Xmedex Xtreme Plus Media Player Review

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Android, Aussie style

by hodg100 Mar 2, 2016 at 1:59 PM

  • SRP: £155.00

    What is the Xmedex XTREME Plus?

    This 4K capable media player is our first sample from Xmedex, who are a popular brand in their own country of Australia but are only just spreading their wings globally. The Xmedex XTREME Plus caught our eye with some unusual features – including dual boot Android & Ubuntu - and, what looks like, excellent manufacturer support. The Xmedex Xtreme + is available from the Company’s own website for around £150 although, if you hang fire, it should soon be available from Amazon UK – hopefully at a slightly lower cost as, on paper, that price is looking toppy.


    The XTREME + is powered by a RockChip RK3288 main processor, along with a Mali T764 GPU. It is blessed with an unusual 4GB of RAM – 2GB is the norm – and has 32GB of storage built-in, in a unified fashion, so you can install apps to the internal SD card as well as that allotted for the system; it’s also easy to mount external memory, which is good to see. The Xmedex XTreme Plus runs on Android 4.4.2 but work is being done on a v5.x (Lollipop) update.

    Design & Connections

    There’s nothing really remarkable about the appearance of the XTREME Plus – it’s a small black box with the manufacturer’s logo on top, like so many we see, with a footprint of 120 x120mm (WxD) and a height of 20mm but height measurements could be increased if you attach the included antenna which provides support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Down the right hand side there’s an AV input, a recovery button accessed using a paper clip (or similar), a TF Card slot, plus USB 2.0 and OTG (On-The-Go) ports should you need to attach the device to a PC.
    Xmedex Xtreme Plus Design & Connections
    Xmedex Xtreme Plus Design & Connections

    The rear connection plate features a Gigabit LAN port, two further USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI 2.0 output and a Toslink digital audio out; there’s a physical power button on the same side the antenna attaches. The supplied remote is extremely Roku-esque with a fabric tab at the bottom of is rounded design and a simple set of control buttons. There are navigation and volume keys, home and back buttons, plus a context button used for KODI/X-Media Media Center. The remote operates over infra-red so you will need line of sight but at least that’s not a narrow line as the XTREME Plus has generous IR scope; it’s worth noting that the Xmedex can be powered down totally from the remote, which isn’t always the case.

    User Interface & Menus

    The Launcher screen of the Xmedex Xtreme is quite busy but reasonably attractive and easy to follow. In fact, it’s like many a box we see with a series of tiles from which you can assign shortcuts to apps under headings such as Music, Game, Browser, Market etc. To the right side are smaller tiles for Settings, an ‘All Tasks Killer,’ a shortcut to any apps not on the launcher and something titled ‘My Device,’ which is actually just a fairly simple file explorer app. It is also possible to create shortcuts to any installed apps at the bottom of the screen, should you want quicker access than the tiles can provide.
    Xmedex Xtreme Plus User Interface & Menus
    Xmedex Xtreme Plus User Interface & Menus

    The Settings Menu is old-school Android in comparison to some of the newer Lollipop boxes we’ve seen recently but it’s straightforward to navigate. The Display settings include resolutions all the way up to 3840 x 2160 at 60Hz, although the auto option worked perfectly over the three TVs we tried it on. Unusually, there’s even a Movie Mode which actually changes the picture quite dramatically - especially the gamma response - so leave that alone and set at your TV/projector. There are also some basic picture controls for Brightness, Contrast, Satcon(Colour) and Hue; you shouldn’t need to use any of these if your display is set up correctly. Those connecting the player to an AV Receiver will need to enter the Sound Menu and then Sound Devices Manager to get the player to bitstream over HDMI or S/PDiF.


    The dual-boot facility of the Xtreme + is accessed in Android via the Power Menu, under the command Switch System. It takes around 10 seconds to reach the Ubuntu – actually Lubuntu (a light version) of the OS - but, be warned, you’ll need another form of control to use Lubuntu. Depending on just how you want to use it, that means either a keyboard/mouse combo or an air-mouse will do the job for light operations. Since there’s no stable build of KODI for 32-bit architecture, we didn’t get much use from the dual-boot capability but, in our brief testing, it appeared to be functioning well.

    Video and Audio Performance

    Xmedex have gone to some trouble in creating the X-Media Center which is a customised version of open source media software, KODI. Our experience would suggest that the Rockchip processor used in the device definitely needs a helping hand as it doesn’t get a lot of – if any – love from the KODI developers.

    Testing was carried out primarily on a Samsung UE65JU700 via a Yamaha RXV-V679 AV Receiver, with files stored on an ASUSTOR AS6102T NAS and a Samsung M3 1TB USB 3.0 hard drive.

    Beginning with the Ultra HD/4K tests and we got some pretty good results, with a few limitations.

