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's (System on a Chip, which is the CPU, GPU, VPU, etc. also known as "chipsets") for Android platforms that can playback common video codecs smoothly using XBMC. 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 on Android without researching the device you want to buy. If you do buy, make sure multiple people can verify that it works! If in doubt, do not buy that hardware!
- Due to the nature of Android hardware it is hard to give exact minimum requirements, so instead the basic set of requirements includes at least:
- NEON compatible ARM processor, (for example: Nvidia Tegra 3 and later are fully supported by XBMC, while Tegra 2 and older Tegra probably will never be supported).
- Android 4.0 or later is supported, but Android 4.4 and later is recommended.
- Hardware decoding support in XBMC 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 is to initially target media-players/set-top-boxes/sticks that connect to a large screen television and uses a standard remote control as interface device, (that is the same market as for HTPC). However expect 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 have at least partial hardware accelerated video decoding support in XBMC, 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.
|Note: Please only list devices that are able to play at least one of the three "video decoding" columns in Full HD (1080p). Codecs that are less used are currently not listed here. The "||Yes||" mark indicates that the chipset should be able to play those codecs at least 1080p.|
|Chipset||Examples||Hardware video decoding||Notes|
|H.264||MPEG-2||VC-1 / WMV 9|
|Allwinner||A31 / A31s / A80||VidOn.me AV200, Justop Quadro, Mele A1000G/M8/M9, Measy B4K/U4K||Yes||?||?|
|Amlogic||AML8726-M1 / AML8726-M3 / AML8726-M6 / AML8726-MX / AML8726-MXS / AML8726-MXL||Pivos XIOS DS, GameStick (by PlayJam), Geniatech ATV1220/ATV520, MyGica TV420/TV500, JynxBox M1/M6, Matricom G-Box Midnight MX2||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Amlogic||S801 / M802 / S802 / M802 (formerly AML8726-M8)||Geniatech ATV582 / MyGica ATV582, MINIX Neo X8/X8-H, Eny Technology ES8||Yes||Yes||Yes|||
|Amlogic||S805 / M805 / S806 / M806 / S812||Geniatech ATV585 / MyGica ATV585, Eny Technology MXQ||Yes||Yes||Yes|||
|MediaTek||MTK6589 / MT6589 / MT6589T / MT6589M||Yes||?||?|
|Nvidia||Tegra 4 / Tegra 4i||ZTE FunBox, Mad Catz M.O.J.O., NanoTech Nuvola NP-1 / NP-C / NP-H1, Nvidia Shield||Yes||Yes
|Qualcomm||Snapdragon 600||Amazon Fire TV (2014)||Yes||?||?|
|Qualcomm||Snapdragon S4||Nexus 7 (2013)||Yes||?||?|
|Rockchip||RK3066||Imito MX1/MX2, Minix NeoG4/X5, MK808/802, Ugoos UG802/UG007||Yes||?||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||?||?|
|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, Arndale Octa||Yes||Yes
4 Common codecs currently without hardware decoding in XBMC
Videos encoded with these codecs can only be played back in XBMC 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, while others might have severe issues.
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 MVC - No open source software decoder or hardware decoding for MVC (Multiview Video Coding) stereoscopic 3D video decoding currently exist for XBMC on any platform. XBMC relies on FFmpeg for software demuxing and decoding, so XBMC have to wait for FFmpeg to first add software decoding support.
- 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.
- RealVideo/RMVB (RV 8/9/10)
- WebM (VP8/VP9)
5 Device specific info
Here are a few device-specific guides/help areas that the community has provided.
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. 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.