Best Low-end (<$150 USD) Hardware for LibreELEC in 2019

  • Happy New Years all... I can finally ask this question...


    I currently have an original S905 Android box, and while it plays a lot of media fine, Its menu navigation is slow and it is crashing out to Android home.

    ... Time for an upgrade and hopefully I can get another 4 or 5 years out of it!


    Requirements:

    Most importantly, I need it to be wife friendly and zip around the menu system! When it boots, it should boot straight into Kodi (and ideally, recover into Kodi after a crash).

    My TV supports 10bit 4K OLED with HDR. Primary use is 720p IPTV, but I want to play more 10bit 4K HDR H.265 local media (via ethernet).

    Optionally, I'd also like to receive DVB-T on it (and playback locally, as well as to other devices around the house) and maybe some retro gaming too...


    My research has led me too...


    Android Boxes

    $49 - X88 Max+ (RK3328, 4GB/64GB, AC, GETH, Android 9.0)

    $49 - MX10 (RK3328, 4GB/64GB, AC, GETH, Android 8.1)

    $59 - X96 Max (S905X2, 4GB DDR4/64GB, AC, GETH, Android 8.1, KODI 18)

    $67 - H6 Max+ (S912, 4GB/64GB, AC, GETH, Android 8.1)

    $99 - X99 (RK3199, 4GB/64GB, AC, GETH, Android 7.1)

    $149 - Nvidia Shield 2017 (Tegra X1, 3GB/16GB, GETH, Android 8.0)

    *All with whispers of, or community added, support for Linux OS (none appear fully working).


    SBC

    $45 - Rock64 (RK3328, 4GB, GETH, Official LibreELEC OS)

    $46 - oDroid-C2 (S905, 2GB, GETH, Linux Supported)

    $80 - RockPro64 (RK3399, 4GB, GETH, Official LibreELEC OS)

    $99 - Rock960-C (RK3399, 4GB DDR4, GETH, Official LibreELEC OS)

    $109 - FriendlyElec Nano-T4 (RK3399, 4GB/16GB, GETH, Official LibreELEC OS)

    $149 - Khadas Edge-V Pro (RK3399, 4GB DDR4/32GB, GETH, Official LibreELEC OS)

    * All will required eMMC, Power Supply, Remote, Enclosure, IR, etc.

    ** Compare the RK3399 SBCs here.


    MiniPC

    $111 - Odroid H2 BAREBONES (Intel J4105, 2xGETH, 2xSATA, 2xHDMI, Any LinuxOS) <--- Intel UHD 600 GPU)

    $140 - Beelink Gemini X45 (Intel J4105, 4GB DDR4/64GB, GETH, Any Linux OS) <--- Intel UHD 600 GPU (without 10bit support)

    $150 - X35 Mini PC (Intel 3965u, 4GB/60GB, GETH, Any Linux OS) <--- Intel UHD 610 GPU (with 10bit support)

    $150 - Vorke V5 BAREBONES (Intel 3965u - Similar to X35 above, barebones but with much nicer media features)

    * Will required Remote, IR, etc.


    ... As you can see, the S905X2/S912 and RK3399 chipsets are dominating that list. With the only real difference the vendor OS/Drivers support provided

    While I like the 'ready-to-go-out-of-the-box' of the Android TV devices, I also know that they are VERY unlikely to see any future OS updates.


    Is there an obvious winner in that list? Should I be ruling any out at this stage? Or is there a new contender coming (in the very short term!)

  • I need it to be wife friendly

    then better no S905/S912/Rockchip Box in the current state - this might work in an half year onwards but not today


    If you want something faster then the S905 Box you already have you are rather forced to Rk3399 or x86.

    If you need "speed" and a proper stable support today then x86 is your choice.


    Intel NUC Kit NUC7CJYH for example is rather cheap (you need 4gb RAM and USB/SD/M2/SSD) so you are around 150-160 (depending where you buy it).


    hopefully I can get another 4 or 5 years out of it

    no, none of the HW today has what is likely needed in 5 years (HDR + DRM)

    Buy whatever fits today !

  • Intel NUC Kit NUC7CJYH for example is rather cheap (you need 4gb RAM and USB/SD/M2/SSD) so you are around 150-160 (depending where you buy it).

    I don't think this has M.2 and it uses an Intel 600 GPU, so no 10 bit support. The Vorke V5 has 610 GPU and 4K 60Hz via the DP, which would be a better option.

  • The NUC7CJYH does not have 10 bit support as it only has an Intel 600 GPU, hence I think you are incorrect when you say it has 10bit support. Yes, HDMI 2.0 does support 4K @ 60Hz.


    The Vorke V5 is a much better product, providing 10 bit (GPU 610) AND 4K 60Hz via the DP.


    EDIT: My bad, HDMI 2.0 does support 10 bit. Sorry.:blush:

    Edited 2 times, last by gregeeh ().

  • real HDR10 (and only HDR10) on the TV right now and HD Audio passthrough is only working with S905X, S905D or S912 and you need at least real 150 MBit.

    I tested Mecool M8S Pro L, Xoro HST 260, Xoro HST 260 DVB-C/T2, Mecool KI Pro and since 3 days Vero 4k+. If you buy one with 100M you need a extra usb gigabit adapter. I will keep the Vero 4k+.


    Intel GPUs have no HDR10 support working on Linux right now. It will come and hopefully this year. I have a HTPC with i3-8100 and I am still waiting for working HDR.

  • Its menu navigation is slow and it is crashing out to Android home.


    When it boots, it should boot straight into Kodi (and ideally, recover into Kodi after a crash).

    I get you may have your heart set on a new box (and may even have it by now) but, by sounds of it, you're running Kodi via Android, not on LibreElec? If so, just saying, the difference in speed of menu navigation and stability (crashing) was night and day when I switched from Android to LibreElec on my S805 box. Might be able to get some more mileage out of your S905.

    Kszaq used to publish images for these boxes but seems to have moved away from development. CoreElec appears to be picking up the gauntlet. You can run off SD card too if you want to keep your Android OS available.