Review | HPH NTV6 RK3288 Android TV Box

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NTV6 was sent to me courtesy of the kind people at Nagrace, so thank you all, and especially Candy, for the help and support!

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hph,NTV6,nt-v6,nagrace,rk3288,tv box,rockchip,android,streamer,kodi,review,unboxing,UHD,8core,octa-coreNagrace is a Chinese manufacturer for over 15 years which specializes in TV Boxes – both own branded, and OEM/ODM (manufactured for other companies). They are a big Solution partner for Rockchip, and as such, produce devices based on their chipsets.

HPH (named after “Happy Home”) NTV6 is a brand new model based on the latest Rockchip SOC available, the RK3288. NTV6 is a powerhouse, with performance that surpasses most of the SOCs out there today, and hardware support for 10-bit color TS files.

What’s in the Box?

The included items with the NTV6 are standard: HDMI 2.0 cable, DC power adapter, remote control (hard buttons), User and remote control pamphlet manuals, and a USB OTG cable. There is also a nice protection film to stick on the top of the box to avoid scratches – nice touch!

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Looks

The design is quite identical to that of the older (RK3368 based) NT-V8. With one small difference: HDMI-in port instead of one of the USB ports. The box is small, and made of black plastic with silver accents. The external antenna is quite big, and all the ports and connections are to the back and right of the box. The On/Off button is on the left of the box, not far from the antenna.

Specifications

Chipset RK3288 28nm Cortex-A17 Quad Core
GPU Quad-core Mali-T764 3D GPU Support OpenGL ES1.1/2.0/3.0,OpenVG1.1 , OpenCL1.1 and Renderscript , Directx 11, 2D
Memory / Storage 2GB DDR3+16GB eMMC Flash
LAN 1000M LAN
Wireless AP6335 802.11 AC
Bluetooth Support BT4.0 Module Bluetooth
OS Android 5.1.1
Video Output HDMI 2.0,Support 4K x 2K decode output
Video Input Support max up to 1080p (60Hz) input
Audio Output Composite Audio/Video, HDMI port, SPDIF Coaxial(digital audio)
Power DC 5V / 2A power input
Peripheral Interface 2 * USB Host, 1 * Micro SD card (TF card) reader, 1 * SPDIF, 1 * 3.5 mm Headphone Jack, 1 * HDMI(A type Male), 1 * RJ45 LAN Port
Packing Included 1 * NTV6 , 1 * Antenna, 1 * DC Power Adapter (5V / 2A), 1 * HDMI 2.0 Cable ,1 * IR Remote Control,1 * Quick User Guide, 1 * Remote User Guide, 1 * USB OTG Cable
  • Notice the “Video Input” section. That means “HDMI-In”, which allows you to view and record video and audio from HDMI input. I tested this using the provided HDMI-IN app and a mini-pc dongle. My short test showed a clear picture, and allowed me to record a short clip of video from the screen in Full HD. I was also able to control the mini-pc using a remote control.

Benchmarks and Testing

All benchmarks have been repeated 3 times and results have been averaged to give a more accurate reading:

Antutu Benchmark

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The Antutu benchmark tests single core performance over multi-core as it is a better indication of the performance of one device over others in most situations. NTV6 blows the competition out of the water. It gets the highest score I recorded so far with any android TV box.

GPU Mark Benchmark

GPU Mark tests 3d gaming performance and also provides a normalized score according to the used screen resolution (for a more accurate result). The test is quite short and should be taken as a supporting result to that of the more serious 3D Mark benchmark.

NTV6 repeats the same performance as it did with Antutu, and shows how powerful its GPU is in comparison with the standard Mali-400/450 used in most boxes.

A1 SD Benchmark

A1 SD Benchmark tests RAM and flash memory speeds. As can be seen in the provided graphs, RAM is much faster (by a factor of about 40) than flash memory – that is why it’s in smaller amount and is also volatile (does not keep its contents after a reboot). Here we can see a score that places the NTV6 at the lower half of the table. It’s storage performance is not great, and places it under most of the tested S905 and RK3368 boxes.

Also, the RAM performance is low, and was inconsistent. In some tests I got over 5000 MB/s result, while in others I got around 1000 MB/s. I went with the lower score, since this abnormally high result is indicative of caching and does not show a real impression of how fast the RAM really is.

One last thing worth mentioning is that the storage is partitioned in a (very) annoying way – 1 GB first partition and the rest in a separate partition. That causes issues as applications complain about lack of space while there is actually plenty. It has been reported to Nagrace and will hopefully be taken care of soon.

PC Mark Benchmark

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The PC Mark benchmark test suite is a comprehensive collection of tests designed to show ultimate performance in real-world conditions. RAM speed aside, the scores indicate the NTV6 (again) as king of the hill – in most of the tests.

3D Mark Benchmark

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3D Mark benchmark is considered as one of the best ways to test 3d performance on Android (and other platforms). The GPU places the NTV6 as the master of this test, and leaves its competition in the dust.

