For someone now looking for a single-board computer for Kodi, the New Era announcement seems to point especially to the Amlogic T7 family of CPUs, namely A311D2. At least, that’s my take based on the fact that it supports HDMI 2.1.
I find two products with that CPU: Khadas VIM4 and Beelink GT-King II. I’m interested in seeing opinions that compare/contrast these units in terms of their suitability for CoreELEC/Kodi (future suitability in part it seems).
They are alike in many specs. I’m not very knowledgeable about these things, but here are some possible advantages of each that I see:
OOWOW system seems to make installation and updates quite easy.
Has Trustzone security DRM, but not sure what that provides. That’s probably provided by the CPU, so Beelink may have it to, but they don’t mention it.
Has external antennae for Wifi and bluetooth, presumably providing better signal. EDIT: this Beelink teardown shows that it also has the outboard antennae, already mounted on the case.
Beelink GT-King II
Includes and already installed in case, even if it is plastic. VIM4 seems to require purchase of a case, although KKSB has a nice one.
Includes a regular power supply, whereas VIM4 requires USB-C power that provides 12 V at 2A, which for most people would be another purchase.
Has optical audio out (SPDIF) port, which provides built-in additional audio option.
Comes with a bluetooth/IR remote.
RAM apparently runs at 4266 MHz, while VIM4 says 2016 MHz.
Comes with 64 GB eMMC chip. VIM4 has 32 GB, which is probably more than enough.
Both have micro-SD (TF) card slots, but Beelink’s is more convenient. VIM4’s is hidden right beneath the HDMI port.
Has two USB3 ports; VIM4 has one.
EDIT: Has the real-time clock battery mount and battery already built-in; VIM4 only has a header for it.
Comes with HDMI cable.
VIM4 seems more like a project board for DIY enthusiasts. It has some additional connectivity that I don’t understand and likely would never use for running CoreELEC/Kodi.
On the other hand, the Beelink support forums are a little scary. Some people seem to be quite disappointed (yes, that’s normal) and a lot of recommendations to reinstall the firmware. A lot of people have trouble with this, and it seems to require a Windows computer, which I don’t have. Khadas seems to have much better documentation, and the OOWOW system eliminates the need for external hardware to set it up and manage it.
Do you want an SBC or a powerful CE box? The VIM4 features you don’t list tells me you don’t care about many of the notable differences. Installing CE is so easy via SD card, not sure what the buzz about OOWOW is if you mainly are interested in CE.
The GT-King II has a USB 2 port you didn’t mention. The work CE developers have done is fantastic and it is an excellent client but there are many excellent CE clients that cost less.
I was actually hoping the GT-King II would be a nice option because of the possibility of dual booting Android but it has terrible Android and terrible support. Alternate OS support doesn’t exit for the GT King II yet. CE source will likely spur on future development though.
Having a few S905x4 boxes I don’t see any reason to spend extra for a T7 at this point. None of the them have good Android, and slimBox and SuperCeleron Android won’t help.
Thanks for the replies. I want a powerful Kodi box, without buying a full-on computer. All I want it to do is play local media - period. Oh, and not require a lot of time and fussing to manage it. Supporting HDMI 2.1 seems a way to kind of future-proof it. CoreELEC on one of these boxes seems like a way to do it, but I could be wrong.
As noted, I didn’t list the additional VIM4 features because I don’t understand them, so I guess, yeah, at least now I don’t care about them. Both of these boxes have an additional USB2 port; that’s why I didn’t mention it.
I have tried both the Khadas VIM4 and Beelink GG King II running on Coreelec ne.
Personally I have decided on keeping the VIM4.
The VIM4 has usefull power, function and reset buttons. I hated yanking the Beelink power cable to force a restart.
I found HDMI CEC on the Beelink to be flaky. I was at a stage where it was working then it would suspend the device with the TV off but fail to wake up when the TV was on.
Although CEC works fine on the Khadas, they both shared a problem with ‘Switch source to this device on startup’ being off but would switch anyway.
I found the skull light on the Beelink to not be useful as an indication to the device status. Also it was a dim red during use which should be a dim green. The Khadas has a small LED on the front which is a nice indication.
I found OOWOW to be a game changer when it comes to using the device on various platforms. It was nice to but able to put Coreelec on the eMMC from the onset. This was more difficult on the Beelink but as of firmware 20221117 I was able to use ceemmc to move it to the internal.
I am currently using the Khadas VIM4 using the KKSB passive cooling case and the temperatures are similar to the Beelink. Running at 65c during idle.
The only issues currently which is shared by both devices is frequent crashes (could be skin related) and no HD audio passthrough.
I find it very funny/strange some of yous are talking about illegal streaming,by the way yous have said it your kinda looking down on us that do it,and that’s probably around 95% of people on here that use it for movies/tv/iptv
The included remote works fine on android but on Coreelec i found that there was no input via infared or paired via bluetooth.
My friend has the Beelink II currently for testing, and it would be great to have the remote function. Under coreelec settings did you enable Inject BL301 Blob and what device did you select for IR. I remember there being several to choose from. I tried the Beelink and Beelink 2.
My GT King II remote was dead on arrival so I am just using another one that came with the HK1. It is pretty much the standard remote these days on Aliexpress for many device.
For Android BT I am using the G20S but it happens that in IR mode it also sends the same keys as the HK1.
However most IR remote works with CE. I only use remotes with number keys since I like how they work with PVR.