Android SetTop Box Master Thread. Buy, Don't Buy, User Advice & Reviews

showgun

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Dec 23, 2011
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The MOST COMMON question on this forum section is easily:

What's the best Android Settop Box, which should I buy?

Now, there are countless threads and discussions already available to the brave few who use our forums SEARCH FEATURE but for those of you whom fear the hunt for knowledge... here is the last thread on the topic.

http://img-cache.cdn.G*iaonline.com/16b1a4de3feabd4fa201cc67b76cd936/http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b215/Yueh_Levent/4Shop/RulesBanner.png

1) no external sales links. This forums is not the place for you to sell YOUR OWN GARBAGE. This site/thread is intended for users to provide real input and experiences. Any sales links will be removed and WILL lead to forum restrictions to you abuser.

2) Be polite. We will have MANY DISAGREEMENTS. This does not mean we can act like disrespectful children ;). If you post here we will all agree to disagree.

3) The aim is to help other users. Provide as much accurate info in your posts as possible, such as WiFi strength, ports, features, shortcomings, strengths, ext. Let's put ALL OF OUR EXPERIENCE into one thread that will bless countless others trying to decide WHAT ANDROID BOX TO BUY

Please use the next post as a General guide on how to format your posts. We need to make things as clear and clean as possible.
 
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jarcuri

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Dec 9, 2013
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PIVOS: The xios was only one to have volume control out of the 3, which personally I going very helpful and I like a lot. I know people buy different solutions to solve this so one keyboard or control does this too,I just like to keep it simple.

OUYA: I ran the ouya on my tv next to router because the Wi-Fi was not strong enough to use elsewhere in my house. (I did have it in a fairly big house).

FIRETV: Of the 3 I think is best by far. Ouya needed a lot of tuning to get working really well, while fire tv you can keep basic and have it running perfect off the rip.

The fire tv does lack in the memory department. if you want to root and download add-ons or games, you need to get more involved which increases the difficulty and time involved. But as a beginner the fire tv is super fast and will do what you want just by installing xbmc. Very easy solution to get rid of cable without regretting it and if you have a significant other who doesn't really want to learn or understand electronics, it is perfect.

**edited by showgun**
Please use this format as an example of how to share. Bricks of text won't help anyone usually. Break up the information and present it as concisely as possible
 
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jakewalton4

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Jul 22, 2013
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MyGica ATV1200:
Flashed with Linux (pretty easy to flash, once you find the right rom). Works flawlessly when setup, plays 720p live streams and movies with no problems. Cost = £80


AML8726-MX Box:
Also flashed with Linux (a bit trickier, takes a lot of trial and error to find the right rom). Everything works well, menus take slightly longer to load, but this is on Aeon Nox which is a rather slow skin anyway. Plays 720p well, slight lag on OSS 720p streams, but most likely because of internet connection. Very little difference compared to the ATV1200 other than it is marginally slower. Default remote is superb, better than anything USB remote you can buy on eBay. Cost = £40


Q7 RK3188 Quad Core Box:
There's loads of these boxes under one name, so be careful of what you buy if you do decide to get one. Mine turned out to be a Q7, with 1G Ram and 2G flash. This turned out not be enough memory to host XBMC and all its addons, so it took me 3 days to try and mount the XBMC folders to the internal storage. I also couldn't simply copy over my addons and settings from a different XBMC, the folders copy but for some reason XBMC doesn't want to read them. Maybe I've just had bad luck, but for anyone who wants a simple installation of XBMC, look elsewhere. Performance-wise, it's average. For a quad core I expected more, but it didn't seem any different to my MX box. Only good thing about this box is the price, but you pay for what you get! Cost = £30-40


Amlogic S802/ Beelink S82 / Tronsmart S89 / VissonTech S82:
Great box. I bought to sell, so haven't fully used it properly, but it's fast and stable. I've had it running on Android (Finless' rom), with oman's 4k XBMC, and it seems much better than Android XBMC we've been used to for a while. It's faster than all other devices I've tried (not by much, but still noticable), and I haven't ran into a single bug yet (apart from when using it with Target Home Launcher - sometimes it freezes and needs rebooting).
I've also flashed it with AMLinux S82, it's even better. Works flawlessly, and speeds it up quite noticably. Menus load rapidly, and live streams work fine (MXLinux version of P2P streams works on this device FYI). I'm seriously contemplating selling my ATV1200 and replacing it with one of these. Definitely the best value for money. Cost = £50-60
 
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ccadi

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May 7, 2012
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Tronsmart S89

Well I finally got the box today. Slow delivery is down to an error from me rather than Mobase.

