J1nx Linux XBMC Firmware on a G-Box Midnight

XBMC Linux on a GBOX Midnight – J1nx or Static?

The G-BOX Midnight has received a mixed reception in terms of it’s advertized capabilities and its ability to run XBMC on an Android platform with acceptable performance. Certainly, the purported output of 1080p is a moot point. And every version of Android XBMC that I tried  had one problem or another; mainly audio out of sync with video, and choppy playback of HD content. Thank goodness for the Linux XBMC versions then, courtesy of static and J1nx.

Flashing the G-BOX Midnight with any flavor of Linux XBMC negates the Android operating system-bloat and allows the device to boot straight into XBMC. And for me, this is a real benefit. With the supplied remote, it’s near-on impossible to  navigate the Android Home screen with any sort of speed and dexterity. Trying to find the  XBMC icon and then click on it is a major undertaking.

I have tried the static and J1nx versions of Linux XBMC on the G-BOX Midnight v2.2 and this is what I found:

static XBMC Linux v0.2 beta

  • Very good playback of HD content. Fluid playback. No dropped frames.
  • Menus very responsive.
  • Remote fully programmed.
  • CPU usage relatively low (compared with Android versions).
  • Audio sync issues – audio out of sync with video by 125ms (average).
  • WakeOnLan add-on did not work.

J1nx XBMC Linux beta2

  • Excellent playback of SD and HD content. Playback is smooth. No dropped frames.
  • Menus very responsive.
  • Remote fully programmed.
  • CPU usage relatively low (compared with Android versions).
  • Every add-on I’ve installed works.
  • It rarely goes wrong. It’s extremely reliable.
  • Everything works as it should! This is the version I’ve kept.

My Installation

I bought the G-BOX Midnight to fuel a wall-mounted TV I put in my kitchen. An aerial connection to the TV would have resulted in unsightly wires running up the wall. Plus, I wanted the G-BOX to supply everything to the TV; live tv, recorded tv from my MediaPortal server, and everything else that XBMC can supply.

Mounting the TV

Fitting the TV Bracket Wall Anchors

Fitting the TV Bracket Wall Anchors

TV Mounted on the Wall

TV Mounted on the Wall

G-BOX Midnight Attached

G-BOX Midnight Attached and Running XBMC – TV Catchup

As shown above, I have the G-Box Midnight connected to the internet via a Home Plug and Ethernet connection, normally all tucked away behind the TV. I’ve not tried it’s performance with a wireless connection.

It plays HD video content across my home network flawlessly; both 720p and 1080p encoded files. It plays live TV too via the TV catchup add-on. And with J1nx’s version of XBMC, sound is perfectly in sync with video. A problem that was really annoying me with the Android versions.

This is good little, unobtrusive, low-powered unit that delivers the goods now that I’ve found the right firmware to suit me.

A Quick Demonstration of J1nx XBMC Linux beta2

This video depicts the boot time of my G-BOX Midnight v2.2 running the J1nx Linux beta2 firmware. It takes approximately 1min 15 seconds for XBMC to be ready and responsive.

And because of this, I leave the G-BOX switched on at all times so it’s available for immediate use when the TV is switched on. The difference in power consumption between the off and on states is negligible – unless you unplug the transformer when you’re not using it.

The first demonstration is  the playback quality of a 720p HD video, streamed over my LAN. There are no dropped frames and playback is fluid.

The second demonstration is Shoutcast radio.

And to finish off, BBC 1 via TV Catchup. Near-live TV without an aerial.