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New Amlogic S922X based Media Players Coming

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HomerJAU

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There’s a new batch of media players launching over next few months based on AMLogic’s S922X processor that looks extremely promising: HDMI 2.1 4K HDR, USB3 ports, 1GB Ethernet and affordable. These will run a Linux version of Kodi 18 (latest version) Media Player software (free).

I purchased an Odroid N2 kit for testing ($120 USD including FedEx shipping from South Korea to AU). It can be purchased now in USA:

There’s the Khadas VIM3 being released next week (can be purchased on Amazon once released). That will be around $150 by the look.

Both the above need a 3rd party remote (the wireless Minix A2 Lite is about 25 USD on Amazon, or these can be controlled via a smartphone or tablet) over a home wifi network)

Beelink GT-King is now on the market too. That’s an Android based box but can run Linux Kodi.

There are further devices coming, currently not announced.

There’s still a few limitations and bugs that are being resolved. The Odroid N2 looks and sounds amazing playing 4K and 1080p rips and plays Atmos, TrueHD, DTS-HDMA, DTS multichannel perfectly. Even upscaling NTSC to 4K looked better than I expected.

BUT, it’s a BIG BUT: currently they can’t play MCH FLAC! The Linux/Kodi developers are working on a fix so this should be solved in next couple of months. Updated: 30 Sept 2019 - Multichannel FLAC fix released today

I’ll write up my experience with the Odroid N2 over next week or so, along with photos, links to various websites. And keep you up to date with fixes and other new AMLogic S922 based devices here.

These will be perfect for QQ’ers wanting to play their file based hires audio and video, and they won’t break the bank (and are easy to set up).
 
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winopener

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There’s a new batch of media players launching over next few months based on AMLogic’s S922X processor that looks extremely promising: HDMI 2.1 4K HDR, USB3 ports, 1GB Ethernet and affordable.
How much?
 

bluelightning

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There are also the Chinese HiSilicon chipset based players out there (Egreat & a couple other players). They support 4K HDR, Atmos etc. with the exception of Dolby Vision. The support multichannel audio as well. Only fly in the ointment with them is the 44.1K wav/flac is rate converted to 48K.

I will be curious to so see if these Amlogic boxes support Dolby Vision.
 

bluelightning

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That's a MAJOR issue for anyone with DTS CD rips.
Actually DTS, ac3 etc. work fine with no conversion. They are directly passed through. The issue only happens with wav/flac files. Otherwise anything encoded is directly passed through. I have tried plenty of dts files and they all work fine.
 

atrocity

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Actually DTS, ac3 etc. work fine with no conversion. They are directly passed through. The issue only happens with wav/flac files. Otherwise anything encoded is directly passed through. I have tried plenty of dts files and they all work fine.
But DTS CD rips stored in FLACs will look like 44.1 PCM to anything upstream from the decoder. I'm guessing that the files that are working for you are associated with video and are 48kHz.
 

atrocity

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But DTS CD rips stored in FLACs will look like 44.1 PCM to anything upstream from the decoder. I'm guessing that the files that are working for you are associated with video and are 48kHz.
Oh, wait...are you having Kodi decode the DTS to PCM? If that's the case, I retract my skepticism!
 

bluelightning

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But DTS CD rips stored in FLACs will look like 44.1 PCM to anything upstream from the decoder. I'm guessing that the files that are working for you are associated with video and are 48kHz.
I have a bunch dts wav files and I can tell you that they play just fine. I am not sure about dts flacs. If you have a particular sample to try, I will be happy to give it a go.
 

bluelightning

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Oh, wait...are you having Kodi decode the DTS to PCM? If that's the case, I retract my skepticism!
There is the option of Kodi as well as the native player. The deficiency I mention is a function of the Android operating system from what I understand. Nvidia Shield suffers the same problem. Unless encoded, audio is natively converted to 48K based rates.
 

bluelightning

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There is the option of Kodi as well as the native player. The deficiency I mention is a function of the Android operating system from what I understand. Nvidia Shield suffers the same problem. Unless encoded, audio is natively converted to 48K based rates.
Skepticism is always good :)
 

HomerJAU

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And it plays as DTS using Kodi 18.3 on my on my new Odroid N2 (AMLogic S922X media player running CoreElec for N2).

As I said in my OP, the N2 won't play MCH FLAC (PCM) at the moment (but it likes DTS Embedded in FLAC)
 

HomerJAU

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@atrocity How do you wrap DTS into FLAC? I’m wondering if Kodi would recognise and play TrueHD + Atmos in a FLAC wrapper.

Currently I’m using a Matroska .mka container but tagging is not read completely by Kodi, so as a workaround I’m using a CUE file to import .mka into the Kodi music library.
 

MrSmithers

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There’s a new batch of media players launching over next few months based on AMLogic’s S922X processor that looks extremely promising: HDMI 2.1 4K HDR, USB3 ports, 1GB Ethernet and affordable. These will run a Linux version of Kodi 18 (latest version) Media Player software (free).
Hey Garry, do you know if having HDMI 2.1 would technically allow for these boxes to pass through native DSD out of the box? I know that Kodi converts to PCM anyway but I wasn't sure if that's because there aren't current Intel drivers that allow DSD?
 

HomerJAU

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I don’t think HDMI 2.1 is linked to DSD. It allows a higher HDMI bandwidth but that’s not required for DSD.

HDMI 2.1 will support 4K at 72Hz, which eliminates flicker by allowing 24Hz (film frame rate) to be sent at triple speed (3 x 24 = 72 Hz). Also Atmos/DTS:X over ARC (with a new TVs and AVR with HDMI 2.1). It also supports variable frame rates for gaming and probably more that I can’t remember now after 3 wines and a nice meal this evening.

For these Linux based AMLogic processors and Intel NUCs, Linux 5.3 is adding more capability to the underlying kernel (operating system) so it’s possible DSD will be included, although I’ve not seen that mentioned specifically. Initially the major feature for me is HDR video support for 4K.

Linux 5.3 is about to be released, that’s the Linux version that will see MCH PCM reintroduced for Kodi. It works ok in current LibreELEC (Linux Kodi) but was broken in the Linux used for these initial AMLogic S922X processor releases.

NOTE FOR NON- GEEKS: Once Linux is installed on one of these Media Players you’ll never see it again. When it’s switched on it shows the Kodi interface and acts like an appliance. It works much like a BD player, menus, nice graphical user interface etc. No fiddling involved. The installation does not require IT skills, just follow some simple instructions.
 
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