Early use review

Superb packaging, would withstand a lots of knocks during delivery. Hard to get at the thing lol

Tidy looking unit with usual accessories.

Had to read pamphlet to find on switch. No batteries in remote!

Got it working with harmony 650 remote, no problems

Switched on, fired up pre-installed xbmc, it's on 14.0, so have to downgrade.

decided to put finless 1.9 on. Followed instructions new image installed fine, no xbmc on. Had to install .apk

connected to wireless 5Ghz :)

Fired up xbmc, restored using xbmc backup, repathed tv shows, movie libraries. scanned and put everything back

tested a few films and 720 live streams.........looking good

unit working hard scanning my libs at moment but still playing anything I throw at it effortlessly

24 hours use review:

watch HD movies ticking along at 25% cpu
D/l movies to external usb hdrive, it found the drive and added allowed use.

Watched live sports at 720p no buffering

Pvr working fine.

It's as fast as I would expect from a quadcore and the wifi is good at making use of my fast BB connection.

I was worried about heat having read a few things, but it's been on constantly and is cool

Looking like a good buy


More to follow as and when, may try on linux image in a few weeks

Had it about three weeks now, no negatives to speak of at all, no freezes, no crashes. Just gets on with whatever I throw at it. Very please with it.

Decided to give it a try on Linux at last...........whoosh it's faaaaaast, will report more after use.


Now got this box on Openelec 5.0.3 and its great, nothing remotely puts a strain on it :D
 
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simma0191

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Aug 28, 2014
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hi i'm having trouble getting my beelink set up xbmc was on when i got it at first i wanted to put gotham on it and the screen went blank so i went back to the beginning and tried loading addons i managed ****up bur it just doesnt seem to load what i wanted to watch ive already got a atv2 and that works great and i bought the beelink for upstairs can you help please cheers mate
 

spanky

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Dec 25, 2012
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hi i'm having trouble getting my beelink set up xbmc was on when i got it at first i wanted to put gotham on it and the screen went blank so i went back to the beginning and tried loading addons i managed ****up bur it just doesnt seem to load what i wanted to watch ive already got a atv2 and that works great and i bought the beelink for upstairs can you help please cheers mate
hey pal, that addon is not supported here at xbmchub please check the the link for more info http://www.xbmchub.com/forums/threads/21784-What-Is-The-*********
 

jakewalton4

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Jul 22, 2013
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Newcastle, UK
This is the wrong thread anyway, this is for pros and cons of different devices, not for help and support. If you PM me or start a new thread in XBMC for Android section, I'll offer you more help
 

theo point-o

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May 14, 2014
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i have an ouya and i love it. plays 720p and 1080p streams without a problem. live video plays perfect (the only issue is a sporting event may buffer but it seems to be the source because different streams of the same event don't buffer).

the only issue i had with the ouya is the video is very dark. my tv is professionally calibrated and blu ray, cable tv look perfect. i even streamed a couple shows from ps3 browser (just SD as ps3 does not stream HD from browser well) and ps3 looked much better. blacks on ouya are crushed big time. i have to turn brightness way up on tv for ouya.

ouya is still great though.


i just bought a Probox2 ex and it has no black crush or dark video issues. very fast to. works perfect so right now i use Probox 2 ex.

i will always love OUYA though :)
 

Frederick_99

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Sep 18, 2012
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the only issue i had with the ouya is the video is very dark. my tv is professionally calibrated and blu ray, cable tv look perfect. i even streamed a couple shows from ps3 browser (just SD as ps3 does not stream HD from browser well) and ps3 looked much better. blacks on ouya are crushed big time. i have to turn brightness way up on tv for ouya.
you should check whether you have brightness and contrast controls on the OSD video options which you can save.

