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    Hi. Feb.12.2018

    I'm in the process of buying an Android Set Top Box. It will be connected to my 4k 70” Vizio via HDMI, and a Denon 3805 via SPDIF. No game playing, mostly Kodi like services, perhaps Netflix down the road, and some minor web surfing. I will be adding an Rii i8+ backlit keyboard.

    I have looked at 50+ Set Top Boxes. The more I look, the more I'm confused. My basic criteria is Android 7+, 4k @ 60fps, HDR10, Automatic Frame Rate Switching, H.265 Hardware Decoding, Widevine DRM level 1, Dolby Digital Audio, 2GBG RAM, probably NOT S905 or S912 Processor, BlueTooth, 2 or more USB ports, SPDIF audio out, 2.4/5 GHz. Wifi, 1000M Ethernet, OTA firmware updates, a decent GUI, a Website, a forum, and did I mention Android 7+.

    <Begin Rant:>
    I am totally amazed on how few boxes are on Android 7. Android 6 was released October 2015, Android 7 was released August 2016, and Android 8 was released August 2017. Looking at my calendar, today is February 2018. Have I made my point?

    It must be a whole lot of money to upgrade a box to a newer rev of Android. I asked Minix if they were coming out with a box on Android 7, and they said they had no plans to go to Android 7. Are they kidding me?
    <End Rant!!>

    Another Rant would be most boxes never mention support for Dolby Digital audio. I have heard this is an issue with the S912CPU, yet the Minix NEO U9-H specifically says they support, and are licensed, for Dobly Audio. More confusion for me.

    Question 1: is 5.1 pass through allowing Dolby Audio through the SPDIF port (even though there is no mention of a license for Dolby)?

    Question 2: The Vorke A64 looks decent. There is no mention of Dolby Audio, Automatic Frame Rate Switching & Widevine Level 1. Any comments on Vorke in general and the A64 in particular?

    Question 3: The Beelink GS1 is another decent looking box. Any comments on Beelink in general and the GS1 in particular?

    Question 4: The Zidoo H6 Pro also looks decent. But this is a teeny box and I believe it will overheat. There also appears to be lotsa firmware update issues as per their forum. Any comments on Zidoo in general and the H6 Pro in particular?

    Question 5: CPU choice is the most confusing to me. Amlogic S912, Allwinner, Realtek RTD1295, Rockchip 3399, & HiSilicon Hi3798C V200 (not in any boxes yet). To me the S912 is the most limiting. Any comments on the others?

    Question 6: Any suggestions for an alternative box? I would gladly wait a few months for a better choice.

    Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    M….


  • #2
    I'm not sure why you think the S912 is limited.

    I would also not be concerned about the Android version if your needs are based around video/Kodi use. 7 doesn't really bring a lot to the table that is new.

    You could also expand your search and think about Intel based boxes.

    You should find this very useful as it is quite comprehensive.

    https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=252916
    MXIII-G II, Chuwi Hibox, Nvidia Shield, NUC6CAYH

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    • #3
      Well..
      Q1, pass through doesn't require license (as its raw audio send to "HDMI or spdif/optical)
      However kodi has changed the requirements for pass through (see kodi forum about 17 )

      Q3, has No DRM

      Q4, will install CPU temp app (idle:52 up to 76 )
      Main issue is Google play :
      *it auto updates then says this version is not supported on this device (fix: uninstall googleplay updates every time you wish to use market )
      **other problem is search..search sentio and search comesup empty (this is with many apps..fix is to use xda forums galaxy market with spoof id)
      Netflix HD works but only zidoo build app v4
      *you cannot DL the one from Google play : device not supported error
      ** if you DL v5 and install you will be limited to DVD quality (1280*720)
      Youtube HDR (using iybp with tweak) works but the vid is not smooth (frameskipping) (req: TV with HDR and hdcp 2.2)
      Good: iybp can play vids up to 2160p without any ads
      The firmware out of the box has No OTA working ( fix: DL firmware then use update app )
      --conclusion not user/newbie friendly box

      Q5,
      allwinner, realtek and hisilicon are limited to vendor support/developed - the are not supported by forums like freaktab ( or libreelec or 4pda or xda )
      Amlogic and rockchip do have some supported ( if you are lucky and bought the right device / with correct PCB version )
      ​​​​​

      My advice buy something that has good support by freaktab and libreelec forums or buy a nvidia shieldtv with great vendor support
      - possible Acer and asus upcoming Chromebox's v3 (with real updates from Google ) perhaps
      Or
      Intel PC with Android x86 (or phoenixOs) you can multiboot with win10/libreelec etc (but android x86 has no DRM )
      Last edited by mitchell4you; 02-16-2018, 17:45.

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      • #4
        Hi.

        Thanks for the responses.

        I have 'read' that the S912 has issues with Dobly & DTS Audio, although Minix has possibly found a way around that. Also no USB3.

        Android 7 has (supposedly) 3 X better performance over Android 6, as well as HDR, VR, Improved System Security, & Multi Window Operations.

        I think an Intel based box is overkill for me. It would have to boot Ubuntu, as am a long time user and supporter of Ubuntu on my desktop.

        There is no perfect box, but for my needs I have stumbled across the HiMedia Q5 Pro. Some reviews say there are problems with 4K @ 60fps, and it only supports Widevine L3, Given that I live out in Rural Ontario, where my internet speed is barely 5mps at best, 4K is something that I will never see regardless of what box I choose. Also, I would use my Vizio to get Netflix at HD. There is a down loadable update to bring this box to Android 7 via USB - this is a progressive move that other companies should learn from. Any comments on the HiMedia Q5 Pro??

        Thanks for your advice,

        M...

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