Jump to content

Cheap Android TV box with Emby


Strudo76
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi there

So I bought one of those cheapy Android TV media players to connect to my Emby server (Android 9) from eBay. Seems to run ok, but things aren't quite right. For starters the images in the movie library at vertically stretched, and going into a movie screen shows the file formats, but lacks the options to select the subtitle stream. It also transcodes formats it says it should support, as will as transcoding audio I know my attached receiver does support. I have enabled audio pass through in device system settings.

I have tried both the "Emby for Android" and "Emby for Android TV" apps from the play store. The "for Android TV" version is the one I'm referring to above, and specifies on the app page that "This app might not be optimized for your device". The "for Android" app appears to give me a web page view.

Is this just a symptom of cheap playback devices, or are there some settings somewhere I can look at to help clear it up? Only just received it today, so well within the return policy of the eBay store if there is nothing to be done. Or is there some buzzword feature I'm lacking? Running Emby server v4.4.3.0 with Premier on Ubuntu Linux 20.04 LTS, and Emby for Android TV v1.8.10g

Thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi. I'm not sure how "cheap" this box was but, yes, you are seeing some of the shortcomings of those types of devices.  A $60 Mi box from Walmart is well worth it...

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might check the screen scaling options on that device, set it always to 100% (there might be dpi settings or similar). Also see, that you set the right screen resolution.

Also, on the cheap boxes, I would always recommend the Emby for Android version, as these are no real Android TV boxes. Also, I don't think that this app supports audio passthrough.

You can/should then enable the TV mode in the settings of the app, to get a real TV interface for remote control.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, ebr said:

Hi. I'm not sure how "cheap" this box was but, yes, you are seeing some of the shortcomings of those types of devices.  A $60 Mi box from Walmart is well worth it...

For the most part..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

34 minutes ago, Sammy said:

For the most part..

What issues do you have?

I also have one and would recommend it without limitation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That said, it effects two LiveTV Channels that I've found..

Another issue is I have to limit playback to 50Mbps which covers just about everything but HEVC which needs to be transcoded on the server. None of the TV's I have do HDR 4k anyhow so not a big deal but you'll need a decent server to transcode the streams if need be. 

Otherwise, I'm quite pleased with the MiBox s as it is much cheaper to run 6 of these in my house than ShieldTV's. I still use ShieldTV at my Family Room with my Panasonic VT60 Plasma and Denon 2312ci 7.1 AVR which works great. The SheildTV handles everything I throw at it without issue but it costs 4 times as much. I sold 6 ShieldTV's in the $200 range each and replaced them with MiBox s' about three months ago and am quite pleased.

 

I know these issues have work arounds right now but for LiveTV you lose Closed Captions when transcoding the stream on the server. I expect some sort of fix may be forthcoming. I'm working with both Emby and Xiaomi on the issue but Xiaomi is giving me a bit of press back as you'll see in my linked Emby Forum thread above.

Edited by Sammy
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a micro stutter every once in a while with audio on my Shield's that I never get on my MiBox S units.

I've been very happy with the MiBox S.

Edited by cayars
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, cayars said:

I have a micro stuff on my Shield's that I never get on my MiBox S units.

I've been very happy with the MiBox S.

What is a micro stuff?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tiny Things. :)

Spell check got me.  "micro stutter" is what I meant.

Edited by cayars
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the information and tips. I'd already tried a lot of things without much success.

How is the Emby Theatre app these days on PC. Maybe I'll just go that route. Had a PC set up previously with the WMC plugin and that was ok to use. Just couldn't use things like Kayo and Netflix through the same interface, which I would assume is something that is out of scope for a Theatre feature.

Does the Emby app on the MiBox do all the formats such as 4K H.265 and audio pass through for DTS.X and Atmos, etc?

I had thought this would be mostly plug and play, but it seems there are still lots of hurdles getting everything to flow nicely.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Strudo76 said:

Thanks for the information and tips. I'd already tried a lot of things without much success.

How is the Emby Theatre app these days on PC. Maybe I'll just go that route. Had a PC set up previously with the WMC plugin and that was ok to use. Just couldn't use things like Kayo and Netflix through the same interface, which I would assume is something that is out of scope for a Theatre feature.

