CSA96 RK3399 Smart TV Box

The CSA96 is another RK3399 based media player, encased in the same design as the R-TV K99, which we wrote about some days ago.

CSA96 Smart TV Box Media PlayerYou can purchase the CSA96 Smart TV Box at geekbuying.com. It is also being listed on amazon.com if you prefer that online store, but it comes with a heftier price tag. Both stores present the CSA96 Media Player bundled with an Air Mouse keyboard, which is a nice welcome addition.

One notable difference between the new CSA96 against the earlier R-TV K99 RK3399 based media player is that now the sellers are mentioning 10bits decoding (HDR video).

It is to be noted that the ability to decode 10bits HDR video streams does not means that the CSA96 can actually output the extended color range through its HDMI port.

According to the CSA96 specifications, the HDMI port is only HDMI 2.0 compliant. Problem is that, according to the official compliance specs, HDR output was introduced at a later time, on the HDMI 2.0a ports onwards.

Sadly enough, this may confirm our suspicions that the CSA96 -along with all other RK3399 based Android TV boxes- cannot output an HDR video stream, as long as the HDMI is only 2.0 specs compliant (notice, no “a” at the end).

CSA96 specifications

The CSA96 Media Player seems to be indeed a powerful beast, compared to other chipsets based OTT Android boxes.

But then again, it seems incapable of HDR video stream output, which at this date and time may even be a severe enough handicap for us to even not call it a “media player” at all.

Maybe I am overreacting about the HDR output issue, but consider that at the time I am writing this article, the CSA96 Android TV Box is priced at about USD 159.99 which is pricier than most other media players out there.

For such a price you could even consider a Q5 Pro media player. The Q5 Pro media player comes with a mature but yet constantly evolving firmware, fueled by requests, testings and tuning suggestions made by tons of devote users.

And of course, the HiMedia Q5 Pro plays HDR video streams just fine.

HardwareOS: Android 6.0 OS
CPU: ROCKCHIP RK3399, Big.Little architecture: Dual Cortex-A72 + Quad Cortex-A53,64-bit; Frequency over 2.0GHz (Big cluster)
GPU: Mali-T864 GPU, OpenGL ES1.1/2.0/3.0/3.1, OpenVG1.1, OpenCL, DX11,Supports AFBC (ARM Frame Buffer Compression)
ROM: 32G EMMC Flash (8-64GB optional)
Storage Extension: Support MicroSD(TF),Up to 128GB
CommunicationWIFI: 2.4G+5.8GWIFI+Bluetooth4.0,AP6225 WIFI module,(2.4GHz/5GHz WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and 802.11 a/c)
Ethernet: 1000M
Bluetooth: BT4.0
Media HDMI: HDMI 2.0 for 4K 60Hz with HDCP 1.4/2.2
Video Output
Dual VOP: one supports 4096×2160 with AFBC supported; the other supports 2560×1600
Dual channel MIPI-DSI (4 lanes per channel)
eDP 1.3 (4 lanes with 10.8Gbps) to support display, with PSR
HDMI 2.0 for 4K 60Hz with HDCP 1.4/2.2
DisplayPort 1.2 (4 lanes, up to 4K 60Hz)
Supports Rec.2020 and conversion to Rec.709
Video Codecs
Multi-Media: 4K VP9 and 4K 10bits H265/H264 video decoders, up to 60fps
1080P other video decoders (WMV, MPEG-1/2/4, VP8)
1080P video encoders for H.264 and VP8
Video post processor: de-interlace, de-noise, enhancement for edge/detail/color
Image Browser
Support JPG,JPEG,BMP,GIF,PNG,JFIF…etc photo format
InterfaceHDMI Out: 1XHDMI
USB Port: USB2.0*1 ,USB3.0*1,Dual USB 3.0 with type-C supported
Card Reader: 1X Micro SD card (TF card) reader
Network: 1xRJ45
Power Supply: 1xDC jack
Other FeaturesSoftware Extension: Support Google Play & APK install
Protocol: Support DLNA,Miracast Protocol,Support DRM requirement.
Remote Control: Support Smart phone remote control,2.4GHZ wireless air mouse/Remote controller
IM Software: Support Skype/QQ/MSN/GTALK (Depends on APK install)
Offic Software: WORD/EXCEL/PDF(Depends on APK install)

Is the CSA96 a good media player ?

This is certainly a personal opinion, but here it goes anyway: I think the CSA96 Android TV Box is NOT a good media player, if it is not capable of outputting HDR video streams. All that power, nice specs, connectivity options, etc. are good for tons of tasks, yes, other than media streaming.

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