android tv box with optical out beelink t98 x99

I was after a quality android TV box with optical audio out connection to replace my aging Western Digital TV box. The problem was that there are heaps of cheap Chinese media streamers out there with the coax spdif connection that are fine for the average person. But I needed an optical out Toslink connection for my 5.1 home theatre receiver.

Now both coax and optical SPDIF are digital and will pass through 5.1 surround sound to a receiver, but I only had one spare Toslink optical connection on my amplifier. So the quest was on to review 4 of the best Android media streamers with an optical output connection.

If you would like the best value for money android box with optical output then the Beelink GT1 has to be it. It has the latest hardware at a great price. If you would like to learn more about these media streamers then read on.

Top 4 Android TV Box supporting Dolby digital

Brand

Greatever

Beelink

BetterLife x99

Nvidia Shield

Android box with optical output android tv box optical audio t98  android spdif passthrough beelink gt1  android tv box dolby digital x99  nvidia shield spdif sound dolby 
Model No T98 GT1 x99 4K Shield TV
Android Version 7.1 7.1 7.1 8.0
Ram 2GB 3GB 4GB 3GB
Memory (Rom) 16GB 16GB 32GB 16GB
Outputs
  • DC In: 5V/2A
  • USB Host: 2 High-speed USB 2.0
  • Card Reader: TF SD Card reader
  • Lan: RJ45 Ethernet port
  • Wifi: Built-in Wifi, 802.1.1b/g/n
  • AV In: AV(3 in 1) porta
  • SPDIF: Optical
  • 5v DC in Port
  • 2 Standard USB Ports
  • HDMI Port
  • RJ45 1000Mbps network connection.
  • Micro SD card slot
  • Toslink optical out spdif.
  • 100/1000M Ethernet LAN
  • MicroSD(TF), Up to 32GB
  • HDMI type 2
  • 1 High speed USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, 1 Type-c port
  • DC 5V-3A
  • Toslink optical audio out Spdif
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • HDMI 2.0b with HDCP 2.2 and CEC support
  • Two USB 3.0 (Type A)
Optical Out Yes Yes Yes No, 

You must have a compatible receiver to pass through the sound via HDMI or output sound via the TV using the optical out connection to your receiver.

CPU CPU S905W up to 1.2 GHz, Quad core ARM Cortex A53
GPU :Mali-450 penta-core, fino a 750MHz+(DVFS)
Amlogic 912 Octa Core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU up to 2GHz (DVFS). RK3399-6 cores 64-bit (Dual Cortex-A72 big-core + Quad Cortex-A53 small-core). NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor with a 256-core GPU
Wifi  2.4 GHz WiFi  2.4G + 5.8G  WIFI: 2.4G /5G dual-band Wifi, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi
Bluetooth No, but you can add in a USB Bluetooth module and keyboard. Bluetooth module, compatible with 2.0.2.1 and 3.0 Bluetooth 4.0 backward compatible. Bluetooth 4.1/BLE
Supported Formats Video Formats: 4K@30fps, H.265, AVI, H.264, VC-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DIVD / DIVX, Real 8/9/10, RM, RMVB, PMP, FLV, MP4, M4V, VOB, WMV, 3GP, MKV

Music format: MP1, MP2, MP3, WMA, OGG, AAC, M4A, FLAC, APE, AMR, RA, WAV

The powerful 4K media player supports 4K 60Hz UD2.0a and composite output. Supports the maximum HEVC 4k 10 bit at 60Hz.

Able to play .avi, .mkv, .mov, .mpeg and many other video formats through Kodi

4K (4096×2160) ultra HD and H.265 decoding technology.

Video Formats: 4K@30fps, H.265, AVI, H.264, VC-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DIVD / DIVX, Real 8/9/10, RM, RMVB, PMP, FLV, MP4, M4V, VOB, WMV, 3GP, MKV

Up to 4K playback at 60 FPS (VP8, VP9, H.264, MPEG1/2)
Up to 1080p playback at 60 FPS (H.263, MJPEG, MPEG4, WMV9/VC1) Format support: Xvid, DivX, ASF, AVI/MKV, MOV, M2TS, MPEG-TS, MP4, WEB-MAmazon Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and YouTube.Over 310+ TV channels from around the world. 
Size 147 x 100 x 20 mm 96 x 96 x 16 mm 4.53 x 4.53 x 0.91 inches

11.50 x 11.50 x 2.30 cm

Height: 3.858 in / 9.800 cm
Width: 6.26 in / 15.900 cm
Depth: 1.02 in / 2.593 cm
Perfect for Budget Users Midrange best value for money High-end users Best Money can Buy
Where to Buy

 

Beelink GT1 Android box with optical output review – Our #1 Pick

beelink GT1 android tv box dolby digital

The Beelink Gt1 is a very compact feature filled Android TV box. It is packed with quality features like 3GB ram and the latest Amlogic 912 8 core CPU. Its hardware outputs are great like fast 1000MBs ethernet, optical spdif sound, HDMI, and 2x USB for hard drives or wireless keyboards.

android box with optical output beelink gt1

I like that there is no external Wifi antenna so it makes it a really clean install say if you need to mount it behind a wall mounted TV. Did I mention this unit is tiny, as it fits in the palm of my hand.

Fits in the palm of your hand android box with optical output beelink gt1

It comes with the latest 7.1 Android operating system with regular updates from the manufacturer. This device also is equipped with an update and backup manager called QodiMate that makes it very easy to update the software when there is a new version released for the GT1.

The remote has a nice feature that it can also learn the codes for your TV so you can turn both devices on with the one remote. You just need the number IR codes for your TV. I still prefer a home theatre keyboard to use this Android TV box such as the i8 Rii backlit wireless keyboard shown below.

