Building a Linux media box

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neagix
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Building a Linux media box

Unread post by neagix » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:10 pm

Hi there,

I have been out of the loop for a while and nowadays I would like to get a more recent Odroid board to build a Linux media box.

For this box I fear most:
  • not having mainline support for the kernel
  • no hardware GPU/VPU acceleration
  • non-working USB/network issues
  • random crashes
I have considered also (from competition) Le potato board, but I think Odroid would be a better choice overall.
odroid wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:05 am
ODROID-C2 with LibreELEC is the best solution for the media center usage since it supports multi-channel audio with 1080p/4K H.265 video playback and bunch of plugins.
ODROID-XU4/HC1 with Ubuntu/Debian/OMV is the best solution for the media server with Samba, Plex Media Server, Serviio, Transmission, Seafile, Sabre/DAV, Wordpress, NextCloud, OpenVPN and so on.

XU4 Lineage OS is a nice alternative for the media center solution for beginners.
Kodi and YouTube apps should work well. But 5.1ch audio output might not work.
memeka wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:21 pm
well, i could have told you about my own image for XU4

... where you have gnome 3 desktop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkSgm4JF81U
... and you have mpv running nicely (instead of vlc): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ie7BR3WgXWQ (including with youtube HD links)
... and you have youtube working also with gnome videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGk9V5tBOCQ
... and you have netflix running in HD too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXcoha4eNoo

but everyone is waiting for me to release a version that is easier to install, so I thought of recommending you voodik's android tv, which works extremely well on the xu4. you can install linux in chroot there too (and run all the linux software you want, since it's a linux kernel - that includes samba too), and i prefer it as a media center (no keyboard, mouse, just the TV remote), especially since he integrated live channels (channels from tv antenna connected to tuner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIYsvDhyR18)

but what do i know :)
From posts above seems like I should consider either the C2 or XU4/XU4Q.

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Re: Building a Linux media box

Unread post by neagix » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:11 pm

@memeka I will ask you since you have been heavily involved in the relative patches: what is the status of mainline kernel support and hardware acceleration nowadays? What would you suggest with the goals of a Linux media box (no Android) in mind?

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Re: Building a Linux media box

Unread post by rooted » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:40 pm

Two questions.

Is the h.265 (HEVC) important to you?

Is 4K important?

If either of these is yes then you want the C2. The C2 will be able to run mainline, likely within the next 6 months. It can now but there exist a few issues.

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Re: Building a Linux media box

Unread post by memeka » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:17 pm

neagix wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:11 pm
@memeka I will ask you since you have been heavily involved in the relative patches: what is the status of mainline kernel support and hardware acceleration nowadays? What would you suggest with the goals of a Linux media box (no Android) in mind?
XU3/4 runs mainline, but needs some patches for GPU (and a few others to tune some things).
C2 runs mainline, but needs some patches for GPU and VPU (they are scheduled to be added to mainline in the next 2-3 versions).

C2 can do X265 and 4K, XU3/4 cannot.

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Re: Building a Linux media box

Unread post by newodroidc2 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:12 pm

Does ffmpeg support hardware decode\encode for .h264\265, mpeg-4\jpeg on C2 ? i need decode\encode some video from cams (3 Mpixel )
which disro i should use ? ( will Debian\ubuntu work ?)

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Re: Building a Linux media box

Unread post by memeka » Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:32 pm

C2 encode does not work
Decode h265 is wip afaik

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Re: Building a Linux media box

Unread post by neagix » Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:15 am

rooted wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:40 pm
Two questions.

Is the h.265 (HEVC) important to you?

Is 4K important?

If either of these is yes then you want the C2. The C2 will be able to run mainline, likely within the next 6 months. It can now but there exist a few issues.
I think I am okay with waiting 6 months and/or compiling a non-stable kernel until that

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Re: Building a Linux media box

Unread post by neagix » Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:18 am

memeka wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:17 pm
neagix wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:11 pm
@memeka I will ask you since you have been heavily involved in the relative patches: what is the status of mainline kernel support and hardware acceleration nowadays? What would you suggest with the goals of a Linux media box (no Android) in mind?
XU3/4 runs mainline, but needs some patches for GPU (and a few others to tune some things).
C2 runs mainline, but needs some patches for GPU and VPU (they are scheduled to be added to mainline in the next 2-3 versions).

