
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#47
You are comparing Apple and Oranges - in fact you are not even looking at the correct Mi Box to begin with.

The one everyone is using on here is NOT the 3S - that device is for domestic Chinese consumption only - the correct version is the USA Spec / International version Mi Box - model MDZ-16-AB that runs the easy to use Android TV.

Your comparison is actually useless. The Mi Box is a better Android TV box, far easier to use because its running Android TV and comes with all the proper certificates and approvals to run things like 4K Netflix, HBO etc. Its not reliant on using a Hacky solution that may not work down the track.

The MINIX devices are slightly better devices to run Android Kodi due to having working Kodi refresh switching for ultra smooth video playback.
The U1 will be a better Android Kodi box - for interlaced content as its running Android Lollipop and can use Amcodec hardware acceleration but only if you use Kodi Jarvis or SPMC. You do get the regular Android Apps store too with its millions of Apps that install easily.

But the user interfaces in use on MINIX are the old PITA touchscreen tablet Android OS. This really is painful if you hate Air Mice and lack coordination to use Android Apps on a TV screen whilst relaxing on the couch.
Even simple actions like pausing and FFWD / RWD with the touchscreen Netflix app require the steady hand of a brain surgeon. Kodi however is much easier and does not need an Air Mouse.

You have to work out what is more important - Kodi or easy to use Android Apps with a proper Android TV OS interface.
Even Kodi on the Mi Box is not that bad for most people, you still get HD Audio and Krypton works pretty good.

Voice search is better on any Android TV OS box as it actually bring up useful Audio and Video content searched from inside Apps vs a global results webpage when using the old touchscreen Android OS. You can Voice search a SPMC (Kodi Jarvis) media library too, using Android TV OS - that is not possible on regular touchscreen based Android devices.

EDIT, the MINIX U1 can run LibreELEC Kodi Krypton from a microSDHC - LibreELEC is the superior Kodi A/V solution vs anything using Android Kodi on any device - this doubly applies to AML Android Kodi Krypton - where there are numerous bugs.

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#48
(2017-03-05, 21:17)wesk05 Wrote:
(2017-03-03, 12:27)hansolo Wrote: Great review!
How is color space evaluation? At least ramps/chroma clipping...
As a side note, is this player capable to run SM2 ISO?
It is the same as on other Amlogic SoCs. All of them hard clip and so you won't get 0-15/0-63 or 236-255/941-1023 in the test patterns. Banding is very minimal in the ramps. Yes, you can play SM2 ISO. I just don't know how to get back to the main menu once I leave it.

Thanks. As a side note, you can't go back in the menu in Kodi, maybe it's a bug (back key exits all ISO and there isn't any root menu key). Funny that on my 2017 SATV Kodi 17 opens SM2 ISO and Color Space Evaluation video but chroma is clipped; your files has no chroma clipping and in SPMC Color Space Evaluation video from SM2 ISO is blank.
That ISO is fine on my RTD 1185.
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#49
(2017-03-07, 04:01)wrxtasy Wrote: You are comparing Apple and Oranges - in fact you are not even looking at the correct Mi Box to begin with.

The one everyone is using on here is NOT the 3S - that device is for domestic Chinese consumption only - the correct version is the USA Spec / International version Mi Box - model MDZ-16-AB that runs the easy to use Android TV.

Your comparison is actually useless. The Mi Box is a better Android TV box, far easier to use because its running Android TV and comes with all the proper certificates and approvals to run things like 4K Netflix, HBO etc. Its not reliant on using a Hacky solution that may not work down the track.

The MINIX devices are slightly better devices to run Android Kodi due to having working Kodi refresh switching for ultra smooth video playback.
The U1 will be a better Android Kodi box - for interlaced content as its running Android Lollipop and can use Amcodec hardware acceleration but only if you use Kodi Jarvis or SPMC. You do get the regular Android Apps store too with its millions of Apps that install easily.

But the user interfaces in use on MINIX are the old PITA touchscreen tablet Android OS. This really is painful if you hate Air Mice and lack coordination to use Android Apps on a TV screen whilst relaxing on the couch.
Even simple actions like pausing and FFWD / RWD with the touchscreen Netflix app require the steady hand of a brain surgeon. Kodi however is much easier and does not need an Air Mouse.

You have to work out what is more important - Kodi or easy to use Android Apps with a proper Android TV OS interface.
Even Kodi on the Mi Box is not that bad for most people, you still get HD Audio and Krypton works pretty good.

