Android TV boxes for SDR?

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krokus

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Has anyone tried using any of the Android TV boxes with RTL sticks?

Since some of them offer multiple USB ports, I wonder if the boxes are powerful enough to decode P25 trunking. I am sure that some new, or specialized, software might be needed.

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br0adband

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Not sure why you'd think they would be capable of doing anything but playing back content from online sources, maybe? Can you mention or pick an "Android TV box" for more info? If you mean - and I think you do - plugging in an RTL-based stick to use the box as the "computer" aspect then the only option at this time would be using SDR Touch and the necessary RTL driver (also on the Google Play Market, free). SDR Touch is a commercial app with a limited trial (it limits the time you can use the spectrum display but it will continue to work even so) and runs about $9.99.

The reason that the "cheap USB TV tuners" happen to work is two-fold: first it's because of the particular system they were designed to receive (DVB-T) which is the old and now defunct European digital TV standard (in the US we use ATSC, a totally different and incompatible system alttogether). A few years ago the European standards changed and they dropped using DVB-T and shifted everything to a newer standard known as DVB-T2 which basically made DVB-T useless almost overnight.

That ended up leaving the incredible number of those "cheap USB TV tuners" that had been manufacturer almost totally worthless save for a small miracle that becomes the second reason which is some talented people looked at the way those sticks worked, realized if you modified the drivers in some respects, and actually did modify them in the way needed to turn those sticks into basically wideband radio receivers.

But in the long run I don't think the Android TV boxes even have actual tuners in them but instead are designed to be connected to the Internet for all of their uses, I could be wrong there and I probably am but I've never really spent much time doing a lot of research into those devices. From what I've gathered they're not actually TV tuners, not even for digital terrestrial TV standards (ATSC in the US, DVB-T2 in Europe, other systems in other parts of the world and so on).

Not sure if this helps, maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, guess I'll find out soon enough. :D
 

krokus

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Not sure why you'd think they would be capable of doing anything but playing back content from online sources, maybe? Can you mention or pick an "Android TV box" for more info? If you mean - and I think you do - plugging in an RTL-based stick to use the box as the "computer" ...

But in the long run I don't think the Android TV boxes even have actual tuners in them but instead are designed to be connected to the Internet for all of their uses, I could be wrong there and I probably am but I've never really spent much time doing a lot of research into those devices. From what I've gathered they're not actually TV tuners, not even for digital terrestrial TV standards (ATSC in the US, DVB-T2 in Europe, other systems in other parts of the world and so on).
Yes, the TV boxes are basically entertainment content conduits, playing video from streaming services. Some of the newer TV boxes seem to have some decent video processors, which could be used for better/more processing. I was thinking they might be capable of decoding trunking systems, instead of just discrete signals.

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KS4JU

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Actually you can if you are more of a tinkerer and willing to mess with Linux. I have in the past used the Rickomagic MK802 Android TV sticks and installed Linux on them. You could then plug a RTL type dongle into it the stick and install some of the RTL Linux support files and stream IQ data from the stick to a PC via WiFi. It was pretty handy for installing a remote receiver for applications like ADSB. There seems now to be a couple of Android Apps available from the Play Store that can install various distros of Linux to an Android devices like Complete Linus Installer. Never used it, so I can't say how well it works. It appears to only work only on certain ARM processors that need to be "rooted". So, this is something that is not exactly plug and play......................
 
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