    4K Tests

    X-Media Center

    3840 x 2160/AVC/MP4/23.976fps
    Partial success - no auto refresh rate switching and manual 2160p24 produces stutter every ~41 seconds
    3840 x 2160/AVC/MP4/24.000fps
    Partial success - no auto refresh rate switching
    3840 x 2160/AVC/MP4/25.000fps
    Partial success - no auto refresh rate switching
    3840 x 2160/AVC/MP4/29.970fps
    3840 x 2160/AVC/MKV/59.940fps
    3840 x 2160/AVC/MP4/23.976fps
    Partial success - no auto refresh rate switching and manual 2160p24 produces stutter every ~41 seconds
    3840 x 2160/HEVC/MP4/29.970fps
    3840 x 2160/AVC/MP4/59.940fps
    10-bit 3840 x 2160/HEVC/TS/59.940fps
    No video
    10-bit 3840 x 2160/HEVC/TS/23.976fps
    No video
    3840 x 2160/AVC/MP4/50.00fps
    Stuttering, audio drop-outs, unwatchable
    4096 x 2160/AVC/MP4/24fps
    Partial success - no auto refresh rate switching

    We didn't really know what to expect when it came to the Xtreme Plus' ability to handle 10-bit HEVC encoded HEVC files and, with the present firmware, it couldn’t but it did play 8-bit HEVC back very well, with a caveat which applied to all the Ultra HD/4K material we played through the Xtreme Plus; the player would display the content in whatever refresh rate the system is set to, meaning you’ll have to manually adjust the output dependent on the material. This would be fine if the system actually had a 23.976Hz output - as that’s what he majority of movies and major TV series are encoded at - but it’s a true 24Hz output, which means there is observable stutter every 41 seconds, or so. Whether you’ll notice it is another matter but if you are susceptible to seeing it, it is there. Having spoken with Xmedex, they assure is their new upcoming firmware will support 10-bit HEVC at 4K so we'll update when their update is on general release.

    Moving down the resolution ladder and the Xmedex Xtreme performed even better with near faultless playback of our test files.


    X-Media Center

    720 x 576/MP2/mpg/25.000fps - Interlaced
    Decent deinterlacing but played at 4:3 instead of 16:9
    1280 x 720/AVC/MP4/29.970fps
    1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/25.00fps - Interlaced
    1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/23.976fps
    1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/24.000fps
    1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/25.000fps
    1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/29.970fps
    1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/30.000fps
    1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/59.970fps
    1920 x 1080/HEVC/ISO/23.976fps
    1920 x 1080/HEVC/MKV/23.976fps
    1920 x 1080/VC-1/MKV/23.976fps
    1920 x 1080/VC-1/MKV/29.970fps

    The only stumbling block here was what should have been the simplest file, a lowly standard definition clip which played in a 4:3 aspect ratio, rather than the 16:9 is was encoded in; the quality of the deinterlacing was good, however, but we would prefer the whole picture. It’s good to see the Xmedex Xtreme Plus has no problems with VC-1 encodes, which is not always the case with Android media boxes.

    If you like to keep your rips at highest – or nearly best – quality, it’s important your streamer is able to handle high bitrates and that applies whether the content is locally stored or from attached and network storage devices. We tested the Xtreme Plus over all three and it was an impressive performer, for the here and now, but there will be challenges it won’t be able to overcome in the future; of course, that’s always the case with technology but there are competing devices out there that are better future-proofed.

    High Bitrate

    X-Media Center

    1920 x 1080/AVC/M2TS/23.976fps & 90mbps
    1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/23.976fps @ 100mbps
    Fine after initial cache
    1920 x 1080/HEVC/MKV/23.976fps @ 110mbps
    Fine after initial cache
    3480 x 2160/H264/MKV/23.976fps @ 120mbps
    Fine after initial cache
    10-bit 3840 x 2160/HEVC/MKV/23.976fps @ 120mbps
    No 10-bit support
    3840x 2160/H264/MKV/23.976fps @ 140mbps
    Stutter again, at start, but fine after that

    10-bit 3840x2160/HEVC/MKV/23.976fps @ 140mbps
    No 10-bit support

    3840x 2160/H264/MKV/23.976fps @ 200mbps
    nice & smooth after initial cache
    10-bit 3840x 2160/HEVC/MKV/23.976fps @ 200mbps
    No 10-bit support

    As noted earlier, the Xtreme Plus is currently unable to handle 10-bit HEVC video, although it does do fine with 8-bit, which will be sufficient for some. It does mean, should Ultra HD Blu-ray be cracked and subsequently ripped, that you will be losing one of its advantages with this device but since there is no HDR capability, either, you could argue it’s not such a big deal. We were very impressed that the Xmedex could handle files with a bitrate up to 200Mbps, although there was an initial stutter on all tested as the video cache loaded in to memory. This being a fork of KODI, there are measures you can take using advanced settings to increase the cache memory buffer size, which more or less did the trick in eliminating the starting stutters.

