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 XBMC/Kodi.
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.
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 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 XBMC 14 (Gotham), however the newer Kodi 15 (Helix) 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 XBMC/Kodi, while Tegra 2 and older Tegra probably will never be supported because its processor lacks NEON instruction set compatibility).
- Hardware decoding support in XBMC/Kodi is likely a must for high definition video playback (720p or higher resolution). Do not expect XBMC/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 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?
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:
- http://www.iboum.com - Digital media players
- http://gsmarena.com - Phones
- Wikipedia:Comparison of Android devices
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 have at least partial hardware accelerated video decoding support for some popular video codecs in the latest official XBMC/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 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 and development boards using these SoC chipsets with XBMC/Kodi support||Hardware video decoding||Notes|
|H.264||MPEG-2||VC-1 / WMV 9||HEVC  (H.265)||VP9|
|Allwinner||A31 / A31s / A33||Justop Quadro, Mele A1000G/M8/M9, Measy B4K/U4K, VidOn Box, VidOn.me AV200||Maybe||?||?||No||No|||
|Allwinner||A80 / A83T||Tronsmart Draco AW80, Rikomagic MK80||Maybe||?||?||No||No|||
|Allwinner||H3 / H8||Orange Pi 2, Orange Pi Plus, Inphic i8||Maybe||?||?||?||?|||
|Allwinner||A64 / H64||Nobel64 Development Board||Maybe||?||?||?||?|||
|Broadcom||BCM2836||Raspberry Pi 2 (2015)||?||?||?||No||No|
|Broadcom||BCM28145 / BCM28155||Amazon Fire TV Stick (2014)||Yes||Yes||?||No||No|
|Broadcom||BCM7250 / BCM7252 / BCM72502||Smart Labs SML-482, Freebox Mini 4K||Maybe||?||?||?||?|||
|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||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||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||?|||
|Amlogic||S905 / S912||?||?||?||?||?|
|Freescale||i.MX 6 series (i.MX6 / i.MX6S / i.MX6SL / i.MX6D / i.MX6DL / i.MX6Q)||SolidRun CuBox-i, SolidRun HummingBoard, UDOO Neo/Duo/Quad, Wandboard Solo/Dual/Quad||No||No||No||No||No|||
|HiSilicon||Hi3798C / Hi3798M||HiMedia H7-II/M3/Q5-IV/Q10-IV||Maybe||?||?||?||?|||
|Intel||Atom E3815 / E3825||Intel MinnowBoard MAX Development Board||Maybe||?||?||No||No|
|Intel||Atom x3 / x5 / x7 (x3-C3130 / x3-C3230RK / x3-C3440 / x5-8300 / x5-8500 / x7-8700)||Maybe||?||?||?||?|
|Intel||Atom Z3530 / Z3560 / Z3580 / Z3735||Google Nexus Player, Minix Neo Z64||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|MediaTek||MTK6589 / MT6589 / MT6589T / MT6589M||Maybe||?||?||No||No|||
|MediaTek||MT8685 / MT8685A / MT8685B||UTStarcom MT8685/MC8685A/MC8685B, Xiaomi Mi Box Mini||Maybe||?||?||?||?|||
|MStar||MSO9180 / MSO9180D1R / MSO9810||Kaiboer F5/Q6/C9-M, MeLE V10/X2000, UyeSee T1H, Xtreamer Prodigy, Zidoo X9||Yes||Yes||?||?||?|||
|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
|Nvidia||Tegra K1 (TK1)||Unuiga Game PC U1, Snail Games OBox, UTStarcom MC8718, Nvidia SHIELD Tablet||Yes||Yes
|Nvidia||Tegra X1 (TX1)||Nvidia SHIELD Console||Yes||Yes
|Qualcomm||Snapdragon 410||DragonBoard 410c Nobel64 Development Board||?||?||?||No||No|
|Qualcomm||Snapdragon 600||Amazon Fire TV (2014), Compulab Utilite2||Yes||Yes||?||No||No|
|Qualcomm||Snapdragon 610 / 615||Maybe||?||?||?||?|||
|Qualcomm||Snapdragon 800 / 801 / 805||Razor Forge TV||Maybe||?||?||No||No|
|Qualcomm||Snapdragon 808 / 810||Maybe||?||?||?||?|||
|Rockchip||RK3066||Imito MX1/MX2, Minix NeoG4/X5, MK808/802, Ugoos UG802/UG007||Yes||?||No||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
|Rockchip||RK3036 / RK3126 / RK3128||Eny Technology EKB318||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
|Samsung||Exynos 3 Single (formerly Exynos 3110)||Yes||?||?||No||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
|Samsung||Exynos 7 Octa series (Exynos 7410 / 7420)||Maybe||?||?||?||?|
|Texas Instruments||OMAP4430 / OMAP4440 / OMAP5430 / OMAP5432||Yes||?||?||No||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) - There is currently no support in XBMC/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 XBMC/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.
