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Kodi boxes


carlyai

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Last TV box I bought was an S Box. Good but I need a couple more newer ones. 

Watching mainly Kodi and home country channels thru VPN on my TV

Any recommendations on the best Android ones availabe now?

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On 6/11/2024 at 12:30 PM, carlyai said:

Last TV box I bought was an S Box. Good but I need a couple more newer ones. 

Watching mainly Kodi and home country channels thru VPN on my TV

Any recommendations on the best Android ones availabe now?

 

Are you asking about the best or are you asking about the best value for your described criteria? 

Since you mentioned the Mi Box S, if you like it you can simply upgrade to their latest model, the Xiaomi TV Box S (2nd Gen) https://www.mi.com/global/product/xiaomi-tv-box-s-2nd-gen/specs/ running on Google TV( based on Android 12 AFAIK).

You won't have any issues with NTFS. But it has a relatively small amount of RAM.

 

As an alternative, for your described usage, take a look at a ToX4: https://trustonx.com/product/tox4-4gb-ram-32gb-nand-rockchip-3528-media-player/ Can be obtained for around 1400 baht plus postage. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21 hours ago, Encid said:

I've moved away from Android boxes and gone down the mini PC route instead.

The latest Android boxes provide good support for streaming, but do not support NTFS external drives, only FAT32 formatted drives, which means that media files are limited to 4GB in size.

So if you are like me and have a sizable media library containing 4K and DTS movies (typically 16GB and larger), then a mini PC is the only option due to file size constraints.

 

A 4K mini PC such as the BMAX B4 Plus Mini PC running Windows 11 with an Intel® Gen 12 CPU with 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD will set you back about 7.5 K baht.

It has plenty of USB ports so you can either connect an air mouse (which I have done) or a wired or wireless keyboard and mouse as well as USB drives.

It also has an ethernet port so connectivity is not an issue for streaming media.

Kodi runs super fast on it.

 

Good post.

 

My Nvidia Shield has a 2TB hard drive attached to it. Plays everything very well.

 

 

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I just bought a couple of Tox 4 boxes out of AliExpress. About $40 USD. Comes rooted. I have a tox 3 with similar specs that has worked fine. I'd suggest getting a bundle with a g20-s Bluetooth remote, maybe $5 or $10 more. It comes with very little loaded so you'll have to install kodi, etc from the play store. OTA updates occasionally from the manufacturer.

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4 minutes ago, tlcwaterfall said:

My Nvidia Shield has a 2TB hard drive attached to it. Plays everything very well.

 

 

And is an Android box.

 

My cheap Android box has a 1TB hard drive attached to it and plays everything very well. It's more than I need for now, could attach a larger drive if ever needed.

 

One humble but helpful use for my box I finally discovered last year is that of alarm clock. VRadio wakes me up to Aardvark radio blasting out blues when I need to get going early for an appointment. I can't hear a puny phone alarm. 

 

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Just to qualify my earlier post about Android boxes and NTFS, some Android boxes do support it... the Nvidia Shield is one.

 

However I recently bought a top-of-the-range Google certified Mecool KM2 PLUS Deluxe box with 4GB RAM DDR4 and 32GB ROM for 4,500 baht from Lazada, and exFAT and NTFS was not supported.

None of my external USB drives would work with it, but my 32GB FAT32 USB pen drives would.

The other issue with it was that it was advertised as being able to play Dolby Vision and ATMOS media files... which it would not... only if they were streamed from Netflix.

After a lot of to/fro with the vendor and Lazada I was able to return the box for a full refund.

 

Note the price of the "good" Android box? 4,500 baht. The mini PC I bought was 1.6 times the price of the Android box, not 4x as claimed by another member. By comparison the latest NVidia Shield PRO 4K HDR with 3GB RAM and 16GB ROM is retailing for around 25,000 baht, so I think that the price of the mini PC is a valid competitor.

 

Companies can integrate exFAT and/or NTFS into a specific group of consumer devices, including Android boxes, cameras, camcorders, digital photo frames etc. but they have to pay a fee paid to Microsoft as they are propriety operating systems, which is why you must do your homework first when it comes to Android boxes.

 

By the way, like any Windows PC you can set a mini PC to update in silent/sleeping hours so it never updates whilst you are watching a movie.

It also has Bluetooth and Wifi if that is your preferred method of connecting to the internet.

