Android hardware

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For most high-definition videos (1080p or higher resolution), hardware video decoding is necessary for smooth video playback on Android devices. And this article contains a list of SoC chipset hardware, (SoC stands for "System on a Chip" which contain the CPU plus GPU and VPU circuits combination, and is also known as a "chipset"), as on Android platforms this SoC chipset is what can playback common video codecs smoothly using Kodi/XBMC.

The fact is, while some devices might be able to smoothly decode standard-definition videos and even some 720p or higher resolution videos using only software video decoding with raw CPU compute power, offloading a large part of video decoding tasks to an integrated VPU (Video Processor Unit) that is optimized specifically for this job is considered essential for most Android devices to be able to smoothly playback high definition videos.

Contents

1 Basic requirements

Stop hand.png It is highly recommended for users to not make any purchases in anticipation of running Kodi on Android without first researching the device you want to buy. Before you do buy, make sure multiple people have verified that it works! If in doubt, do not buy that hardware!
  • Due to the fractured nature of the Android operating system ecosystem and diversified hardware devices with poor usage of standard APIs by manufacturers, it makes it very hard to give exact minimum requirements, so instead the basic set of requirements includes:
    • Android 4.4 operating-system or later is recommended, though Android 4.0 or later is supported by Kodi 14 (Helix), however the newer Kodi 15 (Isengard) and later will require at least Android 4.2 or later version of the operating-system.
    • x86 (Intel) or NEON compatible ARM processor, (for example: Nvidia Tegra 3 and newer are fully supported by Kodi, while Tegra 2 and older Tegra probably will never be supported because its processor lacks NEON instruction set compatibility).
    • Hardware decoding support in Kodi is likely a must for high definition video playback (720p or higher resolution). Do not expect Kodi to work properly on any device until someone knowledgeable have specifically already tested it and can confirm working hardware decoding support for that device. For more details on hardware video decoding support, see Android hardware.
  • The main aim for the Android port of Kodi is to foremost target media-players/set-top-boxes/sticks that connect to a large screen television and uses a standard remote control as its main interface device, (that is the same market as for HTPC). However expect the initial tablet/phone/touch/mobile/etc support to eventually improve with time.

2 How do I know what chipset I have?

There are so many out there so it can something be difficult to find out, but these are some good websites for looking up the SoC (System on a Chip) chipset used in your Android hardware device:

Also as a reference you can compare different SoC (System on a Chip) chipset specifications on system-on-a-chip.findthebest.com as well as in http://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1GT7I4P8MDlfYvRaL9Wv0NplQJryl54pO_6-9P3g7Fvk/

3 Compatible chipsets

These specific mass-market hardware SoC chipsets listed below should be capable at least partial hardware accelerated video decoding support for the more popular video codecs in the latest official Kodi builds for Android. However understand that for some devices you might first need to upgrade the hardware firmware image on the device to achieve smooth playback at 1080p or higher resolution. Please contact your hardware manufacturer support for an updated system update firmware and apply that upgrade image before installing Kodi.


Note: Most Android devices do support hardware video decoding, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it functions well when using Kodi. The reasons for this can be for many reasons (e.g. firmware bug, Kodi bug, API bug, etc). The table below should reflect real-world testing, which means someone was able to confirm, with their own eyes, that the hardware played the codec in Kodi.


