Mele Pcg03 Windows 8.1 Xbmc box

futeko

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Jun 12, 2013
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8.1 with bing costs the manufacturer nothing as there are no licensing fees for it,so they can turn out cheap laptops etc and dont have to pay anything to microsoft
Windows 8.1 Bing is only free for shipping on tablets with less than 9" screens.

Microsoft charge a licencing fee for Windows on an HTPC.

Many of the new Intel Z3735F mini-HTPCs are shipping with the tablet version of Windows. A prime example is the Pipo X7. These installations of Windows are likely to be deactivated by Microsoft and there will be problems down the line with updates+support.

As far as I know only the Mele PCG03 and the MiniX Z64 ship with a proper Windows licence. Hence their price being higher.

I'd also add that the Pipo X7 overheats. It's ventilation is insufficient. This is why new stock is delayed.
 

stammie

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Windows 8.1 Bing is only free for shipping on tablets with less than 9" screens.

Microsoft charge a licencing fee for Windows on an HTPC.

Many of the new Intel Z3735F mini-HTPCs are shipping with the tablet version of Windows. A prime example is the Pipo X7. These installations of Windows are likely to be deactivated by Microsoft and there will be problems down the line with updates+support.

As far as I know only the Mele PCG03 and the MiniX Z64 ship with a proper Windows licence. Hence their price being higher.

I'd also add that the Pipo X7 overheats. It's ventilation is insufficient. This is why new stock is delayed.
Please do not think my previous comment reflected negatively on you,
when you take import costs, customs duties and VAT into account I think you're charging a very fair price for the Mele box.

Now whilst I have no facts to back this up I do think you are being alarmist with regard to Windows licenses and the possibility of MS deactivating some boxes.
With the announcement that Windows 7 and 8 users will get free upgrades to Windows 10 I think they have finally seen sense and want to tie as any users as they can into the Windows OS and then make money (a la Google and Apple) from our data and the apps we purchase.

I simply cannot see Microsoft deactivating potentially thousands of users PC's with the negative publicity that will give them at the same time as they are trying to hook many of us into their eco system as they can.

I could be wrong but that's my honest held view and as long as all my equipment still works I don't give a toss what they think they'll get from me, I've never bought anything from an app store, pretty much all software on my PC's is open source or "free" to me but if they want to give me the OS I'll take it :)
 

TheLion

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^^I have to agree, no way windows would give you something then take it away. They aren't "Indian Givers". Windows with Bing Has very clear definitions if you read about it. Seems Microsoft has finally figured it out.

Get ready for a whole new glut of windows devices to come into the market just because of this. Maybe that's a good thing since the Chinese android boxes are built and sold before they're tested properly. They leave the testing up to us then they fix their problems afterwards. If at all. Its getting old fast. I see the same pattern over and over again. They have the technology to build a rock solid box but they choose to always leave one or two shortfalls with every box they come out with. Its very predictable now. I don't think any of them know how to test, nor do they test with xbmc extensive usage using all the possibilities. They just hype it up, sell a bunch of them then wait for the complaints to come in, then sometimes address the complaints or just move on to marketing another box. Windows is a refreshing change to all this nonsense.
 

rextoba

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Apr 30, 2013
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^^I have to agree, no way windows would give you something then take it away. They aren't "Indian Givers". Windows with Bing Has very clear definitions if you read about it. Seems Microsoft has finally figured it out.

Get ready for a whole new glut of windows devices to come into the market just because of this. Maybe that's a good thing since the Chinese android boxes are built and sold before they're tested properly. They leave the testing up to us then they fix their problems afterwards. If at all. Its getting old fast. I see the same pattern over and over again. They have the technology to build a rock solid box but they choose to always leave one or two shortfalls with every box they come out with. Its very predictable now. I don't think any of them know how to test, nor do they test with xbmc extensive usage using all the possibilities. They just hype it up, sell a bunch of them then wait for the complaints to come in, then sometimes address the complaints or just move on to marketing another box. Windows is a refreshing change to all this nonsense.
I totally agree!
 

richiebrowns

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Jan 12, 2014
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Hi all,

Just wanted to give a very quick update on the Mele pcg03. Received the box today from futeko.com and managed to boot it up and log into my existing windows 8 account.

The initial setup took about 20 mins to get through, but thats standard windows 8 setup time.

