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Thread: The Alternative Android Tv Box thread...and some tips.. off topic..

  1. #1
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    The Alternative Android Tv Box thread...and some tips.. off topic..

    well, i have been having great fun with my Minix X5 tv box... so far i have been able to root it install XBMC... all the really cool plugins.. and i have even had a chance to sample a few home baked roms... and so far its pretty amazing... i am more then pleased with the open architecture. because if you swap out too many backups or recover or step all over your sql table.. things can get hosed.. and the only solution is to reinstall firm ware, not a biggy if you just follow directions.. and make sure your debug is on.. and you have good connection to the pc... and the new roms seem to be much more fluid then the stock.. at least the ones i have tried on the minix... but thats the fun of it really.. making a thing your own... and not having to rely on big company tech support... there are a few issues with the xbmc side of android ... the external player work around means you dont get the full experience of the native xbmc player... its ok but i will be glad when they figure out the trick for internal player Hardware accell... but when all in all with a full android market and a solid port of xbmc... these little rockchip boxes are amazing... and they dont over heat, allow for any codec you need, and once rooted are if not un-brickable, there at is a good chance you will be able to recover with little harm..... not like that revue i had... 3months phone tag and all the guy had to do was reinitialize my user account(what i told him to do 3 months back) ... so thats where im at with android... its much more fun to have a full featured tablet box with no restrictions... and its fun to see what is coming up next... so thats what this thread is about... not hating on GTV... i just think there are way more interesting options there are a lot of misconceptions that are out there... right now i think that 2core boxes are the best bet.. i have not seen enough dev work with 4 core that really takes advantage of the processor... jellybean.. runs just as well on 2 or 4 core... and all the apps except for a few games and such.. are built around 2 core... xbmc will not run faster or more smooth of 4 vs 2 not that i can tell.. the resources are just not being used... now, when keylime hits this may change.... but thats just a guess... so.. even though the 4 core chip is out... its not well enough adopted for me to get excited about it yet... i would suggest doing research on any of the android forums and seeing what folks like and dont like... if you find a company you dig... and are interested in there android tv box... see if they have a dedicated forum... find out how they handle firmware upgrades... and customer service.. all that kinda stuff.. look for at least 1gig of mem.. and usb ports. and digital audio connections... perhaps a micro sd or sd card slot... find out if there is a dev community for the box... thats where the more interesting stuff is coming from.... if you have folks who are cooking home brew roms... chances are they have a bit more tech savy then.. that one guy on the tech support line... or the over enthusiastic forum guy.. its better to get intouch with real folks who get down to the actual code and structure of the firmware.... at least thats my finding... so... bit of stream consciousness... but thats my experience...


    so in this thread... post all those cool little advancements in the android tv box realm.. things like the new 4 core chip boxes... they really have some nice bench marks.... where xbmc is going with the Native HW accell on android... how is the new PLEX app performing on the android boxes... what are the firmware updates comming from rockchip.. reports on the OUYA... that might be the next big thing...
    who knows... its all progressing so fast...


    i will add a few links... various android tv box forums and stuff

    Android Stick Computers - xda-developers
    MINIX Forums - Unofficial
    Minix - NeoG4, X5, etc
    XBMC HUB FORUMS
    Movies Online with XBMC | Free TV Channels on XBMC
    XBMC for Android | Android XBMC Media Player

    thats should provide lots to research... well i did say its off topic
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  2. #2
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    Thanks for your input. If somebody wanted an android TV box that currently has XBMC hardware acceleration - then wouldn't something like the Pivos Xios be a better bet for now?

    The Pivos Xios DS Android TV Box: The First With XBMC Hardware Acceleration
    My web-mix (bookmarks) for GTV content. (In order to view all available content set GTV user agent to "generic"):

    http://www.symbaloo.com/mix/googletvcontent

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    Everything I've read about Ouya has made me very excited about the product but I'm going to wait for some real world reviews of the Ouya.

    Here is a post I made regarding a review of XBMC running on Ouya by one of the XBMC developers.

    XBMC running on the Ouya

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    Quote Originally Posted by CatfishRivers View Post
    Thanks for your input. If somebody wanted an android TV box that currently has XBMC hardware acceleration - then wouldn't something like the Pivos Xios be a better bet for now?