Does the Emby app on the MiBox do all the formats such as 4K H.265 and audio pass through for DTS.X and Atmos, etc?

I had thought this would be mostly plug and play, but it seems there are still lots of hurdles getting everything to flow nicely.

I have no idea about ET as I quit using it long ago.

You can play 4k h.265 with dts.x and Dolby Atmos on the MiBox s. I do it often but if you want to do it, you'll need to limit the bit rate to about 50Mbps to force transcoding on your server for files that have a higher bit rate. In this case your server needs to be able to handle the transcode. What is your server specs?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, Sammy said:

I have no idea about ET as I quit using it long ago.

You can play 4k h.265 with dts.x and Dolby Atmos on the MiBox s. I do it often but if you want to do it, you'll need to limit the bit rate to about 50Mbps to force transcoding on your server for files that have a higher bit rate. In this case your server needs to be able to handle the transcode. What is your server specs?

Hello

what's the exact reason to force a transcode here? Isn't the box capable of streaming higher bit rates at all? I bought one of these some weeks ago, but didn't find the time for extensive testing yet. In my first testings, I wasn't able to output 5.1 sound at all, only downmix to stereo worked. So neither passthrough nor lpcm. Is this expected behaviour on this machine?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The biggest issue most people are likely to see if just using it for Emby Client is that the MiBox S is WIFI only out of the box while the Shield TV has Ethernet & WIFI.

You can get a USB to Ethernet dongle for the MiBox S however which does increase its overall speed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Strudo76 said:

How is the Emby Theatre app these days on PC. Maybe I'll just go that route. Had a PC set up previously with the WMC plugin and that was ok to use. Just couldn't use things like Kayo and Netflix through the same interface, which I would assume is something that is out of scope for a Theatre feature.

Does the Emby app on the MiBox do all the formats such as 4K H.265 and audio pass through for DTS.X and Atmos, etc?

I had thought this would be mostly plug and play, but it seems there are still lots of hurdles getting everything to flow nicely.

I don't think either ET or the MiBox (which is for me a no-go, as it did not even have a LAN port) will do everything that you ask for.

You could try Kodi on Windows or LibreElec (you should prefer stable version) with the EmbyCon AddOn and the Embuary Theme, this looks and feels a lot like Emby Theater but Kodi has a very powerfull player and a lot of plugins (I'm using YouTube, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and more and there seem to be Kayo and Netflix AddOns available).

It's not that great for LiveTV via Emby or music library via EmbyCon, but if you are using this, there might be other ways around it (for example using the native Kodi music library).

I used ET (Windows), Emby for Android (smart phones, tablets, TV box), Emby for AndoidTV (TV box), Kodi with Emby AddOn (on Windows and LibreElec), Kodi with EmbyCon AddOn (on Windows and LibreElec), Emby on Samsung Smart TV (Tizen).

I must say, the best experiences I had are the Samsung App (using on 2 pretty new TVs) and EmbyCon on LibreElec (on x86 Hardware) and this is what I'm using the most (besides Emby for Android on phone, tablet and cheap TV Box).

I will try soon Emby for AndroidTV on that new MI TV Stick with a not so smart older TV and will see, how that works.

Ciao, Alfred

Edited by serpi
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you require HD audio on an Android device, you are going to need a Shield.  That cheap box you bought isn't going to do that either - at least not through Android (Kodi might be able to pull it off).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, ebr said:

If you require HD audio on an Android device, you are going to need a Shield.  That cheap box you bought isn't going to do that either - at least not through Android (Kodi might be able to pull it off).

This is why I still use a ShieldTV in my Family Room but at all these other locations (Bedrooms, Bar, Back Patio, two Home Office, Garage) it doesn't make any sense at all because the equipment there doesn't support much anyhow. Stereo sounds fine on a Monoprice Soundbar in the back yard for example.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Sammy said:

I have no idea about ET as I quit using it long ago.

You can play 4k h.265 with dts.x and Dolby Atmos on the MiBox s. I do it often but if you want to do it, you'll need to limit the bit rate to about 50Mbps to force transcoding on your server for files that have a higher bit rate. In this case your server needs to be able to handle the transcode. What is your server specs?

Server runs on Ubuntu Linux 20.04 LTS on an i5-4670 and 16Gb ram. Has a GT1030 gfx card, so not enough for hardware decoding. Ideally though I'd be piping the audio directly to my HiFi to be processed there.

