TheLittleBlackBox: An ARM-based, open source XBMC media center

XBMC is a media center application that started its life as a project to turn the first-generation Xbox into an audio and video powerhouse. The project has since been ported to run on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and other platforms, and we’ve even seen it running on low-power devices with ARM processors such as the  Pivos XIOS DS Media Play.

Now there’s a new XBMC box on the way, and it’s designed specifically for running XBMC. It doesn’t run Android apps at all, just an embedded operating system to support XBMC.

It’s called TheLittleBlackBox, and the first units are expected to ship by the end of May. It’s available for pre-order for 100 Euros, which is about $130 US.

TheLittleBlackBox

The box features ann Amlogic 8726-M3 ARM Cortex-A9 processor, Mali 400 graphics, 1GB of RAM, and 4GB of built-in storage. It has 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, 2 USB ports, and HDMI output.

You can hook it up to your TV to play videos from a shared network drive, from a USB flash drive, or stream content over the internet using some of the plugins available for XBMC. It supports 1080p HD video playback. It also comes with a multi-function remote control with a QWERTY keyboard on the back.

lbb_02

TheLittleBlackBox measures 3.9″ x 3.9″ x 1.2″ and weighs just over a pound.

The project comes from a team of developers including J1nx, who has a history of working with hackable gadgets to get XBMC and other software up and running.

via AndroidPC.es

  • UnOfficiallyDNG

    6 months too late to the game

  • wohoo

    Ugly and big. Why would I choose this when I can get a android stick that can run xbmc and android apps?

    • NeedName

      exactly my thoughts as well!

      • http://twitter.com/hbogert Hans van den Bogert

        this will just work compared to xbmc for android which is terrible. You have to install apps for removing the softbutton bar. You have to let xbmc autostart through some other app etc.
        And most of all, almost no android tablet can decode 1080p in conjunction with xbmc reliably and/or efficiently.

  • http://oakleafblog.blogspot.com Roger Jennings

    What dedicated XBMC and other Android MiniPCs/TVBoxes need is a built-in ATSC/DVB-T tuner for off-air video timeshifting. Adding the components of a Pinnacle PCTV 80e or Hauppage PCTV USB stick appears to m to be a no-brainer to create a PVR. See http://android-minipc.azurewebsites.net/?p=301 and http://android-minipc.azurewebsites.net/?p=511.

    • TLBB

      Development of DVB-T/C/S is going on as we speak, yet far away from ready for launch date.

      It might be included in a future update, supporting dongles. (although no promises)

  • Tigger

    Am I the only one who doesn’t accept the term “open source” when talking about ARM hardware? The Limadriver is not at all complete and I’d bet that this is using the closed source Mali drivers.

    I’m sick of hacking ARM devices. GPIO is a burden, I’m waiting for Intel’s Valley View.

    • TLBB

      Oh, I am sooooooo with you, but we still have to accept it till Luc is done.

      Anyway, this does not use the X11 system and runs straight onto the FrameBuffer. There for we only need the opensource released linux kernel driver from mali.

  • mjdinsmore

    That’s got to be one of the worst promo videos for a product. Half second flashes of the actual hardware? I saw more black screen and fade away than actual useful information.

  • http://twitter.com/rehatiel Ben

    Also the inability to run netflix will be a big negative for this.. I love xbmc, but it lacks in the streaming department.

    • DroidTV

      Why don’t you use a Netflix Addon for XBMC?

  • Modempremodz Sales

    Epic failure – linux under the hood and old hardware for that price is just ridiculous. A platform with Android + XBMC proves perfect if done right. This is taking a step back in all flavors honesty – I have used this already on the G-Box Midnight and its not that great and lacks major commercial platforms for media like netflix, and plenty of others – this guy j1nx does failed indegogo sponsored projects with not 1 coming through and I see why…..just bad business sense. Useless purchase.

    • TLBB

      Not very nice of you to attack a possible competitor for you like this, don’t you think?