A " Yes " mark indicates that SoC (System-on-a-Chip) chipset should be able to decode those codecs at least 1080p in Kodi without issues.
Chip
manufacturer
SoC chipset Examples of Android media players and development boards using these SoC chipsets with Kodi support Hardware video decoding Notes
H.264 MPEG-2 VC-1 / WMV 9 HEVC (H.265)
Actions Semi S500 / ATM7029 / ATM7039S / ATM7059 ActDuino S500 Development Board, Kaiboer F5 Plus ? ? ? ?
Actions Semi S900 / ATM9009 96Boards Bubblegum-96 Development Board ? ? ? ?
ALi M3773 Uyesee L100T2, Zidoo D1 ? ? ? ?
Allwinner A31 / A31s / A33 Justop Quadro, Mele A1000G/M8/M9, Measy B4K/U4K, VidOn Box, VidOn.me AV200 No No No No
Allwinner A80 / A83T Tronsmart Draco AW80, Rikomagic MK80 No No No No
Allwinner H2+ / H3 / H8 Inphic i8, Orange Pi 2, Orange Pi Plus, Tronsmart Draco H3, Zidoo X1 No No No No
Allwinner H5 / A64 / H64 Nobel64 Development Board No No No No
Amlogic AML8726-M1 / AML8726-M3 / AML8726-M6 / AML8726-MX / AML8726-MXS / AML8726-MXL Pivos XIOS DS/XS, GameStick (by PlayJam), Geniatech ATV1220/ATV520/ATV1610, MyGica ATV420/ATV500/ATV1610, JynxBox M1/M6, Matricom G-Box Midnight MX2, WeTek Play Yes Yes Yes No
Amlogic S801 / M802 / S802 / M802 (formerly AML8726-M8) Geniatech ATV582 / MyGica ATV582, Minix Neo X8/X8-H, Eny Technology ES8, Tronsmart Vega S89/S89-H, Beelink S82/S82H/M8, XiaoMi Mi Box Pro/Enhanced (third-generation XiaoMi Mi Box) Yes Yes Yes No
Amlogic S805 / M805 / S806 / M806 / S812 Eny Technology EM9/M8S/M8C/EM6Q-MXQ, Geniatech ATV585/ATV1810 / MyGica ATV585/ATV1810, Minix NEO X6 /X8-H Plus, Ugoos S85, Sumvision Cyclone X4, Xtreamer Wonder, ODROID-C1 Yes Yes Yes Yes
(8-bit only)
[1]
Amlogic S905 / S912 ? ? ? ?
Broadcom BCM2836 Raspberry Pi 2 (2015) ? ? ? No
Broadcom BCM28145 / BCM28155 Amazon Fire TV Stick (2014) Yes Yes ? No
Broadcom BCM7250 / BCM7252 / BCM72502 Smart Labs SML-482, Freebox Mini 4K ? ? ? ?
Freescale i.MX 6 series (i.MX6 / i.MX6S / i.MX6SL / i.MX6D / i.MX6DL / i.MX6Q) CompuLab Utilite, SolidRun CuBox-i & CuBoxTV, SolidRun Hummingboard, UDOO Neo/Duo/Quad, Wandboard Solo/Dual/Quad ? ? ? No
HiSilicon Hi3798C / Hi3798M HiMedia H7-II/M3/Q5-4K/Q5-IV/Q5X/Q10-IV, PixePlay KURO ? ? ? ?
Intel Atom E3815 / E3825 Intel MinnowBoard MAX Development Board ? ? ? No
Intel Atom x3 / x5 / x7 (x3-C3130 / x3-C3230RK / x3-C3440 / x5-8300 / x5-8500 / x7-8700) ? ? ? ?
Intel Atom Z3530 / Z3560 / Z3580 / Z3735 Google Nexus Player, Minix Neo Z64 Yes No No No
Intel Celeron N3000 / N3050 / N3150, and Pentium N3700 ? ? ? ?
MediaTek MTK6589 / MT6589 / MT6589T / MT6589M ? ? ? No