Voice search is better on any Android TV OS box as it actually bring up useful Audio and Video content searched from inside Apps vs a global results webpage when when using the old touchscreen Android OS. You can Voice search a SPMC (Kodi Jarvis) media library too, using Android TV OS - that is not possible on regular touchscreen based Android devices.

EDIT, the MINIX U1 can run LibreELEC Kodi Krypton from a microSDHC - LibreELEC is the superior Kodi A/V solution vs anything using Android Kodi on any device - this doubly applies to AML Android Kodi Krypton - where there are numerous bugs.
Thanks so much for the thorough explanation.

I actually realised the differences between different mi boxes in China, and I also realised that the internaltional version MDZ-16-AB would cost just about the same as in here in the UK, around 78 pounds, so not really worth it to buy the international version in China. I was hoping I could buy a cheaper Chinese 3S version then flash it with the ROM for the international version or other third party ROMs that will allow me to install third party Apps. Any recommendations please?

I guess the downside with Chinese version of mi boxes is not being compatible with 4K Netflix, but the 4K TV, possibly Samsung KS7000, I'm buying will have build-in Netflix anyway.

As I dont have a PS4 Pro yet, I'll be mainly watching Netflix 4K, Bluray remux, 1080p rips, and some occasion third party international tv streaming Apps. Kodi is definitely something I'd like to have.

Could you please recommend what box I should buy?
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#50
(2017-03-07, 10:08)airgreen Wrote: I guess the downside with Chinese version of mi boxes is not being compatible with 4K Netflix, but the 4K TV, possibly Samsung KS7000, I'm buying will have build-in Netflix anyway.

Could you please recommend what box I should buy?
I would NOT recommend buying a Chinese 3S and hack around with it. You are asking for trouble because Firmware quality is unknown and this is the Key ingredient in any Android box. Plus there is no DRM on these 3S devices. Complete waste of money.

Just use LibreELEC Kodi on any AMLogic S905 of your choosing - Kodi Krypton will actually run better on the S905 MINIX U1 than the AML S912 MINIX U9 - that has no stable, and very uncertain LibreELEC support. Don't get blinded by Tech Specs you will never use.
If you want MINIX - get the U1 - that is a more flexible device with LE & Android.

The only real advantage I can see is 4K HDR on the AML S912 and Android Marshmallow is a little bit quicker, plus MM. Adoptable Storage.
But where is the properly encoded source 4K HDR video content found - locked away behind Netflix and Amazon servers - you need a nVIDIA Shield to access that.

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#51
(2017-03-07, 10:58)wrxtasy Wrote:
(2017-03-07, 10:08)airgreen Wrote: I guess the downside with Chinese version of mi boxes is not being compatible with 4K Netflix, but the 4K TV, possibly Samsung KS7000, I'm buying will have build-in Netflix anyway.

Could you please recommend what box I should buy?
I would NOT recommend buying a Chinese 3S and hack around with it. You are asking for trouble because Firmware quality is unknown and this is the Key ingredient in any Android box. Plus there is no DRM on these 3S devices. Complete waste of money.

Just use LibreELEC Kodi on any AMLogic S905 of your choosing - Kodi Krypton will actually run better on the S905 MINIX U1 than the AML S912 MINIX U9 - that has no stable, and very uncertain LibreELEC support. Don't get blinded by Tech Specs you will never use.
If you want MINIX - get the U1 - that is a more flexible device with LE & Android.

The only real advantage I can see is 4K HDR on the AML S912 and Android Marshmallow is a little bit quicker, plus MM. Adoptable Storage.
But where is the properly encoded source 4K HDR video content found - locked away behind Netflix and Amazon servers - you need a nVIDIA Shield to access that.

Thanks for the warning on mi box hacking, I'll steer away from that now.
As there are not much 4K HDR content, and the TV is compatible with Netflix and Amazon anyway, so I can live with switching between the box and tv.
There are so many S905 boxes out there, but some seem to be too cheap too unknown, hence I was leaning to MINIX U1, which is an established brand and also available in China for a cheap price.
I've also checked, there are no WeTek Hub available either, so I guess I should go for the U1+Air Mice 2 then?
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#52
Thank you for the review, this forum has been very helpful since I am new to this whole Kodi thing. (First home theatre setup, so bear with me)

I am very interested in buying the Minix U9-H for my new 5.1 surround setup, but am still unclear about a couple things.
I am planning to generally play 1080p (eventually 4k) h265 files that have and a 5.1 audio track in the AAC codec.
If I plug a usb drive into it, will this output the correct surround sound to my receiver which goes to the speakers?
The red dot on the diagram is what's concerning me...

