Recommend me an Android Media Player

Discussion in 'Video Streaming Boxes & Services' started by madmackem, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. madmackem

    madmackem
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    Hi, been looking at finally replacing my wdtv with something newer and like the idea of an android based player - just dont know what to look for apart from having wifi and maybe bluetooth!
    So I'm asking for your advice - please!!

    Thanks

    I had an email with this included but not sure how good it will be http://www.dgmeshop.com/t-a10.html
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2012
  2. next010

    next010
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    Okay prepair for a big wall o text, there are effectively 4 Android TV based set top boxes out there. Amlogic, Allwinner, Telechips and Rockchip based ones make up the vast bulk of them. However if you have any interest in XBMC as your media playback platform under Android TV then Amlogic is the only viable option as XBMC supports the video processing unit (VPU) on those chips, Android has no universal interface to VPU's so it's a very messy system.

    The stock media player supplied on Android TV boxes are quite crude but some people can live with that. The stick you linked to is an Allwinner A10 one. Also true to all Android TV boxes they work best with a mouse/keyboard or airmouse style remote.

    Allwinner;
    * The VPU on the A10 can handle most common media types like avi, mp4. mkv.
    * Lacks AC3/DTS audio support (there is an unofficial patch which enables that).
    * Stock media player is a little better than some of other Android TV devices.
    * It's fast enough under Android 4.
    * Poor wireless/ethernet speed not suitable for HD video streaming from a NAS but okay for compressed video and internet video. Not sure if all A10 devices are affected but many come from the same factories and use the same components.

    If going with an A10 stick I would look at Rikomagic MK802II instead as they are local and they provide firmware updates & tech support to the device. They also do a variant with ethernet.

    Amlogic;
    * The Amlogic VPU handles all the common media types plus has AC3/DTS audio support.
    * Has no speed issues with wifi/ethernet.
    * The 8726-M1 boxes were originally designed for Android 2.3 but you can get Android 4 on them but then the GUI is not as snappy as the Allwinner A10 models even though it does have a faster CPU then the A10.
    * There is the newer 8726-M3 boxes that come with Android 4 out of the box & run it a bit faster & there are also the new 8726-M6 boxes which are dual core CPU/GPU. The M3/M6 also have HDMI-CEC support so you can control it via TV remote if you so desire.

    If looking for something Amlogic that can run XBMC, well the Pivos XIOS is the exact box to get, though the Android builds are still very much beta so your buying looking at the long term. Pivos are still setting up local re-sellers but you can buy direct from them supporting them and the XBMC guys who are working on it, plus you get good tech support.

    You can buy Sumvision Android boxes local which are the same thing but you wont be supporting XBMC team buying those & dont expect any support.

    The newer generation Amlogic chips just coming out you can get direct from OEM's, but don't expect any support in fact it would be non-existent. Here is an Amlogic 8726-M3 box,and this is an 8726-M6 box, though you cant quite get those yet & I'd wait until someone like Pivos launch their version of it.

    Rokchip;
    * Never used Rockchip so couldn't say anything about them. They do have a high end box on paper faster than anything else but no one has used one yet.

    Telechips
    * Havant used anything recent from them but they make cheap stuff, can work fine if your not too picky.

    Lastly not an Android TV box but the official GoogleTV set top box from Sony which is double the cost of Android TV boxes.
    * Runs a version of Android designed for use on TV's.
    * Fast and a better GUI that's easier to control via remote.
    * Apps designed for TV remote usage but no access to phone/tablet Android app store.
    * Plays most common media formats.
    * Cannot run XBMC and likely never will without Google's approval. Though you can use Plex with it instead.
    * Has HDMI input for overlay of cable/sat set top box plus HDMI-CEC to control via that and IR blasters.

    So there you go, if you just want something to toy around with the Rikomagic stick is what I'd go for. If you like the idea of XBMC then Amlogic is the only option.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2012
  3. madmackem

    madmackem
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    What a great reply, many thanks for the time and effort you have put into this. I have a revo running xbmc in the bedroom so looks like I'll go the Pivos way.
     
  4. next010

    next010
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    If it's just for XBMC then use the linux firmware it runs way better on the box then the android firmware. Hopefully Pivos can speed up the Android side of the OS in due time.
     
  5. madmackem

    madmackem
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    Its to go in the living room, but I want something that will be easy for the Wife and kids to use when Im not in! They know how to use xbmc, have it on a netbook and as I said in the bedroom. (And I like xbmc)
     
  6. Beryus

    Beryus
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    But if I use the linux firmware then I have no web browser or android apps that I need to access the media center of TV channels, right?
     
  7. next010

    next010
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    Correct.

    XBMC does have a PVR version for TV channels that will come to the XIOS but not any time soon that's a ways off in the future. XBMC also has it's own plugins for some sites too.

    But I would recommend waiting for the Android/XBMC to mature a bit more if your concerned about the speed. Pivos have dropped rumours about a more high end Android box using the 8726-M6 chip.
     
  8. Beryus

    Beryus
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    Another (maybe stupid) question: Will all apps work on an android set-top box or are there some limitations and do I have full access to Google Play (maybe relating to Pivos model)? Mainly I need Flash for watching missed TV series and I heard that Adobe stopped distributing it to new android systems.

    Best regards
    Beryus
     
  9. next010

    next010
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    Cant say if all apps work but pretty much everything I have tried works on Amlogic based Android boxes like the Pivos, cant say the same about Allwinner ones though.

    You do have access to Google play, in the developer options section of the settings menu you should change the market location by setting your phone vendor to a UK one thats how it defines the region for the market.

    Flash is dead on Android your wasting your time pursuing it.

    As Adobe release newer versions of Flash the websites using it will begin to request the updated version of Flash which Android will not be able to provide. A very small number of sites will continue to work with the outdated version but eventually they will disappear with major updates to Flash.
     
  10. Beryus

    Beryus
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    And if I need Flash for this: Das perfekte Dinner im Schlafrock - Gruppe Allgäu: Tag 3 /... ? :confused: (a TV series that you can watch from the homepage of the TV channel)
     
  11. next010

    next010
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    Unfortunately those are blocked outside of Germany so I cant see the videos, if you have an Android phone/tablet and it works without Flash present then it should work on the Android set top box.

    The site may do a HTML5 version for iPhone/iPad's too but what they often do is limit that to the Apple web browser so you would need to use a web browser under Android with a change user agent to Safari to get access. If you search the Google play store for user agent you will see a bunch of apps there which offer this.
     

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