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

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by Scuzzo, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. Scuzzo

    Scuzzo Active Member

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    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 :cool:
     
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  2. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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  3. mrspock

    mrspock Active Member

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  4. Scuzzo

    Scuzzo Active Member

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    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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  5. Scuzzo

    Scuzzo Active Member

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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..
     
  6. Scuzzo

    Scuzzo Active Member

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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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  7. Scuzzo

    Scuzzo Active Member

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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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  8. Scuzzo

    Scuzzo Active Member

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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: Mar 29, 2013
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  9. Scuzzo

    Scuzzo Active Member

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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....
     
  10. Scuzzo

    Scuzzo Active Member

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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..
     
  11. Scuzzo

    Scuzzo Active Member

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    more cool stuff in development for minix.. and i assume other android boxes..
    some dev has now complied a version of Finless to work in Clock Work Managment..
    this means no need for using the desktop computer to install rom via usb...

    and some other very cool discovery i have made on the Minix.... with this you will need 3 different apps installed... and a tablet or a phone...
    install xbmc.. have 1 channel on installed on the tablet, have Yatse xbmc remote app installed on the tablet... and if you want you can have navi x installed on the tablet it will all work the same...
    configure 1channel to use external player.... if you have done every thing right then Yatse xbmc remote will be an option as external player... and with that you can Play to xbmc...
    this means you can use the xbmc internal player for content on your HDTV served from 1channel or navi x.. or tv portal that resides on your phone or tablet... most of the content seems to be sd or a little better resolution but ya... its pretty cool... real second screen kinda stuff... just another way to network with the tablet and the HDTV... if you happen to have one of these cool little android tv boxes... give this a go... the xbmc player is so much more robust and well thought out then mx player or any player i have used....

    and plex has just updated so you can play to GTV plex (with plex pass)... another cool second screen experience... but its still beta..
     
  12. Scuzzo

    Scuzzo Active Member

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    very very cool development over at the xbmchub site..
    this is a plug collects links places them in to your database so you can access the movie through the xbmc library.. but it also uses features like imdb to access topic play list... so if say you are a bond fan..
    you can use this plug in to access the imdb web site.. and it will list all the james bond movies along with meta data and art.. give you the available links and you can even add those to your library so its like having the movies in you local library... this is some amazing development.. all cred given to dudehere.... check out the youtube vid for a much better explanation.. its pretty freaking cool.. still yet to reach beta but its one to watch..

    the royal we xbmc addon beta 3 teaser...

    TRW Beta 3 Teaser
     
  13. Scuzzo

    Scuzzo Active Member

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    welp i just could not get use to a small cell phone screen and i did not want to use my 10 inch tablet too cumbersome, i did not want to spend big coin on a nexus 7 because i plan to buy a nexus 7 sec gen device once its announced at I/O ,, so whats that leave? kindel fire? too underpowered for Cymod(jellybean) mho... sam g tab 7.2 /... not a fan of the form factor... and i set 100 bucks at as high mark... vizio tab? no just no...
    so... nook tablet? yes... really? well yea... its finally getting some support with Cymod 10.1.. its on a nightly now... so development work is on going.. and it will be fun to see where it goes... the nook tablet is really a good little tablet once modded... 1 gb ram ``16gb storage.. HD screen... micro sd slot... and has full root.. so that should be fun.. keep in mind this is mostly just for second screen kinda things... hopefully google will release a decent second screen app for its Prime Time GTV app... its already been done by both xbmc and plex... so... this little nook tablet paired to the Minix X5 should make a true cord cutting device with all the bells and whistles of second screen support and will also make a nice rooted hobby kinda tablet deal so see how far they can push a little 2core 3year old tablet...

    other news... the Minix x5 is working quite well still.. runs xbmc like a champ... only bottle neck seems to be the servers on the net... still waiting on the 4.2.2 jellybean roms but it will come...
    there are new boxes coming on the market.. quad core... but... im not ready to jump untill i see support from the manufacture in the form of software release or a dev community of some kind... best let it shake it self out and see what remains... a fancy tv box with no firmware support on going is just a dead box mho... welp... will post more when i get the second screen/ remote up and running rooted and running cymod 10.1..
     
  14. Scuzzo

    Scuzzo Active Member

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    well the minix x5 is still working quite well. perhaps it was working better when i had a faster internet pipe... but comcast has screwed me to the wall for the last time, i dumped them for wow.. huge savings but slower pipe... and a wonky router thats being replaced this week.. but any how... pretty much the most development is coming from XBMC plugins.. and the minix seems to handle the 72op content even with a slower pipe.. i was even able to watch some cycling stage races with help of sports plugin.. looking forward to the tour of spain.. so SD content is not really affected by going from 25 down to 15 mbps HD content seems to need a little buffer time but seem that once the buffer is filled it plays quite smooth... 1080p? too much of a draw on the pipe.. but even with comcast i could not get good signal on 1080p... anyhow... the minix could really just cut the cable cord easy as pie... with xbmc and plex... but even shaving the cord its helps a lot... i can find any show i want to see.. it may take a days time to show up.. but no biggy.,,, looking forward to seeing what google tv has in the offing at IO but i dont have too much hope it will surpass any decent android box... too bad really... it had such promise..
     