MediaTek MT8685 / MT8685A / MT8685B UTStarcom MT8685/MC8685A/MC8685B, Xiaomi Mi Box Mini ? ? ? ?
Marvell ARMADA 1500 Ultra ? ? ? ?
MStar MSO9180 / MSO9180D1R / MSO9810 Egreat A9, Kaiboer F5/Q6/C9-M, MeLE V10/X2000, UyeSee T1H, Xtreamer Prodigy, Zidoo X9 Yes Yes ? ?
Nvidia Tegra 3 OUYA Yes No No No
Nvidia Tegra 4 / Tegra 4i / Tegra 4s ZTE FunBox, Mad Catz M.O.J.O., NanoTech Nuvola NP-1 / NP-C / NP-H1, UTStarcom MC8768, Google ADT-1 (Android TV Developer Kit), Nvidia SHIELD Portable Yes Yes
(CPU)
? No
Nvidia Tegra K1 (TK1) Unuiga Game PC U1, Snail Games OBox, UTStarcom MC8718, Nvidia SHIELD Tablet Yes Yes
(CPU)
? No
Nvidia Tegra X1 (TX1) Nvidia SHIELD Android TV (Nvidia SHIELD Console) Yes Yes
(CPU)
Yes
(CPU)
Yes
Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 DragonBoard 410c Nobel64 Development Board ? ? ? No
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 Amazon Fire TV (2014), Compulab Utilite2, Inforce 6410Plus Development Board Yes Yes ? No
Qualcomm Snapdragon 610 / 615 ? ? ? ?
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 / 801 / 805 Razor Forge TV ? ? ? No
Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 / 810 ? ? ? ?
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Yes ? ? No
Realtek 1195 (RTD1195) Yes No No ?
Rockchip RK3066 Imito MX1/MX2, Minix NeoG4/X5, MK808/802, Ugoos UG802/UG007 Yes ? No No
Rockchip RK3188 Jesurun DX05, Minix X7, MK802IV, MK809III, MK902, Ugoos UG007B, Tronsmart T428/MK908, CS968, CR11s, J22, GM282, LT88, T-R42, CS919-II, K-R42, CS918, MK888 Yes Yes
(CPU)
? No [2]
Rockchip RK3036 / RK3126 / RK3128 Ruach A20s, Eny Technology EKB318 (F6 RK3128 Android Media Player), FireFly FirePrime Development Board Yes ? ? Yes
Rockchip RK3036 / RK3126 / RK3128 / RK3288 Firefly-RK3288, ChipSpark PopMetal, Uyesee G1H, Nagrace HPH NT-V6, Eny Technology EKB328, Kingnovel R6/K-R68, Beelink R28, Ugoos UT3/UM3, Rikomagic MK902 II, Measy B4S, CloudMedia OpenHour, CloudnetGo CR12/CR13CR16, Tronsmart Orion R28, Youku Box K1, Unuiga Game Box 19-6R Yes Yes
(CPU)
? Yes
Rockchip RK3368 Eny Technology EKB368 Yes Yes
(CPU)
? Yes
Samsung Exynos 3 Single (formerly Exynos 3110) Yes ? ? No
Samsung Exynos 4 Dual/Quad series (formerly Exynos 4210 / 4212 /4412) ODROID-U3/U2/X2 Yes Yes
(CPU)
Yes
(CPU)
No
Samsung Exynos 5 Hexa/Octa series (Exynos 5260 / 5410/ 5420 / 5422) ODROID-XU/XU2, ODROID-XU3/XU3 Lite, Arndale Octa Yes Yes
(CPU)
Yes
(CPU)
No
Samsung Exynos 7 Octa series (Exynos 7410 / 7420) ? ? ? ?
Texas Instruments OMAP4430 / OMAP4440 / OMAP5430 / OMAP5432 Yes ? ? No