1 hour ago, serpi said:

I don't think either ET or the MiBox (which is for me a no-go, as it did not even have a LAN port) will do everything that you ask for.

You could try Kodi on Windows or LibreElec (you should prefer stable version) with the EmbyCon AddOn and the Embuary Theme, this looks and feels a lot like Emby Theater but Kodi has a very powerfull player and a lot of plugins (I'm using YouTube, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and more and there seem to be Kayo and Netflix AddOns available).

It's not that great for LiveTV via Emby or music library via EmbyCon, but if you are using this, there might be other ways around it (for example using the native Kodi music library).

I used ET (Windows), Emby for Android (smart phones, tablets, TV box), Emby for AndoidTV (TV box), Kodi with Emby AddOn (on Windows and LibreElec), Kodi with EmbyCon AddOn (on Windows and LibreElec), Emby on Samsung Smart TV (Tizen).

I must say, the best experiences I had are the Samsung App (using on 2 pretty new TVs) and EmbyCon on LibreElec (on x86 Hardware) and this is what I'm using the most (besides Emby for Android on phone, tablet and cheap TV Box).

I will try soon Emby for AndroidTV on that new MI TV Stick with a not so smart older TV and will see, how that works.

Ciao, Alfred

That's a lot of good combinations, thanks for the suggestions. It sounds like you are running the LibreElec on standard PC hardware, is that correct (not something like a Pi4)? I did play around with a Pi3 a long while back, but it wasn't really up to the task and didn't do hardware H.265 decoding. The Pi4 does, so might be worth a gamble do you think? Definitely worth checking that out that setup one way or another though, because accessing Netflix and Kayo was a significant part of the reason to move away from the original PC setup.

7 minutes ago, ebr said:

If you require HD audio on an Android device, you are going to need a Shield.  That cheap box you bought isn't going to do that either - at least not through Android (Kodi might be able to pull it off).

From what I've seen on other posts, even the Shield doesn't pass through the Dolby Atmos at the moment, is that correct? To be clear, I don't want anything to be done with the audio at all except passing it through to my receiver. It can handle all the formats I require.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, Strudo76 said:

even the Shield doesn't pass through the Dolby Atmos at the moment, is that correct?

No.  That is incorrect.  The Shield should be able to do that - even with True HD tracks.

Realize that Atmos is just a layer on top of a particular audio codec.  Most are on True HD but some (the ones used by streaming services) will be on DD+.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/17/2020 at 4:46 PM, Strudo76 said:

It sounds like you are running the LibreElec on standard PC hardware, is that correct (not something like a Pi4)?

Yes, that's right.

It's LibreElec 9.2.3 on a Vorke V1 Plus (Intel Celeron J3455, h265 hardware decoding) with the EmbyCon AddOn and some more, LiveTV via NextPVR AddOn (also used in Emby).

I found the EmbyCon better then the Emby plugin, it's also pretty fast on that Hardware and it feels more natural then the syncing with the Emby AddOn. But for best usability, you should use the Embuary skin (while the Emby plugin works nearly with every skin).

I have also used ET/Kodi with Windows 10 on an Intel NUC with i3 7100 (AFAIR), but I didn't used this since I have the new Samsung QLED TV.

One of the big things on Kodi/LibreElec, is the avaibility to play 3D movies (with hardware mode), which I'm using with the Vorke on a LG 3D TV.

I also tried LibreElec on some cheap Andoid boxes, but while it worked, I was never pleased with the speed, so I don't think, a PI will do much better (and has pretty poor gfx chip).

Also, you get - as usual - the best support in AddOns for x64 hardware, for example for encoded AddOns like Disney+ etc.

Ciao, Alfred

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/17/2020 at 2:38 PM, horstepipe said:

Hello

what's the exact reason to force a transcode here? Isn't the box capable of streaming higher bit rates at all? I bought one of these some weeks ago, but didn't find the time for extensive testing yet. In my first testings, I wasn't able to output 5.1 sound at all, only downmix to stereo worked. So neither passthrough nor lpcm. Is this expected behaviour on this machine?

anybody?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you explore the stats feature in the video player to learn why it was transcoding?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...