Work in Progress - New XBMC box/stick (Pre-Development)

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mastercpt Offline
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Post: #1
Hello I have been using XBMC for a long time now however always wanted a standalone XBMC device. Now with android there appears to be more options out there however research shows nothing is perfect yet (mix of hardware and android beta). I want an out of the box device that is plug and play ready for most users but allows more advanced options for others.

Before XBMC for android, I was starting to develop a standalone Linux box but then when devices like the Raspberry pi and OUYA started showing up, I pulled back my research. After trying some of the stuff that is out there, I still have not found the perfect device. Either the device itself is slow and sluggish, or XBMC was an afterthought. Unlike some of the other devices, I want this to first and foremost be a XBMC device (with other features added as needed/requested).

What I would like to develop is a community driven, open source device that would run XBMC perfectly. I started researching suppliers and options to get prototypes built however before I go really far with this, I would like to get some feedback. I want to find out if there is a need/want for this device and what features everyone wants it to have. If this is something that overall the community would want, I will begin the next stages of getting prototypes and testers. I have developed a short survey that, if you have the time, would let me know what the community wants in the box.

I thank you for your time with this. I will be happy to answer any questions you all have. (If this is not the best location for this thread, I apologize and will move/delete thread as requested)

http://goo.gl/ygwMw


**Update 10/25** I would like to thank everyone that has taken the time to fill out the survey. I have received some great information so far. I still need a bit more feedback (Looking for between 150-200 responses). I am also enjoying the feedback in the thread and the feedback in the survey. Based on this, my original idea has been heavily tweaked. I hope to be able to provide a great device for everyone.
(This post was last modified: 2012-10-25 14:30 by mastercpt.)
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Vaevictus2 Offline
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Post: #2
ive filled in your survey.

I think the mistake the manufacturers are making is with these sticks.

Yes they are small but they are NOT portable. You cant exactly carry it around in your pocked and use it wherever. You will always need a remote plus power supply. Cramming the device into this form factor limits you in connectivity options and often corners are cut (eg no hdmi current protection, shitty wifi reception, overheating etc).

one resource will be the arm-netbook guys they have different but overlapping goals with yours and can offer some good advice especially about the chinese suppriers.

good luck.

oh and if funds are an issue; maybe kickstart could be an idea
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mastercpt Offline
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Post: #3
I agree and disagree with the sticks. I think the sticks that are currently being made are being done so very cheap. A unit that is well made and runs off USB power could be pretty portable. With my raspberry pi, I can plug the USB cable into my tv to power it and use my android phone as a remote meaning all I have to bring would be the Pi, HDMI cable and USB cable. A set top box does allow better options and quality and depending on size, could be equally as portable.

I will probably be looking into Kickstarter for funding but need to get going on it a bit more before I get to that level yet. I am meeting with people this week to discuss business plans and finding a manufacture. I got a lot of great feedback from the survey, hopefully can get more responses over the next few weeks.
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Vaevictus2 Offline
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Post: #4
Are you willing to share the results of the survey?
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pettergulbra Offline
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Post: #5
This looks like can be a good thing.

But it need to play the same stuff like a normal XBMC.

Like .iso, .img, bdmw and so on.

I have the PI and this don`t play the files I have. (bad reading before I buy, sadly)

So as I try to say. It has to play all the same files that an normal XBMC like on Windows....

I`m not an programmer, but I try and fail. Then I ask.....

Asus M4A785TD-V EVO,NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti , AMD Athlon II x2 240,4GB Ram, Win7 32bit, XBMC Latest Stable and 11.0TB HD, Samsung UE55F8005STXXE, Yamaha RX-V767.
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teaguecl Offline
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Post: #6
I agree with the negative comments regarding the usb stick design. I think a small puck (AppleTV, Roku, etc.) is just as portable, but provides opportunities for real cooling, ethernet, a viable wifi antenna, usb ports, line of sight to the IR sensor, etc.

I'd love to have such a device, but it seems like you'd need a Raspberry Pi like effort in order to build it. I could be wrong, but I don't think the XBMC userbase can support that level of effort. You'd need a lot of orders (I would guess about 1000) before you could ever break even on your design and manufacturing costs. If you do plastics, then make that number 5000 orders. Of course, as previously mentioned, Kickstarter is really good at answering that question Smile

Habey BIS-6561 silent fanless HTPC + 2GB DDR2 RAM + Intel X25-V 40GB SSD + XBMCbuntu Eden + Tivo Slide qwerty remote | My latest XBMC patch
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mastercpt Offline
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Post: #7
(2012-10-23 18:34)Vaevictus2 Wrote:  Are you willing to share the results of the survey?