From the moment I press the on button it takes 10.5 seconds to boot into the windows login screen. I installed Kodi earlier, but when clicking on the icon to open it takes 2 seconds - well happy with that!

So far its played all local video content sourced from a 4 tb external hdd without fault. The only thing i noticed so far is out of the 32gb onboard storage, there is now only 16.5gb remaining - which is going to be a struggle - but i think i can instantly extend that with an sd card without needing to use the external hdd.

I ordered the bundle which came with the Mele F10 remote, which so far seems a little erratic - not sure if it needs to be mapped properly somehow - any ideas?
 

stammie

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Hi all,

The only thing i noticed so far is out of the 32gb onboard storage, there is now only 16.5gb remaining - which is going to be a struggle - but i think i can instantly extend that with an sd card without needing to use the external hdd.
Assuming your Mele has been shipped similarly to my Windows 8.1 tablets then if you're brave you can recover 8GB's by deleting the recovery partition that will be on the EMMC storage.
However I'd advise not doing this unless Futeko or Mele can provide you with links to download a new Windows image and also the drivers that the box needs.

EDIT:
You could also make a system image backup of your present install to your external drive then delete the recovery partition so you have a known good configuration to restore to, but personally I would still find out where to get the Windows image and drivers from first, better safe than sorry.
 
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pleven4ever

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Feb 7, 2015
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So far its played all local video content sourced from a 4 tb external hdd without fault. The only thing i noticed so far is out of the 32gb onboard storage, there is now only 16.5gb remaining - which is going to be a struggle - but i think i can instantly extend that with an sd card without needing to use the external hdd.

I ordered the bundle which came with the Mele F10 remote, which so far seems a little erratic - not sure if it needs to be mapped properly somehow - any ideas?
May I ask you, do you know how much is the max. expendable memory - on their commercial pictures shows possible 512 gb expandable sd card, so PNY SDXC 128gb (that I own) should run without a problems? I've tryed to ask their official store in AE, but they didn't gave me any straight answer, except that that their windows is licensed and the device is cheeper than Z64 - both things are obvious. Also, your remote is F10 Pro or deluxe - the deluxe has learning button function, the pro has built in mic. and audio out jack. My f10 deluxe is on the way from China, but I still have some doubts about the MeLE PCG03 - the device generaly looks better and have some better specs, like ventilation, sd slot (not micro), VGA, 1080p XBMC, Dolby Digital, DTS-HD MA and DTS Downmix and Passthrough (at least that MeLe claims), compared to the NEO Z64, not to mention, that is nearly $20 cheaper. On the other hand, their forum and sellers doesn't seems to offer any help in case of emergency, compared to the minix forum. And speaking of XBMC/Kodi - how is the experience on Win 8.1 - I run Win7 on my laptop and XBMC is a lot better on my android tablet, in windows most of the addons won't even start, no idea why. You should make a video review of your device, if you have time and good will to do it, since for those new devices any independent point of view is really more than helpful now.
 

stammie

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May 10, 2012
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So my Pipo X7 turned up yesterday, here are my initial thoughts after setting it up and having a play around for a couple of hours.
Firstly it seems to have a strange quirk where it only seems to boot from being powered off if the tv is turned on, so for instance I can't power it on then reach for the tv remote and turn that on it has to be done the other way round,
only a minor thing but anyone buying one of these is better knowing this than thinking they have a duff box,
I'd also add that the Intel drivers this ships with are pretty ancient (version 10.XXX) and a visit to the Intel website is required to get the latest drivers which are version 15.33 if memory serves me correctly.

Now onto the performance of the Pipo,
as I suspected before my purchase it only contains Wireless N 150 on the inbuilt wireless (as does pretty much every Chinese manufactured device I've seen) but the large aerial on it does enable it to receive a strong signal.
With the inbuilt wireless I could only achieve 48 mbps on my 152 meg internet connection and got around 3.5-4 MB/s on data transfers across my network.
Within Kodi it did play most of my files wirelessly from my main/server PC including some highish bitrate 1080P's but uncompressed blurays were a no no coming out a stuttering, buffering mess.
I suspect even though its only 10/100 the ethernet port would probably handle them but I haven't tried it hard wired.

At this point of the testing I disabled the internal wireless and plugged in my USB wireless N 300 dongle, my internet connection immediately shot up to an impressive (for Wireless N) 144 mbps with data transfers in the 11-12 MB/s area.

