|OK folks, here we go:|
MINIX NEO X5 RK3066 Dual Core Cortex A9 TV Box
RK3066 Datasheet (PDF download)
Just got one of these $99 Android boxes from a US retailer yesterday. Prior to ordering, I had been researching the device a bit and it turns out it is fairly well supported on
Facebook and its own forum. Over the weekend, I scoured the forum and armed myself with
firmware updates, rooting instructions and a few other specific apps in anticipation of receiving it.
Anyhow, within a few hours of opening the box I had the device rooted, with the latest Jelly Bean firmware installed and my Google Play account details set. Basically at this point, I had just turned my 46" LED TV screen into an Android tablet that I was now controlling with my Android phone via the vendor's free remote client app. I installed a number of well known streaming apps and then plugged the unit into my trusty Sony EP9ES via the available TOSLINK port on the MINIX. To my surprise, it sounded very good! As good as I've heard streamed content to be through my SB Touch anyways.
Now it was time to try some of my lossless flac files. I haven't bought into the high rez game yet, however I do have a substantial collection of redbook audio ripped. I had heard that a beta version of XBMC had recently been released for Android, so I decided to install this app to access the audio files on my network drive as I could see that it (XBMC) supported my preferred format and gapless playback. Prior to proceeding, I wanted to check out one other thing. The MINIX device has (3) USB 2.0 ports, but I could not confirm that the device in fact supported USB Audio. For giggles, I pulled out my Valab DAC and plugged it into the USB port. The USB light lit up on the DAC, so I patched it into my GFP-750 and selected it as the source. I then launched the XBMC app, found my network drive and selected a flac file to play. I almost sh*t myself when I saw the USB light flicker on the Valab and then heard the sound that was coming through my speakers! Plug and play USB audio support - no drivers, no snap crackle pop, no dropouts. Wow. The sound was absolutely fantastic. What a great way to consolidate my favorite streaming apps and have my ripped collection just a click away as well. All controlled remotely from the comfort of my easy chair and viewed on my big screen TV. I AM Slothman!
In summary, this was all an exercise in music listening convenience for me and obviously NOT an audiophile quest. However, I do believe that devices such as these and the applications being developed are on the verge of further revolutionizing this hobby in a big way soon. After my initial experience with this (basic) media box, I can certainly see why Logitech decided to kick the SB Touch to the curb. I hope this thread may spark a little more discussion and interest in these Android media boxes/ mini PC's. I haven't seen much mentioned about them here or on computeraudiophile.