XBMC for Tegra with full HW acceleration

XBMC at UltraHD resolution.
XBMC running at UltraHD resolution on Jetson TK1.

Thanks to Markus Tavenrath there is finally a fully accelerated Kodi (previously known as XBMC) for Tegra K1 based devices like the Jetson TK1. Some of the Kodi patches are already upstreamed and the rest will be hopefully soon. Jetson supports X.Org very well and things like XRandR based TV refresh rate changes work perfectly.

I have a simple lab power supply (Mastech DF17132) and I made some quick power measurements with it. I did only guestimate the typical reading instead of making multiple tests and calculating the averages. So the numbers should be close to the truth but not scientifically accurate. I replaced the power supply that came with the Jetson with the lab power, so I have not included the consumption of the Jetson’s external power supply in the measurements.

The on-demand CPU frequency governor does not provide proper CPU clocks for smooth Kodi UI and video playback, so all the Kodi tests have been run with all four CPU cores forced on-line and with performance governor.

My USB hub, USB keyboard and USB mouse consume about 0.84W. The very noisy fan takes about 0.72W. That is about 1.5W that is included in the numbers below but maybe should not as everybody use different USB devices and nobody can use that fan in an HTPC setup.

In full screen video test cases the TV’s refresh rate has been changed to 24Hz and when the XBMC UI is visible, the refresh rate is 60Hz for 1080p TV and 30Hz for 2160p TV (HDMI 1.4 limitation).

1920×1080 Sony TV
Test case Power consumption
Slim Login 3.36
XFCE desktop, idle, ondemand 3.36
XFCE desktop, idle, performance 3.72
Kodi main menu 5.40
Kodi full screen video 1080p24 5.16
Kodi full screen video 1080p60 6.00
Kodi full screen video 2160p24 5.40

In the table below, the resolution used for all the cases is Ultra HD or 2160p or 3840×2160. The term “4k” is misleading as people often really mean the Ultra HD and not for example 4096×2160.

3840×2160 LG TV
Test case Power consumption
XFCE desktop, idle, ondemand 3.72
XFCE desktop, idle, performance 4.08
Kodi main menu 5.52
Kodi full screen video 1080p24 (max gpu clocks) 6.96
Kodi full screen video 2160p24 (max gpu clocks) 6.96

I think decoding 1080p24 with 5.16W (or 3.7W without USB peripherals and the fan) is pretty good! Add 2 watts and you get 2160p.

After watching different trailers over and over I definitely would like to see movies being produced at higher FPS rates and distributed at higher bitrates instead of bumping the resolution from Full HD to Ultra HD. That 1080p60 looked awesome.

The biggest complaint I have about the Jetson, is the fan. The noise is way too loud even for development use, not to mention using Jetson as an HTPC in the living room. There is some discussion about using passive coolers in the NVIDIA forums.

For installation instructions and other tips see the Installing Kodi wiki page.

8 thoughts on “XBMC for Tegra with full HW acceleration

  • September 18, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Excellent test. I will buy a Jetson just for that instead of a Banana Pi.

    • September 19, 2014 at 8:55 am

      Jetson is a good board for many cases. And much more powerful that the Pi boards but also more expensive.

      • September 19, 2014 at 3:06 pm

        In computer field, more money you put in equipment better the power output will be.

  • October 15, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    an image for the ouya would be awesome :-O

  • December 14, 2015 at 12:21 am

    Has anyone had any success with lirc on the Tegra TX1? I am seeeing:
    Setting up lirc (0.9.0-0ubuntu5) …
    ls: cannot access /lib/modules/3.10.67-g3a5c467/kernel/drivers/staging/media/lirc: No such file or directory
    * Loading LIRC modules [ OK ]
    * Unable to load LIRC kernel modules. Verify your
    * selected kernel modules in /etc/lirc/hardware.conf

    • December 14, 2015 at 6:58 am

      On a generic system, /lib/modules/ has all the modules for the kernel and /lib/modules//kernel is a link to the kernel sources from where that was built. E.g. on Debian, that’s a link to the kernel headers, not to the full sources. I don’t remember how that is set up on Linux for Tegra.

      You can try asking about it here:

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