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Mk808B Plus Android Mini PC

MK808B Plus Android Mini PC Impressions

CNX Software has reported on the release of the MK808B Plus. This new Android Mini PC uses an Amlogic M805 quad core CPU coupled with a quad core Mali-450MP GPU and runs Android 4.4.2. Hardware H.265 decoding and Miracast support are two of the big draws of this device, meaning the unit will be capable of playing pretty much anything you throw at it. Furthermore, the MK808B Plus appears to be the cheapest hardware H.265 player available currently at under $50.

View the MK808B Plus at Geekbuying

MK808B Plus Specifications

According to the manufacturer, the MK808B Plus specifications are:

  • CPU: Amlogic  M805 Quad-Core 1.5G (Cortex-A5)
  • GPU: Quad-Core Mali-450 GPU
  • System Memory: 1 GB DDR3
  • Storage: 8 GB NAND flash and a micro SD slot supporting up to 32GB
  • Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (Internal Antenna) and Bluetooth 4.0.
  • Video & Audio Output: mini HDMI 1.4b
  • USB: 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x mini USB OTG port, 1x mini USB for power
  • Power Supply: 2A 5V Power Supply

MK808B Plus Included

The device comes packaged exactly the same as the older MK808B. Inside the box, you receive a mini HDMI to HDMI cable, micro USB OTG cable, power adapter with micro USB cable and the user manual. The user interface appears to be the MediaBox user interface seen on other Amlogic S805 devices and comes preloaded with XBMC. At this stage, there is no word as to whether or not Linux can be run on the device but I remain hopeful. HDMI CEC is also an unknown at this point.

Geekbuying has already performed some benchmarking on the device, returning an Antutu score of 16601 which is quite good. The device also appears to natively display at 1080p which is an exciting development. Anyone who’s owned one of these Android boxes has probably felt the pain of being limited to 720p without delving into the world of custom roms and kernels.

The recommended retail price of the MK808B Plus is approximately $50 and is available from Geekbuying. Geekbuying will be running a promotion on from the 19th of November, selling the device for $10 of the normal price for only $39.99.

I’ve already placed an order for one so keep an eye out for my review when it arrives.

View the MK808B Plus at Geekbuying

[via CNX-Software]
HTPC Build

10 Signs You Need To Invest In A Home Theatre PC

Investing in a Home Theatre PC (HTPC) is always a wise choice if you are passionate about multimedia. The flexibility and capabilites of a solid HTPC, coupled with some great gadgets, are unrivalled by standalone media players. So here are are 10 signs that you need to invest in a HTPC.

1. You want to watch your multimedia on the big screen

Tired of watching Youtube on that tiny 20″ monitor? A HTPC will allow you to move away from your study and make your multimedia the focus of your living room. It’s one thing to be huddled around a desktop to watch the  latest viral video, but being able to sit on the couch with your feet up and show everyone is in a league of its own.

2. You have a lot of media

We live in a digital age and often this comes with a plethora of multimedia – video files, music, CDs, streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, etc.
Whilst being spoilt for choice is not a bad problem to have, making sure that you can readily watch (or listen) to what you want is important for a pleasurable experience. How often have you wasted precious minutes looking for that particular video hidden away?
A HTPC allows you to consolidate all of this media into one simple interface and ensure that you watch what you want, when you want.

3. You want to combine gaming and watching movies

Most of us love gaming on consoles. However, PC gaming is becoming a more potent player in our lounge room. With support from Valve through initiatives such as Steam Big Picture and In-Home Streaming, having a HTPC means that you can readily flick between watching a movie to playing a video game almost seamlessly.

4. You want a central entertainment hub

Often when we set up out our living room, we end up with multiple devices: a Blu-ray player, CD player, maybe a streaming box. This makes everything cluttered and is a pain if you want to move from one media source to another. Getting a HTPC means that you can combine most of these devices into one box, all controlled through an attractive interface.

5. You want flexibility in your setup

Don’t need a particular feature – simply don’t add it. Want to be able to stream and record live TV to watch later, fork out for a TV capture card. A HTPC gives you the flexibility to build a device that meets the needs of you and your family, and stop you paying for unnecessary components.

6. You want something that will play everything

One of the best parts of owning a HTPC is comparability. So many standalone players (Apple TV, I’m looking at you!) support limited formats and others have strict limits on the bitrate or standard of the files that they will play back. A HTPC overcomes this by being able to offload as much to hardware decoding as possible and, where a video file cannot be decoded in hardware, can leverage the CPU to process it. So whilst your WDTV will refuse to play those new H.265 video files, a HTPC will power through them.

7. You want something you can upgrade

There’s nothing worse than when something you have bought becomes defunct or is no longer supported by the manufacturer, such as that YouTube app on your streaming box that no longer works. Furthermore, with the ever-changing world of technology, you may need to buy a whole new box to access the latest entertainment. Or you may have simply outgrown the in-built storage on your DVR and can’t bring yourself to clear off those seasons you’ve worked so hard to record. A HTPC is upgradable – so you can add whatever new features you want. Eyeing off more storage, add a new Harddrive. Drooling over high speed wireless – remove the cables and add a Wireless AC card. The power is now in your hands.

8. You want something that you can customize

Customisability is key with a HTPC, with such a diverse range of Frontends and Skins available, you can make your box look and function exactly how you want – with cover art, metadata, watched flags – The whole enchilada.

9.You want powerful controls

There are two elements to this – parental controls and remote controls. A HTPC offers much more granular control of what you allow your kids to watch and most frontends even offer user profiles, so everyone can have access to different multimedia!

Secondly, whilst we’ve already covered the best remotes for your home theatre, a HTPC gives you even more was to control your viewing experience, with Web-based and App-based controls for your desktop and mobile devices. So you can play videos, queue up your favorite tracks and even share your videos on your TV, all from your phone or tablet.

10. You want a new gadget

This one is one we’re often guilty of. You’re a gadget lover and that smartphone is just not doing it for you anymore and you want a new project. A HTPC is a great long-term project that will give you hours of joy (and most likely a couple of frustration). There is nothing more satisfying then knowing the world’s entertainment can be accessed from your couch – all because of your new toy.

So there you are – 10 signs you need to invest in a HTPC. Time to get buying!

Photo Credit: Simon Wüllhorst via Compfight cc/Transformed from the Original