Via the USB dongle Kodi handled uncompressed blurays with ease, not a single buffer, the framerate switched correctly to 23.976 and not one skipped frame :) .

Pretty much everything I threw at it within Kodi (remuxed blurays, bluray ISO's, high bitrate 1080P MKV's, 720P MKV's, XVID, DVD ISO's and the BBC Iplayer, Genesis and NBC Sports addons) worked perfectly,
however I did notice (and I realise that for many this will be a niche use of Kodi) interlaced content within the PVR section had some problems,
bearing in mind I only tried the PVR functions using this as a client and haven't tried it with the hardware receiver directly connected I found 1080i video having some what looked like framerate issues (despite Kodi reporting no dropped frames), on the majority of scenes of a program this isn't evident but switching to a news channel with a scrolling feed across the screen shows it up quite markedly, the scrolling news feed isn't smooth and appears to semi judder across the screen,
as I said most scenes you watch on telly you wouldn't see this but I did also see it on some panning scenes but its kinda hard to describe, it wasn't on slow, medium or fast panning but sort of in between what I'd describe as slow and medium panning.
I didn't see the same effect within SD 576i content but to be honest I didn't really watch a lot of SD content when I was trying it out.

As richiebrowns mentioned storage is an issue, on this 32 GB machine without doing any Windows updates and with only Kodi, some VPN software and NBC Sports Windows app installed I only have 16.9 GB free so probably sooner rather than later extra storage will be required (especially if you're using it with Kodi and you have a large library) whether it be via the SD card slot this comes with or USB.
@pleven4ever I doubt you'd get 128 GB via an SD card on one of these devices, without having checked if its exact every device be it tablet or mini pc I've seen advertised with this hardware has stated a maximum of 64 GB via the SD card slot.

As for general Windows performance this is surprisingly good for a device that cost £65 (well £68:49 once VAT and import duties were added) it seems a tad slower than my equivalently specced tablet but I'm sure its probably no more than milli seconds if it was possible to time it and my perception of being used to far more expensive equipment when I'm using a keyboard and mouse is taking over.

Before getting hold of this I'd had some concerns over whether such a small fanless machine might overheat and the case does get a little warm to touch but I found that even when being stressed to the max that I had it at from the outside the hottest the case got according to my infrared temperature probe was 30.2 degrees C.
I don't have any monitoring software installed yet to see the internal temperatures but as the case is part of the cooling I think my overheating fears may have been unfounded, most of the time during the testing the case didn't even feel warm to the touch :)

My summary after one evenings testing is for the price I would whole heartedly recommend this especially over Android TV boxes and in conjuction with something like Kodi Launcher an openelec appliance like experience could be achieved (with the caveat that interlaced content may be a problem and a small extra expense may be required if you need more than Wireless N 150) with the fall back to Windows for everything non Kodi you may want to do.
 
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TheLion

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I agree, these new windows boxes are pretty slick, I'm still using my little meegopad every night and I'm very happy with it. I have three really nice androids and I haven't touched them all this time, like a month now.

I did buy a mele pcg03 but it hasn't even shipped out yet. I bought it from gearbest on Feb.4
I think its stuck in the Chinese new year for another 3 weeks. That's the problem shipping takes forever on these boxes.
 

stammie

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May 10, 2012
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A quick update after a week of use now, I may have a different box to the one this thread was started about but as all these mini PC's use the same SoC and chipset I think my experiences are pretty relevant to all.

I installed my favourite (and probably the most CPU intensive) skin being Aeon Nox 4 and did notice a little lag compared to what I'd call my proper PC's,
however copying over my advancedsettings.xml file from my other installs which includes the most aggressive dirty regions setting has all but cured this, the one thing that hasn't been cured is that the scanning of my rather large library is a bit slower than I'm used to (but still acceptable) and whilst the library scanning is going on some of my animated screens take a second or so to load on occasion,
once the scanning is complete all is tickety boo :)

I've also discovered something else which I'm not sure is a Helix issue or a serverWMC issue but when Kodi is the client the one thing it doesn't switch the framerate to match the video for is live TV, once I set the box to output to what is for here in the UK our TV services native framerate of 50 HZ what I'd previously thought were deinterlacing issues have disappeared, 1080i live TV signals are smooth as a baby's bottom now, I've checked on the PC that the hardware receiver is attached to which is still running Gotham and live TV is switching correctly to 50 HZ from the PC's native 60 HZ.