  15. Scuzzo

    Scuzzo Active Member

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    bit more follow up on the ole Minix x5 android tv box.. XBMC is really starting to smooth out on this.. with the ice films and ch1 addons.. and the royal we addon (amazing stuff) and Mashup and navix and... well lots of really cool alternatives to the ole "we are the cable company so... just shut up and bend over" as i have stated many many times afore... i dont feel the least bit of guilt for getting content in other ways... truth is there is just more interesting stuff happening on the other side of android then has ever happened with google tv.. and i think the ole HDMI thread is proof of that... but any how... if you are ever thinking about these silly magic android boxes which are free of DRM and all that jazz.. i will put the minix x5 up against most... mine... seems to handle 720p with out any problems with about 600megs of free memory i can run the more cpu heavy xbmc skins.. still not doing so hot on 1080p but... i dont like that kinda over head.. too much for the pipe at 15 down... now minix is about to debut a 7x.. which will have 2gb of mem and quad core... how this will translate to faster JB and xbmc.. remains to be seen... but there is so much cool development and apps on the non-google tv branch of android its just kinda sad to see how GTV just stalled it has so much promise... but the choke hold is just too stong, its just not worth waiting for some momentum... if it were not for PLex.. im pretty sure i would just pack it in... but plex for google tv is getting very good.. good enough to put up the the deep sleep dev cycle google has forced into play... but heck... at lest we have some cloud printing capabilities and the whole HDMI ARC thing is been sorted out.... good times...
     
  16. Scuzzo

    Scuzzo Active Member

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    welp, the Minix x7 just got close enough to the 100 dollar impulse purchase price that i had to jump.. the development cycle for the X5 is slacking off a bit and the new Minix Neo X7 is a large enough a bump in performance that i wanted to see where it would go.. right now its on fire as far as development is concerned.. lots of roms and stuff being cooked up and i wanted to see if the 2gb would help xbmc run in a more smooth fashion.. i guess if the jellybean for gtv would have come out sooner then that would have killed the gaget lust... but what the heck i have used my X5 about every day since i bought it.. so it has paid for its self many times over... will review the new one when it gets here.. and will post up findings in a comparison between the two... x5 duo core and the x7 quad... technology is moving at such a fast pace now im pretty sure that this box will be surpassed by mid 2014.. but perhaps quad core is good enough to keep for a little while.... still very happy with the company... much more so then with any google tv version.. its just way too locked away for anything interesting to happen... might as well be an apple tv for all its lack of open architecture... perhaps if when if GTVjb hits the boxes thing may yet change... getting xbmc to run on gtv would be a treat... but untill then... meh.. its a bit static. still like the nsz gs7 very much more then that awful revue... but its so over hamstrung by honeycomb its just not fun any more..
     
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  17. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    Based on reviews I have read, I am not sure XBMC will run on the Minix Neo X7 well enough to actually use. I am also not sure the reviews are from users able to operate the device properly or if all boxes advertised as Minix Neo X7 are exactly the same. Based on what I have read, I would say any of these unapproved Android mini PCs are buyer beware and none of them worth messing with at this point.

    Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Latest Minix Neo X7 Quad Core 2GB 16GB NAND flash Media Streaming Player
     
  18. Scuzzo

    Scuzzo Active Member

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    first off, what the heck dose un approved mean? but whatever.. you are intitled to your opinion... but being one who has one of these "un approved" android boxes.. i can say that xbmc runs for the most part quite well.. much better then any approved android box i have used... hahah... open source is open source... if it can run android and be rooted to a flavor of cymod.. then there is nothing more to approve or un approve.. its just as approved as any tablet that can load google play services and play store... the fact that you can mess with them is the very reason to buy them mho... its not a static experience... you are not beholden to some mega conglomerate that chooses when the stars align just so... then and only then will WE push the next android update. and i dont hold any stock in some customer review that is so de-viod of any real content.. again i have a minix x5 and except for the memory being on the thin side to run xbmc.. meaning that the skins are not as smooth and experience as more memory or a faster processor may afford... i am quite happy with it... and in comparison of what my google tv box can to to what my unapproved bad guy from the orient... can do.... there is no comparison.. and im not an just some guy that builds an opinion by reading stuff off the net and user reviews... i have experience with both... these boxes are not for every one.... never said that to be true... but neither is some dumb point and click roku box.... i like my stuff to have a bit of a more funky kinda operation.. one where some guy can come up with some cool idea publish to the masses to try out... rather then just float questions of when google or sony or who ever,, when can we have this or that update.... im more then willing to give some funky little company what has a cool idea and some forward thinking development my cash... but thats just me.. and for god sake people dont let amazon be the last say in what is good or not about anything... some times its better to do the leg work, find some freaking stuff out dig into google a bit deeper then just some non tech review on a buy site.. but then again thats just me..

    here is a detailed review of the minix x7


    and here is another review on the same device..

    Minix Neo X7 Review - Androydz.com

    these boxes may be total crap.. i will find out and make my assessment... but i would dig a bit deeper then just some amazon disgruntled yob... try tabfreak or the unofficial minix forum.. check out youtube for detailed reviews.... but if you want to take amazon as the final word... no i would not buy anything ever again.. not a tv not a lawnmower not a soup spoon....
     
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  19. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    Unapproved is pretty simple, not approved by Google and I have seen nothing that makes me believe it is licensed to handle any of the codecs requiring licensing. DTS, Dolby Digital, MPEG-2 and so much more requires license fees and I see no logos indicating any of that has been paid. What does it mean to use devices like this from a legal standpoint, I really don't know, but I won't mess with them.
     
  20. mrspock

    mrspock Active Member

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    The video review looked good. Where did you get it for $100?
     

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