News

Inphic i8

First Allwinner H8 box is the Inphic i8

Following Allwinner’s announcement of the H8 chip, it appears that the Inphic i8 is the first Android box using the new chip.

The Inphic i8 runs Android KitKat 4.4.2 and uses the octo-core Allwinner H8 chipset, offering CPU speeds up to 2GHz and an octo-core GPU. Allwinner’s new chip adds support for HEVC decoding so there is potential for this to be a good gaming and media player, depending on the quality of the box’s hardware and software.

According to the manufacturer, the Inphic i8 specifications are:

  • CPU: All Winner H8 is Octa-core Cortex-A7 CPU @up to 2.0GHz.
  • GPU: PowerVR SGX544 [email protected] up to 720MHz
  • Memory: 1GB /2GB DDR3
  • Flash: 8GB/16GB/32GB
  • WiFi: 802.11 b/g /n
  • OS: Android KitKat 4.4.2
  • I/O: 1*HDMI up to 4Kx2K resolution, 2*USB Host and Divice, 1*AV Standard resolution AV signal, 1*RJ45 100/1000 BaseT
  • Accessories: 1x AV cable, 1x Power charger adapter, 1x Remote control, 1x User Manual, 1x HDMI cable
  • Media Supported:
    • Audio Formats: AAC-LC/HEAAC/HE-AAC v2,AC3,AMR-NB,DTS,MP3,OGG,RA_COOK,WMA,WMA,LPCM/PCM/ADPCM,FLA
    • Video Formats: RM/RMVB, MPEG, MKV, AVI, MP4,MOV,FLV, H.263,H.264, H.265, VC-1,DivX, Xvid, TS,RealVideo,VP6,VP8 up to 4K support
  • Support for XBMC, Google Play and Skype

I’ve never dealt with Inphic before so I’m unsure how good the product will be. However, you can find out more about the product in the link below

[via Inphic]
Kodi 14 RC Splash Screen

Kodi 14.0 Release Candidate Milestone Reached

Kodi 14.0 has finally reached the Release Candidate milestone. This is an exciting point in development, as it means development will fix to primarily bug fixing and the inevitable upcoming release.

Key changes in Kodi 14.0 are:

  • Support for H.265 software decoding via FFmpeg 2.4.3
  • Improvements to the Kodi library – Both in terms of speed and UPNP compatibility
  • The ability to disable auto-updating add-ons
  • International on-screen keyboards
  • Improved Android support including support for newer chips such as the Amlogic S802
  • Support for ATSC sub-channels

As usual, you can download the Kodi 14.0 Release Candidate from the Kodi downloads page.

[via Kodi]

Kodi 14.0 Alpha 4 Released

The Kodi team has announced the release of Kodi 14.0 Alpha 4. This will likely be the last release before the first Beta so the project is progressing nicely. There are some key changes in this release. The Touch skin has now been replaced with re-Touched. However, this should only really impact Android and iOS users. Furthermore, as part of the name change from XBMC to Kodi, the userdata folder will now be migrated to a new path reflecting the new product name.

Other changes in Kodi 14.0 Alpha 4 include:

  • support for sub-channels in PVR
  • update sqlite which brings some improved library speed
  • add support for DSD audio
  • add mouse support in Bluray menus
  • add support for EGL/GLESv2 when using X11
  • 4K playback on Android using AMLcodec
  • support for the Freescale i.MX6 SystemOnChip
  • Improvements for DXVA video playback on Windows platform

For those of you wanting to take the new alpha for a spin, you can download Kodi 14.0 Alpha 4 from here.

[via Kodi]
Logitech Harmony Home Remote

New Logitech Harmony Home Range Adds Home Automation

Home Automation is an exciting part of the modern household. However, whilst the availability of more user-friendly and economical home automation devices have come to the market there is still the issue of interoperability. Devices such as the Nest Thermostat or Phillip’s Hue range are awesome but tying them all together is tough.

The new Logitech Harmony Living Home range aims to change that, integrating control of various smart devices into a central control hub. The Logitech Harmony remotes have traditionally been the solution to integrating all your home theatre components, so the move into other devices is welcome.

Smart devices from companies such as Kwikset, Smarthings and Honeywell are supported by the new Logitech Harmony Home line. This is in addition to previous support of smart devices such as Phillips’ Hue Smart Bulbs and the Nest Thermostat.