All in all after a week I'd recommend this hardware even more than I did before if you're on a budget, if money isn't so tight I'd say go for a more expensive PC but imho this cheap box is far better than any Android or Amazon Fire alternative and far more versatile.
 

futeko

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Jun 12, 2013
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Please do not think my previous comment reflected negatively on you,
when you take import costs, customs duties and VAT into account I think you're charging a very fair price for the Mele box.

Now whilst I have no facts to back this up I do think you are being alarmist with regard to Windows licenses and the possibility of MS deactivating some boxes.
With the announcement that Windows 7 and 8 users will get free upgrades to Windows 10 I think they have finally seen sense and want to tie as any users as they can into the Windows OS and then make money (a la Google and Apple) from our data and the apps we purchase.

I simply cannot see Microsoft deactivating potentially thousands of users PC's with the negative publicity that will give them at the same time as they are trying to hook many of us into their eco system as they can.

I could be wrong but that's my honest held view and as long as all my equipment still works I don't give a toss what they think they'll get from me, I've never bought anything from an app store, pretty much all software on my PC's is open source or "free" to me but if they want to give me the OS I'll take it :)
Companies like MiniX and Mele have paid Microsoft a fee to use Windows on their PC products. It wouldn't do Microsoft's standing with these higher quality brands any good if they shafted them by allowing a host of small Chinese tablet manufacturers to exploit free tablet Windows to undermine their price.

And, let's face it, the people buying MeegoPads or Pipo X7 are almost certainly not going to be rushing out to buy Office 2015 or any other Microsoft product. Microsoft gains nothing from these customers.

The availability of free 'PC' Windows would undermine Microsoft's core strategy of having people pay for the OS. Free Windows for tablets was a desperate last ditch effort to get some market share for Microsoft on tablets, they have no need to offer free Windows for PCs because they continue to dominate on the desktop.

I wouldn't be surprised at all to see some form of deactivation / degradation of service for free tablet Windows installed on PCs.

Ultimately it's up to the customer to decide if saving a few £/$ by going for tablet Windows on a PC is worth the risk.
 

TheLion

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Jun 2, 2013
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So far so good. I see no end in sight on my windows machine. I see no risk here at all.

Just look at the instability of androids in general, everyone has a different Rom some work some don't, tradeoffs and how about the old flickering Problems? Windows is the best thing that ever happened to this industry in my book. I struggled for years with androids, apple tv2, fire tv.

Since using my stupid little meegopad I have yet to experience any hardware or software problem whatsoever.
All I do is use it not fix it, not build it, not tweak it,nothing but straight perfect use.

I really have no reason to hang around any forums now with totally blue skies ahead there's nothing to worry about. Yes life is boring with a tv box that finally works perfect. This forum will certainly not see me posting should I root or Not?

Just look at all the hardware malady posts, all can be avoided with a simple windows tv box.
Run don't walk, get one and be done with tv box/ software problems forever.

I paid for my license so they won't be "degrading" me anytime soon either.
 
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stammie

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May 10, 2012
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Companies like MiniX and Mele have paid Microsoft a fee to use Windows on their PC products. It wouldn't do Microsoft's standing with these higher quality brands any good if they shafted them by allowing a host of small Chinese tablet manufacturers to exploit free tablet Windows to undermine their price.

And, let's face it, the people buying MeegoPads or Pipo X7 are almost certainly not going to be rushing out to buy Office 2015 or any other Microsoft product. Microsoft gains nothing from these customers.

The availability of free 'PC' Windows would undermine Microsoft's core strategy of having people pay for the OS. Free Windows for tablets was a desperate last ditch effort to get some market share for Microsoft on tablets, they have no need to offer free Windows for PCs because they continue to dominate on the desktop.

I wouldn't be surprised at all to see some form of deactivation / degradation of service for free tablet Windows installed on PCs.

Ultimately it's up to the customer to decide if saving a few £/$ by going for tablet Windows on a PC is worth the risk.

I'll take the chance, as I said I can't see them risking the publicity of degrading peoples Windows, if anything they'll sue the manufacturers or withdraw their license to distribute Windows on future products.
If I were to spend £130 on a PC I'd spend that money building something superior but that''s just me and at that price they do offer value for money to those not comfortable assembling a PC.