Tag Archives: android mini pc

How to increase the performance of your Android TV Stick

So basically all android TV sticks (ATS’s), boxes and any other android device you connect to your TV has been somewhat hacked together to deliver a product the Android OS wasn’t explicitly designed for. (Not that it doesn’t do a great job)

The Android OS was designed for mobile devices but what constitutes a mobile device?

Well one can differentiate a mobile device as a mobile device by two distinguishing characteristics, one it has a built-in display and two it’ll be battery powered.

Android mini computers have neither.

As mentioned above ATS’s use a TV for the display and often ATS’s don’t have the drivers needed to recognised touch screen inputs. No touch screen inputs can have its drawbacks but the focus in this article is on the influence of not having a battery.

Android devices are constantly doing a juggling act between making the device run as fast and be as responsive as possible and not burning through the battery.

This balancing is primarily directed by the CPU governor. The Linux kernel has a number of CPU frequency governors, which can be looked on as rules that set the CPU frequency based on the selected governor and usage patterns. The frequency or clock rate is typically used as an indicator of the processor’s speed, i.e. how quickly it processes tasks. It is measured in the SI unit hertz. The higher the speed the better the performance and the worse the power consumption.

The best thing about the governors is that they have pre-sets, when the “performance” governor is active, the CPU frequency will be set to its maximum value, the “powersave” governor sets the CPU to its lowest frequency, the “ondemand” governor sets the CPU frequency depending on the current usage, etc.

But here’s the important part, because an ATS has no battery and it’s being power by the mains, there’s no need to set the governor to go easy on power consumption. So the governor should be set to performance at all times but by default (the device thinking it’s mobile) it’s probably not.

So how do you change the governor?

Well like everything else with android you use an app of course!

Note: You cannot change your CPU governor unless your phone is rooted and you have a ROM or app that lets you make a change. Also, different kernels (the intermediary software between your phone’s hardware and the operating system) offer different sets of governors.

There are several to choose from:

  • CPU tuner
  • No-frills CPU control
  • SetCPU
  • See here for more

I use CPU tuner as pictured below.


Simply install CPU Tuner and set profile to “Performance” and Governor to “Full Speed” and you should be getting a little extra juice from your device.


A picture of a cx919 android tv stick

How to root a CX919 Android 4.4.2 Quad core with a RK31 rockchip

(This Post was last updated 13/02/2015)

Ok so here’s a quick tutorial on how to root this particular type of Android TV Stick (ATS). Specifically this model: See Link. If you’ve ever flashed a custom rom onto an android device before, forget everything about that, it’s nothing like that, it’s much simpler.

NOTE: you will need a windows PC to root the device and before starting make sure you have a good usb micro b cable you know works! USB Micro-B PlugIf you’ve found your way to this page you may have already tried the manual approach which uses the TPSparkyRoot batch script and that hasn’t worked! I’ve been there, you won’t be able to get it working, you were right to continue google searching your way across the net for a method that works, and here it is. . .

But first the obligatory caveat:

I take no responsibility for the welfare of your device. If by following these instructions you should brick your device, that’s your problem buddy. This tutorial will likely work for other devices too though. So if you’ve tried every other tutorial on the net to get your damned device rooted to no avail you might want to follow along. But again I’m not responsible if your ATS explodes.

Back up your device prior to implementing the instructions and you “should” be fine.

And now the tutorial:

STEP 1: Download software

Start by installing the following software:



(Use the direct download link to skip downloading the download.com software)

(The reason you need moborobo is that the software is smart enough to determine what driver the PC needs to be able to communicate with the ATS. Chances are, if you tried an alternative method to root the device, the previous methods you tried to root the device failed because you couldn’t find the right driver.)

STEP 2: Prepare the ATS for communication with the PC

In the ATS go to System settings > Storage and click the 3 vertically stacked dots at the top right of the screen.

Picture showing the icon to clickClick on the window “USB computer connection” and tick the Mass Storage box.

Next within the systems settings, go to the developer options. (If the developer options are not there it is because they have not been enabled. To enable developer options go to the system settings and click on About Device. Next scroll to “Build Number” and tap it 7 times. After tapping 7 times you will see an alert saying “You are now a developer”/”Developer mode has been enabled”.

After navigating to developer options scroll down and tick the usb degugging option.

STEP 3: Connect the PC to the ATS

With the ATS connected to your TV via HDMI and powered by the DC usb port, connect the usb micro b cable to the available port.

Make sure you do not use the DC port to connect to the PC otherwise nothing will happen.

A picture showing which usb port to useNext connect the ATS to your PC via the USB.

Within system settings on the ATS click on “USB ” and tick “Connect to PC”.

STEP 4: Install the correct driver on the PC

Open the Moborobo software on your PC and wait for it to load completely. Moborobo should now create a connection to the ATS and install some apps on it. Once you see your TV screen switch to the Moborobo app you know the PC successfully connected to the device.

(You don’t need these apps once this process is run. The whole point of using moborobo was simply to install the correct driver on your PC. If the device installs the correct drivers on the PC itself you may not need moborobo to connect to the ATS, in which case continue to the next step.)

STEP 5: Rooting the device

Open Kingo on your PC. It will load for a few seconds.

When a screen appears asking if you want to root it has successfully connected to the device.