Home automation support is added via an upgraded version of the Harmony Smart Hub that shipped with Logitech’s Smart devices. Called the Logitech Harmony Home Hub, the new unit adds support for these new home automation devices via whilst offering control via the Harmony Remote or Logitech’s free Harmony app. The new control is essentially an upgraded version of the Harmony Ultimate Remote, adding touch-screen controls for supported home automation devices that you have added.

Logitech will be shipping the Harmony Living Home devices later this month. Recommended retail pricing is $99.99 for the standalone Logitech Harmony Home Hub , with the Home Control and Ultimate Home kits retailing for $149.99 and $349.99 respectively.

Those of you looking for an amazing Universal remote for your home theatre in the meantime should look at the Logitech Harmony 650 which we recently reviewed.

Looking forward to integrating all your smart devices? Let us know in the comments.

[via Logitech]

Kodi 14.0 Feature Freeze

This morning, the Kodi team has announced that Kodi 14.0 has now entered Feature Freeze – This means that no new features will be added to the release and development will now be focused on bug fixing.

So what does this mean for us users? Well, with this milestone reached and the development focus switching to stability, we can anticipate that a Kodi 14.0 Beta will be released shortly. There has been some changes to the minimum requirements for skins which means some of your favorite skins may not be compatible, but the team are reporting that “as of now there are already several skins which are Helix ready”

Key changes reported are:

  • Ability to increase font size in Confluence skin
  • Add 5.1 PCM playback for Android.
  • Improved MusicBrainz matching from tags
  • Ability to choose between auto-update, notify or off for updating add-ons. This is a global setting for all add-ons.
  • Extend JSON-RPC which is used for by a variety of services and remotes
  • VP9 video codec now uses software multi-threading. This codec has no hardware support yet.
  • Simplifying and improving core code.
  • Choose to disable/notify/auto-update when add-on updates are available.
  • International keyboard layout
  • Update PVR add-ons
  • Redesign of the PVR windows
  • Various improvements to the Audio Engine, with the OSX platform as great beneficiary.
  • Improvements to the GUI skinning engine
  • Extended JSON-RPC interface
  • Countless smaller and larger bug-fixes throughout the program and vast improvements in every area. This should improve memory usage, stability, speed and user friendliness.
  • Add-ons are still compatible up to the Frodo/Gotham versions (excluding skins)
  • FFmpeg upgrade, this means Kodi will now be capable of playing back h.265 (also known as HEVC) and VP9 video codecs and 4K video.
  • Better UPnP compatibility between Kodi clients or third-party applications
  • Massive speed boost with scanning library or doing a clean.
  • Changed the Touch skin be a re-designed re-Touched skin. This of course only applies for touch enabled devices.
  • Support for sub-channels in PVR
  • Update sqlite which brings some improved library speed
  • Add support for DSD audio
  • Add mouse support in Bluray menus
  • Add support for EGL/GLESv2 when using X11
  • 4K playback on Android using AMLcodec
  • Support for the Freescale i.MX6 SystemOnChip
  • Replaced Touch skin with re-Touched

We want to congratulate Team Kodi on reaching this milestone and eagerly anticipate the Beta release.

For those of you wanting to take Kodi for a spin, you can download the Kodi 14.0 Alpha here.

[Via Kodi]
Seagate Hard Drive

Seagate Announces World-First 8TB Hard Drive

Seagate revealed that it is shipping the world’s first 8TB hard drive, perfect for the masses of music, videos and cat photos you have no doubt gathered over the years. This is an increase of the previously massive 6TB capacities available on the market.

In Seagate’s official press release Seagate’s VP of marketing, Scott Horn, states “Seagate’s new 8TB HDD provides IT managers with a new option for improving storage density in the data center, thus helping them to tackle one of the largest and fastest growing data categories within enterprise storage economically”

[pullquote-right]A new option for improving storage density in the data center[/pullquote-right]

Apart from the obviously massive storage capacity, the 8TB monster provides the standard SATA 6Gb/s interface to ensure that it only takes hours rather than tens of hours to move all that precious data.

Whilst only available to select customers at the moment, Seagate are quoting wider availability next quarter as they begin to ramp up production. No word on cost, however, given the Enterprise focus and being the first of its kind, expect it to be out of reach of most consumers.

If you’re after something a bit smaller and, inevitably, cheaper, Amazon currently have the Seagate 3TB and 4TB models available here and here respectively.

[via Seagate]