John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Guleek Windows 8 set top box

I was looking for another media player and stumbled upon this one. My tablets (Asus T100 and Asus Vivotab) have shown me that Kodi plays very well on the current generation of quad core Atom boxes. So I thought I would give it a whirl. I bought mine from Deal Extreme for $128. It took almost 6 weeks to arrive due to some shipping snafus.

Physically this device is super small and can fit almost anywhere. 15.1 cm x 8.2 cm x 1.1 cm.

The device specs are pretty decent:
CPU Atom Z3735F 1333MHz~1830MHz
2G of memory and 16G of SSD
Port wise there are two USB 2 ports (I confirmed they are only USB 2 saldy), 1 micro HDMI port, 1 micro USB port, micro SD slot
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n (2.5GHZ, no 5GHZ), bluetooth 4.0
And oddly a battery?

Note there is no wired ethernet connect. A shame I prefer it. More reliable, less lag etc.

In the box is the device itself which looks sleek, a micro HDMI cable, and a micro USB charger. I was impressed that they included the HDMI cable.

When you first plug it in you discover the first oddity. There are no lights on the front of the device? There is one on the back along with an uber small power button. Push the power button and eventually there’s something on the HDMI output. Be patient. The lack of lights gives no indication that something is happening.

Once past this little hurtle and since patience is my strong suit we are up and running.

On initial power up of the 16G SSD there is 4.27G free of 10.6G. Wow. Super tight on space. After downloading 490m and installing the 92 updates Windows needed there was a whopping 600M free. I discovered Windows by default enables hibernation. Hibernation reserves a file the same amount as the memory to do a dump to enter hibernation. So in this case 2G. That’s 20% of the HD. Well hibernation is not really needed on a media player (or tablet for that matter) with their low power connected standby mode. So you can disable hibernation. To see the size of the hibernation file:
dir c:\ /ah (that says attribute hidden)
You will see a file called hiberfil.sys.
To turn off hibernation simply enter this command.
powercfg -h off
What hibernation does is dump memory to the hard drive and turn off the system. It’s the lowest power saving mode and can be maintained indefinitely since it consumes no power. On next boot it sees it was in hibernate, restores from the hard drive and picks up exactly where it left off. The risk in disabling hibernate is you could loose whatever you might have been working on if the battery dies.

The SSD is reasonably quick clocking in at 23MB/s write and 73MB/s read. Since the USB is only USB 2 this means using USB to add drives is limited to the interface speed roughly 28MB/s is what I got out of it. I also had issues with the USB not being able to provide enough power even for a 2.5″ external USB hard drive. A powered USB drive worked fine.

Power settings have the device going to sleep on AC, but you quickly run into the next little challenge. It does not wake up from USB, so you will need to get off your butt and find that teenie tiny power switch inconveniently located on the back of the device to wake it up.

Overall Kodi installed easily and runs smoothly with playback working well even over WIFI. Since this is a media player for me I created a local account with no password and Windows logs into that automatically. I also added Kodi to the startup menu. I use a media center remote and it works fine on the device, although it does consume one of the only 2 USB ports. But you can always add a hub. As is always the case with Windows/Kodi/Media center remote the letters don’t work, nor do the equivalent of right mouse button functions like episode information, movie information and the like. So while you can get away with no keyboard, a mouse is pretty much a necessity. You can use a bluetooth mouse to save your USB ports if you like.

Now if your feeling inventive look over to a tool called Advanced MCE remote mapper . Using this tool you can bridge the gap and solve the missing implemented functions of using a Windows media center remote with Kodi. For example you can map ctrl-d to whatever you want and be able to get movie and episode information. Or remap C and get options like manage info etc. Or remap the delete key to allow you to delete episodes. The complete list of keys for Kodi can help you find the keys to remap. What this app does is set in the registry what a key on the MCE remote does. Once run it only needs to be re-run when you want to change the settings.

The BIOS is EFI so it means you are limited in terms of what operating systems (other than Windows) you could load onto the device. So using it for Ubuntu/Kodi for example isn’t happening.

All in all it is a good device. I like it and it will fit the bill! It isn’t going to replace UbuntuKodi or a FireTV as my fav device to date but it works well.

June 30, 2015 - Posted by | Mutlimedia, Windows tablets

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