Today, a selection of seven Android media players that can decode the increasingly popular AV1 codec in hardware.
AOMedia Video 1 (AV1) is a video codec developed by the Alliance for Open Media with the participation of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla and Netflix in March 2018. It was created to outperform previous generation codecs — HEVC, VP9, H.264 and VP8.
AV1 provides 30-50% better compression than H.264 or VP8 and up to 30% better than HEVC. This compression allows you to get a lower bitrate with the same video quality.
Most streaming services still use HEVC (H.265) encoding, but the transition to AV1 should be accelerated by Google’s requirement that all its certified Android TVs support AV1 decoding from April 2021.
New and one of the most affordable models of compact media players with support for AV1 hardware decoding is the Realmi 4K TV Stick. The kit includes a Bluetooth remote control with a built-in microphone for voice control/search.
The stick is built on a quad-core energy-efficient SoC Amlogic S905Y4. On board are 2 GB of RAM, an 8 GB storage capacity and a fast dual-band 2T2R WiFi / BT module.
The media player runs Google TV OS 11 and is licensed by Google and Netflix.
Realmi 4K easily digests media content in 4K quality with HDR (HDR10, HDR10+), but does not support Dolby Vision. Multi-channel audio outputs in DD+ and DTS. Of the shortcomings — there is no autorfamerate.
Pleased with the availability of updates from the manufacturer. Quite an interesting and inexpensive option.
xiaomi tv stick 4k
Next, another low-cost novelty with support for AV1 decoding, which has just gone on sale — Xiaomi TV stick 4K.
In terms of hardware, it is very similar to the stick from Realmi, the same Amlogic S905Y4, the same 2 GB of RAM, 8 GB of ROM and a fast WiFi / BT module.
Now the Xiaomi TV stick can play content in 4K quality. Unlike the Realmi stick, Xiaomi claims support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. The stick also has a license from Netflix.
Tiny player with AV1 decoding support — Mecool KD2.
Built on Amlogic S905Y4. Equipped with 4GB RAM and 32GB storage. Runs Android TV11.
Among the advantages can be distinguished:
- Amlogic S905Y4 SoC with AV1 hardware support;
- the amount of RAM and ROM;
- licensed Android TV 11;
- fast WiFi/BT 5.0 module;
- complete bluetooth / IR remote control with built-in microphone.
The disadvantages include:
- constantly working HDR;
- not working autoframerate;
- lack of support for Dolby Vision and a license from Netflix.
A recent review on it is HERE
Moving on to TV boxes with AV1 support.
Mecool KM7 is equipped with 2/16 or 4/64GB RAM/ROM. Built on the same Amlogic S905Y4. In addition to the dual-band WiFi/BT module, a connection via RJ45 to 100 Mbps Ethernet is available.
The advantages of KM7 include:
- support for playing 4K YouTube videos encoded in AV1;
- not overheating Amlogic S905Y4;
- stable Bluetooth 5.0 and a good WiFI module for 1T1R.
- complete, programmable Bluetooth/IR remote control;
The disadvantages include:
- not optimized firmware ATV11 firmware;
- inability to record to an external drive;
- incorrect work of HDR;
- lack of autoframerate and root access.
Overview — HERE
Mecool KM6 (Classic, Deluxe)
Mecool KM6 in Classic and Delux versions are popular 2021 models based on the new Amlogic S905X4 processor with support for hardware decoding of the modern AV1 codec.
Both models run the certified Google Android TV operating system.
The budget version of the Classic has a 100 megabit LAN port, a MIMO 2×2 WiFi adapter 2.4+ 5 GHz and Bluetooth 4.2.
The Delux version is equipped with an optical SPDIF output, a gigabit LAN port, Bluetooth 5.0 and WiFi 6 support. Both versions are supplied with Bluetooth remotes with a built-in microphone. You can’t attribute Delux to budget devices.
The advantages of both versions include:
- Bluetooth remote control with microphone
- certified Google ATV system
- output of multi-channel sound;
- fast WiFi modules with MIMO 2×2 support.
The disadvantages include the lack of a license from Netflix.
Ugoos X4 PRO
Ugoos X4 PRO comes with 4/64GB RAM/ROM memory formula. Built on SoC Amlogic S905X4. Equipped with fast WiFi/BT module and 1000Mbps wired Ethernet connection.
Runs Android 11 AOSP. Optimized firmware from Ugoos allows you to use a whole range of different «goodies»: the ability to create an SMB server, enable root rights, reassign buttons, autoframerate and HDR control.
The media player plays 4K HDR content perfectly with autoframerate and supports multi-channel audio output.
Installing the ATV module via Magisk is available.
Among the shortcomings — there is no license from Netflix, the DRM protection level is Widevine L3, there is no complete bluetooth remote control with a microphone (you can order a configuration that includes an additional remote control).
An interesting TV box with support for AV1 decoding and the ability to watch DVB T/T2/C digital television. Included is an excellent Bluetooth with a built-in microphone.
Built on Amlogic S905X4-B. Memory formula 2GB RAM and 16GB ROM. The set-top box has a fast 2T2R dual-band WiFi / BT module and an RJ45 port for 100 Mbps Ethernet connection.
Driven by Android TV operating system with licenses from Google and Dolby Audio.
The KT1 easily digests 2160P content with HDR and can output multi-channel audio in DD+ and DTS. Of the shortcomings — there is no license from Netflix and there is no way to enable autoframerate.
Of course, not all media players with AV1 support are represented in the selection, there are a number of devices based on Amlogic S905X4 and S905W2, but they are more problematic and have not very good reviews.
I will be glad if this collection will be useful to someone.
That’s all. Thank you for your attention.