- ↑ Such as VP8 (WebM v1), Xiph Theora (VP3/Ogg), On2 TrueMotion VP6, and RealVideo/RMVB (RV 8/9/10)
- ↑ Hardware accelerated decode of HEVC (H.265) encoded video should include both 8-bit and 10-bit decoding support of HEVC. This will ensure maximum compatibility for any video playback capabilities on the platforms listed in the table. Some hardware only feature 8-but support and can therefor not properly decode the additional 10-bit information, thus should not be listed here. Example of hardware only capable of accelerated decode of 8-bit HEVC is Intel 4th Generation Intel Core Processors with HD graphics 5000/4600/4400, Iris graphics 5100, Iris Pro graphics 5200, you can read more about that here: http://communities.intel.com/thread/59216
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 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.
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 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.
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 HEVC (H.265) support in any versions of Kodi should be considered slightly experimental.
- ↑ 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, this Nexus Player was the first device to employ Google's Android TV platform. MK808B Plus (not to be confused with the very different MK808 or MK808B), is a small ARM-based Android "stick" hardware that uses an Amlogic S805 SoC chipset. MK808B Plus is also able to run XBMC/Kodi on Linux using unofficial third-party firmware images of example OpenELEC.
While the integrated WiFi support in it is not great, but for about $35 USD, the MK808B Plus is a fairly decent 1080p set-top box device for cheap that can decode all the most popularly used video codecs today, including HEVC (H.265).
Nvidia SHIELD Console is an upcoming next-generation Android-based set-top box and game console that will contains a very powerful ARM processor, (and should be able to handle the most heavy of XBMC/Kodi skins). It will be one of the first Android-based which features high-fidelity audio support, HDMI 2.0 output, and is built to handle Ultra HD digital media playback and output in 4K resolution at 60 Hz, including 60 frames per second decoding of the more recent HEVC (H.265) and VP9 video codecs.
Running the Android TV operating system (based on Android 5.0 "Lollipop") on a Tegra X1 SoC (System on Chip), the Nvidia SHIELD Console will stand above most of the other high-end Android-based hardware offerings not only because of its graphics and audio capabilities, but also because due to Nvidia's strong product support. It will come with remote friendly versions of Netflix, Hulu, Google Play Movies, YouTube and other video service clients, with many supporting videos in 4K (Ultra HD) resolution.
Adding to that its comes with Nvidia's gaming ecosystem capable of running all graphically intensive AAA ("triple A") games for Android in 1080p at 60fps, as well as supporting Nvidia's low-latency GameStream technologies for GeForce-equipped PC game streaming, and Nvidia's GRID cloud game-streaming service.. All this making it a very good pairing with XBMC/Kodi.
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 relatively powerful ARM processor that can handle most heavy XBMC skins, in addition to outputting video in Full HD (1080p). The first version of XBMC to officially support the OUYA was v13 "Gotham" which can easily be sideloaded. Two unofficial versions are also available; "XBMC for Ouya" (an unofficial build submitted to the Ouya Store by Ouya themselves (which lacks DTS and AC3 audio decoding support due to licensing issues) and "SPMC" (a fork of XBMC released by XBMC developer Koying that have Ouya support but must be sideloaded). 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 (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.
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 XBMC/Kodi on Android or on Linux, both using firmware images provided by SolidRun development team and third-parties of which many comes with XBMC/Kodi pre-installed.
With its hardware built around SolidRun MicroSOM platform the CuBox-i series 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 is an ARM-based media player device that can currently run either XBMC/Kodi on Android or on Linux, both using official first-party 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 Android and Linux in combination with Tvheadend PVR backend or VDR PVR backend and its matching PVR client addon for XBMC/Kodi. Devices with an x86 processor (a "desktop class"/"normal" computer) are the most stable and developed option for an XBMC HTPC. Using an x86 computer provides a great amount of flexibility and can be made from spare parts, old laptops, or new dedicated hardware.