4 Common codecs currently without hardware decoding in Kodi

Videos encoded with these codecs can only be played back in Kodi using software video decoding using CPU, meaning no decoding tasks are offloaded to optimized VPU or GPU hardware. Many videos may still play back just fine at standard definition resolutions, while others might have severe issues with playback.

As platforms with faster CPUs come out for Android software video decoding using CPU will get better, but do not expect miracles from the average Android box. It still all can depend on how demanding the decoding of that particular video encoding is or how high resolution it uses, and how powerful the CPU is.

  • H.264 Hi10P - No hardware decoders for Hi10P (High 10 Profile, also known 10-bit H.264) currently exist for any ARM hardware. Most H.264 Hi10P videos will not play smoothly as most ARM CPUs are just not powerful enough to software decode it fast enough.
  • H.264 MVC - No open source software decoder or hardware decoding for MVC (Multiview Video Coding) stereoscopic 3D video decoding currently exist for Kodi on any platform. Kodi relies on FFmpeg for software demuxing and decoding, so Kodi have to wait for FFmpeg to first add software decoding support of MVC for H.264, and for hardware decoding Kodi relies on the SoC chipset hardware manufacturer to add support for this to their SDK (Software Developer Kits) and for the media player box manufacturers to implement that into their firmware images.
  • H.265 MVC (HEVC MVC) - No open source software decoder or hardware decoding for MVC (Multiview Video Coding) stereoscopic 3D video decoding currently exist for Kodi on any platform. Kodi relies on FFmpeg for software demuxing and decoding, so Kodi have to wait for FFmpeg to first add software decoding support of MVC for H.265 (HEVC), and for hardware decoding Kodi relies on the SoC chipset hardware manufacturer to add support for this to their SDK (Software Developer Kits) and for the media player box manufacturers to implement that into their firmware images.
  • RealVideo/RMVB (RV 8/9/10) - There is currently no support in Kodi for RealVideo hardware video decoding, though software decoding of RMVB videos is possible via FFmpeg but can struggle with high definition sources on older or low-end hardware.
  • VP8 (WebM v1 video) and VP9 (WebM v2 video) - There is currently no support in Kodi for VP8 hardware video decoding, though software decoding of VP8 videos is possible via FFmpeg but can struggle with high definition sources on older or low-end hardware. Most hardware manufacturers have not even implemented API support for VP8 decoding in the firmware images of Android for their devices, and this is despite the fact that the WebM project licenses VP8 hardware accelerators (RTL IP) to semiconductor companies for 1080p encoding and decoding at zero cost. Nvidia and Rockchip and a few other less known companies does however provide hardware decoding of VP8 in their SoCs, for Tegra 4 and RK29xx respectivly. ARM, Broadcom, Texas Instruments, and Qualcomm as well as ZiiLABS, ST-Ericsson, and Huawei have all announced upcoming support for hardware acceleration of the WebM format and VP8/VP9 codecs. Intel have also let its intention known that they will add hardware-based acceleration for WebM and VP8/VP9 codecs in its future Atom-based chips if the format gains popularity.
  • VP9 does not appear to have hardware decoding support for most Android ARM SoCs.

5 Notes

  1. Amlogic S805/M805/S806/M806/S812 hardware video decoder is limited to only supporting the Main HEVC (H.265) profile which means 8-bit color range only, they do not support the Main10 HEVC (H.265) profile which is uses 10-bit color range.
  2. Some devices might need an updated firmware system update image from the hardware manufacturer for smooth 1080p playback.

6 Device specific info

Here are a few device-specific guides/help areas that the community has provided.


Stop hand.png These pages are maintained by the community and should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation. Device pages are made when there's a bunch of useful information for a particular device, and someone takes the time to make that page. Keep in mind, some devices simply don't need a page of specific information, but are still excellent devices. *


Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Fire TV is an Android-based (Fire OS) set-top-box that contains a very powerful ARM processor (that can even handle some of the more heavy Kodi skins). Fire TV stands above some of the other Android-based offerings due to Amazon's strong product support and because it contains more remote friendly versions of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other video service clients, making it a good pairing with Kodi.
CompuLab Utilite
CompuLab Utilite multi-purpose ARM-based mini-computer that is capable of running either Kodi on Android or on Linux, both using firmware images provided by CompuLab development team and third-parties of which many comes with Kodi pre-installed.
Google Nexus Player
Nexus Player is an x86-64 (64-bit Intel Atom CPU) based Android digital media player co-developed by Google and Asus. Running the Android 5.0 "Lollipop" operating system, this Nexus Player was the first device to employ Google's Android TV platform.
MK808B Plus
MK808B Plus (not to be confused with the very different MK808 or MK808B), is a small inexpensive ARM-based Android "stick" hardware that uses an Amlogic S805 SoC chipset. MK808B Plus is also able to run Kodi on Linux using unofficial third-party firmware images of example OpenELEC.

While the integrated WiFi support in it is pretty sucky, for about $35 USD, the MK808B Plus is a fairly good value as a decent 1080p set-top box device that can decode most popular used video codecs today, including HEVC (H.265).