    As far as we can see, the Xmedex Xtreme + is not advertised with any 3D capabilities, at all, so we had no idea what to expect here…


    X-Media Center

    1920 x 1080/AVC/ISO/23.976fps Frame Packed
    Played 2D at 60Hz
    1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/23.976fps Frame Packed
    Partial success - switched TV in to side by side mode but at 60Hz
    1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/23.976fps Side by Side
    Need to manually engage 3D in TV
    1920 x 1080/AVC/MKV/23.976fps Top & Bottom
    Need to manually engage 3D in TV

    We were surprised when our TV jumped in to 3D mode when playing a frame-packed MKV file, albeit it was displayed in side-by-side format and at 60hz, rather than 24; there is no way of manually forcing the output at 24Hz, unfortunately. Native side-by-side encodes also forced 60Hz output, as did Top-and-Bottom, and neither automatically engaged the TVs 3D mode but we’d already got more than we’d bargained for here. Full 3D ISO play in 2D, also at 60Hz.

    Another area we had no prior expectations for was in the handling of multi-channel and HD audio codecs.

    HD Audio

    X-Media Center

    AAC 5.1
    Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
    No audio
    Dolby True HD 5.1
    No audio
    Dolby True HD 7.1
    No audio
    DTS HD-MA 5.1
    No audio
    DTS HD-HR 7.1
    No audio
    DTS HD-MA 7.1
    No audio
    LPCM 7.1
    Passed as stereo

    While the Xtreme Plus had no issues bitstreaming 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS, there is no capability for any HD audio handling for your movie rips with no audio passed to our receiver, at all, with pass-through set to on in Xmedia Center. Again, you’ll need to ask whether your set up needs HD audio, or not, but it’s a tad disappointing from our standpoint.

    Update: Xmedex maintains that HD audio passthrough is working on some customers devices and AVRs but we simply can't get it working within our setup so it could perhaps be an issues with the Yamaha amp and the device but the best we got was 2.0 PCM for Dolby TrueHD but we got nothing with DTS-HD codecs.

    Video Review

    How future-proof is this video streamer?

    4K Ultra HD playback up to 60 frames per second
    HEVC decoding Full HD
    HEVC decoding Ultra HD
    HD Audio pass-through
    Netflix HD/4K
    3D ISO playback
    HDMI 2.0
    Over The Air (OTA) Software Updates
    Manufacturer version of KODI


    OUT OF


    • Plays almost video up to 8-bit HEVC 4K
    • Tailored KODI
    • Fast processing and networking
    • Solid firmware
    • Dual boot Ubuntu


    • Too expensive on import
    You own this Total 0
    You want this Total 0
    You had this Total 0

    Xmedex Xtreme Plus Media Player Review

    Should I buy the Xmedex Xtreme Plus?

    This question is at least partially dependent on from just where in the World you are reading this review and, to a slightly lesser extent, when you are reading it. The current (March 2016) quoted price for UK customers tops £150 which is definitely too high for our market but, back where it originated in Australia and territories closer, it’s a far more competitive proposition. As we said earlier, the company is in the process of establishing retail channels over here – and elsewhere – so if and when that happens, we’d expect that price to drop.

    With those considerations aside, the Xmedex Xtreme + is a very capable media player with the ability to handle most video types, all the way up to 8-bit 4K at 60 frames per second. The firmware is stable and the hardware backing it up is pretty impressive, meaning the box is very responsive and easy to use. There’s also a custom built fork of KODI installed which maximises the capability of the chipset to good effect, although the lack of handling of HD audio formats is a loss and so is the inability to play 10-bit HEVC content. For the time being – with our UK location duly taken in to consideration – this is not a product we’d recommend importing but it’s definitely one to keep an eye on if the company can establish more local channels from which to buy it.

    What else is there?

    If 10-bit 4K/Ultra HD is of major interest, both the Minix U1 and the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV are the current leaders of the pack and both can now handle passthough of HD audio in to the bargain too. The Wetek Core is also similarly blessed with HD audio handling, although it isn’t so well equipped for 4k video with only 8-bit support up to 30 frames per second but it does offer the capability to dual-boot OpenELEC and can do HD streaming from the likes of Netflix. If you're not so bothered about Ultra HD, although it does support 4K up to 30 frames per second, the HiMediaQ5 is another fine choice and can playback 3D video and HD audio, with just a couple of caveats. .

    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £155.00

    The Rundown

    Build Quality




    Networking, Internet, Streaming quality




    Set up, Menus, Remote


    Value for Money




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