I have this on Minix 8-H running minix's version of xbmc, not sure about ouya ?

so there's my vote _ MiniX 8-H :)
 

Frederick_99

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Sep 18, 2012
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Minix x8-h here also. Very good box with a superb quality picture and 4gb ram. I'm using a Favi bluetooth remote. Stock version 1 firmware and stock xbmc running perfect. Very pleased with this box. Been looking for something better and cannot find it.
MiniX Neo8-H has

Memory 2GB DDR3
Internal Storage 16GB eMMC

but yes, excellent for xbmc.
Im running Finless 1.0ROM and MiniX xbmc 13.3
 

bubbles

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Nov 1, 2013
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I've just bought a Neo x8-H

V pleased with it.

Cannot get the TVMC install to work properly, all I get is a huge close up of the top left portion of whatever is being streamed.

The Minix's own "XMBC" app is excellent and a doddle to do the old fashioned way of installing Fusion and going from there.

Plus points for me:

Small box that's v easy to set up and connects to wifi with no hassle.

Available in UK Spec, so no dodgy power adapters for shavers etc.

Easily able to run vpn.

Fast and reliable operation of all functions so far.

Negatives for me:

(minor irritation)
The Power On indicator light is REALLY dim, almost impossible to see in daylight. Not much better in pitch dark with curtains drawn.

(majorish annoyance)

The controllers are a pain in the arse. The remote control is fairly unresponsive and pleases itself whether it'll bother taking much notice of what you press. The "Air Mouse" supplied with the unit is just plain odd. Seems to work best if used with wrong (ie left for me) hand and held at a very odd angle. I'm def going to buy a keyboard, trying to get any text onto the screen leaves your wrist absolutely knackered.
 
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filly

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Jan 31, 2013
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Don't buy a Pivos. Had nothing but problems from day one. Now the box reset pin hole area is fallen apart from repeated reflashing. Cannot even reflash with new xbmc Helix. Pretty much useless and cheaply made.
 

Frederick_99

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Sep 18, 2012
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I've just bought a Neo x8-H







(minor irritation)
The Power On indicator light is REALLY dim, almost impossible to see in daylight. Not much better in pitch dark with curtains drawn.

(majorish annoyance)

The controllers are a pain in the arse. The remote control is fairly unresponsive and pleases itself whether it'll bother taking much notice of what you press. The "Air Mouse" supplied with the unit is just plain odd. Seems to work best if used with wrong (ie left for me) hand and held at a very odd angle. I'm def going to buy a keyboard, trying to get any text onto the screen leaves your wrist absolutely knackered.
Assume you mean the M1...mine works reasonably well ..does take a bit of getting used to...make sure you give it a full charge and calibrate...and yes the minix-8h is an excellent device for xbmc media player

also use an xbmc remote app on smartphone/tablet for keyboard entry...or look for google tv remote app ...also has mouse pointer and works very well with latest 002 beta 9 firmware
 

spideynut

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May 3, 2015
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Element box after trying 5 different boxes I found this gem it runs an amlogic s812 2GB ram and 16gb storage. It comes preloaded with "custom version" of Kodi 14.0. I have to say it plays everything I can throw at it. Five stars!

Next in line is the M8 amlogic s802 2GBram 8gb storage. Depending on who's you buy , this version came fully loaded with Kodi 14.2 helix. I'm on my 3rd day and it's great no crashes and I haven't rebooted in 72 hrs. If I had to have a con it's a little bit to loaded! If that's possible? It's just I don't have much use for Poland repository or Dutch or any other of the 30 countries repos it has loaded. I wonder if it would be even be faster if the repos where slimmed down a bit?
Great buy!

Mx3 worked very similar to the m8 but crashed a few times no biggie. The best thing about this box is it has a power button! What? That's right I said it it's own power button. My 10yr old boy uses for Kodi he has no complaints. It to came fully loaded.

