Discussion:
Android TV Sticks/Boxes as Squeezebox Replacement
bluegaspode
2013-09-22 19:32:28 UTC
Permalink
Based on erlands question 'here'
(http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?87364-ANNOUNCE-Music-Playback-now-on-ANDROID!-SqueezePlayer-released-to-the-market&p=757032&viewfull=1#post757032),
I decided to start my own tests regarding Android TV sticks/devices
<=100$, and ordered two of them for a comparison. I hope that others can
share their experiences here as well, which is why I started a separate
thread.

Note that I cannot test those devices fully regarding their TV
capabilities, I'll focus here on Squeezebox stuff, you need to decide on
your own about the additional features they all provide.

First in this series will be the 'Minix Neo X5'
(http://georiot.co/2r1T), which is available for 96$/ 89€ on
'Amazon.com/.de' (http://georiot.co/2r1T) (guess the US pricing is
without VAT?). The Minix is the little box to the right, on the left a
Squeezebox Receiver as comparison.

1519415195

It's a small little box, with many connection possibilities - most
important for us is HDMI, SPDIF (!) and a line-out/phones jack.
I hooked it up to the TV and booted it up, it started instantly and only
having connected an USB-Mouse I was able to setup WiFi and my Google
Account, went to the PlayStore and downloaded
- my 'SqueezePlayer App'
(https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.bluegaspode.squeezeplayer)
(to make this box a Squeezebox)
- 'AutomateIt'
(https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=AutomateIt.mainPackage&hl=en)
(free), to configure that SqueezePlayer starts up automatically after
booting.

No trouble here - 10minutes after starting up, my TV was available as a
Squeezebox :)
Remote controlled by my phone with 'Orange Squeeze'
(https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.orangebikelabs.orangesqueeze&hl=en)
(my favorite Controller App right now, use whatever you prefer).

15193

One has to note that the Minix comes with an optimized UI for the TV
(big buttons) and also a remote. I guess this will come in handy, when
you want to also use it for it's actual TV capabilities.

The most interesting thing of course is synchronisation to other
Squeezeboxes. So I got two Squeezebox Radios into the same room and
started experimenting.
The very first experience was - not convincing. This is because HDMI and
Android imposes some delays that have to be compensated for. To our
rescue comes the Squeezebox-Server settings: for every player one can
configure synchronisation delays.

The first one should care for is "Player Audio Delay". You'll need to
start a playlist, wait about 30seconds (!) to have all devices
synchronized as good as it gets and then try to guess what delay your TV
has (it is typically behind your Squeezeboxes).
Then change the corresponding value in the settings, Apply, wait again
30secs (while everything is playing) and see how much improvement you
achieved. When you found a good value, one can also care for the "Player
Start Delay". Everytime you manually start the next track from a
playlist, you want to make sure, that all devices start in Sync as good
as possible, so that they don't need catch up to each other to get into
real sync.

In my scenario: Minix -> HDMI -> TV I arrived at the following values:
Player Start Delay: 180
Player Audio Delay: 270
Note that my TV might have imposed some delay, so the values might
differ for you.

With these settings I listened through a whole mp3 album (two Radios and
the Minix via TV in sync in one room). On rare occasions I could hear
the players drift a bit, but they recovered soon again. When those boxes
are in different rooms, noone would be able to hear a difference in my
opinion.

Next test was the SPDIF connector into my AV-Receiver. First it didn't
work, until I realized, that I had to activate SPDIF in the Android
Audio settings. When this worked, I removed the HDMI connector, to just
use the Minix just as a Squeezebox Receiver replacement.
Worked fine and looks great on the AV rack as well.

15196
(little black box on top is the minix - just two cables on the back -
power + SPDIF)

The settings for synchronization I needed this time were
Player Start Delay: 180
Player Audio Delay: 150
Again - this worked great for me and I happily moved between my living
room (Minix + 1 Radio) and bedroom (1 Radio) all the time to check the
sync.
Your values of course will differ again, as my AV-Receiver will have
some influence on the delays (I ran it in 'straight' mode though).

One little caveat remained for me: my SPDIF connector didn't properly
fit into the Minix for some reason - it didn't snap into position and
was in danger of removing itself when moving the device. Might be
different with other cables, but a little bit confusing definitely that
a digital connector doesn't fit.

All in all: I really like what I saw in this first test :)
Give me some more time until I have tested the second device.