      At least, I do my best to develop and deliver something good, to be injected into the community. Indeed my one and only Indiegogo failed to launch, but succeeded in it’s goal to get the sources.

      With a linux firmware release who is beating the crap out of all the currently Android versions for the GBox.

      But like you said; “A android platforms + XBMC if done right”, so why you still haven’t done it right in any of your XBdroidMC released boxes. Oh wait …

    • S.K.

      J1nx’s builds are incredible on gbox, and he supports the community more than some hardware companies. looking forward to this box.

  • TLBB

    If people have any questions or comments, I am most happy to answer them (if I can)

    • http://profiles.google.com/fred.warren Fred Warren

      Is 1080p play any better than on a Rasberry Pi?

      Does it have some method of updating the version of XBMC on it?

      Will there be continued improvements to the speed of video playback?

      • Cordo

        - and how about soud formats like DTS-HD Master and Dolby True HD?

      • Julian Allen

        The unit down mixes the audio

      • Julian Allen

        1080p and overall performance is much better than RPi

        OTA updating will improve the box regularly making the software as optimised as possible for the Hardware.

  • DroidTV

    I have personally tried XBMC on range of devices – Intel Atom + Windows & Linux, Android, Apple TV.

    the Linux build J1nx and his community did for ref16 boards is one of the best currently available , therefore I believe this device will have a future.

    You can easily stream content from you Ariplay or UPnP enabled device. Use bunch of add-ons available for XBMC, etc.

    The price is very reasonable. Please note, that when you are buying from DX or Geekbying you are paying the price without the import tax!

    Let’s count. Such device on DX would cost around 60$. Add 20$ for keyboard. 15$ shipping. It’s already 95$. add 20% import tax. That’s already 89 Eur!

    You think 99Eur is a big price for buying the device not from the Chinese manufacturers???
    Have you ever tried to get a support from Chinese??? That’s a nightmare. I believe J1nx will be able to give a best support for this device.

    Go go J1nx! ;)

    • Brandon Golway

      When buying from Asia the import taxes and shipping is BRUTAL. I had to buy my Odroid-U2 (Exynos 4412/Mali 400 dev board) from South Korea and the unit itself was only $90 but the HDMI cable was an extra $9, the ac adapter was $10, the UART bridge was $15, the 16 GB EMMC was $35 and shipping was around $40! The whole deal was only about $150 without tax/shipping but when it was all said and done it was a little over $200!

  • Brandon Golway

    I have XBMC 13 with CyanogenMod 10.1 (Android 4.2.2) running on my Odroid-U2 (Quad-core Exynos 4412 clocked at 1.8 GHz with 2 GB RAM, 16 GB EMMC, 32 GB MicroSD, MicroHDMI, 2xUSB 2.0, audio out, UART, MicroUSB) paired with a TaoTronic Air Mouse/keyboard all for about the same price as this and it’s a hell of a lot smaller. The board itself was only $90, the storage ran me about an extra $60. If you’re looking to run Android or Linux on a high-end microPC these things are the way to go, no doubt about it. They’re powerful enough to use as a full-fledged pc also. Check out hardkernel.com

  • Mirthen

    Running XBMC and nothing else(other then addons), I couldn’t see myself handing over ~$130. The only thing i do like about this, is the remote. That part does look very useful and still nice enough to leave sitting on my coffee table without shame. Compared to other HTPC box remotes. The only reservation about the remote is how sensitive the reverse side buttons are, or if there is a auto lock feature for the buttons using motion sensors to see which side is flipped up.

    Myself, i care little for 1080p. I simply do not want to invest the money in enough hard drive space to store that much. So for some i would see much cheaper hardware as a better alternative then this. Having every bit of XBMC functionality as this does, while still providing other features and customizations.

  • JL

    Another m3 box? I mean if it gets the proper support it could be as good as the gbox midnight I guess.. but since the mx2 midnight has come out now you would think thered be more dual core boxes coming to market instead of this older technology.

  • herpaderp

    Lack of gigabit ethernet and optical audio out? How is this for xbmc?