TVPeCee HDMI-Stick MMS-874 Android Mini-Computer

8478899218_5f4655a7fc_c

Downloading Xvid movies via Torrent or some other P2P network is out. Not even Peerblockers with blacklists of honeypots can protect users anymore (more: http://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-blocklists-dont-keep-bittorrent-spies-out-120904/). Today you can “rent” movies online for a few Euro (or Dollar) on most platforms like consoles, video-on-demand boxes by your ISP or other vendors, Smart TVs, Notebooks, Tablets, Barebones, HTPCs and even mobile phones. You can also watch a wide range of movies via Web-Streaming i.e. from YouTube or other sites via Flash, HTML5 or native apps.

The problem with most platforms is that still most video streaming content on the web is Flash-based. That’s where most of the platforms fail… for instance the Internet Explorer for the Xbox 360 (that requires Gold membership BTW) doesn’t show Flash, Apple TV wouldn’t even dare to show Flash, ARM-based Raspberry Pi would be cool enough but there is no Flash player for the Linux and the browser running on it. So what to do if your TV is not “smart” (Internet connected) yet or Flash-enabled? Of course you can connect your Notebook or Tablet via HDMI to your TV, use some Air-Play service or buy a Barebone-PC or HTPC but I was looking for a cheap convenient and noiseless Always-On solution. What could be better for that than an Operating System and CPU (more a SoC) of a mobile phone? Android runs Flash too! Although any new updates or versions won’t be released for it the old version is good enough for most Flash video content on the web.

I decided to try out such a device that you connect via HDMI to your TV. First I ordered the MMS 864 TVPeCee that turned out to be a total disaster. It has a slow single-core ARM, runs Android 4.0 with an ugly custom UI, doesn’t play Flash in full screen and has black screens from time to time. The successor model the MMS 874 with Android 4.1 cures all those weaknesses though!

The MMS 874 has a fast dual-core CPU and a quad-core GPU that is on the level of the Galaxy Nexus performance wise (more: http://www.androidbenchmark.net/phone.php?phone=Rockchip+MMS-874.dualcore), runs the vanilla Android UI, shows Flash in full screen and has better passive cooling. See full specs here: http://www.pearl.de/a-ZX1005-1602.shtml (German). I extended the device with  a 16 GB microSDHC memory card, an USB hub, a wireless keyboard and a gamepad. This way the device becomes a console too as many games support a gamepad on Android (more: http://www.jayceooi.com/2012/09/11/android-games-with-native-gamepad-support/).

8545611982_c7924260d0_b

For about 150 Euro (including all peripherals) you get a nice Android Mini-Computer that can be used to stream videos, play games, check social networks etc. on your TV screen . It’s noiseless compared to some fan-equipped PC-Barebones, not bound to any video platform like the Apple TV with iTunes Store or any ISP video-on-demand box and relatively cheap compared to consoles, PC-Barebones or HTPCs. Forget about Google TV or this Air-Play black ball device (Nexus Q) they tried to release… Vanilla Android is more than enough to make your TV “smart” and connected.

Advertisements

8 Comments

  1. I’m really loving the theme/design of your blog. Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems? A handful of my blog visitors have complained about my site not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox. Do you have any suggestions to help fix this problem?

    • It must be the theme but it’s ok in most browsers.

  2. Thanks for sharing this great configuration. How is the stick powered? If it only has 1 USB port and you use a hub, do you power it through the hub then?
    To make it mobile, could it be powered by a solar battery pack? Could the stick power a portable HDMI monitor via the HDMI port? Any such monitor you would use with it?
    Is it possible to connect a Bluetooth input device?

    TIA!
    Ruud

    • It’s powered via USB and it acutally has two USB Ports (small and normal size) so one can be used for the power and the other to connect USB-Storage i.e. I configured it in a way that I can power on and off the device by pulling one of the USB cables on the hub. Regarding the mobility I have no idea how much power it is really using and if a solar batter pack could handle it. I would just try it. It should work with any portable monitor that has HDMI.

      • Thanks, I might try indeed. Sorry, I haven’t understood how your on/off switch works. If there is a separate USB for the power, I guess it is not connected to the hub on the other end, so which cable would you pull then?
        BT input device should work with a BT dongle on the hub, right?
        Is the OS upgradable actually, like on certain mobile phones/tables?
        Thanks again for clarification.
        Regards,
        Ruud

      • There are two USBs. It doesn’t matter which one you use for power but you have to pull the cable. There is no on/off switch.

        I use a wireless keyboard connected via an USB dongle. That works fine but it’s a bit difficult to get rid of the on screen keyboard. The device has no Bluetooth.

        The OS is Android 4.1 but I didn’t see any updates coming in. Also I don’t see any option for updating the Firmware.

        To be frankly I have a bit of a problem with the WLAN connection but I blame my router/modem because the issues are gone after I restart it but not permanently. The WLAN reception is also not the best. I have the wlan router/modem in my living room about 2 meters away from the TV set and I see often only 4/5 bars.

  3. Hi, I have one also. Do you know how can you start them in recovery mode? Have you found a custom rom? Thank you.
    Cristian

    • No idea. If you find out let me know 🙂


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s