Personally, I like a hard-wired connection via ethernet cable for streaming, even if the average throughput of a Wifi connection is deemed sufficient, wired connections are more stable and reliable and gives you consistent speeds and low latency, whereas Wi-Fi does not.

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2 hours ago, gargamon said:

I just bought a couple of Tox 4 boxes out of AliExpress. About $40 USD. Comes rooted. I have a tox 3 with similar specs that has worked fine. I'd suggest getting a bundle with a g20-s Bluetooth remote, maybe $5 or $10 more. It comes with very little loaded so you'll have to install kodi, etc from the play store. OTA updates occasionally from the manufacturer.

 

Do these boxes support read/write to external drives formatted as NTFS/exFAT?

 

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1 hour ago, Encid said:

However I recently bought a top-of-the-range Google certified Mecool KM2 PLUS Deluxe box with 4GB RAM DDR4 and 32GB ROM for 4,500 baht from Lazada, and exFAT and NTFS was not supported.

 

One issue w/ Android 14 is that of permissions. But you could also just install the free exFAT/NTFS for USB by Paragon from Google Play. Sorted.

 

1 hour ago, Encid said:

The other issue with it was that it was advertised as being able to play Dolby Vision and ATMOS media files... which it would not... only if they were streamed from Netflix.

 

If this is the HDR issue, it was solved by a firmware update last January you may have missed.

 

1 hour ago, Encid said:

the price of the "good" Android box? 4,500 baht. The mini PC I bought was 1.6 times the price of the Android box, not 4x as claimed by another member

 

@gargamon just bought two good Android boxes for about 1.3k each, so your mini-PC is about 5 times the cost.

 

Your fallback will be that you get a lot more for your 7.5k. True, but I contend that average users, such as me, don't need all that more for humble media file playing and streaming. Android boxes are already designed and set up for the purpose.

 

1 hour ago, Encid said:

By the way, like any Windows PC you can set a mini PC to update in silent/sleeping hours so it never updates whilst you are watching a movie.

 

I don't wanna leave my Windows PC on all night so it can update and demand a reboot or reboot itself. Uses enough power as it is. It sleeps whenever I'm not using it. I control the updates carefully and consciously. In general, I wouldn't want another f***ing Windows box to fool around with and maintain.

 

I could tell a funny story about a Windows laptop suddenly shutting down for an update during a MOST inopportune time. But I won't.🙂 That was a lesson learned, ha ha.

 

1 hour ago, Encid said:

Personally, I like a hard-wired connection via ethernet cable for streaming

 

I do, too, and have my cheap box wired in. But we have a lot of renters (proud, self-congratulatory renters) and hipsters here who can't or just won't run a cable.

 

Edited by BigStar
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30 minutes ago, BigStar said:

 

Do these boxes support read/write to external drives formatted as NTFS/exFAT?

 

Formatted a USB stick to ntfs and it played fine with kodi and a media player on a tox4. Same test formatted to exfat was also successful.

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3 hours ago, BigStar said:

 

And is an Android box.

 

My cheap Android box has a 1TB hard drive attached to it and plays everything very well. It's more than I need for now, could attach a larger drive if ever needed.

 

One humble but helpful use for my box I finally discovered last year is that of alarm clock. VRadio wakes me up to Aardvark radio blasting out blues when I need to get going early for an appointment. I can't hear a puny phone alarm. 

 

Indeed. And operates on Android tv .

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3 hours ago, BigStar said:

One issue w/ Android 14 is that of permissions. But you could also just install the free exFAT/NTFS for USB by Paragon from Google Play. Sorted.

Yes I did try the Paragon Ex/NTFS for USB app and the Total Commander app which is also required.

After installing it, when I inserted an NTFS 256GB SanDisk USB stick the Android box recognised the drive and I was able to mount it.

I was then able to use Total Commander file manager to copy a 4GB media file from the drive to the internal memory of the UGOOS box, in the /Downloads folder. Note that you are unable to play media files directly from an external drive.

I was then able to play the file with VLC, MX-Player, and Kodi without any problems at all.

I then unmounted the drive and plugged in an NTFS 2TB WD USB hard drive but the Paragon Ex/NTFS for USB app would not recognize it at all, so there is definitely a FS size limitation for the software.

I noted also that it is a "trial version" and would require some form of payment some time.

 

So in summary, yes... it does work within limitations but is extremely cumbersome compared with the plug'n play USB storage media that Windows and NTFS offers.

In your language, not sorted by a long shot.

 

3 hours ago, BigStar said:

If this is the HDR issue, it was solved by a firmware update last January you may have missed.

