For most 1080p high definition videos, 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 XBMC/Kodi. While some devices might be able to smoothly decode standard definition and even some 720p videos using only software video decoding, offloading a large part of video decoding tasks to an integrated VPU (Video Processor Unit) optimized specifically for that job is considered essential for most Android devices to playback high definition videos.
1 Basic requirements
It is highly recommended for users to not make any purchases in anticipation of running XBMC/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 and diversified nature of Android hardware and operating system ecosystem it is very hard to give exact minimum requirements, so instead the basic set of requirements includes at least:
- x86 (Intel) or NEON compatible ARM processor, (for example: Nvidia Tegra 3 and later are fully supported by XBMC/Kodi, while Tegra 2 and older Tegra probably will never be supported because it lacks NEON compatibility).
- Android 4.0 or later is supported, but Android 4.4 or later is recommended, and later is most often better.
- Hardware decoding support in XBMC/Kodi is likely a must for high definition video playback (720p or higher resolution). Do not expect this to work on any device until someone knowledgeable have specifically already tested it and can confirm 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 XBMC/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?
These are some good websites for looking up the SoC (System on a Chip) chipset used in your Android hardware device:
- http://www.iboum.com - Digital media players
- http://gsmarena.com - Phones
- Wikipedia:Comparison of Android devices
Also a referense you can compare different SoC (System on a Chip) chipset specifications on system-on-a-chip.findthebest.com
3 Compatible chipsets
These listed specific hardware SoC chipsets should have at least partial hardware accelerated video decoding support in the official XBMC/Kodi for Android, though understand that for some devices you might first need to upgrade the hardware manufacturers firmware image on the device to achieve smooth 1080p playback. Please contact your hardware manufacturer support for an updated system update firmware and apply that upgrade image before installing XBMC/Kodi.
|A "||Yes||" mark indicates that the chipset should be able to play those codecs at least 1080p.|
|SoC chipset||Examples of Android media players using these SoC chipsets with XBMC/Kodi support||Hardware video decoding||Notes|
|H.264||MPEG-2||VC-1 / WMV 9||HEVC / H.265|
|Allwinner||A31 / A31s / A33||Justop Quadro, Mele A1000G/M8/M9, Measy B4K/U4K, VidOn Box, VidOn.me AV200||Maybe||?||?||No|||
|Allwinner||A80 / A83T||Tronsmart Draco AW80||Maybe||?||?||?|||
|Allwinner||H3 / H8||Maybe||?||?||?|||
|Broadcom||BCM28145 / BCM28155||Amazon Fire TV Stick (2014)||Yes||Yes||?||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||Geniatech ATV585/ATV1810 / MyGica ATV585/ATV1810, Minix NEO X6 /X8-H Plus, Ugoos S85, Eny EM6Q-MXQ, Eny M8S, Eny M8C, Sumvision Cyclone X4, Xtreamer Wonder||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|||
|Freescale||i.MX 6 series (i.MX6 / i.MX6S / i.MX6SL / i.MX6D / i.MX6DL / i.MX6Q)||No||No||No||No|||
|HiSilicon||Hi3798C / Hi3798M||HiMedia H7-II/M3/Q5-IV/Q10-IV||Maybe||?||?||?|||
|MediaTek||MTK6589 / MT6589 / MT6589T / MT6589M||Maybe||?||?||No|||
|MStar||MSO9180 / MSO9180D1R / MSO9810||Kaiboer F5/Q6/C9-M, MeLE V10/X2000, UyeSee T1H, Zidoo X9||Yes||Yes||?||?|
|Nvidia||Tegra 4 / Tegra 4i||ZTE FunBox, Mad Catz M.O.J.O., NanoTech Nuvola NP-1 / NP-C / NP-H1, Google ADT-1 (Android TV Developer Kit), Nvidia Shield||Yes||Yes
|Qualcomm||Snapdragon 600||Amazon Fire TV (2014)||Yes||Yes||?||No|
|Qualcomm||Snapdragon 610 / 615||Maybe||?||?||?|
|Qualcomm||Snapdragon 800 / 801 / 805||Maybe||?||?||No|
|Qualcomm||Snapdragon 808 / 810||Maybe||?||?||?|
|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-R24, CS918, MK888||Yes||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
|Samsung||Exynos 5 Hexa/Octa series (Exynos 5260 / 5410/ 5420 / 5422)||ODROID-XU/XU2, ODROID-XU3/XU3 Lite, Arndale Octa||Yes||Yes
|Texas Instruments||OMAP4430 / OMAP4440 / OMAP5430 / OMAP5432||Yes||?||?||No|
4 Common codecs currently without hardware decoding in XBMC/Kodi