Uncheck the install APUS boost+. This is an optimization app not necessary for rooting the device.

Click root.

(Kingo may mistakenly think the device is already rooted in which case click on root again)

Kingo on desktopAllow Kingo to run.


Once you see the screens below on your PC and ATS the root was successful.

successPCsuccessATSWithin system settings on the ATS click on “USB ” and tick “Connect to PC”.


You can now uninstall the software on your PC.

And uninstall the following Apps on your device.

  • MoboMarket
  • Mr.Clean
  • Kingo Root

Kingo will install its own SuperUser App which will need to remain but this simply acts as a checker for other apps looking to access system resources which you can either give permission to or deny.


Hopefully that all worked out for you.

If you used this tutorial successfully please comment below and share.

UPDATE 13/02/2015: Kingo superuser can sometimes grow to take up massive amounts of the device’s storage space. In my case over 600mb!!! Uninstalling the app from the google play store will reduce the app in size without actually uninstalling the app. (The app cannot actually be removed within settings, only disabled) In my case the app shrank to just over 5mb, much better!

Quick Caveat: There have be some online accusations that Kingo superuser steals user data. I cannot confirm this, but I’d imagine if it was a serious concern google would have removed the app from the store by now.

Android TV Sticks, the time is now!

So what am I talking about?

Potentially the future of how we surf the web while sat on the couch.

Android TV Sticks (aka Android Mini PCs, aka Android TV Dongles) are about the size and shape of an overfed USB flash drive but they don’t just store files.

Android TV Stick example

They’re actually tiny computers in themselves that run an Android operating system, generally version 4.2, and accept input from USB, SD cards and Bluetooth devices like mice, keyboards and gamepads. Plug the stick into your TV via the HDMI port and you can run Android apps on the big screen.

To clarify they’re essentially powerful phones/tablets without the display (which is the expensive bit) making them really cheap, around $70. The thumb sized MK802, was first brought to market in May 2012 but I held back as the hardware was pretty underwhelming for the work the device would have to do.

But that’s changed with the very recently released quad-core processor models (think 4 brains instead of 1) capable of outputting Full HD display smoothly and powering through graphically intensive games.

(To give you an idea of performance I recently downloaded and installed a 1 GB game while watching an episode of Breaking Bad stored on a flash drive with no issues.)

So why is that cool?

Well think about the apps out there on Google play, you have Facebook & Twitter, Netflix, VLC & MX Player, Spotify, Apollo & Double Twist, Youtube, Chrome & Firefox, Quickoffice NOT TO MENTION ALL THE GAMES THAT ARE FREE TO PLAY!!!

This magical little box turns your TV into a web browser, media player and games console (and if you like looking at spread sheets and word docs on a screen while sat across the room, you can use it for the traditional boring PC stuff too).

You’re effectively making your TV smart (really smart) without spending the extra few thousand clams. And think about this, your big flat screen full HD TV is a capital purchase, that bad boy is going to be bolted to your living room wall for a few years at least. But computers stop being at the forefront of technology within a couple of weeks. Spend a small fortune on a Smart TV and by the end of the year it’ll probably start to seem pretty stupid.

But, so far, Android TV Sticks have proven to be so cheap you can get the next model in six months time which will probably have doubled in brain power. I’m already looking forward to getting my hands on one of the next octa-core models.

So why haven’t you heard of these awesome little contraptions before?

Currently there is lack of big player interest from the likes of Google, Samsung, LG etc. (If anything these relatively new and mysterious devices work against the product portfolios of the big boys).

Production is cornered mainly by little known or unnamed Chinese manufacturers, shrouded in oriental mystery . . . for legal reasons . . . using the Chinese rockchip processor. Some of the devices don’t even ship with any branding. Possibly a legal thing (the eyes of g-oo-gle are ever watchful) or perhaps the manufactures just want to pass the savings of sparse branding onto the customer. Some company names you may have heard batted about though (if you hang out with tech nerds) are Rikomagic and Tronsmart which would be considered reputable (by said nerds).

Another possible reason you might not have heard of these “things” is nobody seems to know what to call them! So here’s my attempt at making a name stick (WORD PLAY!), Android TV Sticks, shall be henceforth known as A.T.S’s.

A.T.S. sounds kinda like TV jargon don’t ya think? Like VHS, DVD or AV cable.

Let’s take it for a spin:

  • I got a new 4.4 ATS.
  • The video playback on this new ATS model is awesome.
  • I’ve put my old ATS in the microwave to see if it explodes.

Yep ATS sounds right.

So you may have heard of the Google Chromecast, so what’s the difference?

Although visually similar, Chromecast and Android sticks have little in common. The Chromecast is simply a receiver. It enables you to transmit/mirror your Chrome tab from your computer or broadcast certain apps from your Android or iOS device to your TV.

That’s all.

The Chromecasts currently retail at around $35 and the ATS’s start at around $70 but if you’re thinking the ATS’s are expensive by comparison you’re forgetting you’re getting an entirely separate computer you can use independently.  It would be like comparing the price of a set of tyres to the price of car. In the same way tyres don’t get you from A to B without the rest of the vehicle the chromecast displays nothing unless you have a device to transmit to it.


I think ATS’s make a pretty compelling argument for themselves. If you have a few clams to spare and you know how to set up an android phone you should give one a try.