Video Playback testing (Using KODI)

Resolution Video Format Local Playback Network (Wi-Fi/LAN) Playback
720p (1280*720) AVC (High@L4.1)  OK  OK*
1080P (1920*1080) AVC (High@L4)  OK  OK*
 2160P (3840*2160) HEVC (H.265)  OK  OK
4K (4096*2304) AVC (High@L5.1)  OK  OK
4K TS HEVC files HEVC (H.265) 10Bit  OK Partial (one played fine, another lost audio and stuttered)

* Some buffering happens at the beginning and/or during playback. Not in all files and not all the time, but much more so while connected in wired connection. Most of the network testing was done in WiFi mode, since Wired (over Power lines) playback was close to useless.

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HDMI-In

NTV6 includes an interesting feature: HDMI-In. What this means is: you can hook up an external video source via HDMI (up to 1080p) and view it in PIP (picture in picture) mode, or even record it. This means you can use a Digital TV tuner and record live content.

Network Performance

Network performance has been tested using Speedtest.net Internet speed measuring app, in WiFi and in Wired mode. My Internet connection is 200 Mbit Synchronous Fibre connection. The WiFi performance in this box surpasses the Wired performance by far, and is one of (if not the) best I’ve seen so far. (Both in download and upload speeds)

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Wired (Over power line)
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WiFi (802.11AC – 5 GHz)

Issues and Bugs

  1. Google play games crashed at first.
  2. Some unknown apps are installed (such as “face search” – which is unknown and I’m not sure what it does. It is designated as a system app and cannot be uninstalled).
  3. Wired connection is quite slow.
  4. 64 GB Micro-SD was not recognized by the box (not even mounted). 16 GB Micro-SD was identified and mounted instantly.
  5. Google play store does not allow uninstallation of installed applications (must do it from the application manager)
  6. partitioning of the device is such that the main one is 1GB in size – which causes issues even when there is plenty of free space.
  7. ES Explorer (popular file manager app) shows dark fonts on dark background (not supposed to and doesn’t do that on other boxes).
  8. After shutting down, turning the NTV6 back on using the power button is not possible. You must take out the power cord and plug it back in, or use the remote control’s power button to turn the box back on.
  9. Buffering and slow downs occurs in standard Hi-Def (720p/1080p) content when played from network. It happened between once and several times in some of the files tested.
  10. After reboot, Kodi starts as if for the first time (with the “first time” loading screen), although it retains the configuration correctly. Also, the sample I got did not have Kodi pre-installed.

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Kodi Performance

NTV6 did not arrive with any version of Kodi pre-installed. I’ve installed the latest (Jarvis 16 Final) from the play store, and Kodi played mostly well. There have been a few minor playback artifacts, but I attribute this to the brand new chipset and its Kodi compatibility.

The more troubling issue which I mentioned in the “Issues and bugs” section, is the tendency to buffer even 720p content over the network. This should not happen, especially in light of the excellent WiFi performance measured. It does not happen a lot, but does happen frequently enough to affect the experience and reduce the overall score for this powerful box.

I have also tested Kodi with several add-ons: IsraeLive, BBTS, SALTS, Velocity, World News Live and AnarchiTV. As add-ons are always only as good as their sources, performance may be influenced by any number of factors. My overall experience was good, but not great. Some live channels froze or buffered, Radio channels did not work all together (the few I tried in different add-ons), and TV shows (but not movies) played only in SD quality – even when 720p or 1080p sources were selected. To sum it up, it was an average Kodi add-on experience. The live channels that did work, did so quite well and would run for long periods without any sign of issue.

Gaming performance

I use an application called “GameBench” to measure frame rate and resource usage in games. However, even though the box is confirmed to be rooted, the application simply would not (or could not) “hook” into the game. It actually crashed without loading the before the game loaded in each of these cases. Therefore, I have to give a subjective opinion of the performance of these:

Asphalt 8 Airborne – a 3d graphic intensive racing game. The racing game played smoothly and loaded quickly. I did expect better measured results, but this may be due to lack of optimization for gaming rather than anything else:

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Angry Birds 2 – a popular 2d action game. The game played smoothly and loaded quickly… However… it exhibited a sound bug which persisted from the load screen through gameplay – making the game virtually unplayable.

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Walking War Robots – an online robot warfare game that requires a game-pad (I don’t have a game-pad). The game played smoothly and loaded quickly… However… it exhibited a sound bug which persisted from the load screen through gameplay – making the game virtually unplayable.

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NTV6 Conclusions

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Root is a built-in option in the NTV6

Did I like it? Yes, even with its shortcomings. This is the fastest box I tested to date. It surprised me since it’s not the most powerful chipset Rockchip is expected to produce. And it shows that Amlogic is finally getting some real competition.

Would I recommend it? Yes, as long as you are aware of the issues, and don’t mind the pricing.

I give it…4 out of 5 stars. I do wish I could give it more, and I might amend this score if future updates warrant it.

So you’d like to buy this box? For now, only here for 159 USDRK3288+ AP6335 + HDMI in picture in picture and recording

You can save 30 USD and bring the price down to 129 USD by opting for the model without HDMI IN. I am told it is also more stable: NT-V6B HPH RK3288 tv box of 2G/16G support 802ac free shipping by DHL

Let shareasale.com find sales leads for you. Only pay when it works!

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