Android MK809 II TV dongle Review



I just posted the article Android MK809 II TV dongle Review.

The MK809 II is an Android powered device that effectively turns any TV (with HDMI input) into an advanced Smart TV, with access to a huge range of Android apps such as on Google Play. How well does it stream HD video, display web pages, etc.? Find out in the review.

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I have been using an MK808 for three months which has close to the same specs as the MK809. IMO, it is the most PC you can buy for less than $50. It essentially turns any TV/monitor into a very capable Android tablet. I haven’t seen it hiccup at playing HD video. Even 1080p video at high bit rates. It looks like the MK809 adds Bluetooth but the MK808 supports wireless keyboards and mice. I use a combination gyro mouse and keyboard with mine.

I think these devices are the opening salvo as a PC that can take the place of one with Windows for basic computing needs and especially for an HTPC with very good media streaming capabilities. All one needs to use them is a TV or monitor with HDMI input. In a very short time they will be using quad core CPU and 12+ core GPUs and be sold at bargain basement prices.


I bought the ug802+ which includes a better antenna, but is only 2GB internal storage, with microsd slot, about 5-6 months ago.

XBMC released a new version which supports hardware 1080p video decoding about 3 weeks ago.

Astro isn’t great for stability, try es file explorer.

You can typically upgrade these units by copying the firmware to the internal sd card and rename the firmware update.img

Given the feature sets, it appears that most of there units are off the shelf oem devices with a custom case wrapped around them. Look around.


From a quick test of the latest XBMC builds, the 12.0 Frodo release (as used in the review) and latest nightly build (10th March) will only handle standard definition without frame dropping on this device. This experimental libstagefright build plays 720p fine including streaming (e.g. HD Nation), but 1080p is still unwatcahable, showing just a few frames per second and 480p comes out with garbled video that reminds me of an old encrypted analogue satellite TV channel.

The latest update of Chrome has a new bug - It does not pick up the external keyboard in fields. For example, I can type a URL in the address bar, but if I place the cursor in a text (e.g. Username field on this forum), no letters appear when I type, unless I use the on-screen keyboard. I downloaded the latest Chrome Beta and it seems to work fine, so for anyone else affected, get the Android Chrome Beta for now.


The best video player I have found for the MK808 is BS Player. It plays anything I have thrown at it very smoothly and with no visible issues. Also, it is important to make sure hardware acceleration is enabled.


I’ve given BS Player a quick try now. With hardware acceleration enabled, it plays my 480p and 720p test clips fine, but drops frames intermittently with the 1080p test clips (all 30p). On the other hand, it certainly has more features than most of the other players I’ve tried.

One thing I haven’t tried until now is playing a 1080p 25p video and from a quick test, BS Player plays 1080p 25p clip smooth as long as the HDMI output is set to 1080p 50p. MX Player still struggles with the 1080p 25p clip even with Hardware Acceleration enabled. If the HDMI output is set to 60p, the device will crash or reboot as soon as I try to play the 1080p 25p video in BS player.

At least this means those in PAL regions can play 1080p video fine. :slight_smile:


[QUOTE=Seán;2681295]At least this means those in PAL regions can play 1080p video fine. :)[/QUOTE] Isn’t most 1080p content (Blu-ray source) in 24 or 23.976 FPS even in Europe?


One other thing I have found with the MK808 is that it seems to have better throughput when playing video files from the micro card slot. It also has issues playing video files from a USB 3.0 flash drive. Files on a USB 2.0 drive (flash or HD) seem to play fine.


I’ve tried a MicroSD card (Samsung 32GB Class 10 UHS) and the clips seem to start quicker, but same results as before - 1080p 25p plays fine, but 1080p 30p loses frames.

For curiosity, I tried taking several video clips with my cameras as they can record in a variety of frame speeds. So while I don’t have a Blu-ray source, my DSLR can record in 1080p 24p. The following are the results, with the video files stored on the MicroSD card and played in BS Player:

[li]Video: 1080p 24p, HDMI output: 1080p 50p - Unwatchable, shows roughly 1 frame/second
[/li][li]Video: 1080p 24p, HDMI output: 1080p 60p - Video starts-stops-starts-stops… Again not really watchable.
[/li][li]Video: 1080p 25p, HDMI output: 1080p 50p - Plays fine, no noticeable frame loss.
[/li][li]Video: 1080p 25p, HDMI output: 1080p 60p - Video stutters intermittently.
[/li][li]Video: 1080p 30p, HDMI output: 1080p 50p - Video stutters and bricks up intermittently.
[/li][li]Video: 1080p 30p, HDMI output: 1080p 60p - Video stutters and bricks up intermittently.
[/li][li]Video: 1080p 50p, HDMI output: 1080p 50p - Both video and sound stutters.

Unfortunately, 1080p 24p is a problem also, at least on the MK809 II. :doh:


I do believe (though most are aware) that for around the same price point there are devices like Roku and Apple TV and many others that offer continual updates but the OS is at least designed exclusively for use with a TV.

Of course something like the MK 809 can offer more varied applications, though ones not designed for use with a TV.


New version of XBMC libstagefright experimental released.

On my RK3066/1GB, it doesn’t launch.