H5, MK818 join the Android set top box party

Chinese device makers are cranking out a growing number of products that put the set-top back into set top boxes. We’ve already seen a few Android-powered TV boxes that are designed to sit on top of a TV, and now a few new models are available.

What all of these products have in common is that they basically have the guts of an Android smartphone and are designed to let you run Android apps on a TV. They also have front-facing cameras, which let you sit in front of your TV while making video calls over Skype or other video chat software.

MK818

MK818

The MK818 is an Android TV box from the maker of the popular MK808. Like the smaller MK808, the new MK818 has a Rockchip RK3066 ARM Cortex-A9 dual core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of built-in storage.

But it also has a 0.3MP camera, a built-in mic, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a 10/100 Ethernet jack, and Bluetooth.

Sure, it’s a low quality camera and slow Ethernet port, but at leas it has them.

The device also features 2 mini USB ports, a full-sized USB port, and HDMI output as well as a microSD card slot and supports 802.11n WiFi.

The MK818 runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and you can use it to stream internet video, play games, surf the web, or make video calls from your TV.

Geekbuying sells the MK818 for $85, and you can find it at AliExpress for prices as low as $76.

H5

Another Android set-top-box is the H5, which is available from AliExpress for $89 (although the price goes up to over $100 when you add shipping).

H5 TV box

Like the MK808, this model has a Rockchip RK3066 processor and it’s designed to sit on top of a TV. But there are a few things that set it apart.

First, the H5 is one of the few Android TV boxes I’ve seen with an optical output port. Second, it has 2 full-sized USB ports. Third, it has a 2MP camera And fourth, it has a wireless remote control which you can use as an air mouse.

On the other hand, this model has just 4GB of built-in storage and ships with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which is starting to look a bit dated.

The device also features 1GB of RAM, WiFi, and an SD card slot.

via Android PC.es

  • obarthelemy

    Sounds interesting. I hope the quality is good (my MK808 just died, only 5 days after I got it…).

    As far as “bad” being better than “none” (for the camera, possibly the mic), I’m not so sure. Low-rez is OK, but the picture needs to be usable (ie, OK in dimmer light, good autofocus…), otherwise I’d rather they alloted the money to quality testing/improvements, or simply a lower price. And an extra USB port ^^

    • Jinny

      Buy an ouya, wait for hack, add a cam.
      Fast, reliable, branded, cheap

  • obarthelemy

    I’m surprised no major/reputable OEM has jumped on the bandwagon yet, I’d gladly pay 50% more for stuff with a brand name, quality design/mfg/control, and a warranty. MS have to be applying an ungodly amount of pressure :-p

    • Highroller

      Samsung has a tv-box ready for release in europe next month i think. You can even connect IP cameras, use it as a server +++

      • obarthelemy

        Thanks for your reply.
        Couldn’t find any info on it at all… I found a box with a Samsung CPU, but the box itself is not made by Sammy. Hopefully you’re right and we’ll see something soon.

    • http://www.facebook.com/david.gosnell David Gosnell

      In the UK, Zoostorm have a reasonably good name as a budget PC builder, and they are selling a product they are calling “Play” through household name channels. Only single core, but the price is nice for a finished product with a decent motion-control remote.

      http://www.zoostorm.com/Products/340-3305-1111-zoostorm-play-internet-tv-box.aspx

      • obarthelemy

        Thanks for your reply.
        Alas, the Zoostorm is not only single-core, but also A8 instead of A9, which makes it way underpowered for anything but the most basic web browsing. My FamilyPad tablet has a similar processor… I need more this time, I want to run games :-p
        But thanks anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/minipcdb Mini PC DB

    April will be an interesting month, many new devices- I dug some info from what Himedia will introduce next month : two Allwinner A31 devices (Himedia F1 and F3), and an dual core version for the Q5

  • Henri Parmentier

    Got one, got a second one.. and trashed both of those pieces of junk.

    In the end I bought 2 wandboard Dual’s (www.wandboard.org) and put xbmc on them, finally I have something working..