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Suggestions on Android box for Kodi/Emby client


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#1 bangis OFFLINE  

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 03:34 AM

I run an Emby server on a QNAP NAS and need client devices that will use a Kodi front-end (with the Kodi Emby addon). This is the primary purpose for the box. Netflix HD is a plus but not a deal breaker

I already have multiple clients set up and the best is obviously the Nvidia Shield which works beautifully, but also priced the highest. I also use the Minix Neo U1, a good workhorse that's also been fairly reliable. I've tried some other boxes like the Zidoo H6 Pro (running Allwinner H6) and the cheap MX boxes, but those were either completely unusable or couldn't play videos smoothly

With all these new boxes coming out, wanted to get input if there's something that could work / fit my use-case

I wanted to try the S912 boxes, starting with the Mecool ones. Received the Mecool M8S Plus L, but am quickly finding out that wifi for this device is extremely horrible. Overall interface feels slow for an octacore CPU (I'm comparing with the Minix U1 running on the S905), and when I set up Kodi/Emby, I couldn't even play videos from an Emby server that was local! Kodi kept returning an error saying source was too slow. WIFI signal is strong (in the launcher icon), haven't done a speed test, but in any case, this looks like another paperweight for me. Good thing it was cheap enough to throw away. I also tried the Amazon Firestick ages ago, but performance wasn't great so that also got given away fairly quickly.

I have the Mecool M8S Pro L arriving, and I'm not sure if it's going to be any better, based on the M8S Plus. Uses the same chip, although this one at least has an RJ45 port, something the M8S Plus lacks. Unfortunately, I can't rely on wired LAN in all locations so still need a reliable box that can use wifi.

 

Was considering the Xiaomi Mi Box S, but I've read about the refresh rate issues so held back.

 

Anybody here using an Android box (that's not an Nvidia Shield) with Kodi + Emby addon that they're happy with? Need to buy another 5-10, hence the focus on cost



#2 mastrmind11 OFFLINE  

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 06:50 AM

mi box here, works well, though it's not on a primary tv so I can't speak to refresh rates.  The kids haven't mentioned any issues to me though.  gl



#3 clarkss12 OFFLINE  

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 11:25 AM

The new Beelink GT-King and King Pro kick butt, but a little pricey.  I use Emby skin and addon, which uses the Emby server data, absolute perfection.......

 

Plus, since it has an unlocked bootloader, you can run CoreELEC.  Netflix runs in 1080p, with DD+, on the "King" running CoreELEC.  

 

I have/had many, many different Android boxes in the last 6 or more years.  These that run the official Android TV >> Google ADT-1, Nexus player (2), Xiaomi Mi box (2), Jetstream 4k TV box, Nvidia Shield.

 

My newest Android boxes, provided by Beelink, the GT-King and GT-King Pro, running a ported Android TV OS.  Since the Nvidia is supposed to be the ultimate Android TV device, I use it occasionally for testing and comparison purposes, but not as a daily driver.

https://www.youtube....9QjyW4SY&t=257s



#4 lightsout ONLINE  

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 03:30 PM

Yeah if your just want Kodi it runs better on Coreelec than Android. Your 912 should have been able to handle things fine. At least the chipset itself.

I have the Odroid N2 which is based off of S922. It's a great box. Here's a link to a lot ready to go. Coreelec already installed.

https://ameridroid.c...oreelec-edition

I have mine dual booting Android TV because why not. You won't get hd in Netflix with Android but can get 1080p with the Kodi add on in Coreelec.

#5 bangis OFFLINE  

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 02:39 AM

Thank you for your suggestions!

 

I've since bought a Mi Box S to try (hasn't arrived), as it seems that the auto refresh rate issue has been solved with new firmware. The limitation apparently is in passing through HD Audio, but that's not an issue as these are mostly connected straight to TVs and not to an AVR or surround systems.

 

I've also received the Mecool M8S Pro L and it seems to work better vs the M8S Plus L, even though they're using the same CPU (S912). Wifi speed still isn't ideal - I still get the source too slow error from time to time, but it seems useable for standard HD direct streams. Can't say the same for 4k, although that's not a deal breaker. I do like the Android TV interface, much cleaner and simpler for basic users.

