SolidRun CuboxTV Impressions

0

There are so many Android media players out there so it is refreshing t0 see a company release a device with a Linux focus. SolidRun’s CuboxTV uses a Freescale i.MX6 chipset armed with a quadcore CPU and Vivante GC2000 3D GPU to run a variety of operating systems such as OpenELEC and Android. Whilst I’m completing my review, I thought I’d share my impressions of the device so far.

I want to say thanks to Solidrun for sending me a CuboxTV to review. You can purchase one from their online store. For those wanting features such as built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, SolidRun also have the CuBox i4Pro available from their store and NewEgg.

CuboxTV Technical Specs

  • Chipset: Freescale i.MX6
  • GPU: Vivante GC2000 3D GPU
  • RAM: 1 GB SDRAM
  • Storage: 8 GB + microSD
  • Video & Audio Output: HDMI 1.4, SP-DIF
  • Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet (Limited to 470Mbps due to internal i.MX6 buses)
  • USB: 2 x USB 2.0 port
  • Other Features: IR receiver
  • Power: 5V 3A
  • Dimensions: 5.08 x 5.08 x 5.08 cm
  • OS: Linux/OpenELEC/Android 4.4

CuboxTV Unboxing

CuboxTV Design

The CuboxTV is tiny! Just 5.08 cm on each side, SolidRun have managed an IR port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, optical audio and a micro SD card slot into the CuboxTV’s diminutive frame.

OpenELEC Performance

The CuboxTV doesn’t feature a power button, so plugging it in causes it to immediately boot. I had installed OpenELEC by downloading and flashing the Ignition image from SolidRun’s site. Connecting my Rikomagic MK705 airmouse, I was able get the CuboxTV to automatically download and install OpenELEC.  The box then rebooted into OpenELEC. Easy!

Boot times were fast at just 15.7 seconds (approximately). However, this is a device that is clearly designed to be always-on so the significance of boot times is probably irrelevant to most.

OpenELEC performance was very good, with everything feeling responsive and list scrolling was nice and smooth.

HDMI-CEC worked perfectly with my Samsung TV, allowing me to use my TV’s remote to control the CuboxTV.

CuboxTV Media Playback in OpenELEC

I took the CuboxTV through my media test files. The results are below:

Video Codec OpenELEC
1080p 3D SBS H.264 OK
1080p 3D ABL H.264 Audio only
1080p H.264 OK
1080p H.264 60Hz Unwatchable
1080p High Bitrate H.264 OK
720p 50Hz OK
1080i 50Hz OK
4K H.264 Audio only
4K HEVC Unwatchable
1080p VP8 OK
720p Hi10p Unwatchable
1080p Hi10p Unwatchable
1080p MPEG2 OK
720P RMVB No Video
1080p VC1 OK
1080p VP8 OK

Playback was generally good. Those files that were unwatchable were obviously switching to software decoding, which the CPU couldn’t keep up with. Watching interlaced content was fine and and automatic frame rate switching worked perfectly. Some files only played with audio however.

Verdict so far

I’m impressed with the performance of the CuboxTV so far. It’s easy to set up, fast and offers a played back the most common video codecs without issue. Those who watch content with various framerates will appreciate the automatic framerate switching, a function that is unfortunately not available on most Android players.

Getting One

You can purchase the CuboxTV directly from Solidrun from their online store. For those wanting features such as built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, SolidRun also have the CuBox i4Pro available from their store and NewEgg.