C2 can do X265 and 4K, XU3/4 cannot.
Do you have the needed patches gathered somewhere, or some links around? I would like to give a look to them (for XU3/4 and for C2).

With these patches would you say we are using most of the hardware acceleration available in there? This is not important for my choice but I am curious about the status

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Re: Building a Linux media box

Unread post by neagix » Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:23 am

memeka wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:32 pm
C2 encode does not work
And no ETA for support, right?
While if we consider XU3/4 there for hardware accelerated encoding (with ffmpeg for example), it is already available right?
memeka wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:32 pm
Decode h265 is wip afaik
So the C2 would get hardware H265 decoder if/when the relative patches are merged upstream? (I have not individuated them yet)

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Re: Building a Linux media box

Unread post by memeka » Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:29 am

@neagix

XU3/4 has encoder support yes (h264)
C2 encode work will start probably after decoder is finished.
Currently I've seen patches for H265 support (not mainlined yet), and also some WiP patches for VP9 support. I think after HEVC and VP9 are done, work will probably/hopefully start on encoding.

But yeah if you need encoding there is no exact ETA for C2, but already working on XU3/4.

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Re: Building a Linux media box

Unread post by neagix » Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:04 pm

memeka wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:29 am
@neagix

XU3/4 has encoder support yes (h264)
C2 encode work will start probably after decoder is finished.
Currently I've seen patches for H265 support (not mainlined yet), and also some WiP patches for VP9 support. I think after HEVC and VP9 are done, work will probably/hopefully start on encoding.

But yeah if you need encoding there is no exact ETA for C2, but already working on XU3/4.
Thanks for the information, very clear. I wish there was somewhere a wiki with a table explaining the current progress (and whether the support of a feature is mainline or not).

Encoding is not important for my use case.

I see somebody imported a few of your patches on their distro here: https://github.com/batocera-linux/batoc ... tches/kodi
Are the patches you are talking about for XU3/4 here? https://github.com/mihailescu2m/linux/t ... xu4-4.18.y

I am trying to figure out what it takes to build the media box kernel from sources.
I have seen you have this image: viewtopic.php?f=96&t=26172

However I am going to pass on both the XU4 and the C2 because none of the two have (complete) mainline hardware acceleration support and not having the sources and/or not having the official support/mainline support is a big miss IMO.

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Re: Building a Linux media box

Unread post by memeka » Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:14 pm

@neagix

Mali driver will never be mainlined, and lima/panfrost drivers are still far from being complete.
So you won't have any media box in the near future if you wait for complete mainline support.

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Re: Building a Linux media box

Unread post by neagix » Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:19 pm

memeka wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:14 pm
@neagix

Mali driver will never be mainlined, and lima/panfrost drivers are still far from being complete.
So you won't have any media box in the near future if you wait for complete mainline support.
No, I do not need complete mainline support - but how would I build my Linux box? I am talking about building it from scratch.
I could use the official odroid image - but it is not clear to me what the missing functionality would be compared to let's say your image, or some other image.

edit: from viewtopic.php?f=135&t=22717&start=850#p226092 and https://www.hardkernel.com/ko/tag/odroid-c2/ (information outdated? it mentions Christmas) the situation on C2 looks promising, I see there some instructions on how to build, install Mali drivers etc

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Re: Building a Linux media box

Unread post by gregb49 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:44 pm

neagix wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:10 pm
...I have been out of the loop for a while and nowadays I would like to get a more recent Odroid board to build a Linux media box. ... I have considered also (from competition) Le potato board, but I think Odroid would be a better choice overall.
I'd be interested to hear how you are getting along.

I've used an XU4 as a media centre for some while, playing .ts video files from TVHeadEnd. However, a month or two ago, SMPlayer and KODI stopped working. I tried all the usual upgrades, uninstall/reinstall options and installed every bit of video software I could find, in the hope that it was just a CODEC issue, but to no avail.

Reading other threads I tried a clean install of 18.04 Mate, but with the same problem. I then discovered that SMPlayer etc would play .avi and other files but not .ts. Not wishing to have to convert each of my files to another format, I reverted to an RPi for a while, which just about works OK.

I now have my XU4 up and running again but using 16.04 Mate and NO upgrades. It works fine again, but I worry about the lack of security upgrades.

My question is. What can I do to 18.04 Mate to get it to work as well as 16.04 Mate, ie play .ts video files? Anything?
XU4 Ubuntu 18.04 4.14.69

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