    The Pivos Xios DS Android TV Box: The First With XBMC Hardware Acceleration
    i had one of those before i bought my minix... it work ok with SD content... but with anything 720p or above it would grind to a halt.. it would never buffer proper.. even in linux... which is fine if you have a nas.. but.. if your stream things on line you cannot count on a constant stream... it fluctuates and i thought the xios was way under powered for running ICS let alone Jellybean... i think its a single core with 500meg of mem.. at least the model i had.... for andorid JB you need 2core.. and you need 1gb of mem.. the native HW acell was nice but the buffering problems just killed it for me....
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    man this little desktop tv computer is great when paired with the logitech KB.. and the folks at xbmc are really pushing forward... its really nice to see a real Media center at work... although i only use plugins.. so far except for a few glitches it works pretty freaking well.. even with those more advanced skins.. and now im running finless x5 rom, its super smooth.. although i dont have full 1080p right now.. thats ok because the only content i stream is 720p.. and there is a kernel for 1080p.. if i want it... the only thing i would say that is missing in this whole android experience is amazon... but then again... there catalog is kinda weak as a prime member.. Hulu can be had with some plugins from xbmc hub... but the best stuff mho is the full fan art and covers from ice films and channel1, there is a nice universal standard that seems to be followed by the the devs.... even though i still have google tv.. and even though i have the new program guide.. after the first hour using it it kinda lost its appeal... its nice. but meh... unless somthing really new and interesting happens with GTV.. not just some voice search... i may just stay at the nsz-gt1 and wait for the 3 gen gtv box.... but by that time... we will have Octo Core chips and 5gb of mem on these little android boxes..
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    this is about the best video demo of the neo x5... im sure there are other boxes that are equal in stats and performance.. seems like the new chip set will be a bit faster.. but this is a very good demo of what the Android TV boxes can do... anyway its a bit more informative... should be cool when XBMC gets full HW acell native.. but it really works well at 480p.. and as he said 1080p is available via MXplayer.. with full codec support... as well as Dice PLayer, Rock Player 2, Mobo player... and all the best web browsers are avail, Chrome, FireFox, Dolphin,

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    just an idea about what XBMC on android can be like... although i would not get any thing less then than a 2core 1.4 ghz chip set... and some decent storage.. all those skins and all those fan art and covers require space... i use a 32Gig SD for all my metadata and so far it works great, nice and speedy perhaps not as fast as internal storage but... its fast enough to where i can run any skin i desire and not get bogged down...



    some really cool add ons for xbmc
    are
    IceFilms
    1Channel
    25movie
    NaviX
    and there are bunches more

    there are about 10 different skins... all which has there own theme and design element... but there again all those graphic intense skins can slow down an underpowered machine.. but i have not found any that really trounce the Minix X5... so are a bit quicker then others though.... i expect with firm ware updates and updates of frodo XBMC things will be come just about seemless... and now there are new addon developments that add those films found on icefilms and 1channel directly to your video library... full fan art and covers and all the little enhancements.... its really cool.
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    bit of a follow up on this... some pretty cool advancements have made it to xbmc for android... the most important of which is Internal Hardware Decoding.. they are just about there... not quite but close enough for me anyway... now in XBMC im able to get pretty much the full experience, the internal player is much more robust then external players and i think the color reproduction is much better, or how it handles the compression or how it decodes the video stream... what ever it is it is better... so if you are running frodo on your android device.. do a google search on Libstagefright you will get all the info there.. at least this is working for the Minix Neo X5.. i dont know about the other android boxes... and do get this "Upscale UPGRADE!!!" hahah... could not resist.. you need to be rooted... but thats what these boxes were built for... and once you get everything going right... nothing can touch these boxes as far as cord cutting... just load up xbmc grab a bunch or addons... and have at it.... but watch what skins you choose... some of the more elaborate ones really tag the cpu and will degrade performance.. now the xbmc player works fine with streaming 720p content..... i have about 20mbps down and its doing well... but 1080p... i have not tried... i am happy enough with 720p.

    bit more news... 1channel has updated their app.. it now supports external players... which is much better then androids internal basic player... now you can use any video player in the play store with 1channel... and even google tv can use external players on 1channel.... although its a scant few... GTVbox, and Avia... i dont condone or approve of disapprove of use of 1channel app.. we are all grownups so decide for your self... same with various aspects of xbmc addons... if you want to see it.. its all out there... but the legality of it? thats on you..
    Last edited by Scuzzo; 03-29-2013 at 08:21 AM.
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    bit of a blip on getting started with your android box: (ooh thats a big font )


    this is a rough over view... most of this stuff is looked at with very broad strokes,,,, not very much on detail
    and this applies to my Minix Neo X5 android tv box... but a lot will apply to any android tv box what has enough horse power... and memory to use these apps and stuff

    things you need for getting an android NON google tv box in ship shape..
    Root: while you dont have to root... it makes things a lot more easy for backing up and it allows you full control over the machine... you dont have to rely on the manufacture time table... and dedicated hobby developers just have a better pulse on the android platform...
    Backup: Ti Backup... root required (this will save butt)
    Super User: allows you to gain super user access... this is what some apps need for permission to install
    Over Clocking App: Because its just freaking cool to push the limit and see this Android Box go fast and efficient.. (use with caution)
    Home Brew Roms : two are avail right now... pick one and go with it... Finless or Kirk.. although the my minix will be getting JB 4.2 in about a month from minix,,, i like the home brew roms because they adapt to change quicker... and there is a focus i dont find with manufacture stuff.. (links to follow put here)
    XBMC: X Box Media Center - this is the whole cord cutter solution... with a very driven community of developers in the XBMC platform and XBMC plugins... with out a doubt this is the best example of an all in one Media Center soultion for streaming content from a nas or online.... and its free.. the support is amazing.. links to follow put here..
    Plex Media Center App:

    addons I like:
    1channel
    Ice Films
    Mash UP
    The Giddyup Network : classic Tv shows and such
    I Tunes
    Twit
    Revision 3
    you tube episodes
    The Royal We : play ice films and 1channel movies from your home library... no need to open the add on.. includes full metadata on display... still in development... but very cool
    Ice Films 2
    xbmc backup
    there are just too many to list, but if you want to see it chances are there is an addon for it.... (again its on you to decide if you wish to use these services... im not your mom!! )


    Other Apps:
    music

    8 track
    Pandroria
    Slacker
    I heart Radio
    Google Music

    News

    Flip Board: News App:
    Apply Geek: Tech News App
    Pulse: Tech News App

    Tv and Movie streaming

    Navix: Movie Tv Streaming
    1 Channel: Movies Tv Streaming
    TV Portal: Movies Tv Streaming
    Plex for android
    netflix
    Crackle

    Utilities
    Root Explorer
    Over Clocker util : many to chose from ... just go with it
    Splash Top : control you PC from you HDTV... really cool...

    Games: ?
    angry birds?

    Plex Media Center App for tablet or phone: control the Plex App includes Play To: function... and makes a really nice Graphical remote for your plex library...
    The Googe Play store (access to 600,000 different apps.... really more.. and full playability on your jelly bean android box... or as close to make no odds..98% prob will play on the tv box)

    XBMC Remote: remote for phone or tablet to control xbmc media center (includes full GUI with movie and TV art and ability to Play to TV)
    Yatse Xbmc Remote: alternate remote for phone or tables to control xbmc (my fav)
    Music Pump xbmc remote: alternate xbmc remote to control xbmc (just a bit different but very nice layout)


    other stuff:
    Hard Wire : dont rely on spotty Wifi... Hard Wire connection is more robust... no signal loss issues..
    Good Controls: you will need either a key board with track pad or whatever or a mouse. or air mouse. or tablet.. or phone... what ever you choose... Logitech makes a great wireless Keyboard that works well with this android box config... K700..
    some extra storage: 32gb flash card or micro flash, or a usb drive.. thumb drive.. DLNA network... how ever you wish to go about this because although 16gb is nice... it fills up..
    more other stuff;

    i would not buy these if you want a passive experience... these are not an (every thing just works when i turn it on) kinda deal... you have to be proactive.. there are 3 or 4 different facets you need to consider..

    Android operating system.... it may require a modification of some sort... usually in settings.. or there can be compatibility issues with the opp system and the apps...
    Rom... you need to keep track with the development of the rom, and kernel... the dev may have compiled new features or fixes in the latest version
    xbmc configurations: if some thing changes in the server site... the plug in may break so these need to be updated.. check xbmchub.. or the skin may not work ... or ... or ,, or..
    Plex media center: again these are developing platforms.... things change very often these changes may break plugins... gotta keep track of that,, there can be decoding issues.. or server problems..
    you have to have a server to send content to your android plex app... so you will need a PC or mac or linux... and you will have to config all that plex server side stuff.... so there
    Android Apps: you may need to adjust setting of the apps them selves.. or the apps may just not work on your device.... its rare but it happens...

    lots to delve into...



    thats just a very brief overview... the depth of content, apps and ways to use these android boxes are astounding... pretty much any thing you can do on an android phone or tablet.. will translate to the android tv box... very cool bit of kit it is....
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    bit of some follow up on my on going review of this little tv box... still digging it... i have swapped roms on it from finless to kirk... and i like the kirk on better because it requires no secondary pc to root and rom... its all run on Clock Work Management recovery... with pretty much fool proofs the installation... load the zip file on a sd card rename the zip to update.zip... and wait for the prompt.. i also decided buy a used dedicated smart phone for all the control functions of the Minix android PC and Google tv... with a decent smart phone you should be able to control

    Android Keyboard, Android Mouse functions
    Droidmote
    Plex Interface
    Xbmc Interface remote
    Yatse Xbmc remote
    Google Tv,
    Plex on Google tv
    Sony Remote
    Able Remote
    GTV remote
    and if i am betting the new Primetime App for android that will be announced at google io in may...

    I choose a Droid 2.. because it was cheap fair power at 1ghz. rootable.. to at least ICS... overclocked to 1.4.. and has a decent lcd screen and slide keyboard... should do away with the need to have the to use a tablet, sony gt1 kb, and revue KB... and should stay the techno junky fix untill at lest the new nexus 7 makes its debut... so all in all... the minix is the Best money i think you can spend on a android streaming box..
    and this week some more firmware updates are comming.... so thats cool... like i said... very well supported..
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