Number 1 on my do not buy list is Dazzle it has the same guts as the M8 but struggles to play 1080p. I spent a good part of my weekend thinking it's the same as the others it should run I'll do this update click that tweak but it was all a waste of time sent it back.

Hope I could help someone. Spent weeks trying all these so you don't have to!
 

jechill

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Jun 1, 2013
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Ontario ,Canada
Starstream X4 and the new Nuvo 5 from starstream are the best by far.
Ive programmed everything from the Ouya to the Mygica and the best boxes so far seem to be the starstreams.
Easy to update, program and run with full 1080p support and fast interface.
Wi fi is not great but they tell you that and suggest a cable.
The support is fabulous and with the Nuvo 5 you get the power of a quad with the price of a dual.
 

mar

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Apr 6, 2014
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hi i have atv2 i want to change to android or amazon fire im not very good with computers do any of the boxes come already setup with kodi and netflix it took me a while to learn with utube to set up my atv2 im from canada and will amazone fire work here
 

swervepf

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Dec 1, 2014
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Element box after trying 5 different boxes I found this gem it runs an amlogic s812 2GB ram and 16gb storage. It comes preloaded with "custom version" of Kodi 14.0. I have to say it plays everything I can throw at it. Five stars!

Next in line is the M8 amlogic s802 2GBram 8gb storage. Depending on who's you buy , this version came fully loaded with Kodi 14.2 helix. I'm on my 3rd day and it's great no crashes and I haven't rebooted in 72 hrs. If I had to have a con it's a little bit to loaded! If that's possible? It's just I don't have much use for Poland repository or Dutch or any other of the 30 countries repos it has loaded. I wonder if it would be even be faster if the repos where slimmed down a bit?
Great buy!
Very useful information. Would you say that a box with Amlogic s812 2GB ram and 16gb storage is worth spending more than twice as much for as an MXQ box with Amlogic s805 1GB ram and 8gb storage for $77 or an M8 box with Amlogic S802 2GB ram and 8gb storage for $89?

My current experience is with an Amazon Fire TV, so if the speed of the cheaper of these 3 is similar, then I'll save some cash and not get the S812.


EDIT: I just pulled the trigger on an "M8S" box with AMLOGIC S812 2GB/8GB for $94, since it's only a few bucks more over the S805
 
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Smartie38

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May 13, 2015
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Very useful information. Would you say that a box with Amlogic s812 2GB ram and 16gb storage is worth spending more than twice as much for as an MXQ box with Amlogic s805 1GB ram and 8gb storage for $77 or an M8 box with Amlogic S802 2GB ram and 8gb storage for $89?

My current experience is with an Amazon Fire TV, so if the speed of the cheaper of these 3 is similar, then I'll save some cash and not get the S812.
I've no experience with the s812 amlogic but I've had no problems at all playing anything on my mxq s805 box, I use a custom cache size to take advantage of all the available ram that's left out of the 1gb it comes with and I have no buffering issues at all, I'm well chuffed with it considering the low cost of the box too.
 

QQQ

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May 28, 2015
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Starstream X4 and the new Nuvo 5 from starstream are the best by far.
Ive programmed everything from the Ouya to the Mygica and the best boxes so far seem to be the starstreams.
Easy to update, program and run with full 1080p support and fast interface.
Wi fi is not great but they tell you that and suggest a cable.
The support is fabulous and with the Nuvo 5 you get the power of a quad with the price of a dual.
Hi, I've been using an Ouya for just over a year now and am starting to look into whether or not there is anything better I could upgrade to. I haven't really been keeping up with new products since I got my Ouya going.

Firstly, just wondering in what ways you find the Starstream boxes to be superior to the Ouya. Also wondering whether you purchased them pre-configured or if you set-up everything yourself?

Additionally, do you have any experience using Amazon Fire? I've read good things about it and am wondering how it stacks up against the Ouya and the Starstreams you mentioned.

Any further advice would be greatly appreciated!