Best (cheapest) box for Libreelec Kodi

  • Hello, I need an android box to install Libreelec on it and only use it to watch movies from an external hdd. Till now I had an old Nexbox A95x S905X with just 1GB ram and it worked great so I'm looking for something similar (I'm not interested in RPi or something like that, only android box). Also, it would be great if the installation of the Libreelec would be simple like on A95X (make an SD card, insert it, take out the power cable, press reset button and insert the power cable).


    What I found in the stores in my country for about 40-45$:

    Tanix tx3 mini

    A95X PRO

    X96 mini

    Tanix TX3 MAX

    X96 MAX PLUS

    TX6 mini

    M10 Pro

    X96Q

    MXQ PRO


    I would avoid ordering boxes from aliexpress or other stores because the shipping is taking too long right now so it would be best if some of these boxes that I listed above can do the job but if they can't, I will order from ali or some other store.


    Thanks

  • Go to Best Answer
  • An external HDD doesn't work on those boxes?

    Are you aware that those boxes have a locked boot loader? So you can't install an OS on internal storage.

    If you have to have Android, then my advice is to get an RPi4B (or RPi 400), and make two microSD's with Android and LE.

    Flexin' vinyl, jammin' break beats. 8)

  • I really cannot understand why people here are not getting tired of over-promoting RPi devices even they know, it is definitly not the best device for media playback and overall kodi-experience currently (and will never be looking at the HW capabilities).

    Allwinner and Rockchip devices are way better when it comes to currently supported HW decoding capabilities: HEVC (up to 4k), H264 (up to 4k), VP9 (up to 4k, Rockchip only currently), MPEG2 (up to 1080p) and VP8 (up to 1080p). HDMI output up to [email protected], CEC is working and hardware deinterlacing is implemented - for Allwinner suspend/resume with remote control is also implemented.


    Rpi can't decode H264 correctly in hardware currently (even if it would be working, it will be max [email protected], which somewhat like 10 years ago), it will never have VP9 hardware decoding (needed to use youtube 4k), it has no hardware deinterlacing capabilities, it can't output [email protected] currently, CEC is not (really) working. Besides Rpi is the only device which still uses a vendor kernel, which is full of hacks, that will probably never be accepted upstream - while all other devices are using a version of the upstream kernel (partially with lots of patches, which seem to be somewhat like upstream quality) - it does not even have an upstream u-boot support

    Amlogic is far behind when it comes to media playback in upstream kernel - I'm not sure, this will change anytime next (if ever) - there is no active developing community and progress in upstream kernel depends on external funding.

    Both Broadcom and Amlogic are known to hide as much as possible of their "confidentials" which makes both platforms really uninteresting for community developers, since there is always something which depends of some blobs.


    I'm using a PINE H64 (Allwinner H6) and PINE rock64 (Rockchip 3328) and its working way better than Rpi4 - also without any "config.txt" adaption trial and error attempts - its just working. From the devices you listed: I suggest you to take the TX6 mini which has a Allwinner H6 - Allwinner community is great, very active and responsive when it comes to issues.

  • Of course there are better devices for higher prices. I'm still puzzling why the thread starter doesn't just installs the Kodi app on whatever Android box, because that's good enough for playing from external HDD.


    We are promoting RPi's so much, because they have very good open source support. That's an important benefit after a couple of years, when Chinese Android box companies simply stop updating. Our community isn't bad by the way. :)

    Flexin' vinyl, jammin' break beats. 8)

  • Pointing at obvious. Android is operating system. Libreelec comes with operating system too. We are well passed the time when we needed other operating system on same box to install OS, if we have install medium.


    40 USD range is low end media center range. Your A95x media center has same CPU as RPi 3. You don't like RPi yet you seem to be using exactly same technology.


    In local store I see only one media center option for around 70 euros. RPi4 + non default case would be around 100 USD. Adding extra options might double the price. And this does not include storage.


    Other mini PC options offer local storage options. They cost more, but are more capable in long term.

    Edited 2 times, last by tokul ().

  • An external HDD doesn't work on those boxes?

    Are you aware that those boxes have a locked boot loader? So you can't install an OS on internal storage.

    If you have to have Android, then my advice is to get an RPi4B (or RPi 400), and make two microSD's with Android and LE.

    On what boxes? I didn't write anywhere that external HDD doesn't work on some box?


    I don't want to install an OS on internal storage. I've been using A95X with installed Libreelec on SD card and that works great.


    It doesn't have to have Android but it does have to be an android box (media player with remote). I simply want a normal player where I will install Libreelec and use only that. I will not use Android but I do not want RPi or anything like that, I want android box.


    I'm still puzzling why the thread starter doesn't just installs the Kodi app on whatever Android box, because that's good enough for playing from external HDD.

    You mean why I don't just simply install Kodi on android OS instead of installing Libreelec? I got used to turn on the box and it loads Kodi. I don't need android or anything else. I just want to turn on my box and Kodi to load.


    Like I said, I don't want mini PCs, boards or anything like this. Simple android box where I can install Libreelec on the SD card will be fine.

  • The Android boxes you mention can have an OS very similar to Libreelec, but the last time I mentioned it, the post was removed, because apparently it was a competitor.


    Although in my opinion, I thought forums were to help people. Both LE & the other are open source.

    Samsung RU7400 Onkyo HTX22HDX Nvidia Shield HD Homerun Duo (Living Room)

    Samsung UE40ES5500 X96 Max+, Fire TV 4K Stick (Bedroom)

    Synology DS920+ Plex Pass

    :)

  • Like I said, I don't want mini PCs, boards or anything like this. Simple android box where I can install Libreelec on the SD card will be fine.

