Android player tests and results - anyone else looking for quality hardware?


I’ve tested several Android player hardware now and continue to have issues with performance. My requirements: 1080p and 4K playback, streaming video (8Mbps) and text compositing on screen. I’m looking for more animations on-screen and GPIO for other integrations. Additionally I need to be able to do some encryption (VPN) and the devices need to operate 24/7 in extended temperature ranges. Ideally I’d also want to be able to capture HD video (720p+).

Here are my results:
Amlogic S805 series - too slow to do anything with, stuttering animations and video.

Amlogic S905X (ODROID, GeekBox etc) - works pretty well and is stable. Can do video streams however most of the jQuery animations Xibo uses (such as Marquee) are jittery. Large screen changes can likewise seem laggy to draw. CPU usage for simple video and text is over 70%. Usually your device is limited to 100Mbps and Android 5 or 6. Most of these devices get too hot to touch when Xibo is running, cheaper device may overheat and crash.

Amlogic S912 (DS Devices, MINIX) - Same problem as S905X in regards jittery drawing. Seems to do better although I’ve now sent back 3 devices from various sources that simply overheat after a few hours.

Snapdragon 615 - Seems to do well in all my tests although I haven’t found a ‘good’ packaged/finished device. It seems I need to order a custom board and that’s not going to happen for orders <100 devices.

Intel Compute Stick - Crashes, can’t simultaneously use BT and WiFi without crashing one or the other, Intel seems to have abandoned Android on it. Android x86 is very unstable.

Intel NUC - Again, Android support has been abandoned by Intel and has it’s quirks (Android 4.4) but otherwise has decent performance. Also, pretty pricey for what are now ~5 year old processors.

So basically, the current Amlogic with Mali 400-series GPU’s seem to be out of the question for high quality Xibo. They will do videos and simple animations well enough so they might be ‘sufficient’ for you right now however I haven’t been able to find anything that has the capability of an Intel device.

What are your results? Any options you have tried? I don’t want to use the Windows player because it’s missing functionality and the support costs are too high.

Thank for you your feedback regarding various android devices.
Our recommendations are here (as you probably already know) - Recommended Android Hardware

I’ve also moved this topic to more suitable category (Hardware).

As an update, I will have to say that out of 3 Minix Z64 running 24/7, 2 of them died at 10 and 11 months of use despite correct placement. They were shut down and never went up again, with only a black screen to welcome you - no boot, no nothing.

We will be looking at Chromebits / Chrome OS very soon and let you know.

Also if you need VPN, you’ll need a rooted device and Xposed to block the offending “trust this (openvpn) application” at startup - unless you go for Android-supported L2TP/Ipsec, which is not exactly the most flexible protocol for multi client / NAT traversal. Chrome supports OpenVpn, though no ovpn files, you will have to generate PKCS12.

Wether or not Xibo for Android works on Chrome I don’t know, I plan on testing but if anyone ever tried it before it might save me some time and money.

Now, as I already posted, if anyone knew something not as “closed”… Chrome seems dope for this use, but should you want anything not supported, then… it’s not supported. I would so much hope for an open linux system that would be built from the bottom to be entirely remotely managed…

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Hi Nis,

Did you ever find a stable Android player? I have the same requirements and am running into the same issues as you have.

To be honest not really.

Best results we got was from Minix U9-h. We also used Shuttle NS02A. And older Minix units. And Beelink GT1 Minis.

Shuttles just wear out and die either completely or firmware goes wonky despite no updates. Older Minix happened to fry on the job. The U9 has no problems, but promised Android 7 update will never come.

The thing is that:

  • Google-Android has dropped tablet support, and hence box player support suffer. You get old versions of Android on most boxes, or suffer from:
  • Googles intrusiveness. Now Google is so much part of Android with so many stuff that links to Google in Android and giving them way too much power for a remote corporate device.
  • And if you go Google-less (ie on Asus Tinkerboard, or the Shuttle unit), you might be losing features you need and get even older Androids and wonky implementations.
  • Android is too hardware dependant, you have to rely on whatever the manufacturer does, it’s not pretty and you end up with outdated OS on critical networked devices.

So I’m not specifically talking about Xibo, though our tests reveal that the absence of gapless playback from the Xibo Android player just won’t cut it for our use case which is a pity.
But we used Android for our own application and our own software and are now leaving the Android OS implementations for Linux ones.

My opinion (which is just that): this whole Android for signage/remote devices is ending.
Hopefully when we’ll be working again on digital signage we’ll get to contribute to the Linux player.