Yes will post results as soon as I get a reasonable amount of responses.

(2012-10-23 22:14)pettergulbra Wrote:  This looks like can be a good thing.

But it need to play the same stuff like a normal XBMC.

Like .iso, .img, bdmw and so on.

I have the PI and this don`t play the files I have. (bad reading before I buy, sadly)

So as I try to say. It has to play all the same files that an normal XBMC like on Windows....

Yes I agree, I want a setup that is just like what I get out of a full XBMC setup on windows/linux/etc. I want it to be able to play any media.

(2012-10-23 23:36)teaguecl Wrote:  I agree with the negative comments regarding the usb stick design. I think a small puck (AppleTV, Roku, etc.) is just as portable, but provides opportunities for real cooling, ethernet, a viable wifi antenna, usb ports, line of sight to the IR sensor, etc.

I'd love to have such a device, but it seems like you'd need a Raspberry Pi like effort in order to build it. I could be wrong, but I don't think the XBMC userbase can support that level of effort. You'd need a lot of orders (I would guess about 1000) before you could ever break even on your design and manufacturing costs. If you do plastics, then make that number 5000 orders. Of course, as previously mentioned, Kickstarter is really good at answering that question Smile

I think a small puck/set top box would be the way to go. While I think a well made USB stick would be nice, there may be to many limitations that would effect quality. The main goal of the survey is to find what features are most important to people at what price range. So far for example I am seeing more people willing to pay $200 for a device that is fully loaded vs $100 for a device with just decent specs. Once I can get some ideas on manufacturing costs, I think kickstarter may be a great method to judge the product.

I have had this idea for a while but hope that things start picking up quickly over the next few weeks.
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Dave_qp Offline
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Post: #8
Might it be easier/cheaper to find a platform already available

say... sabre lite i.MX6
http://boundarydevices.com/products/sabr...-imx6-sbc/

Quad-Core ARM Cortex A9 processor at 1GHz
1GByte of 64-bit wide DDR3 @ 532MHz
Three display ports (RGB, LVDS, and HDMI 1.4a)
Two camera ports (1xParallel, 1x MIPI CSI-2)
Multi-stream-capable HD video engine delivering
H.264 1080p60 decode, 1080p30 encode and 3-D video playback in HD
Triple Play Graphics system consisting of a Quad-shader 3D unit capable of 200MT/s, and a separate 2-D and separate OpenVG Vertex acceleration engine for superior 3D, 2D and user interface acceleration
Serial ATA 2.5 (SATA) at 3Gbps
Dual SD 3.0/SDXC card slots
PCIe port (1 lane)
Analog (headphone/mic) and Digital (HDMI) audio
Compact size (3″x3″)
10/100/Gb IEEE1588 Ethernet
10-pin JTAG interface
3 High speed USB ports (2xHost, 1xOTG)
1xCAN2 port
I2C
GPIOs

... and strip it down to just what's needed

Quad-Core ARM Cortex A9 processor at 1GHz
1GByte of 64-bit wide DDR3 @ 532MHz
HDMI 1.4a
Multi-stream-capable HD video engine delivering
H.264 1080p60 decode, 1080p30 encode and 3-D video playback in HD
Triple Play Graphics system consisting of a Quad-shader 3D unit capable of 200MT/s, and a separate 2-D and separate OpenVG Vertex acceleration engine for superior 3D, 2D and user interface acceleration
Serial ATA 2.5 (SATA) at 3Gbps
Dual SD 3.0/SDXC card slots
Analog (headphone/mic) and Digital (HDMI) audio
Compact size (3″x3″)
10/100/Gb IEEE1588 Ethernet
3 High speed USB ports (2xHost, 1xOTG)

maybe upgrade to USB 3 & SATA 3

and I think they already have XBMC running on this
(This post was last modified: 2012-10-24 03:27 by Dave_qp.)
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BORIStheBLADE Offline
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Post: #9
I filled out your survey. I think a device along the lines of the same size as Roku,Atv and Popcorn Hour streamers.
Keep it simple with

- Ir receiver and remote
- Ethernet
- USB
- HDMI
- Digital/optical audio out
- Can install 3.5" HD
- Can run XBMC U.I smoothly
- Can work with external tv tuner/capture card
- 1080p content


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mastercpt Offline
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Post: #10
(2012-10-24 03:25)Dave_qp Wrote:  Might it be easier/cheaper to find a platform already available

say... sabre lite i.MX6
http://boundarydevices.com/products/sabr...-imx6-sbc/

Thank you for that information. They should be a great resource to help me plan and build.