I bought my box in March this year.

The first thing I did (at the vendor's recommendation) was to update the firmware, so no... not the same issue.

HDR is not the issue... Dolby Vision and ATMOS media files is the issue, so please do not misquote or misunderstand me.

 

3 hours ago, BigStar said:

@gargamon just bought two good Android boxes for about 1.3k each, so your mini-PC is about 5 times the cost.

So?

You make no comment about the cost of the (Android based) Nvidia Shield by comparison?

You are not comparing similar products.

And yes, I do get a lot more bang for my buck.

Due to the multitasking OS I can simultaneously download media files from torrent sites using torrent client software and watch a 4K movie with a DTS soundtrack at the same time... effortlessly and with zero glitches.

 

3 hours ago, BigStar said:

I don't wanna leave my Windows PC on all night so it can update and demand a reboot or reboot itself. Uses enough power as it is. It sleeps whenever I'm not using it. I control the updates carefully and consciously. In general, I wouldn't want another f***ing Windows box to fool around with and maintain.

That's your choice.

I personally do not have an issue with Windows.

For me it is neither an issue nor a problem.

And 15W power consumption is negligible for me, compared with all the other household appliances that I have running continuously. Putting things into perspective my coffee machine consumes about 1500 watts to generate just 1 cup of coffee.

It seamlessly integrates into my home theatre system and network, and provides much more versatility than a simple Android box would do.

 

I am just advising other members of options other than Android boxes, and the reasons why I have gone down the mini-PC route.

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1 hour ago, Encid said:

 

5 hours ago, BigStar said:

@gargamon just bought two good Android boxes for about 1.3k each, so your mini-PC is about 5 times the cost.

So?

You make no comment about the cost of the (Android based) Nvidia Shield by comparison?

You are not comparing similar products

As I posted, the 1400 baht android tv box I use can play directly from an ntfs/exfat external usb device. Android 13. I'm sure if it was android 14 it would also work. It's the manufacturer of the box that puts the functionality in. Tox obviously does a better job than the manufacturer of the android box you were having issues with.

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Thank you all for the replies. 🙂

I didn't think I was getting any replies, so a bit 'Jai Rawn' and bought a HK1 RBOX.

I should have waited a bit longer and bought a box that allows external drive expansion.

Setting up a TV outside to download and play Zoomba Dance and Aqua exercises for my long recovery after back surgery. I'll need to download, store and replay.

I really need another 2 boxes as well I have 2 very old Windows machines that are not supported anymore and one keeps handshaking with the streamed program and many times looses sync

 and I have to reconnect. Doesn't happen with my Kodi box.

So I'll use this HK1 RBOX maybe on my music, and one of the recommended new boxes with external drive outside TV for exercises and one for lounge room TV, getting rid of the old Windows machines.

Thanks again for your suggestions.

 

 

 

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18 hours ago, Encid said:

Note that you are unable to play media files directly from an external drive.

 

I tend to think, based on a similar case of which I'm aware, that app/file/configuration permissions have a lot to do with this. It's been reported that exFAT gets better treatment.

 

However, I don't see how an average user could deal with all of it. I better withdraw my suggestion for the usual Xiaomi and Mecool. @gargamon's TOX is sounding quite good. I've put it on my list for when my box needs replacement.

 

18 hours ago, Encid said:

You are not comparing similar products.

 

No, but you brought up a dissimilar product. The OP is asking about Android boxes, not mini-PCs.The goal is to run Kodi. 🙂 

 

18 hours ago, Encid said:

You make no comment about the cost of the (Android based) Nvidia Shield by comparison?

 

I did, on topic, calling it the Benz of the Android boxes.

 

Shields are above my pay grade, but you may read over the site:

 

https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/shield/

 

And compare the touted features w/ your mini-PC. On the 'net are quite a few discussions of mini-PCs vs Shields, in which Shield usually comes out on top, unless you expect it to do what it isn't designed to do.

 

18 hours ago, Encid said:

Due to the multitasking OS I can . . .

 

Android is also multitasking. Android boxes are meant primarily for streaming and playing files. I could download torrents on my box, but I wouldn't. I'd prefer to do that, and all the other PC things, on my PC. Like most people? I dunno. 

