As good as  Kodi is it does have its issues every now and again. Today is one of those times. Many users are reporting issues with video playback on their new M8 AMLogic Android TV Box, the main symptoms being audio, but no picture. After doing some extensive research we found many “work arounds” which bodged the fix by turning off hardware acceleration, changing permissions on files or making XBMC a system app. All of which are not ideal and don’t really fix the issue. We have gone through all the solutions and explained why they weren’t the fix for us. If you want the solution just scroll to the bottom for the download and you should be all good to go.

Software Decoding

XBMC Kodi Software Decoding

Turning off hardware acceleration works fine and the box starts decoding video using software, but as soon as you start throwing high quality 1080p videos at it everything degrades rather quickly. The processor simply can’t keep up. Hardware acceleration is the industry preferred method of decoding video as it performs far faster than its software counterpart with minimal stress on the hardware itself.  Turning off Hardware Acceleration is not recommended and should not be turned off if you want to enjoy high bitrate video with a smooth fps (frames per second).

File Permissions

The other option was to change the file permissions as mentioned on the XBMC forum. A user mentioned changing the permission of /dev/am* to 666 using the code below.

su –
chmod 666 /dev/am*
ls -l /dev/am*

Yeah, we didn’t feel like doing that either and who wants to do that each time they get a new AMLogic box or XBMC version. Having said that it does work so it might be worth brushing up on your Linux skills and giving it a try.

XBMC System App

The final solution was to get an XBMC that would be run as system app, but this involved giving the app some very scary permissions that I would rather not give up. Just take a look at the screenshot below.

XBMC Kodi Software Decoding

Definitely something we did not want to do. Who needs to be able to control your accounts or even make phone calls from XBMC!?!

The Fix

So after searching for hours and hours trying to find the best solution we came across this thread on freaktab. As far as we can gather stane1983 implemented specific AMLogic codecs in XBMC so it could process video through hardware decoding rather than software. It worked perfectly! It was exactly what we were looking for. No extra permissions, no Linux code. It just worked. So we have forked Stanes’s XBMC and implemented our own modifications such as our included Little Smart Box Wizard and everything worked perfectly! Since our special version of XBMC is only available to our customers we have included the vanilla version below along with our PDF guide.

XBMC 13.2 M8                   How to reinstall XBMC M8

Now you will be glad to know that all future versions of Kodi nativity support AMlogic so there will be no need for these modifications in the future. So roll on XBMC Kodi 14!

If you have a better solution or explanation let us know below in the comments.

 

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