(2012-10-24 05:55)BORIStheBLADE Wrote:  I filled out your survey. I think a device along the lines of the same size as Roku,Atv and Popcorn Hour streamers.
Keep it simple with

- Ir receiver and remote
- Ethernet
- USB
- HDMI
- Digital/optical audio out
- Can install 3.5" HD
- Can run XBMC U.I smoothly
- Can work with external tv tuner/capture card
- 1080p content

I agree with everything stated here. I want it simple for anyone to just buy and use. I want it powerful enough to have a very smooth UI and playback 1080p easy (Goal will also be to support 4k). I also want it to be "hacker" friendly. I want people to mess around with it, it is their product so they should be able to do want they want.

Based on the responses I am getting (Come on people, only about 10% of viewers of this thread are filling it out Tongue ) Here is what I am thinking:

Linux OS
Set Top Box
Tegra 3 T33 (1.6GHZ Quad Core ARM Cortex A9)
2gb DDR3 Ram
8GB MicroSD for OS (This will be internal but accessible if wanted to upgrade)

Additional Ports and Features:
-10/100/1000 Ethernet
-802.11 B/G/N Wifi
-1 USB 3.0
-1 USB 2.0
-HDMI
-Digital/Analog Audio
-IR

Included Accessories:
-Remote
-Power Cable

Optional Add-ons
-Tuner

Price Between $100-$200
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Chris P Bacon Offline
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Post: #11
I filled in your survey yesterday.

Here is another quad core development board that may be of interest.

Also have you seen this dual core set top box which should be available in the next few weeks? Or is your view that a dual core chip isn't up to the job?
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Jako Offline
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Post: #12
(2012-10-22 19:04)mastercpt Wrote:  Unlike some of the other devices, I want this to first and foremost be a XBMC device (with other features added as needed/requested).
Great concept to plan from, so why not just make XBMC the default launcher interface on this Android TV box, and have Android always automatically start XBMC directly after boot?

http://melea1000.blogspot.se/2012/09/xbm...ncher.html

Making it under $100, use XBMC as the default launcher, and only use open source software would probably make it unique enough for a Kickstarter project that I would donate to.

I believe Pivos said that they had buy proprietary video and audio decoding licenses in packs of 10,000 or more in order to get cost down to be able to make a profit on their boxes.

So you would probably have to calculate get a pre-order of 10,000 or more boxes booked on Kickstarter to break even, at least if you are going to make a new custom device.

[EDIT]: Oh, have to add that I would never buy a stick form factor device just for XBMC, and IMHO a media player should have a standard set-top box form factor.


I think that AMLogic AML8726-MX Dual-Core 1Ghz, 1GB RAM, and 8GB flash with Android 4.x should be more that good enough for everyone that is not primarily looking for a game console instead of a media player.

Please make it have a Optical TOSLINK for Digital Audio output port, as my audio receiver do not have HDMI input and neither does almost any of the audio receivers that my friend and family members have.

IR receiver built-in is a minimum requirement must for myself so that we could use our existing universal remote controls, Logitech Harmony series.


The Apple TV input and output port options is a otherwise pretty good standard, with exception of the internal 110v/220v AC to DC power-supply which generate more heat and not easy to replace if it breaks.

Of course price is often more important that ports, so as long as one does not have to buy a new TV or audio receiver just to use it then most people will buy it if it's cheap enough, just look at the Apple TV.

(2012-10-24 16:25)Chris P Bacon Wrote:  Also have you seen this dual core set top box which should be available in the next few weeks? Or is your view that a dual core chip isn't up to the job?
WOW! If it only had a 3.5mm stereo jack as well for direct headphone connection then that Geniatech ATV1200 would have been perfect out-of-the-box.

Now have to get a 2 x RCA Phono to 3.5mm Stereo Jack lead audio cable converter, but that is still good enough and then it match all I want!
(This post was last modified: 2012-10-24 19:07 by Jako.)
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Dave_qp Offline
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Post: #13
(2012-10-24 17:51)Jako Wrote:  
(2012-10-22 19:04)mastercpt Wrote:  Unlike some of the other devices, I want this to first and foremost be a XBMC device (with other features added as needed/requested).
Great concept to plan from, so why not just make XBMC the default launcher interface on this Android TV box, and have Android always automatically start XBMC directly after boot?

http://melea1000.blogspot.se/2012/09/xbm...ncher.html

I think that I AMLogic AML8726-MX Dual-Core 1Ghz, 1GB RAM, and 8GB flash with Android 4.x should be more that good enough for everyone that is not primarily looking for a game console instead of a media player.