 

We all realize that an Android box isn't a mini-PC. I think most of us (with loud exceptions) aren't disappointed it isn't, esp for the price. Yes, you can run Photoshop on your mini-PC, Word, etc. etc. If you really want to. 🙂 

 

18 hours ago, Encid said:

It seamlessly integrates into my home theatre system and network

 

As can Android media boxes, Chromecasts, Firesticks, or just Android TVs. Some years ago we had a noisy member touting his fabulous home theater system and his high-end Android box, whose brand I forget.

 

 

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17 hours ago, gargamon said:

As I posted, the 1400 baht android tv box I use can play directly from an ntfs/exfat external usb device. Android 13. I'm sure if it was android 14 it would also work. It's the manufacturer of the box that puts the functionality in. Tox obviously does a better job than the manufacturer of the android box you were having issues with.

 

Good find, TOX. Rooted and few apps!

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7 hours ago, carlyai said:

Thank you all for the replies. 🙂

I didn't think I was getting any replies, so a bit 'Jai Rawn' and bought a HK1 RBOX.

I should have waited a bit longer and bought a box that allows external drive expansion.

Setting up a TV outside to download and play Zoomba Dance and Aqua exercises for my long recovery after back surgery. I'll need to download, store and replay.

I really need another 2 boxes as well I have 2 very old Windows machines that are not supported anymore and one keeps handshaking with the streamed program and many times looses sync

 and I have to reconnect. Doesn't happen with my Kodi box.

So I'll use this HK1 RBOX maybe on my music, and one of the recommended new boxes with external drive outside TV for exercises and one for lounge room TV, getting rid of the old Windows machines.

Thanks again for your suggestions.

 

 

 

 

What makes you think that it doesn't support 'external drive expansion'? Apart from that, what prevents you from downloading, storing and replaying from the internal storage?

Which HK1 RBOX might this be? It's the characters that come after that that describe the box you have purchased.

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14 minutes ago, scubascuba3 said:

i much prefer using my old smartphone, cast to TV, much better specs than the boxes generally, easier to control, free, no faffing with an airmouse or mouse

 

Lol...not even nearly the same. Perhaps for occasional use. Casting? How does that work with HDR, Dolby Vision, Atmos, 5.1 surround etc? Screen ratios? 

Quick,dirty and very basic.

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16 minutes ago, scubascuba3 said:

i much prefer using my old smartphone, cast to TV, much better specs than the boxes generally, easier to control, free, no faffing with an airmouse or mouse

same...my phone and my chromecast do just fine and sites that offer tv shows--news--movies from back home w/out vpn

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Just now, Sticky Rice Balls said:

same...my phone and my chromecast do just fine and sites that offer tv shows--news--movies from back home w/out vpn

 

The topic is "KODI boxes".... 

Are you using KODI on your phone and outputting via your TV?

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I'm no expert and can't say its the best but I use an Android box (HK1 Series) with Worldstreams Pro installed (pay annually).  Has a few problems on the odd occasion but works well in general. Massive amount of channels and pretty good with up to date movies and series.

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29 minutes ago, NowNow said:

 

How does that work with HDR, Dolby Vision, Atmos, 5.1 surround etc? Screen ratios? 

Quick,dirty and very basic.

most people aren't worried about that lot. Always good quality videos, sound depends on TV or use earphones, most of us don't want additional speakers

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6 minutes ago, scubascuba3 said:

most people aren't worried about that lot. Always good quality videos, sound depends on TV or use earphones, most of us don't want additional speakers

 

How do you know what 'most people' want?

Are they running KODI on the phones(remember the actual topic) and outputting via their TVs? If not, what does it have to do with this topic?

Do they have the phone permanently plugged in? How does it handle Torrents?

As I wrote before...it's quick, dirty and very basic. 

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On 6/13/2024 at 11:48 AM, BigStar said:

Plus, the power requirements are greater.

At Bht 5 per unit, does it really matter.

You can tell Windows when to or not to update.

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1 hour ago, NowNow said:

 

What makes you think that it doesn't support 'external drive expansion'? Apart from that, what prevents you from downloading, storing and replaying from the internal storage?

Which HK1 RBOX might this be? It's the characters that come after that that describe the box you have purchased.

Thanks. ..model K8

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7 minutes ago, NowNow said:

 

How do you know what 'most people' want?

Are they running KODI on the phones(remember the actual topic) and outputting via their TVs? If not, what does it have to do with this topic?

Do they have the phone permanently plugged in? How does it handle Torrents?

As I wrote before...it's quick, dirty and very basic. 

Works well for me, and would work well for most expats. I binned kodi a few years ago, not necessary, but people who don't realise just ask for a kodi box 

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