    Android is not the box. You are running ARM kit with custom OS installed by vendor. That OS happens to be Android.


    If you expect to use cheap Chinese media center, stick to OS provided by vendor.


    If you like to tinker with the kit, get RPi and install libreelec on it.

  • For gods sake, can someone just tell me if Libreelec can work from SD card on one of these boxes:


    Tanix tx3 mini

    A95X PRO

    X96 mini

    Tanix TX3 MAX

    X96 MAX PLUS

    TX6 mini

    M10 Pro

    X96Q

    MXQ PRO


    Or recommend me some other box that can?

  • ^ this list is mostly older Amlogic GXL or maybe early G12A devices so "none of the above" would be my recommendation. On paper they all have amazing hardware spec but all boxes will ship with 3-4 year old Android image and there will be no OTA updates from the vendors. You can find CoreELEC images (equivalent to older LE images) that run on the legacy vendor kernels but further comment on their images needs to come via their forums - I have no interest in it and don't run it. LE images based on our modern kernel codebase are still early-stage (nightly and my builds exist, but there are playback glitches to resolve).


    It's fairly obvious you don't want to listen to RPi comments, but: I actively/regularly use an assortment of Rockchip, Allwinner, Amlogic and Pi devices and the winner of "easiest device to live with" by some way is an RPi4 (in Kodi flirc case, and with flirc USB IR receiver). RPi4 will never win a "longest list of spec" award and will cost a little more than a 2105-2018 era $45 box (modern boxes are typically more - and component supply problems are inflating costs) but RPi4 has all the main codecs you actually need, with 4K HEVC, and now with HDR and HBR audio. RPi gets A1+ software support direct from the manufacturer. In the long-run software support is why it's been the most popular Kodi device since 2012 and that's unlikely to change. At some point someone will make a fantastic RPi "box" using the CM4 board to add things like eMMC or nVME storage, but there's more $$ in the IoT space so I didn't see one yet.

  • Look, I'm using an old A95X with only 1GB ram and I have a few years old Libreelec and Kodi on it and it works flawlessly. It runs everything, HEVC, 10bit, X264.. you name it. All these devices that I listed cannot be older or worst than this A95X.


    I'm not looking for anything special, I just want it to work like A95X, nothing more.


    If I buy a simple box I get the box that is looking fine, I get the power supply and I get the remote. If I buy Rpi I get an ugly-ass-looking board, I have to buy a case separately, I have no idea if the power supply goes with it, USB cable, what about the remote... it's not that simple as it is to buy an android box.

    • Best Answer

    Coreelec will run on these boxes

    Samsung RU7400 Onkyo HTX22HDX Nvidia Shield HD Homerun Duo (Living Room)

    Samsung UE40ES5500 X96 Max+, Fire TV 4K Stick (Bedroom)

    Synology DS920+ Plex Pass

    :)

  • I didn't expect I'd have to explain the existence of LibreElec in LibreElec forums: It is there because people want to use their hardware just for kodi without wasting memory and system resources for an opterating system they don't use (and maybe don't trust) for any other porpose than running kodi and want to use well maintained upstream software with continuous security- + bugfixes.


    I really don't understand why it would be required to have support from the vendor of a android box for furture support: LibreElec is a complete own operating system which doesn't depend on any other thing then the hardware of the device - that means: if the device (or a similar one) is supported in the upstream kernel - there will be support for the device as well for ages. Because tv boxes are often very similar and Tanix TX6 is supported in upstream kernel and has offical LibreElec support, I think it will work on other tv box as well (especially on Tanix TX6 mini) or can be made working with little effort.


    When it comes to pricing:

    RPi4 basic version (2G) : 40 US$ (most pepole will need HDMI adapters + usb-c power supply)

    PINE H64 basic version (2G): 36 US$

    PINE rock64 basic version (1G): 25 US$ (2G version available at 35 US$)


    Both H64 and rock64 can be ordered at amazon at slighly higher prices (which is also true for RPi4).

    I really do not think that RPi4 is the most competetive (with neither pricing nor hardware (and current software) capailities) when it comes to mediacenter software and there has been lots of efforts by the community to make it work on Allwiner (and Rockchip) with FOSS: that should be considered here if somebody asks which device is the best to use for LibreElec - also the question of future support prefers the these SoCs as support for them comes exclusively from upstream kernel.

  • Thank you

    Just double check on the CE forum, before actually buying. I have a X96 Max + with CE

    Samsung RU7400 Onkyo HTX22HDX Nvidia Shield HD Homerun Duo (Living Room)

    Samsung UE40ES5500 X96 Max+, Fire TV 4K Stick (Bedroom)

    Synology DS920+ Plex Pass

    :)

  • Just double check on the CE forum, before actually buying. I have a X96 Max + with CE

    Did you install it on SD card? Is the installation simple like make the SD card, insert it, push the reset button and plug in the power cable?

  • Did you install it on SD card? Is the installation simple like make the SD card, insert it, push the reset button and plug in the power cable?

    Yep, mine is installed to sd card. Beware there is a 19.1 Leia version & 19.1 Matrix. Go to the CE forum for more help & advice.

    Samsung RU7400 Onkyo HTX22HDX Nvidia Shield HD Homerun Duo (Living Room)

    Samsung UE40ES5500 X96 Max+, Fire TV 4K Stick (Bedroom)

    Synology DS920+ Plex Pass

    :)