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Did you know: *'SqueezePlayer' (www.squeezeplayer.com)* will stream all
your music to your Android device. Take your music everywhere!
Remote Control + Streaming to your iPad? *'Squeezebox + iPad =
SqueezePad ' (www.squeezepad.com)*
Want to see a Weather Forecast on your Radio/Touch/Controller ? => why
not try my 'Weather Forecast Applet'
(http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=73827)
Want to use the Headphones with your Controller ? => why not try my
'Headphone Switcher Applet'
(http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=67139)
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erland
2013-09-22 22:04:04 UTC
Permalink
Does these boxes work if you don't connect them to a TV and just have
the SPDIF connected to the amplifier ?
Or is the TV needed for them to be able to start and launch
SqueezePlayer at startup ?



Erland Isaksson ('My homepage' (http://erland.isaksson.info))
(Developer of 'many plugins/applets (both free and commercial)'
(http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.php/User:Erland).
If you like to encourage future presence on this forum and/or third
party plugin/applet development, 'consider purchasing some plugins'
(http://license.isaksson.info))
You may also want to try my Android apps 'Squeeze Display'
(https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=info.isaksson.squeezedisplay)
and 'RSS Photo Show'
(https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=info.isaksson.rssphotoshow)
*Interested in the future of music streaming ? 'ickStream - A world of
music at your fingertips'
(http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?98467-Pre-Announcement-ickStream&p=743516)*.
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bluegaspode
2013-09-22 22:36:25 UTC
Permalink
You only need to connect via HDMI for setup. Then provided you
configured the AutomateIt App, SqueezePlayer will startup automatically
on boot also without HDMI connected.



Did you know: *'SqueezePlayer' (www.squeezeplayer.com)* will stream all
your music to your Android device. Take your music everywhere!
Remote Control + Streaming to your iPad? *'Squeezebox + iPad =
SqueezePad ' (www.squeezepad.com)*
Want to see a Weather Forecast on your Radio/Touch/Controller ? => why
not try my 'Weather Forecast Applet'
(http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=73827)
Want to use the Headphones with your Controller ? => why not try my
'Headphone Switcher Applet'
(http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=67139)
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Peter Galbavy
2013-09-23 11:53:45 UTC
Permalink
Very nice. I may have to spend my money on your player app, which I've
been putting off as I have too many real SB boxes. I bought a Rikomagiv
RK809IV to play with but so far it's not great on video playback, but I
am going to be testing other ROMs and even Ubuntu soon.

One thing that did spring to mind was that now with real HDMI and not
just S/PDIF I should in theory be able to playback multichannel DVD
Audio rips. No idea what the Squeeze platform (server, your player etc.)
might do with that - any ideas? I assume the ability to decode
multichannel FLAC and then stream multichannel LPCM over the HDMI will
not be a native function - any guesses if this is feasible?

I have the luxury of two living rooms, one for music with a 2.0 (going
to test an old subwoofer to maybe go 2.1 soon) and the other the
TV/movie room with a nice 5.1 setup- currently an SB Touch in each. I
used to have some spare money once :)

Peter


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bluegaspode
2013-09-23 16:52:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Galbavy
One thing that did spring to mind was that now with real HDMI and not
just S/PDIF I should in theory be able to playback multichannel DVD
Audio rips. No idea what the Squeeze platform (server, your player etc.)
might do with that - any ideas?
The FLACs are transferred to the respective players, typically they only
use the first two main channels for playback.
I didn't check the Android API yet, if it would allow to pass 5 channels
down the HDMI route.
I'm also not sure yet, if such a niché feature of a niché product would
really make sense :)



Did you know: *'SqueezePlayer' (www.squeezeplayer.com)* will stream all
your music to your Android device. Take your music everywhere!
Remote Control + Streaming to your iPad? *'Squeezebox + iPad =
SqueezePad ' (www.squeezepad.com)*
Want to see a Weather Forecast on your Radio/Touch/Controller ? => why
not try my 'Weather Forecast Applet'
(http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=73827)
Want to use the Headphones with your Controller ? => why not try my
'Headphone Switcher Applet'
(http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=67139)
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Peter Galbavy
2013-09-24 15:11:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by bluegaspode
I'm also not sure yet, if such a niché feature of a niché product would
really make sense :)
niché^2 - sounds like a plan ;)


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wewen
2013-09-25 16:08:17 UTC
Permalink
Try installing caustic 2. Then go into settings. There your audio
latency are measured. Good tool to get a po9inter to your audiodevices
latency. For example the latency in my nexus 4 are 40ms.