Nvidia SHIELD Android TV
Nvidia SHIELD Android TV (originally known as SHIELD Console) is an Android-based set-top box and game console that contains a very powerful ARM processor, (that should be able to handle the most heavy of Kodi skins and more). It is one of the first Android based devices featuring high end media playback capabilities such as of and support high definition audio at up to 192 kHz, automatic refresh rate switching, 10-bit HEVC (H.265), and VP9 video codecs, and 4K (2160p) resolution via HDMI 2.0 output with support for Kodi.
OUYA
OUYA is an Android-based game console and set-top-box that contains a Nvidia Tegra based ARM-processor that can handle most Kodi skins, in addition to outputting video in Full HD (1080p).
Pivos XIOS DS
Pivos XIOS DS is an ARM-based media player set-top box that can run Kodi on either Android or Linux. This Pivos XIOS DS was the original reference hardware target for the XBMC/Kodi for Android port development. Pivos XIOS DS performs roughly at the level as a jailbroken ATV2, but also comes with USB ports, micro-SD card, and doesn't need to be jailbroken.
Pivos XIOS XS
Pivos XIOS XS (or "XIOS XS Media Play") is an ARM-based media player set-top box that can currently run Kodi on Android, and in the future might also be able to run Kodi on Linux using unofficial third-party image firmware, similar to its predecessor Pivos XIOS DS.

This Pivos XIOS XS and its predecessor Pivos XIOS DS doesn't need to be jailbroken and was previously both reference hardware target for Kodi on Android development. While Pivos XIOS DS only had a single CPU core and performed roughly at the level as a jailbroken ATV2, Pivos XIOS XS have a dual-core CPU which can perform about twice as fast as its predecessor. Both also come with comes with USB ports, micro-SD card, Ethernet port, integrated WiFi, and a remote control.

Razor Forge TV
Razor Forge TV is an ARM-processor based Android digital media player running the Android 5.0 "Lollipop" operating system using Google's Android TV platform.
SolidRun CuBox-i
CuBox-i series (which includes CuBoxTV) is SolidRun's second-generation family of multi-purpose ARM-based mini-computers that is capable of running either Kodi on Android or on Linux, both using firmware images provided by SolidRun development team and third-parties of which many comes with Kodi pre-installed.
SolidRun Hummingboard
Hummingboard is SolidRun's ARM-based development board that is capable of running either Kodi on Android or on Linux, both using firmware images provided by SolidRun development team and third-parties of which many comes with Kodi pre-installed.

With its hardware built around the same SolidRun MicroSOM platform as the SolidRun CuBox-i series, it uses scalable and open source friendly Freescale i.MX6 family of SoC (System-on-Chip) ranging from a single to quad ARM Cortex-A9 processor cores, 2D/3D hardware graphics processing unit, video decoding and encoding acceleration hardware, and HDMI 1.4 1080p 3D output support.

UDOO
UDOO is a series of Freescale i.MX 6 single-board computers integrated with a Arduino 2 compatible microcontroller, primarily designed for the education of computer science, the world of makers and the Internet of Things.

The product was initially launched on Kickstarter at April 2013 reaching wide consensus, with three models of UDOO available: UDOO Dual Basic, UDOO Dual, UDOO Quad, respectively priced at $99, $115, $135 at launch.

Wandboard
Wandboard is an ARM-based development board that is capable of running either Kodi on Android or on Linux, both using firmware images provided by WandboardWandboard development team and third-parties of which many comes with Kodi pre-installed.

Wandboard uses scalable and open source friendly Freescale i.MX6 family of SoC (System-on-Chip) ranging from a single to quad ARM Cortex-A9 processor cores, 2D/3D hardware graphics processing unit, video decoding and encoding acceleration hardware, and HDMI 1.4 1080p 3D output support.

WeTek Play
WeTek Play is an ARM-based media player device that can currently run either Kodi on Android or on Linux, both using official first-party firmware images provided by WeTek development team which comes with Kodi pre-installed. WeTek Play is also one of the first Kodi based set-top box devices that have support for integrated DVB TV-tuners, which are currently fully functional via plug-and-play under Android and Linux in combination with Tvheadend PVR backend or VDR PVR backend and its matching PVR client addon for Kodi.
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