Rii wireless home theater keyboard and mouse small backlit for android tv box
Every Android TV box needs one of these wireless keyboards. Click for more information over at Amazon

 

Updating the Kodi software was simple enough from the android store. I first had to uninstall the Beelink Qodi version by going to settings and then applications and pressing stop on the Qodi software. From there you can then uninstall the old Kodi version and install the newer one from the Android app store. From now on it should auto update.

After using this Beelink TV box for over a month it is now part of our home theater movie hardware. It will play anything we throw at it up to 4k video files. Its a great replacement for the aging WDTV box. 

GreatEver T98 Android SPDIF passthrough TV box review
 

T98 android tv box with optical output toslink review
Click for more information and pictures over at Amazon

The T98 Android streamer box is a very nice cheap unit. Its perfect for those that are just getting into video streaming and would like to play files up to 4k from either an HHD or over a wired network. I always recommend a wired ethernet connection for 4k video streams for smooth playback.

It comes with the previous generation quad-core Amlogic 905 CPU which is fine to play the latest 4k video files but will run slightly hotter and slower than the current gen Amlogic 912.

I like that it has optical spdif out which is great at this price point. The AV 3 in 1 port is also good if you want to send video and sound to a legacy TV that only has composite in capabilities. Especially useful for an old outdoors projector or TV.

The usual ethernet and wifi features are present so you will have no issues connecting this TV box to your network. I like that there is a clock time feature on the front of the box.

The included remote control is a no-frills device. I would recommend grabbing a wireless keyboard with a trackpad as soon as possible. This makes navigating the Android TV box and its applications more enjoyable.

If you don’t need the latest hardware the T98 is a great buy.

BetterLife x99 with optical output review

x99 TVbox with bluetooth review 4GB ram 32GB emmc
Click to see price over at Amazon

 

If you love the latest hardware and features on an Android TV box then the x99 has to be it. Its packed with 4GB of ram and 32GB of internal storage so it is a very snappy and fast unit while navigating around.

Its CPU uses the RK3399-6 cores 64-bit and will play anything you though at it, even most Android games downloaded from the app store.

On one side of the x99 is a range of outputs and inputs which include Type-C port, optical SPDIF, HDMI, Ethernet, and 5v power in port. On the other side, it has a SIM slot, Micro-SD, USB 2.0, and a faster USB 3.0 port.

The remote control is cool that it is a combination air mouse. This means it will control the cursor when the remote is pointed to the TV. There is a little USB dongle that needs to be plugged in. So be aware this will use up one of your USB slots.

All in all, this is a very fast Android media player. Its packed with the latest hardware and upgrades so it is no wonder it has a higher price than the rest here. If you want the best and don’t want to pay for a Nvidia Shield then this is the best Android TV box with optical output for surround sound. 

What is an Android TV box?

Video on demand is the replacement for the new generation of TV viewers. Our lives are so busy that we want to watch movies, sports, and TV shows when we want, whenever we want.

The rise of on-demand movies and TV from companies like Amazon and Netflix means we can watch our favorite shows when it suits us. This is where the Android TV box comes into play.

If you are stuck with an older LCD TV it is most probably not a smart TV. This means you will have trouble viewing your downloaded content on the TV unless you have access to a media streamer or an Android TV box.

Google has made available its Android operating system available for use with very powerful media players to playback online and downloaded video content. This operating system is very similar to the Android mobile phone software so it will be familiar to most people who use Google products.

The hardware inside TV boxes

The hardware inside these Android TV boxes usually consists of a quad and octa-core CPU processors with 1-3 GB of ram and 8-64GB of onboard storage. Depending on the make and model. The following CPU configuration is very popular in a lot of Android Kodi TV boxes in 2018. Anyone will easily play 4k video files.

S905: AMLogic Quad Core Low-end processor
S912: AmLogic Octacore Improved performance compared to the S905 and a good low-to-mid range CPU.
RK3328: Rockchip Good low-to-mid range.

RK3399: From Rockchip it is a very High-Performance CPU
NVIDIA Tegra X1: High Performance

The standard features found on most midrange models will be

  • Ethernet cable connection 100-1000mbs connection
  • USB ports for expansion
  • SD card for expanding internal storage.
  • Optical or Coax cable s/pdif sound output
  • 5V power input
  • Headphone out jack
  • Wifi and Bluetooth wireless capabilities

Depending on what you need your TV box to do will depend on the features and hardware required. For example, if you would like to connect a whole heap of USB peripherals like flash drives. HDDs and wireless keyboards then the x92 is your best choice.

No optical out on the Nvidia Shield what to do?

Click for more information over at Amazon

If your computer, Nvidia Shield, DVD player, or Android TV box doesn’t have an optical out connection you can always add in an HDMI audio extractor box such as the J-Tech one shown.
Basically, it takes the HDMI audio signal from the HDMI input and converts it to a 2 channel analog stereo output or 5.1 channel Audio output via the optical Toslink connection.

This is the cheapest way to get a Nvidia Shield optical out point. The HDMI will still transmit video to the TV or projector but the surround sound will be captured and sent to the receiver or soundbar.

Conclusion

It is hard to pick an android box with optical output as there are not too many good choices out there. There are plenty of coax digital 5.1 SPDIF android streamers in the market because these are cheaper to build. But if you are like me and only have spare Toslink connections on your amplifier then the Beeling GT1 will be a great performer.

Remember to keep your applications updated for trouble-free performance. Kodi is the leader in movie viewing apps so stick with it and you will have heaps of fun viewing free TV shows and movies with all the fun plugins. 


 

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