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marlo
2013-09-23 17:59:39 UTC
Permalink
Could you please check if playback of hires-files is possible via hdmi
and/or spdif?




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bluegaspode
2013-09-26 22:11:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by marlo
Could you please check if playback of hires-files is possible via hdmi
and/or spdif?
hi Marlo,

Sorry for the late answer.
Right now SqueezePlayer uses an AudioAPI that is compatible with pretty
old Android versions ("AudioTrack" /
http://developer.android.com/reference/android/media/AudioTrack.html#AudioTrack(int,
int, int, int, int, int)
This supports only samplerate of 48kHz and 16Bit material.

I also checked about the multichannel possibilities now. Unfortunately
there is a parameter "channelConfig" which allows only the parameter
Mono + Stereo.

So unless I rewrite the whole audio engine of SqueezePlayer (which is
not planned right now I'm afraid) both request right now cannot be
fulfilled.
On newer Android version (starting 4.0) audio support was improved in
Android.



Did you know: *'SqueezePlayer' (www.squeezeplayer.com)* will stream all
your music to your Android device. Take your music everywhere!
Remote Control + Streaming to your iPad? *'Squeezebox + iPad =
SqueezePad ' (www.squeezepad.com)*
Want to see a Weather Forecast on your Radio/Touch/Controller ? => why
not try my 'Weather Forecast Applet'
(http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=73827)
Want to use the Headphones with your Controller ? => why not try my
'Headphone Switcher Applet'
(http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=67139)
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bluegaspode
2013-09-28 14:00:15 UTC
Permalink
Just added my second report. See above the second post.



Did you know: *'SqueezePlayer' (www.squeezeplayer.com)* will stream all
your music to your Android device. Take your music everywhere!
Remote Control + Streaming to your iPad? *'Squeezebox + iPad =
SqueezePad ' (www.squeezepad.com)*
Want to see a Weather Forecast on your Radio/Touch/Controller ? => why
not try my 'Weather Forecast Applet'
(http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=73827)
Want to use the Headphones with your Controller ? => why not try my
'Headphone Switcher Applet'
(http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=67139)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Apesbrain
2013-10-03 13:12:26 UTC
Permalink
15222

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008BFXOZE/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B008BFXOZE&linkCode=as2&tag=squid09a-20
http://www.amazon.com/eForCity-Adapter-Internet-phones-programs/dp/B0019SVUQK%3FSubscriptionId%3DAKIAIAA4MWUJXHBYFRNQ%26tag%3Dsquid1685143-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3DB0019SVUQK

I purchased this cheap, single-core, Android mini-PC from Amazon for
under $32 and already had a cheap USB DAC that appeared identical to the
one linked above. I used the included HDMI cable to attach the mini-PC
to my HDTV and plugged in the power supply. Within 30 seconds or so, my
TV was displaying the Android ICS desktop. Upon plugging an HP wireless
mouse receiver into the full-size USB on the mini-PC a mouse pointer
appeared. After joining the mini-PC to my wireless network and
installing Squeeze Player via Google Play, I was able to select the
mini-PC in LMS on my laptop and send music to it exactly the same as any
of my other SB players. At this point, the sound was coming via HDMI
from my TV speakers. This mini-PC has only one full-size USB port, so I
used another cable it shipped with to plug the DAC into its "USB OTG"
mini-port and I had music in my headphones. It wasn't perfect as there
was the occasional crackle. I pulled out the mouse receiver and plugged
the DAC into the full-size USB which had to be done via a short dongle
due to space constraints and the crackle went away.

Via HDMI & USB:
- Plays FLAC and MP3; I didn't have other formats to test
- Plays 16/24 - 44/88/96 files; whether these are being resampled along
the way I don't know
- A short glitch every so often

If this were my only experience of Squeezebox I'd probably not be that
impressed, but for the extension of an existing SB system into another
room I don't see how it can be beat. If you already have an A/V
receiver, you can plug the mini-PC directly to HDMI and skip the USB DAC
altogether. Remember, you only need a display for initial set-up.
After that, using the free "Startup Manager" app you can configure the
mini-PC to automatically start Squeeze Player upon boot. Of course, you
can always leave the display connected and have album art visible. Or
install an Android SB controller and navigate via your TV and a mouse.