Videos encoded with these codecs can only be played back in XBMC/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 XBMC/Kodi on any platform. XBMC/Kodi relies on FFmpeg for software demuxing and decoding, so XBMC/Kodi have to wait for FFmpeg to first add software decoding support of MVC for H.264, and for hardware decoding XBMC/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 XBMC/Kodi on any platform. XBMC/Kodi relies on FFmpeg for software demuxing and decoding, so XBMC/Kodi have to wait for FFmpeg to first add software decoding support of MVC for H.265 (HEVC), and for hardware decoding XBMC/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)
- WebM (VP8/VP9)
- ↑ Such as WebM (VP8/VP9), Xiph Theora (VP3/Ogg), On2 TrueMotion VP6, and RealVideo/RMVB (RV 8/9/10)
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 There are mixed reports about reliability of hardware video decoding support in official XBMC/Kodi on these SoCs. Until users can reliably confirm hardware video decoding, do not assume that is will work as it you would normally expect.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 HEVC (H.265) support in any versions of Kodi should be considered slightly experimental.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 While this hardware does support hardware video decoding for most common codecs, there is not yet official implementation for its VPU offloading in XBMC/Kodi on Android. There is no ETA on when of if XBMC/Kodi will add official support for it on Android, so recommendation is not to buy one if you main reason for will will be using XBMC/Kodi on Android.
- ↑ 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.
These are community maintained pages and should not be seen as an endorsement of any specific type of hardware.
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 XBMC 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 XBMC/Kodi. Amazon Fire TV Stick is a newly announced low cost Android-based (Fire OS) set-top box in a HDMI-stick format. Amazon Fire TV Stick contains a little less powerful ARM processor but technically provides all the same features as its big brother, Amazon Fire TV.
Both Amazon Fire TV Stick and the original Amazon 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, all this should make it a good pairing with XBMC/Kodi.
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, Nexus Player is the first device to employ Google's "Android TV" platform. ODROID-X is a series of powerful ARM-based single-board computers (developer boards), manufactured by Hardkernel Co., Ltd., an open-source hardware company located in South Korea, capable of running Android or Linux. XBMC/Kodi should work on Hardkernel ODROID-X, X2, U2, U3, XU, XU2, XU3 and XU3 Lite.
The ODROID-X series was primary designed to act as a development platform for developers wanting to prototype embedded systems based on Samsung Exynos 3, 4, and 5 series of System-on-Chips (SoC), but have since also been made popular for multi-purpose use by low-power device enthusiasts and hobbyist alike, including those using it for as HTPC (Home Theater PC) for XBMC/Kodi.
OUYA is an Android-based game console and set-top-box that contains a very powerful ARM processor that can even handle some of the more heavy XBMC skins, in addition to outputting video in Full HD (1080p). The first version of XBMC to officially support the OUYA is v13 "Gotham", since a test build of XBMC v12 ("Frodo") was required to enable hardware video decoding on the OUYA. Two unofficial v12-based versions were made available to hold users over until v13 is released: XBMC For Ouya (an unofficial build submitted to the Ouya Store, but lacking DTS and AC3 audio support due to licensing issues) and SPMC (a fork of XBMC released by XBMC developer Koying that has Ouya support but must be sideloaded). Pivos XIOS DS is an ARM-based media player set-top box that can run XBMC on either Android or Linux. This Pivos XIOS DS was the original reference hardware target for the XBMC 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 (or "XIOS XS Media Play") is an ARM-based media player set-top box that can currently run XBMC/Kodi on Android, and in the future might also be able to run XBMC/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 XBMC/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.
WeTek Play (or "Play") is an ARM-based media player device that can currently run either XBMC/Kodi on Android or On Linux, both using firmware images provided by WeTek development team which comes with XBMC/Kodi pre-installed. WeTek Play is also one of the first XBMC/Kodi based set-top-box devices that have support for integrated DVB TV-tuners, which are currently fully functional via plug-and-play under Linux in combination with Tvheadend PVR backend and its matching PVR client addon for XBMC/Kodi.