 

Heard about the Beelink devices (GT-King, GT-King Pro, or even the GT-Mini), but price points for these are much higher here. To give some perspective, I got the M8S Pro L at $40, the Xiaomi Mi Box S at $45 (including shipping), while the GT-King is $130. At that price point, might as well just wait for Black Friday as the Nvidia Shield drops to those levels (I bought my first one at $140)

 

The Odroid N2 looks interesting, but to be honest, I have zero experience in using Coreelec or any of the Linux-variants to run Kodi. I'll be distributing these boxes to friends/family who are probably more familiar with android. Maybe I'll order one of these to play with, for my own use

 

Bottomline, will wait for the Xiaomi Mi Box S to test, as it has the added advantage of Netflix in HD (a plus for some of my users). But it's a toss up between these two for now, given the price (which is great)



#6 clarkss12 OFFLINE  

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 01:38 PM

@bangis, for the price of a microSD card, you can test LibreELEC/CoreELEC on your M8S Pro L.  Combine that with Sualfred's Emby Kody skin and Angelblue05 for the Emby for Kodi addon, you have a perfect media player that will play everything.

 

By installing LibreELEC/CoreELEC onto a microSD card, the Android OS is NOT touched.


Edited by clarkss12, 17 October 2019 - 01:39 PM.


#7 bangis OFFLINE  

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Posted 18 October 2019 - 03:11 AM

@bangis, for the price of a microSD card, you can test LibreELEC/CoreELEC on your M8S Pro L.  Combine that with Sualfred's Emby Kody skin and Angelblue05 for the Emby for Kodi addon, you have a perfect media player that will play everything.

 

By installing LibreELEC/CoreELEC onto a microSD card, the Android OS is NOT touched.

 

thanks, I didn't realize that you could dual boot. I might test one to see if it's any better, although the issue with the Mecool boxes seems to be hardware-related (wifi performance leaves much room to be desired), I suspect it might end up performing similarly regardless of OS I use. I did play around with increasing Kodi's video cache and I've had less of an issue.

 

Just received the Xiaomi Mi Box S, also running on Android TV. Will see how this does (without changing the video cache first)

 

My Kodi setup is pretty straightforward, uses the Emby for Kodi addon (not Embycon), and the Arctic Zephyr Leia Mod skin (rather than the Emby skin), just out of preference. Like the clean look of Arctic Zephyr, particularly with vertical menus


Edited by bangis, 18 October 2019 - 03:13 AM.


#8 clarkss12 OFFLINE  

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Posted 18 October 2019 - 11:11 AM

thanks, I didn't realize that you could dual boot. I might test one to see if it's any better, although the issue with the Mecool boxes seems to be hardware-related (wifi performance leaves much room to be desired), I suspect it might end up performing similarly regardless of OS I use. I did play around with increasing Kodi's video cache and I've had less of an issue.

 

Just received the Xiaomi Mi Box S, also running on Android TV. Will see how this does (without changing the video cache first)

 

My Kodi setup is pretty straightforward, uses the Emby for Kodi addon (not Embycon), and the Arctic Zephyr Leia Mod skin (rather than the Emby skin), just out of preference. Like the clean look of Arctic Zephyr, particularly with vertical menus

You are correct, nothing will help the low performance of the existing WiFi on the Mecool, especially the 2.4GHZ band.



#9 bangis OFFLINE  

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Posted 20 October 2019 - 11:35 PM

Just wanted to report back that the Xiaomi Mi Box S looks pretty promising - none of the relatively slow wifi issues I saw with the Mecool devices. I confirm the HD Audio passthrough issues with Kodi, but since that's not a problem as these are going to be mostly connected to TVs (I use an Nvidia Shield for the full blown home theater setup that has an AVR and 7.1 speakers), it's not a deal breaker.

 

Android TV interface looks good, and so far, no issues running Kodi 18.4 on it. Auto change refresh rates also seem to be working

 

Now hopefully there are some price drops for these things during Black Friday or 11/11 here in Asia, so I can just buy them in bulk. Although $45-50 including shipping is already pretty good


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