The mini-PC does not have an Ethernet jack, but Ethernet/USB adapters
are available. I can't say whether my wireless was the cause of the
occasional glitch I heard, but I suspect it was as the on-screen
wireless strength icon seemed to dip at the same time. It wouldn’t
surprise me as living in a high-rise apartment building with another one
directly across the street is a wireless nightmare.

I don't need another SB device at this point, so I unplugged the DAC and
re-attached the mouse receiver. I now use the mini-PC as a Netflix
streaming device on a secondary HDTV. The wireless mouse provides
control from across the room.

If I were to do this again, I'd spend a bit more and purchase a dual- or
quad-core mini-PC for the extra CPU power. Again, I don't know if CPU
or wireless issues were the cause of occasional drop-outs. Some
reviewers have complained about the device over-heating, but my
experience is that it only gets warm during playback and at rest returns
to room temp; I leave it on all the time.


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leafygreens
2013-10-09 20:21:51 UTC
Permalink
Based on erlands question I decided to start my own tests regarding
Android TV sticks/devices <=100$, and ordered two of them for a
comparison. I hope that others can share their experiences here as well,
which is why I started a separate thread.
Thanks very much for doing this review. I'm also interested in using an
Android box/stick for Squeezelite. Have you had much time to let it run
24/7? I wonder how stable this is, and how it works for long term use.

Is there a version of LMS for Androids? I only see Windows, Macs, and
Linux.


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toby10
2013-10-10 08:16:21 UTC
Permalink
..... Is there a version of LMS for Androids? I only see Windows, Macs,
and Linux.
No. These are playback devices, not server computers.


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wortgefecht
2014-09-15 09:05:45 UTC
Permalink
I had this little device lying around my place for some time now (picked
it up at a daily deal site some time ago): Archos 35 Home Connect:
http://store.archos.com/archos-home-connect-p-5027.htm?id=5027

16386

It's basically a radio alarm clock running Android 2.2 and comes with
TuneIn Radio. Sound quality is fair, considered the size of the device.
I installed SqueezePlayer on it and it's now a part of my Squeezebox
setup playing in our guest bathroom.


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castalla
2014-09-15 12:25:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by wortgefecht
I had this little device lying around my place for some time now (picked
http://store.archos.com/archos-home-connect-p-5027.htm?id=5027
16386
It's basically a radio alarm clock running Android 2.2 and comes with
TuneIn Radio. Sound quality is fair, considered the size of the device.
I installed SqueezePlayer on it and it's now a part of my Squeezebox
setup playing in our guest bathroom.
I thought it was a low-quality solutionn until the battery went flat and
it wouldn't boot from AC power - binned it.



Touch - Muse M50 EX TPA3123 T-Amp Mini - Acoustics Q10 speakers
Logitech Radio
Logitech UE Smart Radio
Raspberry Pi + Squeezeplug LMS + Squeezelite - Logitech Mini Boombox
speaker (mothballed)
Cubieboard + Debian 7 + LMS 7.8.1 + Squeezelite - Soundwave SW100
bluetooth speaker
O2 Joggler + SqpOS + Aune X2 T-amp + Mordaunt Short ms-3.40 speakers
IBOX + Debian 7 + LMS 7.8.1 + Squeezelite - Logitech Mini Boombox
speaker - Soundwave SW100 bluetooth speaker
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wortgefecht
2014-09-15 13:52:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by castalla
I thought it was a low-quality solutionn until the battery went flat and
it wouldn't boot from AC power - binned it.
Strange, I never had any battery or power issues so far. But low-quality
it is, definitely. That's why it's located where it is ...


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castalla
2014-09-15 14:14:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by wortgefecht
Strange, I never had any battery or power issues so far. But low-quality
it is, definitely. That's why it's located where it is ...
A cheap android phone with a replaceable battery is a better option!



Touch - Muse M50 EX TPA3123 T-Amp Mini - Acoustics Q10 speakers
Logitech Radio
Logitech UE Smart Radio
Raspberry Pi + Squeezeplug LMS + Squeezelite - Logitech Mini Boombox
speaker (mothballed)
Cubieboard + Debian 7 + LMS 7.8.1 + Squeezelite - Soundwave SW100
bluetooth speaker
O2 Joggler + SqpOS + Aune X2 T-amp + Mordaunt Short ms-3.40 speakers
IBOX + Debian 7 + LMS 7.8.1 + Squeezelite - Logitech Mini Boombox
speaker - Soundwave SW100 bluetooth speaker
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