Please make it have a Optical TOSLINK for Digital Audio output port, as my audio receiver do not have HDMI input and neither does almost any of the audio receivers that my friend and family members have.

IR receiver built-in is a minimum requirement must for myself so that we could use our existing universal remote controls, Logitech Harmony series.


The Apple TV input and output port options is a otherwise pretty good standard, with exception of the internal 110v/220v AC to DC power-supply which generate more heat and not easy to replace if it breaks.

(2012-10-24 16:25)Chris P Bacon Wrote:  Also have you seen this dual core set top box which should be available in the next few weeks? Or is your view that a dual core chip isn't up to the job?
WOW! If it only had a 3.5mm stereo jack as well for direct headphone connection then that Geniatech ATV1200 would have been perfect out-of-the-box.

Now have to get a 2 x RCA Phono to 3.5mm Stereo Jack lead audio cable converter, but that is still good enough and then it match all I want!

However if you would want to make it more than perfect then add an internal slot for a 2.5" SATA harddrive for optional local store for those that want that, like my parents do.

as with so many of the current devices they don't have Gb Ethernet Sad which to me is essential
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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #14
(2012-10-24 18:31)Dave_qp Wrote:  as with so many of the current devices they don't have Gb Ethernet Sad which to me is essential

That would only matter for raw file transfer speeds. Not even raw bluray data will exceed 100Mb ethernet.

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: debug log = debug log, Video library = Video library, SMB = SMB , userdata = userdata, etc
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mastercpt Offline
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Post: #15
(2012-10-24 16:25)Chris P Bacon Wrote:  I filled in your survey yesterday.

Here is another quad core development board that may be of interest.

Also have you seen this dual core set top box which should be available in the next few weeks? Or is your view that a dual core chip isn't up to the job?

Thank you for links. I think a Dual core would work, but I feel a quad core would work better. Most newer devices have the quad core so I don't think it should be much more expensive.

(2012-10-24 17:51)Jako Wrote:  Great concept to plan from, so why not just make XBMC the default launcher interface on this Android TV box, and have Android always automatically start XBMC directly after boot?

http://melea1000.blogspot.se/2012/09/xbm...ncher.html

I am mixed on the android vs Linux. I like the android option. I think I would have to see how they both run. I think the downfall on the android would be compatibility with file formats so would need to make sure it plays everything. I do like the android option if it can run HULU and Netflix apps from the XBMC interface (as well as others).

(2012-10-24 17:51)Jako Wrote:  I think that I AMLogic AML8726-MX Dual-Core 1Ghz, 1GB RAM, and 8GB flash with Android 4.x should be more that good enough for everyone that is not primarily looking for a game console instead of a media player.

Please make it have a Optical TOSLINK for Digital Audio output port, as my audio receiver do not have HDMI input and neither does almost any of the audio receivers that my friend and family members have.

IR receiver built-in is a minimum requirement must for myself so that we could use our existing universal remote controls, Logitech Harmony series.


The Apple TV input and output port options is a otherwise pretty good standard, with exception of the internal 110v/220v AC to DC power-supply which generate more heat and not easy to replace if it breaks.

Of course price is often more important that ports, so as long as one does not have to buy a new TV or audio receiver just to use it then most people will buy it if it's cheap enough, just look at the Apple TV.

However if you would want to make it more than perfect then add an internal slot for a 2.5" SATA harddrive for optional local store for those that want that, like my parents do.

I would want it to have Optical for digital Audio and IR for Logitech Remotes. I agree with what is said about the Apple TV. I want a device similar to that, but more open. I was thinking about internal storage, but I think it may work just as nice to have a USB port to allow a External Hard drive.

(2012-10-24 18:31)Dave_qp Wrote:  as with so many of the current devices they don't have Gb Ethernet Sad which to me is essential

I agree, Gb Ethernet is required.

(2012-10-24 18:46)Ned Scott Wrote:  
(2012-10-24 18:31)Dave_qp Wrote:  as with so many of the current devices they don't have Gb Ethernet Sad which to me is essential

That would only matter for raw file transfer speeds. Not even raw bluray data will exceed 100Mb ethernet.

I had 100mb ethernet setup and things worked, but had occasional stutter on some MKV video files larger then 10GB. upgraded to gigabit and everything worked much better
(This post was last modified: 2012-10-24 19:01 by mastercpt.)
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