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Android on your TV with the Mele A2000

I decided to buy an Android-powered set top box because my Apple TV 1 didn’t cut it for playing HD media, and I find it inconvenient to hook my MacBook up to the TV everytime I want to watch some HD media.

I came across the Mele A2000 on DealExtreme - it’s a cheap yet powerful Android box that can play 1080p video without any problem and has access to the Google Play Store.

The specs are as follows:

  • OS: Android 2.3
  • CPU: Allwinner A10 (Arm Cortex A8, 1ghz)
  • GPU: MALI400MP OpenGL ES 2.0
  • RAM: 512MB (306MB for CPU, 206MB for GPU)
  • Storage: 4GB (+ 3x USB host ports, 1x SD card, SATA dock)
  • A/V Connectors: HDMI, D-SUB (VGA), RCA (red/white/yellow)
  • Network: Wifi, LAN
  • Controller: One basic remote (with expected Android buttons + extra mapping)

From the spec, you can see that this is pretty much a small computer, for less than £60 over at DealExtreme.

I expected that the remote would suck so I also ordered a wireless keyboard/trackpad from DealExtreme when I ordered the Mele A2000. Any of the “2.4ghz” keyboard/trackpads that come with a USB dongle should work just fine with the A2000.

Additionally, Mele also make a “F10 Air Mouse”, which looks to be like these other keyboard/trackpad devices, but with a remote on the back side. Controlling Android with a mouse or trackpad is a lot easier, and luckily Android supports a mouse cursor just as if you were touching the screen.

After a small amount of fiddling (changing the language from Chinese to English, connecting to my home Wifi, changing the output to 1080p) I got the A2000 up and running nicely, and it worked with most files that I threw at it.

The Mele A2000 comes bundled with a bunch of applications, though mostly Chinese, these include some (questionable) video/music streaming applications, and some well know apps such as Tunein Radio. I installed the Android Netflix client from the Play Store, and though it worked well the controls are a bit unintuitative with the bundled remote control. Because it streams at mobile quality, video streams don’t look great on a large HDTV.

The Mele A2000 is a nice piece of hardware, it does what I expected it to do, and for the price it’s surprisingly high quality.

I’ll be writing a follow-up post to talk about upgrading the Mele A2000 to Android 4.0.3 and the problems I’ve had with that, as well as the solutions I’ve got.

About the author

A photo of Max Glenister

Max Glenister is a Front-end Developer based in Oxfordshire. For work he spends his time designing, validating and implementing user interfaces. For fun he tinkers with Virtual Reality, 3D printing, embedded systems, game development and many other things.

You can keep up with Max on Github, Twitter and Reddit