Thank you Big Grin
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#53
(2017-03-08, 08:06)justjoshy Wrote: I am planning to generally play 1080p (eventually 4k) h265 files that have and a 5.1 audio track in the AAC codec.
If I plug a usb drive into it, will this output the correct surround sound to my receiver which goes to the speakers?
The red dot on the diagram is what's concerning me...
Thank you Big Grin
If you don't enable Dolby Digital (AC3) transcode option in Kodi/SPMC, you will only get stereo output from 5.1 AAC. With the transcode option enabled, 5.1 AAC will be converted to 5.1 Dolby Digital and you can bitstream that to your AVR.
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#54
Thats disappointing from MINIX with this U9 being their flagship Android product.

I would have thought MINIX would have gotten all this PCM Audio business finally sorted out like you get on other Android platforms these days.

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#55
(2017-03-08, 09:11)wrxtasy Wrote: Thats disappointing from MINIX with this U9 being their flagship Android product.

I would have thought MINIX would have gotten all this PCM Audio business finally sorted out like you get on other Android platforms these days.
Well... it hasn't changed, but they are not alone. Xiaomi Mi also does the same. Can you output LPCM audio from 5.1/7.1 Dolby audio using the hardware audio decoder on any of the WeTek boxes?
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#56
I have not tested 5.1/7.1 LPCM personally, but I found this test @hdmkv did on the Play2 a while back using WeTek Media Player (Jarvis).

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1...1727738151

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#57
(2017-02-28, 16:02)Jokerchyld Wrote:
(2017-02-28, 04:21)wrxtasy Wrote:
(2017-02-27, 20:39)Jokerchyld Wrote: ...They recommend a known Netflix hack that allows the normal android version of Netflix to play UltraHD content.
Who exactly is "they" or is this just more unproven internet Parroting Gossip ?

"Example Short" is the clip that should be used for testing Netflix resolution. Until that is done every post you see is just speculation and gossip.

Next you will be telling us the AML S912 can actually run LibreELEC Kodi ..... Wink

"They" is the Minix review that Wesk05 posted in the first post. That article makes a reference to this APK --> http://minix.com.hk/downfile/Netflix_HD.apk -- which is the hacked APK to get unsupported Netflix devices to watch Netflix content in HD (or UltraHD if you get that particular APK). There is an observable and marked difference between using Netflix on the android play store and these APK (regardless if its "true" HD or not).

As far as S912 running LibreELEC... Its coming!!! Big Grin (joking, of course).

It's just the same modded apk originated from xda.
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#58
(2017-03-05, 21:17)wesk05 Wrote:
(2017-03-02, 20:39)hdmkv Wrote: Re: resolution switching, if you have a 4K display, I assume this is just the UI resolution & you'd just want to leave it at 2160p, and if 1080p display, leave at 1080p right? Question is, when a 1080p video is playing, is the output at 1080p or upscaled to 2160p?
I'm guessing the automatic framerate switching works well with the usual framerates... 23.976, 24, 25/50 & 29.97/30/59.94/60.
You leave the UI at 1080p. When you play 2160p, it would switch the resolution to 2160p. I am not sure whether the reverse (2160p to 1080p) works in Kodi on any platform. Will have to check that.

So just to be absolutely 100% certain here. Resolution switching is actually working with Android Marshmallow and Kodi Krypton. ?
The U9-H would then join the Amazon FireTV with working Android resolution switching. Smile

Good news then for those with 4K TV's - as you can let the TV's generally superior Upscaling Hardware handle 480/576/720/1080p > 2160p video upscaling and then only Resolution switch to 2160p when you play 2160p video content.

Ultimately in an Ideal Kodi world we need resolution switching from say a 1080p Kodi GUI to lower resolutions of 720/576/480p and then let the TV handle all 720/576/480p Upscaling.

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#59
(2017-03-11, 07:00)wrxtasy Wrote: So just to be absolutely 100% certain here. Resolution switching is actually working with Android Marshmallow and Kodi Krypton. ?
The U9-H would then join the Amazon FireTV with working Android resolution switching. Smile
NO, there is no resolution switching on the U9-H. I was just responding to @hdmkv.
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#60
I have updated my review with an issue that is affecting the picture quality. I had alluded earlier that the picture looked darker when compared to other devices. I have now looked into this further and it appears that the black levels are indeed incorrect for YCbCr color space. The output black levels are 0-217 instead of the normal 16-235 that is seen with YCbCr output. The issue seems to happen only with 8-bit content (video, menu etc.). It doesn't seem to happen when the content is 10-bit. Minix is now aware of the problem and hopefully they will release a fix soon.
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